Child Labor

Essay by tulipsontuesdayUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, April 2004

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Child labor is a persistent problem both internationally as well as on American soil. Federal Child Labor Laws formed by the government of the United States assisted in curtailing the problem to a certain extent though the existence of sweatshops throughout the country is still well known. Most people see America as the "land of opportunity" and therefore feel there is no reason a child should have to toil day in and day out under harsh conditions instead of spending their childhood in schools receiving their education and growing up healthy and strong. This somewhat optimistic view of how life "should" be is unfortunately not a realistic path for many children in countries that are developing or underdeveloped over seas.

In many countries, primarily in Africa and Asia which account for ninety percent of child employment (Richards), children are often required to work due to necessity, pressure or a lack of educational opportunities.

In many situations, the children of the household who work do so because their income is desperately needed to supplement that of other family members. At times, parents or older siblings who otherwise may have been employed, may be unable to work due to injury or illness as is common in third-world or underdeveloped nations.

Traditional factors often play a role in determining if a child will work. For example, the established role of females in certain countries dictates that their "place" is in the home performing household duties. It is often thought that women who become educated may abandon these responsibilities. In addition, if women are only supposed to be raising families and cooking it is looked upon that there is no valid reason for their education and they would be best put to use where they can bring in an income until it is their...