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Ethics on Child Labor Trafficking

In: Social Issues

Submitted By jkonstantinidis
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Ethics on Child Labor Trafficking Child labor is a very controversial topic around the world especially when BBC World News created a documentary about the children of the Ivory Coast harvesting cocoa for large chocolate companies. Most children involved in child labor trafficking are pulled from their homes at an early age and are forced to work long days in high cocoa trees. If the children get paid at all, they don’t receive the money directly; the wage is given to a relative. The children don’t have a “normal” childhood like that of American children who play with toys and have fun with friends. An absolute ethical view among 1st world countries is that child labor trafficking is completely wrong. However, the people of the Ivory Coast think that child labor trafficking is acceptable because it is all they have ever known; it is their way of life. Consequently, I feel that child labor trafficking is not absolutely wrong, but it is unethical in some aspects. I believe that if the children are going to work, they should also receive basic human rights like the right to an education. Education is such an important tool of progress, which is all the Ivory Coast needs. With education they would be able to grow as a country and increase their standard of living. Without education, child labor trafficking becomes a vicious cycle: children are trafficked, and they grow to be traffickers themselves. I also think that it is unethical how the children are treated. They are cut off contact with their families, work long, tiring days, and risk their lives when they climb the high cocoa trees. It would be more ethical to allow better working conditions. Ethical values are culturally determined. Because we live in an up-scale standard of living, we tend to frown upon a 3rd world country’s way of life. Because our cultures are so different, we automatically assume that their way of life is wrong. In the Ivory Coast, child population is well over 50%, so that is why child labor is so common. It is a cultural norm for children to provide for their families. It is not wrong for them to think that that way of life is acceptable. If the Ivory Coast had the education to view Italy or the United States’ lifestyle, they might agree, in fact, that our children are lazy. Now that the unethical views of child labor trafficking have gained some attention, what is the next step? After watching BBC World News documentary, we will probably still buy chocolate because consumers will still want to eat chocolate. This becomes an economic issue. If we regulate free trade among cocoa companies and force them to treat children fairly, we would have to raise the price of chocolate. So, a $1 chocolate bar now becomes a $6 chocolate bar. Even though it would be a more ethical decision, consumers would probably refuse the price increase. Also, if companies were forced to regulate free trade, then they could potentially lie about regulation and use that as a way only to earn a higher profit for their company.

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