Child Labour Essay

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CHILD LABOUR IN THE WESTERN AND NON-WESTERN WORLD: A HISTORICAL/CULTURAL COMPARISON Child labour is a condition that exists in many countries today. The act itself has serious consequences for the child who is engaged in the labour and results in long-term physical, intellectual and emotional stress. In fact, child labour is a passport to an adult life that will be fraught with issues that result from unemployment and illiteracy and a governmental, familial and economic system that often chooses to hide from this contentious issue. The familial ramifications of eradicating child labour are often short sighted and produce resistance from the family who relies on the income source. Hence solutions are difficult to implement, and the degradation, abuse and reification of child labourers continues to endure and perpetuate itself, as it is cyclical in nature. Child labour is a condition that exists today despite the fact that it is banned in most of the countries in which it exists. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), it is estimated that there are 218 million child labourers between the ages of five and seventeen years of age (Human Rights Watch, 2008). Further analysis of this data, indicates that 126 million of these children are working in conditions, that by their very nature are hazardous to children’s safety, physical and/or mental health as well as moral development (Anti-slavery, 2008). Further, 74 million children under the age of fifteen are employed in work conditions that are deemed hazardous. Accordingly the International Labour Organization has advocated for the immediate withdrawal of children from such work places (Hindman & Smith, 1999). The remaining 8.4 million child labourers are labouring in areas of slavery, trafficking, debt bondage, forced recruitment for armed conflict, prostitution, pornography and other illicit

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