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The Causes and Positive and Negative Effects of Child Labor

  • Updated July 25, 2023
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Do you know what happens to children who are forced into child labor? Child labor is when children under the age of eighteen are forced to work for longer periods of time then standard work hours. Some children work for families and work in homes or fields and although work long periods, receive food, housing, and other resources. Other children aren’t so blessed, and work the same long periods, but in factories and places that aren’t so nice. They work under harmful conditions and many of them don’t have any or a lot of resources. The causes behind child labor have had positive and negative effects on the children who have been forced into labor. One of the greatest causes for child labor is poverty. Sailee Kale, says, “Poor families tend to have more children, and when earnings of a sole person do not suffice, young children are forced to take up jobs wherever they can” (2). Most children go into labor, because their families lack the resources to support their families. Therefore, the greatest and of the most positive effects of child labor is that it provides families with more money and resources. It’s unfortunate that the children have to be the ones who work so hard to support their families, but without their work, it would very negative effects for the children and their family.

Another cause for child labor is the lack of education that parents and families have. Sailee Kale says, “Ignorant and illiterate people do not think twice about engaging their children in manual labor, since they are not aware of the harmful physical and mental trauma it can inflict on the child” (2). Most children involved with child labor do not get the opportunity to go to school. Many parents never had the opportunity either, so they don’t understand the importance of it. If children aren’t in school then they have to find something else to occupy their time, so they are forced into labor. Therefore, a negative effect of child labor is children do not get an education. One of the other causes of child labor is corrupt governments. Chitra Divakaruni says, “Their own governments, mired in countless other problems, seem incapable of bringing these services to them” (444). In Professor Gollen’s English 99 class, she talked to the class about India’s corrupt government. She talked about how the problem wasn’t that the government didn’t have money, but that the money was going to the politicians and leaders instead supporting the people.

Therefore, one of the other negative effects of child labor is that due to corrupt governments, families do not receive financial help from the government, and have no other option than forcing their children into child labor. This leads to one of the other big causes for child labor, which is lack of resources. Chitra Divakaruni asks several rhetorical questions, “But where are the schools in which they are to be educated? Where is the money to buy them food and clothing and medication, so that they don’t return home to become the extra weight that capsizes the already shaky raft of their family’s finances?” (444). Since children and families don’t have these resources, children are forced into child labor many times by their families in order to help work for these resources. Therefore, another one of the positive effects of child labor is that it provides families with the resources they need, such as food, clothes, and medicine. Another cause for child labor is debt. Many families have a very huge amount of debt, and when they cannot repay their debt, they sell their children to work it off. Sailee Kale says, “people under heavy debt “sell off” their children for a small amount of money or to repay the outstanding amount…As a result, children are thrust into doing very hard work for long durations of time, that could well extend into their adulthood, till their family is free from the debt” (2).

Therefore, another negative effect of child labor is that children don’t get to have a childhood, because of how long it will take them to pay off their families’ debt. The next cause for child labor is overpopulation. Many families have a large number of children, and the parents cannot financially afford to support all of them on their own. Sailee Kale says, “Having too many members puts a financial burden on poverty-stricken families, and parents are compelled to send their children to work to get extra income” (2). For many families, they seem to have no other option than to send their children erefore, the next positive effect for child labor is that families get the financial resources they need by making sure that all members of the family are helping contribute financially. Another cause of child labor is employment. Many parents are unemployed and can’t find jobs, so they send their children into child labor, because in many developing countries, it is easier for a child to get employment rather than an adult. Sailee Kale, says, “Families migrating from rural to urban areas in search of better prospects often end up pushing their children to take up odd menial jobs. This happens due to lack of proper educational resources in the rural areas, as a result of which these people do not find jobs in cities. So to make ends meet, children bear the brunt while the adults are left unemployed” (2). Therefore, another positive effect of child labor is that it creates jobs for children, so they can support their families. One of the other causes of child labor is the business market.

Chitra Divakaruni, says, “Many of the consumer goods sold in the United States—shoes, clothing, toys, rugs—are made in countries who labor practices do not meet US standards for safety and fairness. Americans have been horrified at tales of children put to work by force or under contracts with the children’s parents” (442). Children are forced into child labor, so that businesses can meet the demands of products that are sold to consumers like the United States. Therefore, one of the other positive effects of child labor is that it puts children to work to create products for businesses to sell to consumers. One of the final causes of child labor is to keep children off the streets. Although children are forced into harmful work, it is far better for them than not having any job. Sailee Kale says that, “Children who cannot find work to feed large families resort to begging on the streets, and in many cases, also fall prey to prostitution. At other times, they even turn into thieves just to make a quick buck on which the family’s survival depends” (3). Therefore, one of the final positive effects of child labor is that it provides jobs for children who need to support their families, while keeping them off the streets.

Overall, the causes and effects of child labor can be both positive and negative to children. They are beneficial, because child labor provides jobs for children of families who need resources or are in debt. Not all child labor jobs are harmful and involve working in dangerous conditions such as a factory. Many children get to work for families and in fields where they are treated better, and are paid with more resources. Whether a harmful job in a factory, or a nice job in a home, wouldn’t children be better off working to help support their struggling families, rather than not being able to at all? Or is there a solution that causes more positive effects to reduce child labor? Child labor will never end, but what can be done to make it more positive rather than negative?

References

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The Causes and Positive and Negative Effects of Child Labor. (2022, Aug 30). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/the-causes-and-positive-and-negative-effects-of-child-labor/

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