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Child Labour

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Child labour Child labour refers to the employment of children in any work that deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful.[3] This practice is considered exploitative by many international organisations. Legislations across the world prohibit child labour.[4][5] These laws do not consider all work by children as child labour; exceptions include work by child artists, supervised training, certain categories of work such as those by Amish children, and others.[6][7] Child labour was employed to varying extents through most of history. Before 1940, numerous children aged 5–14 worked in Europe, the United States and various colonies of European powers. These children worked in agriculture, home-based assembly operations, factories, mining and in services such as newsies. Some worked night shifts lasting 12 hours. With the rise of household income, availability of schools and passage of child labour laws, the incidence rates of child labour fell.[8][9][10] In developing countries, with high poverty and poor schooling opportunities, child labour is still prevalent. In 2010, sub-saharan Africa had the highest incidence rates of child labour, with several African nations witnessing over 50 percent of children aged 5–14 working.[11] Worldwide agriculture is the largest employer of child labour.[12] Vast majority of child labour is found in rural settings and informal urban economy; children are predominantly employed by their parents, rather than factories.[13] Poverty and lack of schools are considered as the primary cause of child labour The incidence of child labour in the world decreased from 25% to 10% between 1960 and 2003, according to the World Bank,[15] although the number of child labourers remains high, with UNICEF estimating that around 150 million children aged 5-14 in developing countries, about 16 per cent of all children in this age group, are involved in child labour Household enterprises Factories and mines were not the only place where child labour was prevalent in early 20th century. Homebased manufacturing across the United States and Europe employed children as well. [9] Governments and reformers argued that labour in factories must be regulated and the state had an obligation to provide welfare for poor. Legislation that followed had the effect of moving work out of factories into urban homes. Families and women in particular preferred it because it allowed them to generate income while taking care of household duties. Home-based manufacturing operations were active year round. Families willingly deployed their children in these income generating home enterprises.[30] In many cases, men worked from home. In France, over 58 percent of garment workers operated out of their homes; in Germany, the number of full-time home operations nearly doubled between 1882 to 1907; and in the United States, millions of families operated out of home seven days a week, year round to produce garments, shoes, artificial flowers, feathers, match boxes, toys, umbrellas and other products. Children aged 5–14 worked alongside the parents. Home-based operations and child labour in Australia, Britain, Austria and other parts of the world was common. Rural areas similarly saw families deploying their children in agriculture. In 1946, Frieda Miller - then Director of United States Department of Labour - told the International Labour Organisation that these home-based operations offered, "low wages, long hours, child labour, unhealthy and insanitary working conditions. Colonial empires Systematic use of child labour was common place in the colonies of European powers between 1650 to 1950. In Africa, colonial administrators encouraged traditional kin-ordered modes of production, that is hiring a household for work not just the adults. Millions of children worked in colonial agricultural plantations, mines and domestic service industries.[35][36] Sophisticated schemes were promulgated where children in these colonies between the ages of 5-14 were hired as apprentice without pay in exchange for learning a craft. A system of Pauper Apprenticeship came into practice in 19th century where the colonial master neither needed the native parents' nor child's approval to assign a child to labour, away from parents, at a distant farm owned by a different colonial master.[37] Other schemes included 'earn-andlearn' programs where children would work and thereby learn. Britain for example passed a law, the socalled Masters and Servants Act of 1899, followed by Tax and Pass Law, to encourage child labour in colonies particularly in Africa. These laws offered the native people the legal ownership to some of the native land in exchange for making labour of wife and children available to colonial government's needs such as in farms and as picannins.

