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Posted on May 8th, 2012, by

One of the most important tasks of modern society is to create safe and healthy world for our children. Nevertheless millions of children all over the world still suffer from poverty, diseases, exploitation and forced labor. My research paper analyzes causes and consequences of this problem. I will also try to think of how to improve the situation and eradicate child labor. Recently more and more people become concerned about the problem of child exploitation.

According to statistics the most horrible situation is admitted to be in sub-Sahara Africa. Nearly 36% of children are involved in hazardous and hard physical labor. Many children and adults of backward countries still remain illiterate. I consider the reason is that government pays more attention to industrial development of the country rather than education of people. At least even if they would like to be educated, they have no opportunity for this.

Agricultural countries pay little attention to educational system. As a result children go to work at young age instead of learning. Rural children tend to work hard on plantations, take care of animals, perform some domestic job etc.

Those living in poor urban areas try to make both ends meet by selling goods in the streets. They have to combine work and school. It often causes physical and mental overstrain. But the most depressing thing is that despite extremely hard working terms, they fail to make a decent living. At the same time they are too exhausted to learn properly. In this way I consider it especially important to eradicate hazardous child labor.

Scientists presume that children are employed because they can be easily exploited. Some children are deprived of their homes and have to work abroad for years. Taking into account that children are our future, we should pay more attention to proper up-bringing (Human Rights Watch, 2006). Exploited children are not only deprived of happy childhood, but also have little opportunity to explore the world around. Most of them don’t go anywhere for years.

They automatically do what they are said to do. If we want to change the situation we should become more concerned and change our attitude towards it.

I want to draw attention to the recent events in Uzbekistan. Children here spent their holidays never looking up from their work. Apart from being hard and stressful, physical labor was also extremely hazardous. Children got low pay or even worked for nothing. They sacrificed their mental and physical health, especially working with chemicals. In Eastern part of the country children began to work at plantations in the first days of summer holidays.

Schoolchildren were released from exams in order to participate in field work. Those who stood up against such terms were warned that it would be hard for them to pass the exams and continue study. Children complained about working with pesticides, but nobody listened to them. They suffered from heat and acrid smell of chemicals.

Sometimes chemical liquids spilt over skin and caused painful itch. Such work certainly brought the country much money. Economy was actually the main reason for free child labor (Economical journal, 2005 May). It’s common knowledge that Uzbekistan is a leading producer of cotton. But such means of accomplishing economical success are unfair and illegal. Government had no rights to deprive children of sunny holidays, even if they worked for the sake of state well-being. In pursuit of good cotton crops authorities tried to economize on manpower. In this way they made children work in the fields and even use chemicals which were highly restricted. It was the first time in the whole history of this country that children were allowed to use pesticides. Formerly this work used to be done by machines and small plains. Now local authorities prefer free manual labor to expensive technical equipment and fuel.

Work with acrid chemicals may have led to severe poisoning of children organisms. It’s common knowledge that even adults should drink milk or kefir after such work. But who cares about children? Officials disregard doctors’ opinion. The main problem is that officials don’t take into account future consequences of their neglect, impudence and lack or consideration.

The 12th of June is a global day of struggle against child labor. This particular date was established in order to make people aware of threatening situation in different parts of the world. This day instills hope to people who are deeply concerned with this problem and want to bring children back to learning. All parents want their children to get proper education and be able to make a decent living in future. Nevertheless there are parents who live in poverty and misery themselves and can’t provide children with everything in need. They even fail to ensure safety for their children.

What measures can be taken in such conditions? In order to answer this question I want to summarize the main points stated in a scientific article Child Labor and the Global Village: Photography for Social Change:

 

–       First of all it’s important to raise average family incomes. Unemployment and low wages make people look for some additional ways to earn money. Child labor is one of them. Some desperate parents send their children to work at young age, as they see no other way out of miserable living conditions. Children are forced to work hard even though their bodies are still immature for such activity.

–       Secondly children need to be educated. Without education they won’t be able to develop their mental abilities and won’t get any speciality as well. Education gives opportunity to show one’s skills and talents. Poor education may cause lack of good specialists and as a result economical crisis.

–       Government should pass laws restricting child labor. First of all it concerns employers who don’t pay much attention to the age of workers. Illegal business also causes numerous troubles.

–       Another thing to do is to change public attitude towards the gravity of the problem. Special programs will raise public conscience and make people think over possible measures to be taken.

David Cody (a researcher of child labor) admits that nowadays many countries have realized the problem. India is among them. Indian government promulgated a law on child labor. It prohibits work of underage children (at least those who are under 14). Children must not scrape a living and provide for their poor penniless parents if this work is likely to do mental and physical harm to them. It is relevant to domestic servants, hotel personnel, workers of small bars and restaurants. Most people absolutely justify new initiative of Indian Premier Minister. He admits that recently it became especially important to form moral standards free of child labor. We should let children enjoy their youth and give them chance to become well-educated to have some career prospects. The matter is that in most cases children start working because their parents can’t afford to pay for education, new school uniform let alone necessary books. There are also cases when parents follow the example of their neighbors or just acquaintances that send their children to work. As a result parents can’t resist the temptation of getting additional income. For their turn, children are sent to fields, factories and even mines.

To my mind countries of Asia participate the most actively. Some specialists reassure themselves that the situation takes a turn for the better. According to statistics in last 6 years the number of underage workers gradually decreased. However it still remains a burning issue for many Asian countries. In such countries as Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indian and Bangladesh children start working at the age of 10-14 years. Children here often have to work during the school year and holidays as well. They clean cars in the streets, work as loaders, porters and blacks.

Four years old children work on coffee and sugar plantations, quarries and in blowing shops. In India out lawyers would be fined on $450 and imprisonment within two years. International Labor Organization reckons that nearly 12,6 mln workers are children. Educational programs for those children will cost $760 mlrd. The economical effect however would clear such heavy expenses many times. Children will be clever and well-educated specialists.

In Africa every fourth child has to work. As a result more and more African countries become concerned of this problem. Attempts to improve the situation are mainly made in agricultural sphere. I think that people have finally understood that such work is not only the most toilsome but also a hazardous one. As I’ve already mentioned children often have to deal with chemicals. Hundreds of millions children all over the world are forced to work in dangerous conditions and ruin their weak health.

Under the influence of different publications, I summarized causes and consequences of child labor. Although great number of children still works in industrial and agricultural spheres, the first thing to do is to improve sanitary conditions. Both adults and children should be provided with clean water and guaranteed safety at their working place. People should get to know about dangerous situation and unite forces to improve it. Since slavery is abolished in all countries, many people think that human trade has passed into history. However more and more children fall a prey to sexual and other illegal industries abroad.  Although little success has been done in this sphere many organizations managed to release children from involuntary service and let them return home.

In conclusion I’d like to remind that according to the Convention on Children’s Rights government must take care of children’s well-being. Convention protects children’s rights on freedom and full-fledged life. Any violent actions towards children are strictly prohibited. State government should protect children from any kind of exploitation which can threaten their well-being.

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