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Child labour Essay

Abstract

It has been observed over decades that, poverty forces poor families to send their children to work, which results in a serious problem the world is facing nowadays. Child labour can leave many severe consequences on children and their families. When children work, it does not mean as a standard, they support their families economically, neither all of them get paid for their work since many of them work as bonded labour or as slaves. In addition to that, they face many problems which may cause permanent damage to their childhood. Children usually work to contribute and provide financial support to their families. Their health is often ignored by their parents or they may not be aware about their children’s health. This paper illustrates how both India and Nigeria have adopted laws and regulations to eliminate child labour. However despite all the efforts, child labour and the factors that influence the incidence of child labour continues to be prevalent.

The results from this study explain the reasons which forces children to work, poverty. This paper also draws conclusion that governments, societies, and communities should cooperate in a better way with each other to decrease child labour. Possible and innovate solutions and suggestions are arose at the end of this paper.

Keywords: child labour, poverty, education, India, Nigeria, governments, International labour organizations

1 Introduction

For many years, child labour has been one of the biggest obstacles to social development. It is a challenge and long-term goal in many countries to abolish all forms of child labour. Especially in developing countries, it is considered as a serious issue these days. Child labour refers to children who miss their childhood and are not able to have the basic amenities which a child should have. Recently the International Labour Organization (ILO,2013) estimated there are around 215 million children between the ages five to fourteen who works worldwide. They are often mistreated and work for prolonged hours, in very bad conditions. This can affect their health physically, mentally and emotionally. These children do not have the basic rights like access to school or health care.

According to ILO (2013) the largest numbers of child labourers are working in hazardous work and the total number of child workers is increasing, even though it is forbidden by law. These children are vulnerable to diseases and they struggle with long-term physical and psychological pain. The main cause that induces children to work is poverty. These children work for their survival and their families. (Mapaure, 2009).Some studies like Dessy and Pallage (2003) argue not all the work that children do is harmful or brutal. Some work may provide successful learning opportunities, such as babysitting or newspaper delivery jobs, but not if the work exposes them to psychological stress, like human trafficking, prostitution and pornographic activities.

The international organizations have made great efforts to eliminate child labour across the world. Many countries have adopted legislation to prohibit child labour; nonetheless child labour is widespread throughout the world. It is not easy task for low income countries to achieve banning child labour. Several studies and international organizations considered that education is the key strategy in addressing child labour, and it can help children to stay away from work. However not every family can afford to send their children to school or, even if they enrolled, afford to keep them attending the school.

1.2 Research purpose and questions

Child labour is a serious problem and a challenge for many developing countries. Many countries have enacted various laws and have taken serious initiatives to eradicate child labour, but still the problem is very widespread throughout the world. This paper critically examined child labour in India and Nigeria and how both governments undertake various programs to eradicate child labour through different organizations and agencies. In addition to understanding and investigating different reasons behind the plague of child labour that has engulfed throughout the world and a brief review on how child labour has so far been studied .Further, this paper states how to contribute to in raising the government’s awareness about the importance of issues related to child labour, education and their living condition. This research work addresses a question:

What are the current patterns in child labour in India and Nigeria now? What kind of policies are adopted to address child labour in India and Nigeria? How does policies adopted relate to previously identified causes?

1.3 Methodology

This study it has been based on a comparative case study between two countries. The comparative method is going to give the researchers practical tools for analysis and research. This approach allows the researcher to understand when two or more cases are set against one another(Bryman 2008, p.58). In order to answer research question secondary data is collected through literature material researched from academic books, articles, and news and research reports on child labour, poverty education and public health of child labour. The literature review is mostly based on research papers of different scholars and reports provided by UNICEF, ILO and World Bank in terms of international labour standards and human rights conventions. Secondary data were also extracted from international organisations like the ILO, the UN and the World Bank. This paper attempts to provide with realistic overview of the child labour situation. Peer reviewed online resources and academic articles written by different scholars, were used in this paper to determine the existing child labour policies.

1.4 Delimitation

Since child labour is an extremely complex phenomenon, this study is limited to examining the nature and extent of child labour aged between five and fourteen years old. The largest number of working children between the ages of five and fourteen involved in economic activities worldwide. The study focuses on the fight against child labour, and the importance of legislation for working children. This study looks at the two countries India and Nigeria and to describe   what policies have already been implemented to tackle child labour. India and Nigeria have been chosen for the study because today, Asia has more child labour in the world, for example India has the largest number of world’s working children with almost every third child being a child labour and every fourth child between the age group of five to fifteen is engaged in some economic activities. While, Nigeria has the highest the incidence of child labourers in Africa. Both countries have been experiencing the burden of the phenomenon and difficulties to eradicate it(Bhat& Rather, 2009; Owolabi, 2012).

