Child Labor
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The majority of Americans would be horrified to support a business that exploits the use of child labor to produce its goods. However, odds are we all have in a way supported these businesses the last time we went shopping. It be it a baseball for our child, diamond ring for our fiancйs, or chocolate bar for our hunger it probability was made using child labor in Indonesia, South Africa, or Ivory Cost. The use of child labor is a major driver of the global economy in todays age of globalization where U.S. companies the likes of Nike, Reebok, or Wal-Marts have taken control of the market. These companies ought to stop using child labor to produce their goods.

The west has attempted to fight child labor for years now with little dent in curving the use of child labor across the globe. The primary reason has been the failure to find practical means to translate our intuitions on practices that ought to be eliminated into effective solutions. Economically deprived countries in order to compete in the global economy have offered child labor (Low cost Labor) as competitive advantage and companies from the west have let low cost, high profit, blind their morality. Hence, rather then making sure no child labor is in their product cost they have embraced or looked the other way when it comes to child labor.

Child labor is any work that harms or exploits them in some way (physical, mental, moral, or blocking access to education). UNICEF defines child labor to be seen as happening along continuum, with destructive or exploitation on one end and beneficial work-promoting childs development on the other side. Although we can all appreciate our parents making us deliver newspaper to teach us the value of the dollar, its on the other end of the continuum we need to be concerned about. When children are forced to work long hours in the fields, their ability to attend school or skills training is limited, and consequently, so are their possibilities of economic and social mobility and advancement in later life.

Children in third world countries go to work because they are simply trying to satisfy their basic needs . These children live in profound poverty, entrenched in decades of neglect, civil war, or cultural habits. There is no substantive education to speak of provided for children in these parts of the world and if they had a choice between going to school or working; the odds are against the idea of going to school . Poverty like slavery is a diseased whose cycle and chain must be broken through a struggle and education. Its not only the child who needs to be educated but the parents must be also educated on providing their children an alternative live style. They must be enlightened to the fact they have been working since they were eight or nine years old and they have nothing to show for it. This is not what human progress ought to be, humans should strive to provide their children a better life then they had.

The immorality of child labor does not stop at not providing children their basic needs but exposing them to additional health risk. “Children are employed in intrinsically hazardous occupations where they contract silicosis, pneumoconiosis, and byssinosis” (Born to work). The author goes on to point out some work is hazardous intrinsically, and others rise in the work environment. Furthermore, we have to be willing to ask is the environment suitable for children. Nike for example knows its children employees come in contact with industrial glue which is know to be dangerous for adult let alone a child but it seems more interested in its profit margin then taking the higher moral rule. They cant claim they were not aware of its dangerous because the International Labor Organization (ILO) has recognized certain types of labor to be hazardous to the health, safety, and morals of children and banned them and this is one of them.

Children may have other reasons for working in factories beside the obvious poverty. Children maybe presented as debt bondage (bonded labor). This is the case of parents selling the children to a factory they work for because they have taken out debt and have pledged their childs labor as security (1st lien). When the parents labor alone is not sufficient to repay the loan the child is sent to work 12-14 hours a day in conditions that are in humane. In this case its even worst because the abuse growth exponentially because the employer feels like they own that person. This is the present day of equivalent of Jim Crow. A company called Harvest Rich, a Bangladesh factory that makes apparel for companies such as Wal-Mart and Hanes, has been accused of worker beatings, use of child labor and other violations. Companies who participate in such behavior should be punished by both international courts and U.S. Courts.

There has been a growing support for fighting child labor and even possibly eliminating it by 2020. A large number of child labor supporters have been arguing for the “boycott” of products produce by companies that use child labor. However, given the heavy reliance of the products they supply at the price they supply it; the customer will be faced with prudential concerns vs. moral concern. In dog eat dog world like America people are going to be pulled to their prudential (self interest) purely for economic reasons. However, the main concern is the repercussion to the very people the boycott is supposed to help. In 1995, the U.S. Congress considered the Child Labor Deterrence Bill (known as Harkins Bill), which sought to forbid the import of products made with the labor of children under the age of fifteen. The writers and supporters of the bill were hoping the boycott of such companies would force companies to kick the kids out of the countries and lead to those kids returning to the classrooms, where they ought to be. Although these children never found their way back to the classrooms but they did find themselves in other occupations (domestic servants, street venders, and prostitutes) with reduced earning power and more hazardous then their previous employment. If one was able to gather all people to boycott the products those companies produce the companies would be forced to shut down those facilities which eliminates the jobs not only for the children but for their parents and family as well. In addition Degregori points out when countries that shut down these jobs and ban children from the work force, they are so desperate to survive they are forced to work in the streets and night clubs falling victim to even worst enemy of poverty; prostitution.

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Use Of Child Labor And U.S. Companies. (April 4, 2021). Retrieved from