Ban on Child Labor — a Far-off Dream?
“My sister is 10 years old. Every morning at 7:00 she goes to the bonded labor man, and every night at 9:00 she comes home. He treats her badly. He hits her if he thinks she is working slowly, or if she talks to the other children, he yells at her. He comes looking for her if she is sick and cannot go to work. I feel this is very difficult for her.
“I don’t care about school or playing. I don’t care about any of that. All I want is to bring my sister home from the bonded labor man. For 600 rupees I can bring her home. That is our only chance to get her back.
“We don’t have 600 rupees … we will never have 600 rupees [the equivalent of U.S. $17 at the time of writing].”
-Extract from a report on bonded labor in Asia, written by Lee Tucker.
Child labor is a curse to society. It refers to the oppression of children through different kinds of work. By inducing a child into labor, you not only steal his childhood but also his innocence. Child labor is physically, mentally, and morally harmful to society. Every year, protest and awareness campaigns are carried out around the world to stop child labor, but to no avail. It is not the dilemma of a community or country, but it occurs worldwide. Both developing countries and developed countries are facing this issue.
There are many reasons for child labor; poverty, family pressure, and human trafficking, to name a few. Children as young as five are sent off by their parents to earn for the family — some of them are kidnapped and sold for money. According to UNICEF, 168 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 are victims of child labor. A child has to be legally 18 to work, in some cases 16.
Furthermore, children are forced to work in poor conditions with minimal wages. The work type ranges from industrial to domestic. Many of them are used for illicit activities and subjected to frequent violence. All of this happens because they are weak and helpless, with neither their caretakers nor the government regulators supporting them.
Lastly, the UN and its supporting countries have passed many resolutions against child labor. Every country has made laws against child labor, but when it comes to its implementation, only a few ensure that. Even if it is not openly practiced, but still children are bought and sold in the dark streets of rusty towns. We as humans need to stop this heinous act by raising our voices against it and looking out for the children around us. Because if we will not, then who will?