Child labor refers to the exploitation of children through any form of work that avoids children from their childhood, ability to attend school, and is mentally, physically, socially and morally harmful. Such exploitation is prohibited by legislation worldwide and they do not consider all the works done by a child as child labor. Some of the exceptions are child artists, family duties, and supervised training.
In the world’s poorest countries, one in four children is engaged in child labor. Poverty and lack of schools are the primary causes of child labor. Child labor decreased from 25% to 10% between 1960 and 2003 according to World Bank but according to UNICEF and ILO, number of child laborers remains high.
With the onset of Industrial Revolution in Britain in late 18th century, there was a rapid increase in child labor. The countries included Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool. Children of four years old worked in production factories and mines, errand boys, crossing sweepers, polisher, or selling other cheap goods.
Child labor played an important role in industrial revolution due to economic hardships. One-third of poor families were without any breadwinner which resulted in death and abandonment. In England and Scotland, two-third of water powered cotton mill workers were children.
As technology improved, there was a greater need for employees so there was a rise in schooling which resulted in the decline of child labor.
In the early 20th century, thousands of boys were employed in glass making industries. It was a tough job and they were exposed to heat which caused eye trouble, lung ailments, heat exhaustion, cuts and burns.
In 1910, two million children were employed in the United States, it included children who rolled cigarettes, worked in factories and coal mines, and employed in canneries.
In 21st century, child labor ranges between 250 and 304 million. 60% of child labor are involved in agricultural activities, 25% are in service activities such as retail, restaurants, load and transfer of goods, storage, etc. and the remaining 15% works in informal economy, home-based enterprises, packaging salt, etc.
Child labor accounts for 22% of workplace in Asia, 32% in Africa, 17% in Latin America, and 1% in US, Canada, Europe and other countries.
Greatest cause of child labor is poverty and lack of education. Income from a child labor is between 25% and 40% of the household income. Children also work due to lack of education. Schools are not available easily and if they are, they are very far away, unaffordable, or the quality of education is very poor.
In European history, certain cultural beliefs have motivated child labor as they think that work is good for character building and skill development of children, child labor is a means to learn and practice trade from a very young age.
In Africa, children began working to help their parents run the family farm. They are often forced in exploitative labor due to financial factors. In total, there are like five million children working in agriculture.
Children who are not doing well in studies can find pleasure in working. A good relationship with supervisor can provide relief from tensions. If school curricular activities do not give students a proper skills which will help them in work in future, school may delay the learning of skills, such as, agriculture, which will become necessary for future livelihood.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.
If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at firstname.lastname@example.org
We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.