Causes and Solutions to the Problem of Child Labor

In: Social Issues

Every year on 12 June, people around the world celebrate the World Day against Child Labour, a day dedicated to the goal of creating a world in which children everywhere can grow up without the threat of being forced into child labor. An estimated 246 million children are engaged in child labor, with nearly 70 percent of them (about 171 million) working in hazardous conditions, including work in mines and quarries, work with chemicals and pesticides or with dangerous machinery. “Children as young as five are forced to spend long hours doing back-breaking labor, often in harsh weather and without access to health care,” UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman said. “Children mining rock, gold, coal, diamonds and precious metals in Africa, Asia and South America are at constant risk of dying on the job, being injured or becoming chronically ill.” While very few will argue that child labor is beneficial to today’s world, many do contend that because of the current state of affairs around the globe, it is a necessary evil for child labor to be used in some places. This paper will examine some of the biggest causes of child labor and outline ways to put them to an end.
International financial institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund contributed to the rise in child labor when they called on countries heavily indebted to them to reduce public expenditure on health care and new jobs. These structural adjustment programs have resulted in increased poverty and child labour. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund should rethink their loan plans to developing countries in an effort to increase social expenditure rather than reduce it. Government organizations and industries should be pressured to act in a socially responsible manner and to put an end to child labor or to provide children with better working conditions....

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