“Child Labour according to International Labour Organization (ILO) is often defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development”.
Child labour is one of the main scourges in our actual society. Over the world children or adolescents are maltreated, are sold as slaves, are forced to work and exposed to serious hazards. Child labour is a global concern because it affects all countries. Therefore, it deserves special attention, not only because of its globalization but also because of the people impacted i.e. children; the future of any nation. This is a brief summary of some important aspects of the phenomenon.
The worst forms of child labour: they include slavery, use in armed conflict, prostitution, production of pornography, waste sorting, narcotics trafficking etc., and any other work which, by its nature or the conditions in which it is achieved, can harm the safety, morals or health of children.
Causes of child labour: several factors can be considered to explain the child labour. The following are the most important.
· Poverty: it is considered as the main reason for parents to send their children to work to support the whole family. The more the families are financially sufficient, the less their children are exposed to this scourge. It is the same poverty that prevents some parents from schooling their children, abandoning them in the streets or even selling them.
· Flaws of the education system: low literacy rates, high tuition fees, lack of educational infrastructure, are all obstacles to education and aggravating factors to child labour.
· Natural disaster and / or conflict: they provoke humanitarian crises, with its share of migrants, displaced persons and orphans of wars, which favour the vulnerability of children and the transgression of the legislations in force. Therefore, these children may end up without a birth certificate, thus not being able to prove their identity and age in the face of illegal exploitation.
· Ignorance of parents: parents are unaware of the harmful effects of work on children, the positive impact of education, and the child labour laws in effect.
Causes of child labour are many and vary from one country to another according to the requirement of the employers. Children are a "cheap" workforce. They are not very demanding and easy to manage, creating a real interest of employers.
Consequences of child labour: if the world is standing up against child labour, it is because of its negative impact on children and on the entire society. some are listed below.
· Education: when working, children cannot follow normal school program. They are deprived of their freedom to choose their future. Out of school, they are abandoned to themselves, can fall into drug use and banditry, becoming a threat to society.
· Violence: physical, moral, mental and social abuse or sexual exploitation, children are vulnerable and exposed to multiple forms of violence in the workplace.
· Health: Working conditions can have repercussions on children's health: they can be injured with tools that are inappropriate for their age, suffer the consequences of handling toxic substances, carry heavy loads that hinder their physical development. Moreover, the sexual violence of which they may be victims is the source of early pregnancy and contraction of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV / AIDS.
Some proposals: many solutions can be suggested. Below some important ones are listed.
· Fight against poverty: poverty being considered as the main factor of the scourge, the implementation of programs to fight against poverty in areas such as education, health, nutrition etc. would contribute to a drastic reduction in the phenomenon of child labour.
· Awareness: sensitize and inform parents and children about the risks of child labour.
· Improvement of education system: create the necessary conditions for the schooling of all children.
· Laws in force: a strict enforcement and strengthening of existing laws for better protection of children.
· Reintegration: a reintegration program for children who are victims must also be considered.
The issue of child labour remains both crucial and complex. Children, the future of society, are deprived of their freedom to choose their future and to participate efficiently to the development of their countries. Thus, child labour becomes a barrier to the economic and social development of communities and countries. we must quickly act to eradicate this scourge and solutions are not lacking but a greater willingness of the decision-makers could accelerate its eradication.
By Mr. Kamagate Yaya, Intern. Marketing in Sigma Group of Institutes -Vadodara.