Despite numerous attempts to eliminate remnants of the dark past and enter a new humanistic era, there are still numerous social stigmas that hamstring these efforts. It means that we still can observe such phenomena as slavery, discrimination, intolerance, poverty, etc. The disappointing effect that comes when facing these issues deepens from the fact that the coherent society is considered the humanistic one and all individuals should be provided with equal opportunities for their development. Though, we could observe a significant improvement in various spheres of human activity and a shift of priorities towards the appreciation of truly humanistic values. However, numerous social issues, for instance, child labor, remain unsolved, and demand special attention.
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Nevertheless, the above-mentioned problem has been an ongoing issue for many centuries. If to delve into the origin of child labor, it could be traced back to ages when peoples lives were not appreciated as the main value. Additionally, social differentiation and inequality resulted in the appearance of specific behavioral patterns which considered child labor one of the ways to perform unskilled work or earn money (Hilson, 2008).
However, in the course of societys evolution, the perspective on the issue altered. The development of the humanistic approach resulted in an improved understanding of the fact that children are the future of our society and they precondition its further rise. Unfortunately, attempts to protect them from exploitation very often fail and we could observe cases of forced child labor.
Worst Forms of Child Labor
The topicality of the problem is evidenced by numerous research works devoted to the issue. For instance, the book Child labor by the International Labour Organization provides a deep insight into the issue and cogitates about the most important aspects related to child labor. The reading supports the idea of this source or recruitments further use as it becomes unacceptable in the age of humanism. Providing numerous facts to justify its position, the book also outlines and defines the worst forms of child labor.
These are slavery, forced work, prostitution, hazardous jobs, drug trafficking, and other actions related to dangerous spheres of human activity (International Labor Organization, 2004). The given list could be considered very important because of several reasons. First, it demonstrates that the scope of the problem remains significant as the ugliest forms of exploitation are used to make children work. Second, the given list introduces the need for a plan of actions aimed at the elimination of these threats and the protection of children involved in the process.
Moreover, the book also suggests the differentiation pattern by which all the above-mentioned forms of exploitation could be organized into two groups by definition and by condition (International Labor Organization, 2004). The given classification becomes critical for the issues analysis and investigation. The fact is that the first category by definition is also unacceptable for adults because of the character of actions that are performed.
In the majority of cases, they are illegal and are strongly prohibited by authorities. It also means that children who are forced to sell drugs or take part in some other activity should not be considered responsible for their actions. There are numerous cases when juveniles were deceived or provided with the false information that impacted their decision to perform one or another action. Another peculiarity of this category is the impossibility of other perspectives on the character of processes in which children are involved. Slavery and prostitution are illegal in all states all over the world, and that is why child labor of this sort is strongly prohibited.
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As for the second category, every state has its vision of hazardous conditions that could deteriorate the physical and psychical state of a child. For this reason, different lists outline the worst forms of child labor. However, the question about the unified approach appears. In case states manage to create a list that includes all known dangers, the situation will be improved.
The given book also touches upon the most disputable questions related to the sphere of child labor. For instance, childrens role in numerous armed conflicts that could be observed in different regions. The point remains extremely topical as there are numerous pieces of evidence which state that about half a million children participate in military operations (International Labour Organization, 2004).
However, the number could be even bigger as it is difficult to collect credible data related to the issue. There are numerous ways in which children are exploited: they could be stolen and trained to perform terrorist acts, or they could be persuaded by their peers or even relatives to engage in a certain activity (International Labour Organization, 2004). Thus, the results of these actions are poor as a childs psyche suffers from interference, participation in armed conflicts, manslaughter, etc. and his/her recovery along with socialization becomes complicated.
Child Labor and Mining
Nevertheless, there is another important aspect that should be considered when speaking about the issue. Children could be used to perform hazardous activities in confined spaces because of their small size. For instance, in sub-Saharan Africa the scale of the problem is especially significant as about a third part of all children are engaged in small-scale mining (Hilson, 2008). They had to work in inhumane conditions for partly wages to earn money for their families survival (Hilson, 2008).
For this reason, the problem is closely connected with political issues as the quality of life in the region is not at the appropriate level and states are not able to provide social guarantees to children and protect them from participating in hazardous activities. In several cases juveniles are not forced to become miners; however, they realize the fact that it is the only way to earn money and work long shifts regardless of age and the state of their health (Davidson & Ladkani, 2005). Under these conditions, the task to eradicate child labor in all regions including sub-Saharan Africa becomes a complex challenge because of numerous political issues that appear. A child should not live in need to avoid participating in hazardous activities. Otherwise, he/she has to work to survive.
In conclusion, the issue of child labor remains topical for a comprehensive society. The cases of exploitation could be found in different areas of the world, and they evidence a significant scale of the problem. However, the situation becomes significantly worse in poor areas where almost all forms of child labor could be found. This fact demonstrates the correlation between political issues or states prosperity and the situation in the sphere of child labor. The suggested readings provide a short overview of the topic, but one should understand that the current situation is even worse as many facts remain unrevealed.
Davidson, K. (Producer), & Ladkani, R. (Director). (2005). The Devils miner [Motion Picture]. United States: First Run Features.
Hilson, G. (2008). ‘A load too heavy’: Critical reflections on the child labor problem in Africa’s small-scale mining sector. Children and Youth Services Review 30, 1233–1245.
International Labour Organization. (2004). Child labour: A textbook for university students. London, UK: ILO.