Jenny (Yeon Jung) Sung
UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) defines child labor as “work that exceeds a minimum number of hours, depending on the age of a child and on the type of work.” According to UNICEF, 158 million children, ages ranging from 5 to 14, are engaged in child labor. Many face life-threatening jobs, such as coal mining, metalwork, and other work that involve contact with pesticides, highly toxic chemicals, and sexually transmitted diseases. International Labour Organisation (ILO) states that, “the total number of young people in hazardous jobs [is] well over half of those known to be working -- the overwhelming majority of them being in Africa, Asia and Latin America.” Child labor practices are common around the world, especially in the southern, developing countries. Like any other conflicting global problems, the issue of child labor has two sides of an argument. Anti-globalists, on one hand, argue that globalization is one of the underlying causes of child labor, due to many incidences where big corporations and manufacturing companies have acquired children overseas for work. On the other hand, pro-globalists believe that globalization is a key to ending unfair labor practices, especially child labor, which is common in developing countries. The prevalence of child labor could be applied to the integration of global markets, where competing forces seek for cheap supply of labor. Unfortunately, child labor falls under the category of the cheapest workforce. It could also be positively linked to global poverty. Many people live on less than $2.50 a day and have little access to healthcare, education, and basic needs. As a consequence, problems of malnutrition and disease proliferate throughout the society. In order to afford food and shelter, families living under low standard of living are faced with no other choice than to send their children to workplaces. International organizations and...
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