Can child labor be eradicated in the world? [Archives:2004/750/Culture]

June 28 2004

By Fatma Al-Ajel
For the Yemen Times

Child labor has been defined as any work anywhere. It is easy to see children working in factories, shops and in the streets. The streets, in the end, are the place where most children work. They work as sellers and road-sweepers. Most of the child laborers are under 14 years of age.
There are over 1,000,000 child workers in the world. Children mainly find employment. Child laborers are often paid very little for long hours of labor. They accept this situation because they need money to support their family, and sometimes they are not paid at all. Most of child workers take jobs on false promises of high pay, but when they work, they face reality. In addition to that, most of these children work in terrible conditions with low wages and poor food and shelter. They fall prey to various diseases, especially lung-disease and breathing problems because most of the child workers labor in factories or in the streets.
There are many reasons for child labor, but the chief reason for child labor is the poverty of the people. Child labor is considered an extra hand to supplement the family income. These children, under 14 years of age, find a job easier than those in middle age, so many families force their children to labor.
Another reason is that many children have no chance to study or be educated, so they remain illiterate and come to accept work anywhere. They have no aim for their life or future. They work just to get money and that is enough. Most of these children work in factories, shops or even work in the street to sell anything, wash the cars or sweep the roads. These places are very dangerous places for children.
A further reason is that many families force their children to work as beggars. These families believe that the beggars get a lot of money quickly with few difficulties, regardless on the children's feeling, personalities or their future. People are careless about what their children will be in the future. They grow up to become criminals as robbers, burglars or shop lifers.
When one asks who is responsible for the growth of child labor, the family, society and the government share the blame. Firstly, the family must take care of their children. Also, society and the government must work together to solve this problem. It is spread throughout the world. Everyday sees new faces working or begging in the streets. Secondly, the government should introduce comprehensive laws regarding child labor and prohibit the employment of children under 18 years of age. Society must coordinate with government to build enough schools for the large number of children.
However, the solution to the child labor problem is in the hands of the government that may support families to teach their children and then develop the society. The government should help working children pursue their studies to have a proper education and learn a skill that would enable them to survive. At this time, children will contribute to develop their positions in the society and improve their countries.