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Child Labour and Exploitation Controversies


It should be noted that researchers and theorists have been studying the problem of child labor and its impact on the children’s well-being for many years. In particular, they study how labor and economic activity affect the motivation and value orientations of adolescents and the way standards and working conditions impact the formation of attitudes toward work and its effectiveness. Experts in the field attribute the changes in the child’s body to effects of harmful environment and unfavorable labor factors (International Labour Organization, 2013).

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Despite the theoretical elaboration of the topic, it can be argued that the problem of child labor is far from being resolved and the developed tools for the protection of children are not sufficiently effective. The purpose of this paper is to reflect critically on the gained knowledge regarding this critical issue and provide insights into the aspects that remain underdeveloped.


The contemporary approach to exploring child labor provides rather a comprehensive definition of the child labor domain. To be more precise, it is defined as peripheral work related to the secondary labor market, which is characterized by the presence of a large number of low-paid jobs, a lack of growth prospects, and instability of work. In this context, minors belong to a group of vulnerable populations such as women, ethnic minorities, elderly people, and foreigners residing in a country without the official documents (International Labour Organization, 2013). Therefore, despite the work carried out by local and international bodies, child labor does not fall under the rules protecting the workers of the primary market, which is the main contradiction in the policy pursued by states.

As researchers note, children often work in such areas as agriculture, family businesses, small-scale trade (mostly unauthorized), they also work in private workshops, in the textile industry, in the production of bricks, plantations, and so on. Importantly, this work is not always compulsory (International Labour Organization, 2013). Depending on the country and the nature of the activity, child labor can also be voluntary.

Rather frequently, children are forced to work because the family cannot survive without the income that only a child can bring. In addition, child labor is the only way to pay for the child’s education. Despite this evidence, in many countries where child labor is particularly widespread, schools are in an improper condition, and the education received there does not correspond to the contemporary requirements; therefore, the prospects for educational or career growth are minimized (Kehily, 2009). Consequently, the parents who have been involved in child labor themselves, tend to engage their children in child labor as well due to the lack of better opportunities.

Aspects of Exploitation

The aspect of this problem, which bothers the global community, is the negative impact of child labor on the health of the younger generation. In particular, the majority of children involved in labor activities are engaged in hard, harmful or immoral work. Such activities often lead to severe psychological and physiological consequences, which means that such children cannot become full-fledged workforce in the future and the health of the nation will be undermined. It is worth noting that these factors prompted the world organizations to combat illegal child labor to expand the norms and ratify the conventions that will protect minors from exploitation and secure their direct rights (International Labour Organization, 2013).

In addition to the fact that child labor affects the healthy growth of children, ratification stressed that the work of children must be protected due to traumatism level, which is associated with the characteristics of childhood. Inexperience and natural curiosity of children and their rapid fatigability lead to increased traumatization during the completion of their duties (Kehily, 2009). Consequently, if the state control over the children’s labor does not function effectively, the risk of exploitation and traumatization will continue to increase.

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Despite the activities of world and state organizations, which have been discussed during the sessions, it became evident that there is no systematic approach to solving the issue of child labor. Law enforcement agencies, social workers, and guardianship services are keen to participate actively in resolving this problem; however, despite the quality legislation protecting children, laws cannot function effectively because of the parents’ attitude towards child labor (Kehily, 2009).

As the review of studies covered during classes has shown, many parents encourage the work of their children despite the possible consequences. Therefore, it is necessary to pay attention to working with minors and their families to be able to combat the problem from different sides and persuade parents not to engage children in labor to an unreasonable extent.


Thus, it can be concluded that the danger of child labor is evident. Many working children do not have proper access to education and experience health consequences that will adversely affect their well-being in the future. Despite the active cooperation of world organizations and the international ratification of conventions, many parents are not aware of the dangers of child labor and encourage minors to work. Therefore, in order to change the situation, it is necessary to influence the mentality of society, which implies the interaction of legislative bodies with various social organizations at both the global and local levels.


International Labour Organization. (2013). World report on child labour. Web.

Kehily, M. J. (2009). An introduction to childhood studies (2nd ed.). Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press.

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