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Soc 3: Social Problems
Soc 3: Social Problems
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Sex Trade and Human Trafficking
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II. Role Of Institutions
IV. Potential Solutions
Child labor is now a social problem, where infants are been exploited and forced to work at a young age. According to Hindman, author of the book "Child Labor and American History," children always had worked either at home or later in industrial companies. But, then when did it started to be morally wrong?
Before the Industrial Revolution society did not have alternative programs like schools, or other programs that the children could go to, and because of it, leisure time was seeing as being indolent. Therefore, most of the parents decided to use their children's time productively and sent them to work along with them or by themselves. As a result, according to society children were active and "the household itself only stood to gain through any added contribution from the work of the women and children” (Hindman, 2002, p. 46).
By 1880 to 1920, the poor economy reinforced the families "[need] to maximize income and economic security… So they deployed more young family members in the labor force" (Kleinberg, 2005, p. 46). Thus, this ideology was preferred above their children’s education.
Then, during the Industrial Revolution many of the manufactured industries and factories employed cheap labor, hired younger people to work for them; to the point that the owners of the factories would rely more on children than adults (Hindman, 2002, p. 5). Additionally, they deprived the children’s human rights, by not respecting the children’s payment and making them work long hours a day.
Moreover, families ethnicity also influenced who would go to work and where. For example, "white families preferred to send children rather than mothers" when the household lost their caregiver, or like British, Irish, French Canadians, southeastern and east Europeans were seen more in "cotton mills" (Kleinberg, 2005, p.50).
Gender was another influential factor in where the kid would work, girls and boys were "welcomed" in textile centers, "heavy industries" had a limited amount of young boys, "fishing, iron, and steel industries" had a restricted number of kids of both sexes, and the “canneries and clothing factories” had many boys and girls working (Kleinberg, 2005, p. 50).
This problem was not seen as a socially unmoral condition for children to be in, until the late 1920’s, where the society of that time started to notice that "something [was] not quite right about child labor… Society eventually reached to protect itself" from those badly conditions they were going through (Hindman, 2002 p. 47). Thus, some labor committees started to stand up against child labor with the bases of equal education opportunities (Hindman, 2002, p. 49). Since most of the good schools were private institutions, consequently the most affected communities were the low income families that did not have a good education and preferred to have their kids working.
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Finally, by the 1950’s national labor organizations, like Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions (FOTLU) and American Federation of Labor (AFL), started to fight against the problem and add different regulations to protect the children. Later on, in 1959, UNICEF incorporated this issue into their agenda and created a "Declaration of Rights of the Child," stating that children have to be provided with basic needs like protection, good nutrition, and health care. As time has passed, progressed has been made, children are protected, in some countries, by law. But, in third wo rld countries like China, India, and Africa children are still working in the same conditions as during Industrialization.
ROLE OF INSTITUTIONS
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Even though Child Labor has only recently become a social problem, child labor practices have been prevalent throughout history. The reason Child Labor has come to our attention is because society finally acquired ideals that people value the purity and innocence of children. Before society viewed children as able bodies that could do work just as or if not better than adults. Children could work for much longer and more difficult conditions than adults for less the pay. Finally, some of humanity realized that this epidemic is unjust and cruel. So to prevent this further governments across the world have set up laws to prevent children from harsh and brutal working environments. Governments helped recognize child labor as a social problem.
Another institution that has the most influence on weather or not a child is put into these brutal environments – is Family. Even though child labor doesn’t usually occur at home, family has a huge role in making a child work. Some reasons why parents might put their children into work may be financial reasons, educational reasons, or even geographical reasons.
The media is one of the most helpful institutions when help preventing Child Labor. The media helps prevent child labor by getting information to the public through television (Fox, NBC, ABC, etc.), internet (Yahoo, Google, CNN, etc.), newspaper (New York Times, Boston Global, etc.), and even the radio (KQED). The media tries to provoke an emotional response in order to help make change; this is ever so clear in ads to help stop Child Labor. Even though the media does a good job on covering the subject sometimes they may make claims that are false, or embellish a story in order to get better rating or more sales.
