The next time when you are out on your shopping trip, chances you may have support a business which exploits children. It is very disturbing and heartbreaking to learn many children are chained to looms for 12 hours a day because families need to have their child bringing home a small amount of money. Child labor has always been a difficult subject to address, the topic have become much more complicated and prolific. Child labor around the world exists and many children are being underpaid for their work, parents are selling their children into bondage and hazardous conditions kill and sometimes sicken the innocent children. Global businesses such as Walmart are taking advantage to the lives of children.
Child Labor is not an isolated problem. The phenomenon of child labor has resulted in the development of economic discrimination. In different parts of the world, at different stages of histories, laboring of children has been a part of economic life. More than 200 million children worldwide, some are as young as four and five years old, are slaves to the production line. These unfortunate children manufacture shoes, matches, clothing, rugs and countless other products which are flooding the American market and driving hard-working Americans out of jobs. These children worked long hours, were frequently beaten, and were paid a pittance. In 1979, a study shows more than 50 million children below the age of sixteen were considered child labor (Waghamode 3). In 1998, according to the Campaign for Labor 250 million children around the world are working in farms, factories, and household. Some human rights experts indicates there are as many as 400 million children under the age of fifteen are performing forced labor either part or full-time under unsafe work environment. Based upon the needs of the situation, there are specific areas of the world where the practice of child labor is taking place. According to the journal written by Ashagrie Basu gathered information from various sources and found that in 1990 there were nearly 79 million children who were economically active. Most of them were in Asia. However, over the previous ten years, he found the absolute number of children working was declining in Asia but rising in the Americas and Africa, sharply in the latter.
The problem of Child Labor is enormous, but the trend, fortunately, is heading in the right direction. The overall growth of an economy is by no means the only factor, nor for the matter of the most important factor, in the mitigation of child labor. Depending upon many variables, from economic development, to political structure, corruption, and other external factors, some families need to have their child bringing home a small amount of moneys. Therefore, the child labor phenomenon is reasonable. One important factor which caused child labor is poverty. The birthrate is so high that it creates overpopulation and cause poverty and lack of primary education. One way many families in traditional societies attempt to cope with the pressure of overpopulation and the resulting unemployment is to send children to urban areas to find cash employment. Sending their child out on the labor force is a way to exchange for small loans or to repay the debts of the parents or grandparents. In most Asian countries, they do not have social security for the elder, so parents often rely on their children for financial support. There were some disturbing cases in which children are bought and sold for cash or for the settlement of a debt. Some parents are desperate for money, and sold their young children for less than $16. Many of these industries love the child workers so much they buy them because they are cheap to own and easy to maintain. Many multinational companies like Nike, Wal-Mart or sweatshops “boycott their product” (Finn 2) Since the cost of producing in the U.S is higher than it is in other countries like Vietnam, China and India, they have to look