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frigate1985's avatar

How do we stop illegal child labor?

Asked by frigate1985 (927points) December 26th, 2009

I saw a TV program on child labor in Nepal. The kids there work like 10 hours everyday in a stone mine. So these little kids fill a big can with rocks and the employers only pay those kids one friggin’ ear of corn for every can! I mean, that’s too unbelievably harsh! I really want to stop those things from continuing around the world. How could we stop child labor?

I just sent $20 for the fund for stopping child labor. Not much of a help but still, a lot for a teenagaer..:) I feel a bit better.

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22 Answers

JesusWasAJewbot's avatar

Its better then them getting paid nothing right?

dpworkin's avatar

Welcome to Economics 101. When an employer can find cost efficiencies by breaking the law he will do it, and in most countries, including the US, laws and law enforcement are weighted on the side of ownership rather than labor.

Early last Century, labor unions helped a great deal, but even they wanted child labor stopped because the wanted the jobs that the children had for themselves; not because they were outraged at the thought of children working for a pittance. It took about 50 years for unions to be co-opted and corrupted. Once in a while a union will accomplish something truly ameliorative (as in the case of the United Farm Workers) but management has gotten very good at stopping unionization in its tracks (as in the case of Wal*Mart)

JesusWasAJewbot's avatar

@pdworkin So its better these kids sit in a shack or walk around a 3rd world country doing nothing? There working, its hard, but its something. Walmart workers do it too imo.

ragingloli's avatar

That is capitalism in its true form. If it weren’t for those pesky libruls and communists, we would still have the marvel of child labour in the west too!

Anonymoususer's avatar

You have to fight off poverty, so the children can be sent to school.

dpworkin's avatar

@ragingloli We have routine child labor in the US. It is mostly migrant and stoop labor. Here’s how it works: parents are “allowed” to bring their children with them to work, so that they will be “supervised”. Then, since the laborers get paid piecework (by the pound or bushel) the family does better if everyone helps, so 6 and 7 year old children are picking the fruits and vegetables that we eat.

@JesusWasAJewbot Have you thought this through? Wouldn’t the children and their nations be better off if they were in school?

ragingloli's avatar

Children grow. That needs a lot of energy. It seems quite obvious that the required energy for sustaining life, sustaining growth AND to replenish the energy spent on “working” is by magnitudes larger than what they can replenish with this joke of wages they get for their labour. So yes, they would waste far less energy by sitting around or gasp, *going to school. Not to mention that working in a mine will ruin their health and affect their growth in a very negative way.

JesusWasAJewbot's avatar

I didnt think they even had schools, or wouldnt they be there then working?

The majority of things ive watched on this topic never show kids running to school or happy to do homework or anything because its not available. Im not saying i support child labor but i dont see where they have an alternative or im assuming they would be there.

dpworkin's avatar

@JesusWasAJewbot You are incorrect. Perhaps you are undereducated.

JesusWasAJewbot's avatar

@pdworkin I better go apply at a factory in Nepal!

Kelly_Obrien's avatar

How do we stop illegal child labor?

As soon as we stop greedy owners we will be stopping child labor…again. But with the economic crunch as it is, don’t you think those children will be working even in the US soon?

janbb's avatar

How do we stop global inequity, foster women’s and children’s rights and education, promote health and nutrition, end hunger, end exploitation of developing countries? This Hydra is many headed (by definition) and illegal child labor won’t be stopped until other global poverty issues are addressed as well.

I do think that some positive forces are the programs that support local women’s businesses with micro-economic loans, and charitable organizations such as the Heifer Project that empower women and children by providing them with livestock and agricultural support.

laureth's avatar

Child labor is used because it’s profitable. To end it, we have to make it not profitable any more.

One way to do that is through legislation. Fines and punishments can make it more trouble than it’s worth to employ children, assuming you get caught doing so. For places where we can’t legislate things (other countries) and for companies that are here but don’t get caught, we have to try something else.

Another way is to not buy the products. (Even if we decry child labor, as long as we buy their stuff, our dollars say otherwise.) It’s hard to do this without knowing what products are produced using child labor, though. So we have to rely on whistleblowers, investigative journalism, and other sources of news that are not silenced through the action of people and companies who would rather not have the world know their labor practices.

This requires us to be competent, aware, caring consumers. And this takes work. In other words, it requires people to be smarter and not so lazy, and to have enough income so that extra-cheap child-made goods aren’t the only thing they can afford to buy. I don’t have a lot of hope for this cause.

Blackberry's avatar

We can’t stop it, just like we can’t completely stop anything bad. All we can do is better enforce against it.

ratboy's avatar

Legalize it.

frigate1985's avatar

@ratboy That’s as impossible as the present visiting North Korea right now and kissing the leader there :D

frigate1985's avatar

Thanks guys, you’ve given me a lot to think about.

LTaylor's avatar

Stop accepting applications and resumes from children.

mattbrowne's avatar

Boycott products made in those countries.

ilyssa's avatar

why we must stop child labor?

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