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Education plays a huge part in why some countries regularly practice unjust and cruel child labor. Our society lack of awareness and knowledge in this subject is why no progress has been made to stop child labor. Most of child labor occurs in third world countries where lack education and poverty force children into labor while the rest of the world rarely see or hears about them.
In more ways than one child labor brings many consequences on the children who work. Children begin to lose their childhood and are rushed into adulthood, therefore Child labor leads into early marriage. According to, Kathleen Beegle, Rajeev Dehejia, Roberta Gatti, and Sofya Krutikova authors of
The Consequences of Child Labor digest
children who become a part of the work industry and have several years working it becomes more likely for them to get married at a younger age than opposed to going to school and living a "normal" childhood.
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Another consequence of Child Labor is that children are forced to work and help provide with the family that they are likely to drop out of school and continue working full time. According to studies by ECLT, "Seventy-eight percent of children between 10 and 14 years work either full-time or part-time with their parents," by working full time the children have no other choice than to drop out of school and make work their first priority. Not only are these children dropping out of school, but they are dropping out at a young age, "a child reduces the probability of completing primary school by as much as 20 percentage points," (eclt). Therefore, children are lowering their education level and suffering more consequences throughout the years.
Therefore, the consequences of child labor form an almost unbreakable cycle.The children are not allowed to finish their education. They are sent to work to help with financial stability and soon they get married and the cycle never ends because they do not make enough money to have a family, so then their children have to help also and so forth. The lives of these children are being harmed and even thought they are helping currently with money for the family, the consequences are much deeper.
Child labor has emerged due to different reasons: poor economy, uneducated authoritative figures (parents or guardians), poor education in the country. Therefore, in order to solve this social problem, there is a need to create a combined solution or solutions that will decrease child labor, and hopefully eliminate child labor completely as time goes.
Some solutions are to create different Non-Governmental Organizations like UNICEF, International Labour Organisation [sic], and so on, that will work hand in hand, provide better education for the children, provide other incentives tothe parents, and as a last resource to legalize child labor.
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First option, the government needs to provide help to families, so that they can have more financial help and allow the children to stay in school. There could be nonprofit organizations that can help send money to families. These organizations can also send food and other financial help. There can be organizations that help search companies and try to rescue the children from these horrible conditions. The children will be rescued and taken to a facility which will allow them to have physicals and make sure they’re healthy. These rescue shelters will help them live in a stable healthy home where they can be brought up and then once they are able to go on their own they will be released.
Continuing, another one of the solutions possible would be an increase in public education. Many of the countries
in which there is a high rate in child labor is due to families not being able to pay for education fees. If there were more public schools I think more children would be able to attend. But also just because there are more schools does not mean that the problem will be fixed. In order for this solution to work the government must be involved as well. For instance, there must be a requirement for children to attend school up until a certain age. If the government gets more involved with the issue there will be a higher rate of children attending school meaning the child labor rate would decrease a certain percent. The United States has a good system in offering food stamps and welfare and I think if other countries took action doing something similar to help families it would also be a great solution. For instance, many families could get food stamps or some kind of help with food and other basic household needs. This would help the parents be more relieved and not force their children to work to maintain a basic life style. These changes will affect the lives of those affected, in this case primarily being children. The children will be able to get a better education and their childhood experiences would change from working to having a normal lifestyle and attending school. Their horrific life working in horrible conditions would change and they will be able to enjoy a better childhood. Drastic changes will not be made instantly but I think that little by little there will be more change and there will be a better opportunity for these children to live their childhood as children not treated as adults.
