Many be paid little to none. Social justice

Many years ago, adults abused the use of children for cheap labor, but what about today? Today child labor is still a major problem worldwide. Back around the late 1700’s and early 1800’s powered machines began to substitute hand-labor. Over time factories with these machines began to sprout up everywhere, first in England, then in America. Soon than later, factory owners began to discover new operators for their machines—children. Eventually child labor became a major issue. The problem became worst when The Great Depression hit America. With the economy crash, money was almost worthless so everyone need as much money as possible. Children was the main source of labor since they would only be paid little to none. Social justice on the other hand contradicts this. Social justice is the quality and equality of life that every human being deserve such as education, love, shelter, etc. Child labor was never acceptable whether we realized it or not. Children should not nor ever be unwillingly worked to the point where it interferes with social justice.Initially child labor is still a problem throughout the world today. Many children who are forced into child labor are denied education. “Child labor has a direct link to poverty and provides a substantial barrier to a child’s education, thus enabling a barrier to a child’s education and increasing the literacy gap. Education is often taken for granted in developing nations; however, many poor and impoverished families are forced to face the choice to send their child to school or work to help the family.” (Clifford). Children involved in the child labor exploit are often in need of money, hence child labor being linked to poverty. Due to their time working throughout the day, children don’t have time to go to school. In many instances, parents have no other choice other than sending their children to work, just so they can survive. “If I see other kids going to school, I cry,” said 16-year-old “Anesu” as she spoke with Human Rights Watch last year in Mashonaland Central, Zimbabwe. “I dropped out when I was in form 2. There was no money for school fees.” (Mavhinga). Zimbabwe is just one example of a underdeveloped country where children and young teens work and don’t go to school. There are many more children throughout the world who undergo these situations. Education is only one reason child labor is dwindling because the more children we have in school, the less that will be working throughout the day. Besides child labor obstructing a child’s education. Child labor has caused children illness and disease. “Over 100 million children around the world work in hazardous conditions in agriculture, mining, domestic labor, and other sectors. On tobacco farms, children work long hours in extreme heat, exposed to nicotine and toxic pesticides that can make them sick.” ( Children globally are exposed to harmful substances, not just tobacco and pesticides but also toxic mercury. The same mercury used in old-fashioned thermometers is also used to process gold and young children have access to this chemical. “Your fingernails… You had none. Actually the ends of ’em would be bleedin’ every day you’d come from work…” (Schilling). These are the words of a man who worked in a coal mine at twelve years old, they were called Breaker Boys. Even though this was many years ago, the dangers of child labor are very much the same. There were chutes thats pieces of rock and stone and coal would fall down, the boys would have to catch the coal and separate it from the rock by hand. Many times children fell down these chutes and were crushed by other falling rocks to become seriously injured or even died. Therefore child labor isn’t only barricading a child’s education but it is also endangering a child’s physical well being.Succeeding the fact that child labor is physically and mentally affecting children, there is also an emotional side to it as well. “1. All forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labour, including forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict, 2. The use, procuring or offering of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances, 3. The use, procuring or offering of a child for illicit activities, in particular for the production and trafficking of drugs as defined in the relevant international treaties, 4. Work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children.” ( About 115 million children are engaged in the ILO’s worst forms of child labor (as listed above) which is 68.4% of all children involved in the child labor exploit. Each child in some way is affected emotionally in some way if they are involved with these worst forms of child labor. Most of these children are taken away from their families all together which has to be emotionally disturbing in some way to them. “In addition to being denied education, children who work are frequent victims of maltreatment, physical and psychological violence or abuse by supervisors, co-workers and outsiders. Violence against children in the workplace is one of five key areas to be addressed in UN Secretary General’s Study on Violence Against Children, a global report to be issued in October 2012.” ( In other words, children are affected physically and psychologically based on what they are involved in whether it is prostitution or any other illegal activity.To cap it all off, children involved with any sort of activity within child labor have endured some sort of physical, mental or emotional abuse, if not all three. Breaker Boys would bleed, brake hands, and even die. Children working within the gold industry were most likely exposed to mercury. Kids who work on tobacco farms are exposed to toxic fumes. Children who work within any illicit activity are most likely mentally and/or emotionally abused. Etcetera. Etcetera. Etcetera. The point is, child labor is and never was a positive exploitation. Whether it was acceptable back in the 1930’s or unacceptable in the early 2000’s, it was never a thing to be proud of. As child labor is slowly dwindling and diminishing, the target of 2025 being the end of child labor is virtually impossible. Who knows when it will end but hopefully it will end sooner than later.


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