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Child Labor

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Child Labor:
Threatening the economy and well-being of children

Child labor has existed throughout American history and throughout the world for many years. A quote from Lewis Hine in 1980 states: "There is work that profits children, and there is work that brings profits only to employers. The object of employing children is not to train them, but to get high profits from their work.” As factories started to assemble, most owners preferred children as their workers because the owners thought them as “more manageable, cheaper and less likely to strike.” The industries children usually worked for were mines, glass factories, textiles, agriculture, canneries, home industries, newsboys, messengers, bootblack and peddlers. During the Industrial Revolution, children at four years old were employed and dealing with dangerous and sometimes fatal working conditions. Now, because of new child labor laws in the United States, industries are going overseas to produce their product in countries that still use child labor. Developed countries consider these actions to be human rights violations and are illegal, while some undeveloped countries will allow or tolerate child labor. These children who are in these factories in different countries are costing the company less because of their wages, when they could have their factories in the States, producing jobs and cash flow in our economy. Child labor violates the common good by threatening the long-term growth of the economy and the well-being of children. Child labor is immoral. This type of labor is the employment of children at regular and nonstop labor. In developed countries, such as the United States, child labor is considered illegal below a certain age. The age is usually determined by the country itself and the type of work that is involved. At age 16, without any restrictions or parents consent, children were allowed to work which was one of the laws that was issued in the United States. During the industrial revolution, child labor played an important role. The children were expected to help out the family, usually by working long hours with low pay in dangerous situations. Companies employed small children to crawl through coal mine tunnels that were too narrow for adults or to go underneath machinery to retrieve cotton bobbins. Usually, a child began work at age five in coal mines and died before the age of twenty five. Some also worked on streets selling flowers or cheap good. Children also worked as servants and as prostitutes. Child labor has many causes, health issues, statistics and many laws against it that are not always followed and is an inhumane practice. Even though there are laws and standards against child labor, it still exists primarily due to poverty. The causes of child labor “include poverty, limited access to education, repression of workers’ rights, and limited prohibitions on child labor.”Families in poverty depend on child labor to attain the basic necessities: “About one-fifth of the world’s six billion people live in absolute poverty.” The places where absolute poverty is prevalent are some parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America. “Approximately 125 million children in the world do not attend school, limiting future opportunities for the children and their community.”In some places around the world there are strong child labor laws but the inspecting departments are usually often underfunded, understaffed, or courts will not enforce it. Because of extreme poverty, many countries cannot afford enforce child labor laws and companies take advantage of that for profit. Health issues are a major factor when discussing child labor because it is inhuman for children. A child and an adult are physically different; the conditions that an adult can work in are not always safe for a child, so there is more risk for children in developmental stages. Unsafe environments may have long term effects, such as, “rapid skeletal growth, development of organs and tissues, greater risk of hearing loss, developing ability to assess risks, greater need for food and rest, higher chemical absorption rates, smaller size and lower heat tolerance.” These factors could be very serious down the road and could prevent the child to work later in life or even have a shorter life: “Each year, as many as 2.7 million healthy years of life are lost due to child labor, especially in agriculture.” The loss of these health years proves the risk to children due to these awful conditions. Children have more of a risk than adults usually because they are unskilled, the job intensity is risky, or the training is not done properly. Also the work may be illegal or inappropriate, and children have less experience at work. Poverty can also be a risk factor to their health due to the related health problems such as malnutrition. These factors increase the risks and consequences of the job, which could lead to permanent mental and physical problems. The mental impact of child labor is another significant issue. A child’s mental state of being could deteriorate after being put through those long hours or in slavery or prostitution, leading to traumatic effects and long term health and social issues. Overall, child labor is extremely detrimental to the mental and physical well-being of the children. Statistical facts about child labor show the global inhumanity of this problem. “Worldwide, 126 million children work in hazardous conditions, often enduring beatings, humiliation, and sexual violence by their employers.” “As estimated 1.2 million children-both boys and girls- are trafficked each year into exploitative work in agriculture, mining, factories, armed conflict, or commercial sex work.” Last, “one in six children 5- 14 years old- about 16 percent of all children in this age group- is involved in child labor in developing countries.” Now, the last statistic raises the question that if developing countries supposedly have strict laws, then why is it still occurring? Every country shares blame and responsibility for these atrocities. As one of these developed countries, the United States has child labor laws to protect the safety of children. United States Federal Child Labor Laws are broken down into sections. Non-hazardous, non-agricultural employment set the minimum age at 14 years old. In an agricultural setting, the minimum age of employment is at 10 -11 years old with parental consent. With hazardous; on-agricultural employment the age is 18 years old while in an agricultural setting it is 16 years old. Basically, in an agricultural setting, the age can be lowered, typically with parental consent. The federal government also effected the maximum hours of work and the minimum wage and overtime. The applications of these standards are what the government thinks the appropriate age is when a child can handle the job in the safest manner. In International Trade, the United States also has laws to prevent exploiting children. Many of the goods or commodities are imported into the United States and are tied into child labor. Some examples are cut flowers from Colombia, coffee from Guatemala and Kenya, vanilla from Madagascar, shrimp from Thailand, and cashews from India and bananas from Ecuador. “80% of child laborers work in agriculture (including both domestic and export sectors); worldwide, children make up around 7-12% of workforces on plantations producing commodities for export.” The current United States trade policy directs United States trade negotiators to: “promotes respect for workers rights and the rights of children consistent with core labor standards of the ILO.” The ILO is the International Labour Organization that protects the well-being of workers. It is important to promote respect for workers for equality and equal treatment. Because of this, the trade policy states “seek provisions in trade agreements under which parties to those agreements strive to ensure that they do not weaken or reduce the protection afforded in domestic environmental and labor laws as an encouragement for trade.” Having agreements will help the protections of labor laws and specifically child labor laws. These provisions will reduce the risk of products made by child laborers entering into the States, makes it possible to catch some companies that still produce these materials. Last, the policy “promotes universal ratification and full compliance with ILO convention No. 182 concerning the prohibition and immediate action for the elimination of the worst forms of labor.” These laws are intended to protect workers and control protection.