1.5 Outline

This study is divided into four chapters. Chapter One provides the background of the problem, the purpose of the research question, methodology, delimitations and outline. Chapter Two explores the situation of child labour in India and Nigeria and then explains the problems of enforcing child labour regulations. Chapter Three gives an overview and definition of child labour- , rural and urban, the differences between boys and girls engaged in economic activity, the link between child labour and poverty, various factors involved in child labour.

After a description of the International Legal frameworks of ILO and UNICEF and also describes some of the major international and regional organizations, governments and the work they have done to fight against child labour. Chapter Four presents the theoretical framework which gives outline of the causes behind child labour,the child labour problems in relation to primary schooling and the reasons which makes children drop out of school or not go to school. Chapter Five, the results of the study is reported. In Chapter six presents the conclusion.

2 Background

The incidence of child labour is most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa followed by Asia and the Pacific. The prevalence of child labour is very high in sub-Saharan Africa especially in Nigeria. About 48 million child laborers across sub-Saharan Africa, including 15 million in Nigeria engaged in child labour (Ajakaye,2013) In Asia and the Pacific is the region with the largest number of child labour, India has the largest number of children in the world (ILO,2012)Child labour is an old phenomenon in both India and Nigeria According to Vaknin(2009), it is traditional in both countries to send a child to work children participated in agricultural and household work. Parents consider that the work help children learn new skills, however these children are exposed to hazards and to physical factors.

Both countries were colonized by British. Nigeria became a British colony in 1800 but acquired its independence in 1960. Since independence the country experienced a very violent history. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa with more than 170 million people. The country has the largest oil and gas reserves in sub-Saharan Africa. Despite its oil wealth, however, Nigeria remains highly underdeveloped. Poor governance and corruption have limited infrastructure development and social service delivery and slowing economic growth keeping much of the population suffers from extreme poverty (Ploch,2013) In 1612 India became British colony and independent in 1947.

India is world’s second most populous country with 1.2 billion people. Indian economy is among the fastest in the world, however the level of poverty in India is still high with high rate illiteracy rates, disease, and malnutrition and largest awareness of poor people in the world(Krishna , 2012) In this chapter I look into the child labour situation in India and Nigeria and how government supporting to eliminate child labour.

2.1 Child labour in India

The use of child labour is very prevalence in India and the cause is deep rooted with poverty. UNICEF India has estimated 28 million children aged five to fourteen involved in work (UNICEF,2011) Child labour is not a new phenomenon in India where children has always worked. During the industrial revolution child labour increased, due to the shift of labour movements to colonial countries. Children can be found in every sector of the informal economy (Molanka,2008).The incidence of working children in India are engaged in hazardous occupations such as factories manufacturing diamonds, fireworks, silk and carpets, glass and bricks(Waghamode& Kalyan,2013). There are several factors that force children to work such as inadequate economic growth, poverty, unemployment over population and lack of education and health care (Ahmad,2012).

On school attendance in India a large number of children between ten to fourteen years of age are not enrolled in school because of household economic condition. Attendance in school or dropout differs for male and female while boys are more likely to provide financial income for the family, girls are more involved in household chores (Kakoli & Sayeed ,2013).High illiteracy and dropout rates are high in India due to inadequacy of the educational system. Even through many poor families don’t see education as a benefit to society, they consider that work develops skills that can be used to earn income (Ahmed, 2012)

2.2 The legal framework and policies to control child labour in India The India government has established various proactive policies towards elimination of child labour. India has not yet ratified ILO Conventions 138 and 182 on banning child labour and eliminating the worst forms of exploitation. However the government of India implemented a child labour law in 1986(The Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act) the legislation sets a minimum age for employment of children at fourteen years and forbid child labour in dangerous sectors. The Government prohibits forced and bonded child labour but is not able to enforce this prohibition. The Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act does not forbid child labour but consider about regulating it.But indeed the law does not eliminate all forms of child labour specially when the vast majority of children under the age of fourteen are working in family farms or doing households (Venkatarangaiya Foundation;2005).

India has a number of child labour projects which have been implemented to help children from hazardous occupations and provide them an education. Including the National Child Labour Policy (NCLP) started in 1987. The aim of NCLP is to help children in hazardous activities and provide non-formal education, vocational training, supplementary nutrition etc. The ILO IPEC (International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour) is also another progarmme which eliminate child labour, the programme sponsors 175 projects in India(Padmanabhan,2010 ) Furthermore, several NGOs like Care India, Child Rights and You, Global March against Child Labour, etc. have taken up the task to get the children back to school and also volunteers along with villagers. The MV Foundation is non-governmental organisation (NGO) whose mission is to tackle child labour through promoting elementary education, even approaching parents to send their children to school.

In spite of various laws regarding child labour and much efforts done by the non-governmental organizations, nonetheless children continue to work on a massive scale in most parts of the country. This is a problem because most child labour laws in India do not cover all types of work such as agriculture, wholesale trade, restaurants and domestic works. Usually these children are the most vulnerable child labourers (Venkatarangaiya Foundation;2005).

