A Critical Response to Child Labor Issue

Steven Spielberg

It is disappointing to hear about child labor in this fast-paced world as this issue has been popped out ever since those ancient days and it is still happening now. It is like a never-ending issue. When talking about child labor, we can relate it to children exploitation, children slavery and also children trafficking. Child labor can be defined as the exploitation of children aged below 18 who are forced to work illegally which may harm them physically and abuse them psychologically. In this issue, we will discover the causes contributing to child labor and also the solutions to it.

The first article from the New York Times online entitled “Children in Servitude, the Poorest of Haiti’s Poor” is about child labor that happened in Conaives, Haiti. Haiti which had been struck by hurricanes and tropical storm has turned its Haitian society from rich to poor and from poor to poorest due to the devastating economic impacts brought by the natural disaster. As a result, many poorest families had a tough time, seeking for daily needs especially foods. The poorest parents had to work and send their children to either rich families or poor families which could at least feed their children once a day. Unfortunately, children that were sent away were not getting food for free. They had to be servants and clean the host’s house while other children go to school. Meanwhile, their parents had to work somewhere and promised them that they will come back once they can afford to support their children.

In response to this article, I can see that natural disaster does not only bring destruction to the buildings or other facilities, but it also affects the economic status of the affected country. Eventually, the unfortunate citizens have to face poverty and those who cannot afford to send their children to school will force them to work. Therefore, in my opinion, poor economic status leads to poverty and eventually contributes to the child labor issue. People who are facing poverty cannot afford to send their children to school and these unfortunate children cannot afford to lead a life just like other children. The need for food, shelter and clothing drives their children in the trap of premature labor. However, poverty is not the only cause of child labor. Other common causes are parental illiteracy, low social status, lack of education and exposure among parents, exploitation of cheap source of workforce.

The second article from The Star (April 6, 2010) entitled “Begging runs in the family” presents about the Myanmar community which begs to make a living. A mother of five admitted that she used to beg with her mother when she was a young girl and now it seems that her children are following her footsteps. In Klang, the sight of children roaming around and begging for money has been a normal scenario ever since few decades back. Child beggars when asked about their fathers would say that their fathers are dead. Meanwhile, some of the women beggars deliberately got pregnant so that they could have babies to carry and when the babies have grown up, they are asked to beg just like their mothers.

In response to the second article, I found that it is indeed irresponsible for parents to inherit the begging culture to their children. In my opinion, the main cause in the case above is lack of education and exposure among parents on the importance of education. Children regardless the community or races they are from, should be given education and sent to school. As for me, parents who ask their children to beg and work are having negative mindset. These kinds of parents only think about getting profit out of their own flesh and blood. If they are wise enough, they should know that education is the most important component of life which may help providing a better life to their children. Illiterate and ignorant parents do not understand the need for wholesome proper physical, cognitive and emotional development of their child. They are themselves uneducated and unexposed, so they do not realize the importance of education for their children.

The third article from the Health and Style online magazine provides several solutions to child labor. It is mentioned that no magical solutions to this problem but if efforts are put in collectively, problems may slowly solved. One of the solutions that are proposed in this article is providing financial help to parents. Besides that, free school admission should also be implemented in order to reduce the financial constraint of parents with poor financial background. The acceptance of abandoned child laborers in Society homes could also help providing these unfortunate children with education. Apart from that, law enforcement agencies should be made active to protect the child laborers by law. Lastly, it is also proposed that the economic conditions be improved to stop child labor from continuing.

I strongly agree with all the solutions proposed in the article above. It is true that parents with poor financial background should be given financial help by the concerned parties such as the government. If no financial help is given, probably job opportunities can be offered to lighten their burden. Parents should also be educated on the importance of education in life so that they will realize that asking their children to work will never help releasing them from poverty. Meanwhile, free school admission is indeed a good idea to avoid poor children from committing themselves in pre-labor. These children are mostly not sent to school because of financial problem. Therefore, by providing free school admission, parents would have no more excuses for not giving their children a proper education. However, this idea would have been better if the government provide not only free school admission but also free education. This means that textbooks and other things are given for free. In my opinion, other alternative measure such as putting the children in boarding schools is also an effective way to provide them with education. This will help the children to focus on their studies whereas parent can also focus on their work. Apart from that, law reinforcement is also needed to protect children laborers by law. In fact, sending children to school should be made compulsory. Lastly, I totally agree that economic conditions should be improved to stop child labor from continuing. This is because, poor economic conditions may drive adults especially parents to commit in child labor as it is seen as one of the source of finance.

In conclusion, poverty, lack of education, poor economic condition and poor financial background are the causes of child labor that have been identified. There is no doubt that child labor is inhuman as children are exploited and forced to work for the benefits of others. Therefore, I strongly oppose this issue as no matter what the reasons are children have the right to lead a good life and enjoy their childhood moment like other fortunate children. Making a living by working or begging is never a child’s responsibility but parents’. Children are the future generation who will lead our nation. Hence, we should provide them with education so that they can be a wholesome person. Remember, their failures are our failures.

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