With its policies it seems like the United States has everything under control with labor laws, but somehow product made by child laborers still come in. What companies are then getting away with forced child labor through the United States trade policy? A lot of companies are, such as Abercrombie and Fitch, Gymboree, Hanes, Ikea, Kohl’s, LL Bean, Pier 1 Imports, Propper International, Wal-Mart, and Nike.” These are just a few but they are most known for having sweatshop in poor countries. Most companies have employees work long hours in dangerous working conditions for poverty wages. Companies such as Gymboree, Hanes and LL Bean receive their cotton from Uzbekistan, which is the world’s second largest exporter. “The Uzbek government has mandated children as young as seven to work in cotton fields during the late summer harvest, when they would normally being school year. Some children are even forced to stay in dormitories in remote areas while they pick cotton.” These children are supposed to be in school and creating an opportunity for themselves but instead they are forced by their government to pick cotton and do not receive an education. In 1998, Nike was accused of child labor. This accusation was due to their production of soccer balls made in Pakistan. Even though Pakistan has laws against child labor and slavery, the government did nothing about Nike or other companies. Child labor is spread throughout Pakistan but greatest its impact is in Sialkot. This is one of the world’s most important centers for production of sporting goods. “More than 200 children, some as young as 4 and 5 years of age are involved in the production line… so Nike’s success story is not based on good name and advertising alone but also attached to it is the tears of tortured workers and child labor.” In November 2001, Nike made a contract with University of Carolina. This contract stated that Nike was bound to an anti-sweatshop labor code to equipment and uniforms that the University of Carolina receives. Through the years, Nike has a reputation of being involved with child labor, as can be seen in previous cases in 1998. This contract was worth about $28 million and was a big step for Nike and was an even bigger step to abolish child labor. Wal-Mart, another company that abused child labor law, was “fined $205,650 for 1,436 violations of child labor laws in Maine between 1995 and 1998. The settlement represents the largest number of citations as well as the largest fine ever issued by the Maine Department of Labor for child labor violations.” Another violation of child labor laws was in Connecticut, where they found 11 violations in three Wal-Mart stores in June of 2005. With Wal-Mart’s history of violations it’s would be safe to assume that their profits with lower wages, and accepting fines, are still greater than profits with higher wages, since they do not seem to understand the consequences it has on the children and the economy that their stores rely on. The affect that child labor has on the child and on the economy is severe, thus violating the common good. The child alone could have health issues, mental issues, and lose a lot of its opportunity in social and in education. Health issues are major, as mentioned earlier and can have a big impact on a child life such as an earlier death. Some mental issues could be as much as a traumatic experience. The common good is a concept of Catholic social teaching tradition. The common good generally means that certain conditions lead you to fulfillment. A child’s education is very important in the growth of a child and he needs his education to grow into a successful, competent adult. In society, knowledge, skills and values are passed down through generations, either through parental guidance or through education. Education is supposed to give children a sense of physical ability to think with the mind. Some say that “high rates of education are essential for a country’s ability to achieve high levels of economic growth.” Since these children are working long hours and do not have the opportunity for education, these countries are denying them to their common good: “Everyone also has the right to enjoy the conditions of social life that are brought about by the quest for the common good.” Everyone has the rights to the common good even children. If child labor continues it is just a vicious cycle. Imagine a child working in a factory under bad conditions and not receiving an education. Without an education he will not be able to find a job besides the one he already has so he will still live in poverty. When he decides to have a family, his children are going to follow the same path, because everyone needs the basic necessities to live. This hurts the economy and the common good because the economy will suffer since there will never be people out of poverty and there will not be as many people with higher education to help the economy grow, if they have to work instead. All these factors hurt the common good of each person because they are not fulfilling what they are actually capable of.
One of the core questions at Sacred Heart University is what does it mean to forge a more just society for the common good? To have a more just society for the common good, one of the issues that need to be taken care of is child labor, because it violates the common good. When someone is forging a more just society, they should stop and think what violates the common good or what can make the common good better. This also means people would live every day like it is their last, and do what they think is right with their values. Child labor has definitely decreased over the years but it still exists. The well-being of the children and the growth of the economy is threatened because child labor violating the common good. Since families in poverty must meet their basic needs, children will work in the most unsafe, dangerous conditions. These dangerous conditions can cause a child to work later in like or even have a shorter life violating the common good of each person living a fulfilling life. These losses of health years prove the risk and every country shares the blame for this. United State based companies still do it today and after being fined over a number of times they still continue to do it. A children’s education is at high risk. Working these long hours prevents them from having a full education, which then turns into a vicious cycle of poverty through multiple generations. Child labor is a major issue in the world and through people write about it continuously when will it stop? When will companies stop exploiting children to make a bigger profit? When will consumers realize what they are buying is actually made by precious little children?
Works Cited