Despite these efforts, child labour legislation to protect children has been unsuccessful, this is because of the majority of Indian population lives in rural areas with lack of infrastructure and is difficult to enforcement of laws and policies in rural areas. Many of the policies and legislative tools in India are rooted deeply in defection, allowing for illegal behaviours to take advantage of flaws. Many people believe that the cause of these behaviours is something technical, it will be shown that there is a relative heavy percentage of human omitting factor involved, often arising from the mentioned attitudes towards children’s work(Murphy, 2005).

2.3 Child labor in Nigeria

Child labour is prevalent in urban centers in Nigeria. This is because a large number of people move from the rural areas to urban area. Over the years there has been a rapid growth in Nigeria’s population because of massive rural-urban migration. For instance Uyo is the capital of Akwa Ibom State, the city has experienced rapid urbanization and many poor rural families struggle for a better life in urban areas. This pushes families to force their children to work in order to supplement family incomes (Okafor,2010; Nseabasi & Abiodun 2010). The number of child labour is increasing in Nigeria, in 1995, the number of child labour was twelve million while by 2006 the number of child labour under the age fourteen has risen to fifteen million (Adegun,2013). The International Labor Organization estimates that about 25 percent of Nigeria’s 80 million children under the age of fourteen are involved in child labour.

Children works in different sectors such as farms, domestic help, in fishing, mining, armed conflict, street hawking, and child trafficking. The number of child labour involved in street hawking is a very common form of child labour in Nigerian cities, these children working from morning to evening and as a result of this, they do not have the time to enroll in schools or most of them drop out of school. Awosusi& Adebo (2012) assumes that many child labourers in Nigeria are abused physically, mentally, sexually and psychologically. They work long hours under dangerous and hazardous conditions with little or no pay benefits.

Education in Nigeria is compulsory for a child that till nine years old. Nigerian government makes primary education free and compulsory for all children However, many children do not attend school, about six million children in Nigeria, both boys and girl, are estimated to be working .The dropout rates for primary school are high for both boys and girls because of several factors such as poverty and early marriage teenage pregnancy poor school, or cultural and religious issues (Awosusi& Adebo,2012; Elijah & Okoruwa,2006)

2.4 The legal framework and policies to control child labour in Nigeria Several policies and legislations have been adopted by the Federal Government of Nigeria for improving the welfare of children by eradicating child labour. However, ILO (2000) states some of the legislation and policies have deteriorated, and are not being imposed. Although, there is no direct labour policy in the country, there are several policies and social programmes which aims at improving education, health, population, social development, and child welfare if enforced would help to reduce child labour (ILO,2000)

The Federal Labor Act Government have set the minimum age for the employment of children at twelve years and is in force in all the 36 states of Nigeria. The Nigeria’s Labor Act permits children at any age to perform light work in domestic service or work with family member in agriculture. However, the Child Rights Act prohibits the worst forms of child labour, including the forced labour of children and use of children in prostitution or in armed conflict. The Labor Act sets different ages for various hazardous occupations. For instance, a child aged fifteen or older can work in industries.

The law forbids children under age of sixteen to work underground or to work with machines but clearly allow children aged between sixteen to eighteen to do these hazardous occupations. However, the same law prohibits employment of child under the age of 11 eighteen to work in harmful environment. The law does not remove children from domestic service, this can increased incentives for parents to send their children to work (United States Department of Labor, 2011).

In 2002 Nigeria ratified Convention No. 138, the Minimum Age Convention and Convention No. 182, the Worst Forms of Child Labour. Nigeria also adopted the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, which appeared to have laid rest to the argument that children have no clearly definable rights in Nigeria. Both the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) were adopted in 1991 and 1985 respectively. However both the CRC and CEDAW have now been “domesticated” in Nigeria. The African Charter has also been domesticated by Nigeria.

However, the National Assembly should seriously look into these and other international laws, especially human rights issues that adversely affect the rights and fundamental freedoms of the citizenry. Thus, the problem now is how effectively to enforce and monitor the implementation of these provisions as they affect children’s and women’s rights in Nigeria. This also presupposes that all social rights should be made justifiable in Nigeria so as to empower the less privileged in the society (Onyemachi, 2010).

The Nigerian government has provided an enabling environment and support for these civil society organizations (CSOs) to thrive and has drawn from their work formulate policies, programmes and interventions for child victims of abuse and violence (Ekpenyong& Sibirii, 2011). On 2000, the Nigerian Government established a national program to eliminate the worst forms of child labour in Nigeria (Elijah& Okoruwa, 2006). Despite all these children are still abused. Ekpenyong and Sibirii (2011) states the reason child labour is prevalent is due to the economic situation where many families live below poverty and can barely earn enough to feed themselves and their children. Furthermore mainly child laborers are engaged at the household level or street hawking Togunde and Arielle (2008) argues that regulations regarding street hawking have been difficult to control by the government.


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