Child Labor is always wrong.
Child labor has never been condemned in the world’s history as it is in the 21st century. The practice of exploitation of children began in the 19th century with the rise of the industrial revolution. The children were used to provide cheap labor in the industries and, as a result, were deprived of their basic rights, such as access to education. In recent times, children are exposed to varied forms of labor and exploitation, including slavery, forced labor, drug trafficking, debt bondage, and sexual exploitation. Child labor has never promoted the child’s welfare as it has impacted mentally, physically, socially, and morally on the child’s life. This is research on how child labor has been manifested, how it has negatively affected a child’s life, and why it is always wrong.
Effects of Child Labor
Many children suffer from joint pains and respiratory diseases as a result of slavery. According to Fuller (2019), one in every ten children is enslaved. Children are kidnapped and sold to entrepreneurs who become their owners and control all aspects of their lives. The children under slavery are forced to perform hazardous tasks, especially in agriculture. They perform duties such as tilling the land, planting, and harvesting. Furthermore, they are used as porters to transport farm inputs and harvests. They have no capability to refuse the work, and the owners cannot allow them to leave. This deteriorates the physical ability of the child as it hastens their muscle development at a tender age.
Besides, many children have undergone sexual abuse, especially incest. McElvaney et al. (2020) reveal that sexual abuse is correlated with high levels of depression, sexual challenges, guilt, shame, and self-denial. Additionally, children who experience sexual abuse undergo relationship challenges in their lives. Survivors of sexual abuse experience long-term effects like depression and feelings of worthlessness. Other children are recruited for commercial sex. In this case, the recruiter gets the financial benefit from the business while the children are given meager pays. Mentally, they suffer from anxiety and stress. These effects make the victims unable to concentrate on other crucial aspects of life, such as education. Similarly, it becomes hard to fit in the society due to the fear instilled in them due to the act.
Sexual abuse is closely linked to drug trafficking among children. Besides using the children as commercial sex workers, they are also used to distribute drugs, particularly in night clubs. Fuller (2019) elaborates that children are used by drug peddlers to transport the drugs to the clients. He adds that children are preferred because the police least suspect them. This act is hazardous as it would lead to drug abuse among the children. Consequently, this would lead to conflict and violence among them and between them and other members of the community. The children used in drug trafficking are commonly in access to dangerous weapons that they use for self-protection. With the urge to fight as a result of drug abuse, they end up killing one another or other community members. The use of drugs also makes the children engage in prostitution, which erodes their morals.
Beggary among children has been on the rise in recent years. Kaushik (2014) reiterates a rise in organized beggary in India and many African countries. He adds that up to 15% of the children are kidnapped and forced into slavery. In those counties, there are well-planned syndicates which exploit the innocence of the children to achieve commercial gains. They reap huge profits by making the children appear pathetic and miserable. They then send them to public places, mostly to religious places and traffic junctions where they can successfully beg. This act is detrimental to the children’s lives as the syndicates do not give them a chance to go to school. Similarly, the beggars develop an inferiority complex as they portray those who donate to them as “more human” than them. Exposing children to begging also inculcates in them a poverty mindset and a lack of self-confidence. This limits their interaction in society as the intrinsic inferiority complex deters their participation.
Besides beggary, children have been exploited in more dangerous mining and quarrying activities. According to research by McElvaney Et. Al (2020), many children have suffered physical injuries in the quarries. Some of them have undergone more dire consequences, including loss of hearing capability, loss of vision, and even death. ¬¬¬¬¬The clouds of dust that are produced during the mining process cause respiratory diseases. This alters the breathing system of the children. Likewise, they also experience skin diseases. This is rampant more so when the victim is allergic to dust. Fuller (2019) reveals that children between the ages of 6 to 16 work in mines worldwide. The employers give them a daily pay of as little as $2. Child labor in this sector has continued for almost a century because no one has given it the attention it deserves. Moreover, it is practiced in remote areas that are not easy to monitor.
In general, child labor is detrimental to the physical, mental, and moral development of a child. A child who undergoes any form of child labor is affected in these ways. The effects of their abuse sometimes last for a long time and even affect them at their old stages. Some are very dire to the extent that they cause the death of the children. Some effects are manifested socially as the behavior of the abused children is experienced in the entire society. Sexual abuse, for example, lowers the dignity of the child and their moral development. Involving the children in begging activities also develops the feeling of dependence on others since it makes them feel that they cannot depend on themselves. Drug trafficking has a widespread effect on the child as it affects the children’s physical, mental, moral, and social development. Apart from interfering with their physical bodies, the use of drugs instigates the children the feeling of causing conflict.
Fuller, T. P. (2019). Child labor. In Global Occupational Safety and Health Management Handbook (pp. 253-274). CRC Press.
Kaushik, A. (2014). Rights of children: A case study of child beggars at public places in India. Journal of Social Welfare and Human Rights, 2(1), 01-16.
McElvaney, R., Moore, K., O’Reilly, K., Turner, R., Walsh, B., & Guerin, S. (2020). Child sexual abuse disclosures: Does age make a difference?. Child Abuse & Neglect, 99, 104121.