It is disappointing to hear about child labor in this fast paced world where this issue has been around since those ancient days and is still happening now. It’s like an endless affair. When we talk about child labor, we can associate it with child exploitation, child slavery, as well as child trafficking. Child labor can be defined as the exploitation of children under the age of 18 who are forced to work illegally which may harm them physically and cause psychological harm. In this issue we will discover the causes that contribute to child labor as well as the solutions to it.
The first article from The New York Times Online titled “Children in Slavery, Haiti’s Poorest Poor” is about child labor that occurred in Konives, Haiti. Haiti, hit by hurricanes and tropical storms, has transformed its Haitian society from rich to poor and from poor to poor due to the devastating economic effects of the natural disaster. As a result, many of the poorest families had a hard time searching for daily needs especially foods. The poorest parents had to work and send their children to rich families or poor families who could at least feed their children once a day. Unfortunately, the children who were sent away were not given free food. They were to be servants and clean the host’s house while the other children went to school. Meanwhile, their parents had to work somewhere and promised that they would return as soon as they could provide for their children.
In response to this article, I can see that a natural disaster not only leads to the destruction of buildings or other facilities, but also affects the economic situation of the affected country. Ultimately, the unfortunate citizens will have to contend with poverty, and those who cannot afford to send their children to school will force them to work. So, in my opinion, bad economic situation leads to poverty and ultimately contributes to the issue of child labor. People in poverty cannot afford to send their children to school and these unfortunate children cannot afford to live a life like other children. The need for food, shelter and clothing pushes their babies into the trap of premature birth. However, poverty is not the only cause of child labour. Other common causes are illiteracy among the parents, low social status, lack of education and exposure among the parents, and exploitation of a cheap source of manpower.
The second article from The Star (6 April 2010) titled “Begging Runs in the Family” presents a Myanmar community who begged for a living. The mother-of-five has admitted that she used to beg for her mom when she was a little girl and now it looks like her kids are following in her footsteps. In Klang, the sight of children running around and begging for money was a normal scenario a few decades ago. When the beggars children are asked about their fathers, they say that their fathers are dead. Meanwhile, some beggars deliberately became pregnant so that they could have children, and when the children grew up, they were told to beg like their mothers.
In response to the second article, I found it really irresponsible for parents to inherit a culture of begging to their children. In my opinion, the main reason in the above case is the lack of education and recognition among parents of the importance of education. Children no matter what society or race they belong to, they should get an education and be sent to school. For me, parents who ask their children to beg and work have a negative mindset. These parents only think of making profits from their own flesh and blood. If they are wise enough, then they should know that education is the most important component of life which may help provide a better life for their children. Illiterate and ignorant parents do not understand the need for healthy physical, cognitive and emotional development of their children. They themselves are uneducated and unexposed, so they don’t realize the importance of education for their children.
The third article from the online magazine Health and Style offers several child labor solutions. He states that there are no magic solutions to this problem, but if efforts are made collectively, problems may be slowly resolved. One of the solutions suggested in this article is to provide financial assistance to parents. In addition, free admission to the school should also be applied in order to reduce the financial constraints of parents with poor financial background. Acceptance of abandoned working children into a community role can also help provide education for these unfortunate children. Apart from that, law enforcement agencies must be activated to protect child laborers under the law. Finally, it is also proposed to improve economic conditions to prevent the continuation of child labor.
I strongly agree with all the solutions proposed in the article above. It is true that parents with weak financial background should get financial assistance from concerned parties such as the government. If no financial assistance is offered, it is likely that job opportunities will be offered to ease the burden for them. Parents should also be educated about the importance of education in life so that they realize that asking their children to work will never help free them from poverty. Meanwhile, free school admission is already a good idea to avoid poor children from committing themselves in pre-labour. Mostly these children are not sent to school due to financial problem. So, by providing free admission to the school, parents will have no more excuses for not giving their children a proper education. However, this idea was better if the government provided not only free admission to schools but also free education. This means that textbooks and other things are given away for free. In my opinion, another alternative measure such as placing children in boarding schools is also an effective way to provide them with an education. This will help the children to focus on their studies while the parents can also focus on their work. Apart from that, there is also a need to strengthen the law to protect child workers under the law. In fact, sending children to school should be compulsory. Finally, I fully agree that economic conditions must be improved to prevent the continuation of child labor. This is because poor economic conditions may push adults, especially parents, into child labor as it is seen as one of the sources of funding.
In conclusion, poverty, lack of education, poor economic condition and poor financial background are the causes of child labor that have been identified. There is no doubt that child labor is inhumane as children are exploited and forced to work for others. Therefore, I am firmly against this issue, regardless of the reasons why children have the right to live a dignified life and enjoy their childhood moment like other lucky children. Earning a living by labor or begging is not at all the responsibility of the child but of the parents. Children are the future generation that will lead our nation. Hence, we must provide them with education so that they may become useful persons. Remember, their failures are our failures.