Child labor is a serious moral issue. There have been many controversial debates over whether it should be legal or not. Two different viewpoints on the subject exist. Many argue that child labor is morally wrong and that the children should not work, no matter how poverty stricken their family might be. Advocates and major corporations that support child labor argue that it is good because it gives poverty-stricken families a source of income.
Child labor first appeared with the development of domestic systems (when people became civilized). It was widely practiced in England, America, and other countries during the 16th-18th centuries. Children were paid very little for the dangerous conditions and the long hours they were required to work. Many of these children worked in factories, mills, mines, and other horrible places. Some families sold their children into labor for money to pay off debts. These children worked off the debt and were a source of income for the family.
Today, child labor is illegal in most developed countries. There are strict laws that monitor the jobs, hours, wages, etc. that children have if they do work. An example of these laws, is one that requires all children to go to school until they are 16 years of age before they can drop out and be employed full time. Most third world and under-developed countries are where the majority of child laborers can be found.
Child labor is morally wrong. The children shouldn’t be forced to work.
Most children who work are little more than slaves to their employers. They put up with abuse, starvation, and sometimes never being paid for their work. One eight year-old
boy, Munnilal, from Varanasi, India, was freed when a raid was lead on the factory in which he worked and was kept in a slave-like environment. His ?Master? gave him no money for the long hours he worked. He also stated that he was ?hit again and again.?(Kielberger, 6.)
Children who are forced to work also miss out on life and their chance for a good education. ?In Pakistan, I talked to a boy making bricks. He had been sold into labor by his grandfather to pay a debt. ?Would you like to go to school?’ I asked him.
?What is school?’ he asked me.? (Kielberger, 5.) In India, only 64% of males and 39% of females are literate.
When children are forced to work at a young age, they can also develop serious health problems. ?Health problems are compounded for children because they are more susceptible than adults to the types of illnesses and injuries associated with occupational hazards.? (Parker, http://www.busph.bu.edu/Gallery/Introp.html.)
Child labor is necessary in some places because poor families need the extra income this will bring.
Poverty is the reason many children go to work. In India, 37% of the urban and 39% of the rural populations live in poverty. (Unknown.) Studies have ?revealed a positive correlation- in some instances, a strong one- between child labor and such factors as poverty.? (Melara-Kerpelman, 1996.) Also, a poll taken of child laborers revealed that 63.74% said the reason they worked was poverty. (Unknown.)
Many parents make their children work because there are no alternate sources of income. In many economically depressed countries where child labor exists, there aren’t any welfare systems and easy access to loans. The money for these types of programs isn’t readily available. The shortage of money is due to the fact that there are economic problem within the country.
Not all of the places where children work in third world countries are dangerous and dirty. Some major corporations move their businesses to places like Pakistan and China because the people there will work for less. Many times the people who work in these factories are children. Not all of these companies pay just a few cents a day though. Mattel, the maker of Barbie, is one of these corporations. In their factory based in Chagnan, China, workers are paid a $1.81 a day. (Holstein.) The factory they work in is also kept up to higher standards than most factories in China are. It is clean and they are very rarely forced to work in dangerous conditions.
I feel children should be allowed to work only if they absolutely need to. The conditions in and hours which they work, as well as the pay they receive need to be improved. Governments need to pass laws that will do this.
There have been laws passed that limit and reduce the amounts of child labor. An example of this is the Keating-Owen Act passed in 1916. This law barred articles produced by child labor from interstate commerce.
Many organizations are working to improve child labor conditions. They are succeeding in some cases. Free The Children (FTC) is one such organization. FTC was created by Craig Kielburger when he was twelve years old. They petitioned for the
release of a childrens’ rights advocate, Kailash Satyarthi, from prison. Their petition helped free him. After his release, he led raids on carpet factories that freed some children from bondage labor.
In my opinion, children around the world should not be forced to work at all. They shouldn’t be coerced into getting jobs until they are legally adults. They should be given a chance to live their life before it is virtually taken away from them. I also feel that if they don’t start working until they are older the quality of their work will improve greatly.
I. Child labor
A. Whether it is moral or not and should be legal
B. Thesis- Child labor is morally wrong.
C. Antithesis- Child labor is good because it gives some families money.
D. First appeared with the development of domestic systems
E. Was widely practiced in America and Europe in 16th ?18th centuries
F. Children were poorly paid, worked long hours, and had dangerous conditions
G. Many worked to support families, others were forced to work in mines, mills, etc.
II. Thesis- Child labor is morally wrong. Children shouldn’t be forced to work.
A. Most children who work are like slaves.
B. Children who are forced to work miss out on life and a chance for an education.
C. Children who work can develop serious health problems.
III. Antithesis- Child labor is necessary in some places to give extra income to a family.
A. Poverty is the main reason many children work.
B. Many parents make their children work because there are no alternate sources of income.
C. Not all places where children work are disgusting, pay low wages, and force them to work long hours.
IV. Synthesis- I feel children should be allowed to work if they absolutely need to. Laws should be passed to better the conditions in which they work though.
A. There have been laws passed that limit and reduce the amounts of child labor.
B. Many organizations are working to improve child labor conditions and are succeeding in some cases.
V. Personal Opinion/ Commentary- Children around the world shouldn’t be forced to work at all. They should be given a chance to live their lives.