Child Labor and Global Perception

An overview of the problem of global child labor and the way different countries view the issue.

The conditions for children who are made to work do not provide the stimulation for proper physical and mental development. These children are deprived of the simple joys of childhood, relegated instead to a life of manual labor. This paper shows, however, that there are problems with the obvious solution of abolishing child labor. First, there is no international agreement defining child labor. Countries not only have different minimum age work restrictions, but also have varying regulations based on the type of labor. This makes the limits of child labor very unclear. The paper argues that until there is global agreement that can isolate cases of child labor, it will be very hard to abolish. Therefore, the problem is not child labor itself, but the conditions under which it operates. The paper includes tables.
“In many countries (Costa Rica, Thailand, Sri Lanka), the minimum working age is lower than the required age of compulsory education, giving children access to employment before they have even completed the minimum amount of schooling (Bequele & Boyden, 1995). When indigent children are allowed to work legally, they will often abandon school to better their family’s condition. In the reverse situation, if the minimum age requirement for work is greater than the compulsory schooling age, children who have completed the required schooling must stay inactive for a period of time before they can legally work.”