Supporting Child Labor Essay, Research Paper
v No they should not withdraw aid for the basic reason that if there is economic development countries other than the one being talked about in particular should not have a say in what is correct for social, political and economic development.
v Countries such as the USA still use child labor today and children make the largest importers of goods. Here there is economic as well as social and political development and the literacy rates almost equal if not higher than those countries, which do not support child labor.
v Child labor basically consists of the lower class of people in the third world or developing countries. The reasons being that family are large and there are high rates of illiteracy. If the West withdrew aid developing countries would no longer be developing they would come to a screeching grinding halt basically because as it is social and economics conditions are poor hence instead of withdrawing aid the West should provide aid to help make the environment of the workplace healthier and more suitable for children to work in.
v The West shouldn t withdraw aid also because by withdrawing aid they would not be teaching developing countries not to use child labor but encouraging them instead. To explain this we take the example of developing countries such as Bangladesh, India or even Pakistan for that matter. All three countries are under-developed, support child labor and are receiving aid from UNICEF. If UNICEF withdraws aid from these countries and does not provide poor families with credit and education etc the families, because they are illiterate will go on producing large families and putting their offspring to work. However, by providing children with education and job skill training, their innovative UNICEF initiative seeks to break the cycle of poverty and illiteracy.
v Another reason for the West not to withdraw aid is that in many developed countries today child labor is still being exploited. These countries e.g. USA & UK made the mistake of using child labor and are now the world s leading economies. If they made the mistake of using child labor and it led to an economic boom then why shouldn t developing countries where there is more of a dependent population. In Pakistan, the percentage of population working in 1985-86 was 28.7. The labor force (in millions) was 28.9 and the dependents 2.48/per laborer. Hence, if child labor is used the number of dependents per laborer will decrease making the burden per laborer lighter. However, if aid is withdrawn it will result once again in severe poverty and hence, this will lead to more children working to support families and increase income.
v To create awareness amongst people, one must educate them. To provide education on a large scale means that a certain amount of funds are required. The illiteracy in developing countries is basically due to lack of funds. These funds if provided by the West should not be ridiculed, as they are to spread awareness amongst people. That awareness may be to encourage family planning (this will lead to people having smaller families and thus this will lead to less requirement of money) or it may be to educate people on the dangers of child labor etc.
v True, vast majority of children working is found in developing countries but this does not mean that children do not working in industrialized countries. But it is the nature of work, which determines whether the children are in danger, not the fact that it is work. For example, there is a difference between a child working at McDonald s and a child working in a sweatshop! Thus we must realize that the nature of the work being done must be taken into consideration.
v The West shouldn t withdraw aid but in fact people should take their own initiative in providing solutions, alternatives & making sure that is aid is exploited properly.
v Five-key Strategy:
(i) Improve/promote education through aid provided.
(ii) Build on national and international laws concerning child labor and make laws about what age the working of a child is legal, with the help of the West.
(iii) Give poor people more say in their lives.
(iv) Mobilizing society.
(v) Campaigning for companies to be more careful about their actions and responsibilities.
v The commitment of countries and governments and the pressure they can apply are important. However, withdrawing aid and boycotting goods made by children can only effect businesses that export such goods. These businesses are reasonably small exploiters of child labor. More child laborers can be found working at places such as farms and roadside shops in the countryside rather than sweatshops etc. Hence, withdrawing aid is not a solution. Such measures may also unintentionally too many people, and sometimes actually harm rather than help children involved. For example, the Harkin Bill was presented in the US Congress a few years ago aimed at stopping imports of things made by children under 15. Just the threat of this Bill panicked Bangladesh, leading to children being thrown out of work & found in worse situation such as prostitution.
v Withdrawing aid will not affect the child labor problems in the countryside, where goods made and sold are not exported. In fact it will leave the problem standing still and no progress, good or bad will be made.
v We must decide how to define child labor. As we know bodily work of underage human beings is the standard definition, however, we must not overlook the fact that bodily work can mean doing chores around the house or working in a sweatshop. Thus we can either change our definition to specify what jobs qualify as child labor or we can go on defining child labor according to circumstances and the situation present.
v This is Mustafa Ghulam Quddus, President, BGMEA (Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association):
We have a success story in Bangladesh where we have
eliminated child labor totally from garment sector. In this
process we received help from UNICEF, ILO and the
governments of Bangladesh and USA. In this process first we
have identified children working in garments industry, jointly
surveyed factories unannounced and at random, and got all
information about their families about the suffering they
would face if they were placed into schools instead of
factories. We have addressed all their problems and have
cared about the issues and resolved the situation by giving
employment to the elder member of the family, giving
stipend to the individual workers, and incentives were also
provided so that they remain in the schools under a special
curriculum on education. We are successful in the
implementation of the commitments we have made in the
MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) signed between
UNICEF, ILO and BGMEA. The success rate is over 95% in
placing the former garment workers into schools. There is no
dropout and nobody has changed to other jobs instead of
schools. Pakistan soccer industry and other countries of are
following this model the world will follow suit.
Although the employers are not obligated to promote
education, we did it to show our commitment towards our
children not only in Bangladesh but to show the other part of
the world that government, international organizations and
the employers jointly can make successful contributions
towards the society.
v If the West withdraws aid as well as bans child labor it will result in chaos. This is so because if the money which the West gives is stopped there will be no capital to invest in the education of young children presently working as child laborers. Hence, this means that children will be running around uneducated which will further result in high crime rates and children falling into professions such as prostitution, drug dealing, alcoholism etc. An example of this is when one important IPEC project recently launched with U.S. government assistance will enable the ILO to work with the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association to remove children from garment factories there and place them in school programs. If we can succeed in stopping child exploitation in the garment sector in Bangladesh, why can’t we do it elsewhere with the help of the West? This ensured that children would be educated if removed from jobs. However, if like the Harkin Bill the West just sits back and decides to withdraw aid as well as boycott goods made by child laborers, and not help children who will be thrown out of their jobs it will result in such a situation.