"2010 Sweatshop Hall of Shame." International Labor Rights Forum. http://www.laborrights.org/ creating-a-sweatfree-world/sweatshops/resources/ (accessed December 5, 2009). "Causes of Child Labor." Child Labor Public Education Program. http://www.continuetolearn.uiowa.edu/laborctr/child_labor/about/causes.html (accessed December 6, 2009).

"Child Labor Facts." Compassion International. http://www.compassion.com/child-advocacy/ find-your-voice/quick-facts/child-labor-quick-facts.htm (accessed December 6, 2009). "Child Labor in U.S. History." Child Labor Public Education Program. http://www.continuetolearn.uiowa.edu/laborctr/child_labor/about/us_history.html (accessed December 6, 2009).

"Education." Afro Global Alliance Website. http://www.afroglobal.org/aceducation.html (accessed December 7, 2009). "Health Issues." Child Labor Public Education Program. http://www.continuetolearn.uiowa.edu/laborctr/child_labor/about/health_issues.html (accessed December 6, 2009). "International Trade Issues." Child Labor Public Education Program. http://www.continuetolearn.uiowa.edu/laborctr/child_labor/about/international_trade.html (accessed December 6, 2009).

Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. "Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church: Chapter Four." Catholic Culture.Org. http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=7214(accessed December 7, 2009). "Teaching With Documents: Photographs of Lewis Hine: Documentation of Child Labor." The National Archives. http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/hine-photos/ (accessed December 10, 2009). "The Real Wal-Mart Facts." Wake-Up Wal-Mart Americas Campaign to Change Wal-Mart. http://wakeupwalmart.com/facts/ (accessed December 7, 2009).

"Nike and Child Labor." Welcome to America University. http://www1.american.edu/TED/nike.htm(accessed December 7, 2009). "U.S. Laws-The Child Labor Education Project." Division of Continuing Education-The University of Iowa. http://www.continuetolearn.uiowa.edu/laborctr/child_labor/about/us_laws.html (accessed December 7, 2009). Works Consulted "Child Labor in the US: Youth Employment Statistics." Child Labor Coalition. http://www.stopchildlabor.org/USchildlabor/statistics.htm (accessed December 6, 2009).