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Secondly, since each country is different in how they handle Child Labor; usually the government is responsible for enforcing laws that protect children. Thus, NGOs such as Free the Children, which goes into countries where this is evident and they set up education for children and adults as well as help create and sustain a healthy lifestyle. They believe that providing education to the children and the parents both will have better opportunities than having to put their children in sweat shops and other harsh factory work. If this program were to not only do this in big countries like China, Russia, and India but also in smaller third world countries it will decrease harsh and cruel child labor, close the gap between the lower in middle class, and significantly help the so called world economy. This will allow children who have only known what life is like working in a factory from sunrise to sunset, to help getting them educated, getting a better job and creating something for them. The only problem is that even though this solution sets up schools in order to provide education for children, it might not a very good school or some children might be forced to still work in factories. If this solution were to occur there would be drastic changes in these children lives that will shape whether or not they remain in poverty or create something for themselves.
Lastly, unfortunately, even with nonprofit organizations there is not enough money to satisfy millions of families needs. Thus, what can we do to stop child labor? Analyzing the reasons as why child labor exists, we can understand that the need of survival is greater than children’s security. Why? Because their households cannot sustain with both parents working and making these parents yearn for their children support. Therefore, is child labor is “eliminated” or the children are taken out from those factories,
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sweatshops, and so for, the problem would then move to another perspective, like increasing prostitution or vandalism. Thus, is not such a good idea to take this economic opportunity to those families in need or those orphans that have to sustain by themselves. But this need those not justify the abusive methods some industries use. Then taking into consideration the need of monetary benefits and need, the problem will not be children working, but the unequal regulations that protect laborers. And that the children do not have the same body development as adults do. So, considering that children’s body are not strong enough these regulations will have to be change and adapt to their needs. The practical solution might be to not stop child labor, instead regulated all those companies that, legally or not, have children working. Regulations that will take into consideration the children's abilities and disabilities due to age, the protection that they don’t have, sanitary conditions to work in, have an education, a reasonable amount of time that will provide some money for them to help in their families along with one day-off (maximum 3-4 hours a day, 18-24 hours a week), to have the leisure time kids need to have to do homework or play. Additionally, children will grow up with the benefits of being responsible, punctual, and all the good qualities one acquires with a job. For example, the chilren will attend school during the morning (from 8 am to 2 pm), after school will have an hour break to go back home, eat, and then leave to go to work for about four hours (from 4 pm- 8 pm). Then will go back home, will rest, have dinner, do extra activities like play football or dolls, do homework, and so on. And will then, have the necessary eight hours of sleep. And during the weekend, the kid will go four hours a day to work and the next day will not work. These regulations will allow the kid to help his/her family situation, will enjoy their schooling, and will be protected by the law. Although these regulations do not stop these kids from working, which some people might see as something wrong, it does provides protection, sanitary conditions, and will help to prevent abuse and extortion as now.
Three potential solutions have been oultine in this wiki, it is society's choice to be aware and to be conscious about our actions.
Child labor Consequences-----
http://www.google.com/search? q=consequences+of+child+labor& ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls= org.mozilla:en-US:official& client=firefox-a
Basu, Kaushik. (1999). Child Labor: Cause, Consequence, and Cure, with Remarks on International Labor Standards. Journal of Economic Literature, Vol. 37, No. 3, pp. 1083-1119
Cunningham, H. (2000). The Decline of Child Labour: Labour Markets and Family Economies in Europe and North America since 1830. The Economic history review, 53(3), 409-428.
Horrell, Sara and Humphries, Jane. (1995). "The Exploitation of Little Children": Child Labor and the Family Economy in the Industrial Revolution. Exploitations in Economic History, Vol. 32, Issue 4, pp. 485-516.
KLEP, P M, & Klep. (2004). Introduction to Special Issue: Contradictory Interests of Offspring and Parents, 1500-2000. The history of the family, 9(4), 349-354.
Parker, David L. (2008). Before their Time Child Labor Around the World. American Educator, Spring, 38-43.
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