Beyond laws, new taxes were imposed on colonies. One of these taxes was the Head Tax in British and French colonial empires. The tax was imposed on everyone older than 8 years, in some colonies. To pay these taxes and cover living expenses, children in colonial households had to work.[38][39][40] In southeast Asian colonies, such as Hong Kong, child labour such as the Mui Tsai (妹仔), was rationalised as a cultural tradition and ignored by British authorities.[41][42] The Dutch East India Company officials rationalised their child labour abuses with, "it is a way to save these children from a worse fate." Christian mission schools in regions stretching from Zambia to Nigeria too required work from children, and in exchange provided religious education, not secular education.[35] Elsewhere, the Canadian Dominion Statutes in form of so-called Breaches of Contract Act, stipulated jail terms for uncooperative child workers. Proposals to regulate child labour began as early as 1786. 21st century - Child labour is still common in many parts of the world. Estimates for child labour vary. It ranges between 250 to 304 million, if children aged 5–17 involved in any economic activity are counted. If light occasional work is excluded, ILO estimates there were 153 million child labourers aged 5–14 worldwide in 2008. This is about 20 million less than ILO estimate for child labourers in 2004. Some 60 percent of the child labour was involved in agricultural activities such as farming, dairy, fisheries and forestry. Another 25 percent of child labourers were in service activities such as retail, hawking goods, restaurants, load and transfer of goods, storage, picking and recycling trash, polishing shoes, domestic help, and other services. The remaining 15 percent laboured in assembly and manufacturing in informal economy, home-based enterprises, factories, mines, packaging salt, operating machinery, and such operations.[49][50][51] Two out of three child workers work alongside their parents, in unpaid family work situations. Some children work as guides for tourists, sometimes combined with bringing in business for shops and restaurants. Child labour predominantly occurs in the rural areas (70%) and informal urban sector (26%). Contrary to popular beliefs, most child labourers are employed by their parents rather than in manufacturing or formal economy. Children who work for pay or in-kind compensation are usually found in rural settings, than urban centers. Less than 3 percent of child labour aged 5–14 across the world work outside of their household, or away from their parents Causes of child labour: - Primary causes - International Labour Organisation (ILO) suggests poverty is the greatest single cause behind child labour.[14] For impoverished households, income from a child's work is usually crucial for his or her own survival or for that of the household. Income from working children, even if small, may be between 25 to 40% of these household income. Other scholars such as Harsch on African child labour, and Edmonds and Pavcnik on global child labour have reached the same conclusion.. Lack of meaningful alternatives, such as affordable schools and quality education, according to ILO,[14] is another major factor driving children to harmful labour. Children work because they have nothing better to do. Many communities, particularly rural areas where between 60-70% of child labour is prevalent, do not possess adequate school facilities. Even when schools are sometimes available, they are too far away, difficult to reach, unaffordable or the quality of education is so poor that parents wonder if going to school is really worth it. Cultural causes - In European history when child labour was common, as well as in contemporary child labour of modern world, certain cultural beliefs have rationalised child labour and thereby encouraged it. Some view that work is good for the character-building and skill development of children. In many cultures, particular where informal economy and small household businesses thrive, the cultural tradition is that children follow in their parents' footsteps; child labour then is a means to learn and practice that trade from a very early age. Similarly, in many cultures the education of girls is less valued or girls are simply not expected to need formal schooling, and these girls pushed into child labour such as providing domestic services. Macroeconomic causes - Biggeri and Mehrotra have studied the macroeconomic factors that encourage child labour. They focus their study on five Asian nations including India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines. They suggest[65] that child labour is a serious problem in all five, but it is not a new problem. Macroeconomic causes encouraged widespread child labour across the world, over most of human history. They suggest that the causes for child labour include both the demand and the supply side. While poverty and unavailability of good schools explain the child labour supply side, they suggest that the growth of low paying informal economy rather than higher paying formal economy is amongst the causes of the demand side. Other scholars too suggest that inflexible labour market, sise of informal economy, inability of industries to scale up and lack of modern manufacturing technologies are major macroeconomic factors affecting demand and acceptability of child labour.

