Child exploitation in the world. Source: Global Slavery Index (2016)
One in seven children around the world is a child labourer. In fact, more than 218 million children are victims of child slavery today. This is the reality we all have to face, even if some of us don’t want to see it, child slavery is a serious problem that has to be eradicated. However, what are its possible causes and consequences? And what can be done in order to stop it?
According to ILO (Internationa Labour Organization) child labour is defined as work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally harmful or dangerous to children. It is mostly caused by poverty, be it at a family or a national scale. As parents can’t afford food or other vital needs, they have to send their own children out to work so they are paid or somewhere where they will be able to help them. Doing this is their only solution if they want to survive. But another cause could be the lack of laws that protect those children and their families. If they aren’t laws that fully control child labour, then it is impossible for it not to happen. Children do not protest, they don’t ask for holidays, and that’s another possible cause for child slavery. As it is easier to employ a child, that is, as they don’t protest if you don’t pay them well or if you beat them, the rich owners are going to make them work for them without paying them, in fact only one out of five children is paid for their work.
Child slavery has terrible consequences. Out of the 218 million children that are slaves, 122 million are engaged in risky jobs that expose them to a lot of dangers, such as death or the loss of a limb. Each year there are 22,000 children that die in work-related accidents. The large majority of those children aren’t schooled, so the number of illiterate children is terrible large. Furthermore, according to UNESCO, 300,000 children are soldiers forced to go to wars. But they can also be pushed to sexual abuse or criminality.
Ending with child slavery is vital, but it’s a tough task because of the complexity of the activities related to child labour. If we want to end it, it is necessary to ask for international cooperation and agreements. It’s necessary to make new laws that protect children, and to put them at the center of everything. Nowadays a lot of campaigns have been created, and it’s necessary to make people know what’s happening, and maybe try to do some boycott to the important enterprises that use and abuse children.
We can conclude by saying that child slavery is a fundamental problem today, caused by poverty and the lack of laws forbidding it, which causes death and make the children’s life miserable. Solutions have to be taken immediately if we want it to stop before it gets even more dangerous.