Child Labor in Third World Countries: A Major Problem

Child labor is a problem that besets third world countries the most. This is because the parents’ wages are not enough to provide for the family so children are forced to work. Families in the higher strata however, may have this problem too.

For well-to-do families, there can only be two reasons: first to acquire more money, and second – the child is sincerely enjoying what he is doing. This is usually the case with child artists and child performers. Shirley Temple is one good example.

A quotation by Louis Pasteur (a scientist) goes this way: “When I approach a child, he inspires in me two sentiments; tenderness for what he is, and respect for what he may become.” Indeed our children are the future of the world.

If we take good care of our children then we are ensuring the bright future of the world as well. Allowing child labor is tantamount to denying children of their basic rights: the right to adequate education, the right to sufficient food and safe shelter, and the right to grow up in a nurturing environment where they could develop into good and productive citizens.

To be able to solve this problem, the root cause of the problem should be analyzed first. Why do children work? What prompts parents to allow their children to work? It has been apparent that the main reason why children work is because of poverty.

Miserable stories like these are common in third world countries. Take the story of Pedro; Pedro is the 5th of 7 children. Both parents scrounged for a living as scavengers in the nearby garbage dump site. They are 9 in the family including the parents.

If Pedro would not work with his parents in the dump site, his siblings might not be able to eat three square meals a day. It is also an observed fact that poor families have more children. Because of their inadequate education on family planning, they are not aware of appropriate methods to avoid pregnancy.

The solutions therefore in eradicating this problem are:

1. providing adults an education on livelihood projects, so they could create their own small scale businesses.

2. suitable work for parents who are in need of it.

3. providing free education for indigent children.

4. making parents aware that their children have rights and these rights when violated would give sufficient reason for any Court of Law to give corresponding sanctions to parents.

Clear cut laws should be established and made public by the government so that parents would know what is expected of them. These are some solutions to the main problem of child labor. If the government and non- government organizations come together and launch a concerted effort to solve this problem, then there is great hope that child labor could be eradicated.

Philippine Mountains, Image credit: Arvie Gaye Trinidad

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