Child labour laws and initiatives - Almost every country in the world has laws relating to and aimed at preventing child labour. International Labour Organisation has helped set international law, which most countries have signed on and ratified. According to ILO minimum age convention (C138) of 1973, child labour refers to any work performed by children under the age of 12, non-light work done by children aged 12–14, and hazardous work done by children aged 15–17. Light work was defined, under this Convention, as any work that does not harm a child's health and development, and that does not interfere with his or her attendance at school. This convention has been ratified by 135 countries. The United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, which was subsequently ratified by 193 countries.[69] Article 32 of the convention addressed child labour, as follows: ...Parties recognise the right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child's education, or to be harmful to the child's health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development. Under Article 1 of the 1990 Convention, a child is defined as "... every human being below the age of eighteen years unless, under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier." Article 28 of this Convention requires States to, "make primary education compulsory and available free to all."[4] Three countries that have not ratified the 1990 Convention are Somalia, South Sudan and the United States.[70][71] In 1999, ILO helped lead the Worst Forms Convention 182 (C182),[72] which has so far been signed upon and domestically ratified by 151 countries including the United States. This international law prohibits worst forms of child labour, defined as all forms of slavery and slavery-like practices, such as child trafficking, debt bondage, and forced labour, including forced recruitment of children into armed conflict. The law also prohibits use of a child for prostitution or the production of pornography, child labour in illicit activities such as drug production and trafficking; and in hazardous work. Both the Worst Forms Convention 182 (C182) and the Minimum Age Convention (C138) are examples of international labour standards implemented through the ILO that deal with child labour. Child labour incidents - Cocoa production - In 1998, UNICEF reported that Ivory Coast farmers used enslaved children – many from surrounding countries.[87] In late 2000 a BBC documentary reported the use of enslaved children in the production of cocoa—the main ingredient in chocolate[88]— in West Africa.[89][90] Other media followed by reporting widespread child slavery and child trafficking in the production of cocoa.[87][91][92] In 2001, the US State Department estimated there were 15,000 child slaves cocoa, cotton and coffee farms in the Ivory Coast,[93] and the Chocolate Manufacturers Association acknowledged that child slavery is used in the cocoa harvest.[93][not in citation given][better source needed]. Malian migrants have long worked on cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast, but in 2000 cocoa prices had dropped to a 10-year low and some farmers stopped paying their employees.[94] The Malian counsel had to rescue some boys who had not been paid for five years and who were beaten if they tried to run away.[94] Malian officials believed that 15,000 children, some as young as 11 years old, were working in the Ivory Coast in 2001. These children were often from poor families or the slums and were sold to work in other countries.[91] Parents were told the children would find work and send money home, but once the children left home, they often worked in conditions resembling slavery.[89] In other cases, children begging for food were lured from bus stations and sold as slaves.[95] In 2002, the Ivory Coast had 12,000 children with no relatives nearby, which suggested they were trafficked,[89] likely from neighboring Mali, Burkina Faso and Togo. The cocoa industry was accused of profiting from child slavery and trafficking.[97] The European Cocoa Association dismissed these accusations as "false and excessive"[97] and the industry said the reports were not representative of all areas.[98] Later the industry acknowledged the working conditions for children were unsatisfactory and children's rights were sometimes violated[99] and acknowledged the claims could not be ignored. In a BBC interview, the ambassador for Ivory Coast to the United
Kingdom called these reports of widespread use of slave child labour by 700,000 cocoa farmers as absurd and inaccurate. In 2001, a voluntary agreement called the Harkin-Engel Protocol, was accepted by the international cocoa and chocolate industry to eliminate the worst forms of child labour, as defined by ILO's Convention 182, in West Africa.[100] This agreement created a foundation named International Cocoa Initiative in 2002. The foundation claims it has, as of 2011, active programs in 290 cocoa growing communities in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, reaching a total population of 689,000 people to help eliminate the worst forms of child labour in cocoa industry.[101] Other organisations claim progress has been made, but the protocol's 2005 deadlines have not yet been met.

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