"Child Labour." Children and Religion. http://www.workshop3.freeuk.com/ ReligionandChildren.htm#Child%20Labour (accessed December 6, 2009). Cushman, John. "INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS; Nike Pledges to End Child Labor And Apply U.S. Rules Abroad." The New York Times. ://www.nytimes.com/1998/05/13/business/ international-business-nike-pledges-to-end-child-labor-and-apply-us-rules-abroad.html (accessed December 7, 2009). "Economy." The Path of Innocence. http://library.thinkquest.org/trio/TTQ02189/economy.htm (accessed December 7, 2009). "End Child Exploitation." The UK Committee for UNICEF. http://www.unicef.org.uk/campaigns/campaign_sub_pages.asp?page=4 (accessed December 6, 2009). International Labour Organization. http://www.ilo.org/global/lang--en/index.htm (accessed December 7,2009). "ON HUMAN WORK Selections from the encyclical Laborem Exercens." John Paul II. http://www.nafra-sfo.org/work_commission_resources/Work%20Commission%20Manual/ Sec_B_No.13%20On%20Human%20Work.pdf (accessed December 6, 2009).

--------------------------------------------
[ 1 ]. "Teaching With Documents: Photographs of Lewis Hine: Documentation of Child Labor," The
National Archives, http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/hine-photos/ (accessed December 10,
2009).
[ 2 ]. "Child Labor in U.S. History," Child Labor Public Education Program, http://www.continuetolearn.uiowa.edu/laborctr/child_labor/about/us_history.html (accessed December 6, 2009).
[ 3 ]. "Causes of Child Labor," Child Labor Public Education Program, http://www.continuetolearn.uiowa.edu/laborctr/child_labor/about/causes.html (accessed December 6, 2009).
[ 4 ]. Ibid.
[ 5 ]. Ibid.
[ 6 ]. "Health Issues," Child Labor Public Education Program, http://www.continuetolearn.uiowa.edu/laborctr/child_labor/about/health_issues.html (accessed December 6, 2009).
[ 7 ]. Ibid.
[ 8 ]. "Child Labor Facts," Compassion International, http://www.compassion.com/child-advocacy/ find-your-voice/quick-facts/child-labor-quick-facts.htm (accessed December 6, 2009).
[ 9 ]. Ibid.
[ 10 ]. Ibid.
[ 11 ]. "Child Labor in U.S. History," Child Labor Public Education Program, http://www.continuetolearn.uiowa.edu/laborctr/child_labor/about/us_history.html (accessed December 6, 2009).
[ 12 ]. "International Trade Issues," Child Labor Public Education Program, http://www.continuetolearn.uiowa.edu/laborctr/child_labor/about/international_trade.html (accessed
December 6, 2009).
[ 13 ]. Ibid.
[ 14 ]. “International Trade Issues”
[ 15 ]. Ibid.
[ 16 ]. "2010 Sweatshop Hall of Shame," International Labor Rights Forum, http://www.laborrights.org/creating-a-sweatfree-world/sweatshops/resources/ (accessed December 5,
2009).
[ 17 ]. Ibid.
[ 18 ]. "Nike and Child Labor," Welcome to America University, http://www1.american.edu/TED/ nike.htm (accessed December 7, 2009).
[ 19 ]. Ibid.
[ 20 ]. "The Real Wal-Mart Facts," Wake-Up Wal-Mart Americas Campaign to Change Wal-Mart, http://wakeupwalmart.com/facts/ (accessed December 7, 2009).
[ 21 ]. Ibid.
[ 22 ]. Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, "Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church: Chapter Four," Catholic Culture.Org, http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=7214(accessed December 7, 2009).
[ 23 ]. "Education," Afro Global Alliance Website, http://www.afroglobal.org/aceducation.html
(accessed December 7, 2009).
[ 24 ]. “Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace”

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...Child Labor Today, Child Labor laws exist to ensure children are able to get an education and be employed under safe conditions. History tells a different story to the meaning of child labor. History explains how the industrial revolution changed the lives of young children during this time. Children as young as four years old were put to work, some worked under very hazardous conditions and were treated cruely. According to the Unicef website,” many children are put to work in ways that often interfere with their education, drains their childhood of joy, and crushes their right to normal physical and mental development”. This paper examines the history of child labor, the hazardous jobs these children endured, and the medical conditions resulting from such conditions. In addition, this paper examines meetings held within communities, and among organizational leaders on both the state at national levels addressing child labor issues and how to combat them.   In the United States company owners use to hire children to work in factories because they were not hard to work with.  The children would listen and do what they had to.  By 1900 the factories moved south.  Lots of children were hired in factories that dealt with textiles, agriculture and many others.  During the twentieth century the number of child labor increased.  The National Child Labor Organization worked to end child labor.  They also worked to get children free education.  In 1938 the government took......

