Child Labor refers to work that denies children of their childhood, their dignity, and their potential, and is detrimental to mental and physical development. It, therefore, specifies work that is physical, mentally, socially or morally harmful and dangerous to children. Such a task interferes with the education by denying them the opportunity to go to school or
compelling them to leave school prematurely. It can also require them to combine excessive long and laborious working hours with school attendance.
In extreme conditions, child labor involves slavery of children, isolation from their families, exposure to harmful substances and being abandoned to fend for themselves in urban centers. Factors that qualifies a particular type of work as child labor or not include the age of the child, the type of work and the hours worked, the circumstances under which the individual work and objectives of the entire arrangement.
How to stop child labor?
- Start with yourself. Refrain from hiring an underage child clean your house, take care of
your children and instead an adult who needs the job.
- Purchase products consciously. Ask your manufacturer, retailer or storekeeper if any
product you are considering buying is child-labor-free.
- Familiarize yourself with the law. Start by knowing what the law stipulates about the protection of children and laws that stop their exploitation, and advise others accordingly.
- Inform the individuals breaching child labor laws about the penalty laid down by the law. The fear of retribution may scare them into stopping child labor.
- Know the concerned authorities in your locality. When you meet any child labor case, try other ways of stopping the abuse and if your efforts fail, inform the police immediately.
- Talk the parents of the child laborers. Tell them about the negative implications child labor has on their children, in the long run. Persuade them to withdraw their children
- Reach out to businesses that operate in countries where child labor is rampant and encourage them to pressurize government officials to take actions on organizations that use child labor.
- Volunteer in any of the organizations dealing with child labor. Doing so will give you a deep understanding of what is being done and how you can contribute towards the course.
- Give presentations about community gatherings, schools, and other groups to make them understand the dangers of child labor and encourage them to take positive action.
- Donate to support organizations that sponsor public aid programs or offer financial assistance to underprivileged families.
- Ask the candidates vying for political seats if stopping child labor is part of their agenda and if it is not, engage them on the need to include. If they do not see a need, do not vote for them.
- Invite organizations fighting child labor to talk to your locality to educate residents and address child labor issues.
- Invest ethically by using your voice as a shareholder to ensure your company upholds humane and just practices that include shunning child labor.
- Sign petitions; when organizations bring forth petitions with an aim of influencing policymakers and increasing awareness find time to append your signature.
- If there is no organization fighting child labor in your locality, start your own group and reach out to international ones for partnership and support.
Anyone who employs an underage child to work for them at the expense of going to school, for long hours, doing heavy duties engages in child labor. Educate yourself on the law. Approach such a person and inform them of the dangers of their actions. If he does not stop it, inform them about the retribution and they remain unmoved, inform the relevant authorities
By: Joni Kim