Child Labor

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Child Labour

Child Labour In the past few years, a great deal of attention has been drawn to the global problem of child labour. Virtually everyone is guilty of participating in this abusive practice through the purchase of goods made in across the globe, usually in poor, developing nations. This issue has been around for a great length of time but has come to the forefront recently because of reports that link well known American companies like Wal-Mart and Nike to the exploitation of children. Prior to this media attention, many Americans and other people in developed nation were blind to the reality of the oppressive conditions that are reality to many.

Child Labour has been in existence in different forms from the beginning of time but it wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution that it became the problem it is today. With the arrival of the factory system in the 18th century, Children as young as 5 were being used as workers in England. During this period, a law called the English Poor Act gave the government the responsibility to care for children that had no parents or whose parents were too poor to care for them. Under this law, the government would take these ‘pauper children’ and place them in jobs where they could become apprentices and learn a trade. The law was not usually affective because when the children were handed over to the factory owners, they usually became slaves. Other children were sold by their parents as indentured servants. Children were used to tend to machines in factories and many worked in the dark, damp coalmines, carrying coal on their backs up ladders. Many children would work 10 to 15 hour days with a small break for lunch. On top of this, the children were paid a starvation wages.
The problem spread to other industrialized countries including the United States. Massachusetts passed a law in 1836 that required working children to receive some amount of schooling. Connecticut followed in 1842 with a law that created a maximum amount of hours children could work a day in a textile factory. It wasn’t until the Fair Labour Standards Act of 1938 that real progress was made in child labour in the United States. One example of these terrible abuses is the story of Iqbal Masih, a Pakistani child who was forced into labour as a carpet weaver. At the age of four, the boy was sold as an indentured servant to a factory owner for ...

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...shops or big factory operations in Egypt unlike Bangladesh or Pakistan. So you cannot classify Egypt and Bangladesh in the same category when it comes to child labour. Family working units are a good thing will continue to exist. But these family working units aren’t suitable to modern products. They are suitable for traditional products such as carpets and garments.

The ILO cannot put an end to all the child labour. They don’t have any legal power. They employers sure won’t since they don’t want to increase costs. Some morally conscious employers will but the majority won’t. Then there is the government of the country where the multinational comes from (99.9% of the time American) which can force inspections and could take action against the company. The trade unions are weak and don’t have the funds to do the job. This is also the third world where bribes are an everyday thing.
In conclusion I stand against the kind of child labour such as in Bangladesh which. Selling of kids to Big factories is immoral. On the other hand I do support the example set in Egypt and the family work units. They do more good than bad to the economy and save the government a lot of welfare money.

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