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Citizenship: How Big a Problem Is the Use of Child Labour Today Essay

Child labour is often seen only to occur in third world countries but this is not the case. Child labour occurs all over the world and the brutality and cruelty of this work varies. Although child labour is seen as a bad thing, for the children and families living in their poor conditions, child labour is seen as necessary for the family to live as it is an essential income. UNICEF estimates that around 150 million children aged 5-14 in developing countries, about 16 per cent of all children in this age group, are involved in child labour.

Therefore child labour is still a big problem in our world today especially as some children are forced to work in dangerous, unhygienic, life threatening conditions. Not only does is it harmful to their physical body it also effects their education as some children drop out of education to work. Even though many organisations and charities attempt to stop child labour or at least make the conditions suitable for children, child labour is still seen as a big problem in the 20th century. The more children are forced to work, the fewer opportunities there are for adults to earn a living.

By driving down adult wages and depriving children of education, child labour ensures that poverty will be passed down from generation to generation. If children are used as the only income for a family an employer can take advantage of this vulnerability and use it to make work as cheap as possible because the child will work for anything as long as he is providing some sort of income. Child labour is a problem because children work long hours, often exposed to hazardous chemicals and made to use dangerous tools and machinery that are inappropriate to their mental and physical development.

In agriculture they use acid, dangerous pesticides without skin protection, so this chemical are able to touch the skin causing damage and severe health problems. An example of when employers use child labour because it is cheap is with Vinod’s story. Vinod is an Indian 10 year old boy who lived in the Indian State of Uttar Pradesh. Manufactures employed him because he was cheap and had small hands and nimble fingers which were perfect for the job of weaving carpets, which was where he worked for 2 years without receiving a single rupee for a year’s work.

Vinod worked long hours and was exploited to working conditions which were unacceptable. By working these long hours he was made ill and being squashed and sat in uncomfortable positions he could have suffered from malformed bone structure. He did not attend school, so the chances of him gaining a better job in later life were highly unlikely. If Vinod made mistakes he was punished starkly. He had to use dangerous tools such as a sharp knife to turn the carpet knots but when cuts or wounds were made he was not medically treated from them.

Instead the employer filled the wound with matchstick powder and burnt it. This cauterised the wound and stopped infections. Vinod’s right were violated and almost mocked by the employer. Children should be allowed to work in conditions which damage the mental and physical state, children should be allowed to live their childhood to the maximum not worrying about whether they will get beat or whether their families will suffer from their mistakes.


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