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Child Labor

...Child Labor Melinda Trevathan Global Business Management Dr. Wilson June 5, 2015 Abstract Generally, child labor is described as a broad term that covers a substantial mixture between and within countries in the nature of undertakings in which children play a part. More specifically, child labor is described as economic undertakings that may be harmful or lethal to the welfare of children. It may be difficult to imagine, where some children are chained to factory floors working in horrific conditions, forced into prostitution or even child-forced soldiers. Unfortunately, some countries do not hold the same values as developed or developing nations, where forced or voluntary child labor is regarded as a form of child abuse. It mostly depends on the type of work and what type of work environment that encircles the child or children (Edmonds & Pavcnik, 2005). Keywords: introduction, poverty, child labor statistics, globalization, conclusion Introduction Generally, child labor is described as a broad term that covers a substantial mixture between and within countries in the nature of undertakings in which children play a part. More specifically, child labor is described as economic undertakings that may be harmful or lethal to the welfare of children. It may be difficult to imagine, where some children are chained to factory floors working in horrific conditions, forced into prostitution or even child-forced soldiers. Unfortunately, some countries do......

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Free Essay

Child Labor

...Child Labor Today, Child Labor laws exist to ensure children are able to get an education and be employed under safe conditions. History tells a different story to the meaning of child labor. History explains how the industrial revolution changed the lives of young children during this time. Children as young as four years old were put to work, some worked under very hazardous conditions and were treated cruely. According to the Unicef website,” many children are put to work in ways that often interfere with their education, drains their childhood of joy, and crushes their right to normal physical and mental development”. This paper examines the history of child labor, the hazardous jobs these children endured, and the medical conditions resulting from such conditions. In addition, this paper examines meetings held within communities, and among organizational leaders on both the state at national levels addressing child labor issues and how to combat them.   In the United States company owners use to hire children to work in factories because they were not hard to work with.  The children would listen and do what they had to.  By 1900 the factories moved south.  Lots of children were hired in factories that dealt with textiles, agriculture and many others.  During the twentieth century the number of child labor increased.  The National Child Labor Organization worked to end child labor.  They also worked to get children free education.  In 1938 the government took......

Words: 1769 - Pages: 8

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Child Labor

...There was a internal audit that was conducted on Apple, they found that 106 children were working at more than 10 factories creating Apple products in the past year alone according to The Guardian. (n.d.). Hiring children means that the child labor laws are being violated. Also this is morally wrong and not for the greater good of the people. Apple conducted an investigation on it's suppliers. The result of that investigation was unexpected. They found out that children were being recruited using fake identity papers. Child labor is obvious because of the harsh working conditions provided by Apple. Most of the children worked for Chinese companies that made supplies for apple. The children were under the age of 16; they employed about 74 children out of the 106 total according to The Guardian. (n.d.). Most of the cases are from 2013, and total there have been 70 companies in Apple's supply chain that have employed children according to The Guardian. (n.d.). There has been a host of other events happening when the whistle was blown so to speak. There have been cases of workers committing suicide, and also deadly explosions at some of the supply chains. This is relevant because workers slowly began to figure out that children were being used for labor, and these were some of the consequences. The children had to lift heavy equipment, and some of them were subject to pregnancy tests as well. If the children got into trouble while working they would be punished by having......

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Child Labor

...Child Labor Child labor is a significant global issue and an increasing epidemic in many developing and poor countries. It is a very controversial issue because some people believe that it is just pure unethical, while others believe that their children need to work in order to provide for their family. Often times Americans criticize a third world country’s way of life. Just because their culture is very different from ours we automatically assume that it is wrong. In my opinion child labor is not entirely wrong, but it can be unethical. I believe is unethical for children to be working under deplorable and unsafe working conditions. If a child is going to work, they should be treated with basic human rights and equal pay. Poverty leads many children to work and in some countries it is the only way for some families to survive. These countries often times do not have the necessary education for children and so it is not depriving them from having a good education. By having children work in these undeveloped countries it is raising per capita income and also the GDP, so one-day children will no longer have to work. Child labor has been apart of almost every society recorded in history. The United States was once a developing country and employed many children, but once the economy became stable enough we passed a Child Labor Law. Therefore, I don’t think that child labor should be outlawed worldwide, but I do think there should be laws against having children work......

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