Child labor is a large concern among many people today; and while everybody has heard the term child labor, not everybody knows the correct answer to the question-”What is child labor?”. This is because there are varying definitions of the term as set by various international and nongovernmental organizations, as well as, trade unions. While, in most countries, laws state that children are minors until they reach 18 years of age, this age differs in some other countries.
What Is Child Labor
Although there are varying answers for the question, “What is child labor?”; child labor is essentially any work that a child performs that can harm them in some way. This can include physical harm, mental harm, moral harm or loss of their education. Education is vital for the development of children, and it is a crime to deprive them of this valuable opportunity. Another definition is the employment of persons who are under an age which is set by the laws of their country of origin. When businesses become involved in child labor, many countries consider the act exploitative of the children.
However, it is unfortunate that, many businesses, today, actively practice child labor despite their country’s laws. Some of these businesses include agriculture, factories, prostitution, mining and quarries. Some children can also be found working as waiters or waitresses and tourist guides. Some are even forced into begging or cleaning. When asked, “What is child labor?”, some people do not think children as being exploited, so long as they receive a lot of money, even though, it is still strictly against the law in most countries.
Statistics show that more than 250 million children between 2 and 17 years of age are victims of child labor all over the world. Probably, the most rejected forms of child labor are prostitution and the use of children in the military. These two forms of child labor are, unfortunately, quite common in many countries; and child prostitution has become a large industry that is often extremely well-hidden. However, there are some forms of child labor that most societies willingly accept such as child singers or actors, farm work (when performed outside of school time) and helping run a family business (also outside of school hours). Thus, when defining the question, “What is child labor?”, these jobs do not always fit in the answer.
What Is Child Labor – The Conclusion
While the United States has set the appropriate age for children to work at 16 years of age, some countries, such as India and Bangladesh, have set the age at 14 years old. However, it is unfortunate that, many countries ignore these laws, and children much younger than 14 often work up to 20 hours a day under harsh conditions for low wages. Since some extremely poor families often depend on the work of their children for their survival, the situations often go unnoticed. However, even with all of this child labor going on, the answer to the question, “What is child labor?” remains the same; and that is the exploitation of a child through various forms of work.