"An analysis of the development and
changes in the use of child labour"
What causes child labour
The effect on the economy
What needs to be done?....................................7 5.
The phrase "child labour" might seem straightforward and easily defined. However, both component words have uncertainties attached to them. When does an individual stop being a child; at the age of 15 years, or at 18 years? Are labour' and work' the same thing, or is labour' perhaps arduous in a way that 'work' is not?
Some research (www.1) defines a child arbitrarily as someone who has not yet reached the legally set minimum age for leaving school. The Convention on the Rights of the Child adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1998 defines a child as a person' below the age of 18 years, unless, under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier'. The international Labour Organisation (ILO), which is affiliated with the United Nations, has designated 15 years as an appropriate minimum age of entering the labour force, and 18 as a minimum age for hazardous work.
There is no watertight definition of "child labour", hence the responsibility lies on all those who use the phrase to attempt to make it clear how are employing it (Hobbs S. 1999)
What causes child labour?
It is often assumed that the amount of child labour in a country is determined by the nature and extent of poverty in it. Studies that have been undertaken in various countries around the world, particularly those that are relatively underdeveloped economically (such as the former Soviet-block countries as Russia and Romania), do show that child labour and poverty are intimately linked. However, it is also clear that the specific circumstances of child labour in particular countries, or parts of countries, are influenced by many of the factors.
Cultural traditions also play a part. Many poor families need to keep as many family members working as possible to ensure income security and survival of the family. This makes it very difficult for poor families to invest in their children's education. In fact, educating a child can be a significant financial burden. In many occasions, free' public education is in fact very costly to a poor family, when they are expected to purchase books, school uniform, and sometimes even pay teachers' wages. Many poor families have to weight the cost of sending their children to school against the cost of the income lost by sending their children to work (Pettit B. 1998).
The affect on the economy
The ILO estimates the number of working children aged between 5 and 14 years to be about 250 million in the developing countries, of whom at least 120 million are working full time. Of these, 61 percent are in Asia, 32 percent in Africa, and 7 percent in Latin America. Relatively few children work in developed countries. Earlier ILO estimates suggested about 80 million child workers worldwide, of whom about 73 million were between 10 and 14 years of age. These earlier estimates are believed to be on the low side, as they imply, for example, a labour force participation rate among children aged 10-14 of only 14 percent, which compares with much higher figures for the percentage of children not attending school. (www.2).
There are major differences in the incidence of child labour across regions and sectors. As noted above, most of child workers are found in Asia. But the proportion of children working is highest in Africa where, on average, one child in three in engaged in some form of economic activity, mostly in agriculture. In general, child labour force participation rates are much higher in rural than in urban areas, and three-quarters of working children work in the family enterprise. Ninety percent of working children in rural areas are...
1. Anderton A. (2001) Economics 3rd ed. Italy: Legoprint
2. Hobbs S. (1999) Child Labour; A World History Companion. England: Oxford, ABC-CLIO Ltd
3. Kirby, P. (2003) Child Labour. Printed in China
4. Pettitt B. (1998) Children and work in the UK. Great Britain: Poverty Publication 98
5. Surridge M. and Gillespie, A. (2004) AS Business studies 2nd ed. Italy: Hodder & Stoughton Educational
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