Child labor: is it still a problem?

Child labor has happened throughout history. For years, children were servants in the medieval ages and beyond. Then during the early 1900s, children worked in factories because they were small and could get into spots that adults couldn’t fit into, according to History.com.

In 1938, the U.S. Government passed the Fair Labor Standards Act which prohibited most employment of minors in “oppressive child labor” according to Wikipedia. However, there are people who are employing children into child labor, here in the U.S. and around the world.

After the stock market crashed in 2008, child labor risks rose all around the world, according to a 2012 report from Business Insider. At that time, child labor occurred most in the Philippines, India, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Brazil, according to the same report.

Brian Wo, from the Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition, says, “I hear of child laborers picking cocoa beans for our chocolate on the Ivory Coast of Africa, they are sewing rugs in Asia, they work in brick kilns in South Asia, they work in sweatshops and factories sewing clothes throughout Asia, they mine minerals in India and Africa. Some get paid, but it definitely varies by situation.”

It’s also a problem in the U.S. A 2014 report in The Atlantic documented 500,000 cases of child labor across the U.S., especially on farms, tobacco fields, and construction sites. A Human Rights Watch report published in 2014 found that in states such as Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina, child workers spent fifty to sixty hours a week in tobacco fields, where they were “exposed to nicotine, toxic pesticides, and other dangers.”

Here in the Bay Area, there is an issue with child labor among migrant workers in the agriculture industry, also. “Government resources that are put toward fighting trafficking will help in this area,” Wo says. “That includes things like outreach to migrant workers so that they understand their rights and how to get help.” I think child labor is still an issue, but what do you think?

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