Child labor reached new heights during the Industrial Revolution. Due to this, it lead to an increase in the “percentage of children ten to fifteen years of age who were gainfully employed. Although the official figure of 1.75 million significantly understates the true number, it indicates that at least 18 percent of these children were employed in 1900. In southern cotton mills, 25 percent of the employees were below the age of fifteen, with half of these children below age twelve” (History). Businesses forced children to work excessive hours in dangerous factory conditions with minimal payment.
At an attempt to combat child labor a few steps were taken. The creation of new technologic machinery limited the need for children to fulfill tasks. In addition, businesses required higher levels of education in order to be even considered for the job. Congress created the child labor law in 1938 as another way to combat this issue. Although child labor has mostly been eliminated it still poses a problem in other areas throughout the world, especially in developing countries.
For example, in China children between the ages of 5 and 17 are being taken advantage of through what their government calls “Educational Labor.” This means that schools would have the ability to make their students grow and harvest crops, but instead most schools “abuse this law and they end up forcing the children to do a heavy amount of labor” (Sites). The ILO’s Statistical Information and Monitoring Program on Child Labor recently submitted their estimates that 211 million children, or 18 % of children aged 5-14, are economically active worldwide. The two major components of this statistic is Asia, which consists of 60% those working children and Africa, which has 23% child labor. Non-governmental organization, commonly referred to as NGO’s, strongly disapprove of child labor and engage in strong efforts in order to give the children their freedom.
They view it as a just act and most people would agree, but they do not think of the negative aspects that arise when the children are no longer employed. As a result, the children and family members go hungry, since they heavily rely on their employment to contribute to the family’s well-being. Additionally, once the NGO’s shut down the sweatshops there are no further actions taken afterwards. Meaning nothing is done in order to ensure the children are taken care of, go back to school, or financially compensated. They simply celebrate the factory closing as a victory and do not realize the big picture.