Ending child labor

There are many children like Mani who are engaged in labor despite being too young and the jobs being too dangerous for them, referred to as child labor. The United Nations, UN, estimates that 1 out of every 7 is a child laborer (2014). In 2008, children aged between 5 and 17 made approximately 215 million child laborers worldwide. Children are adversely affected by child labor as they are still in their development stages of life. It is clear then that child labor has negative effects and should, therefore, be put to a stop.
I. Effects
The effects of child labor are immense. Through the deprivation of their childhood, their development mentally and physically is widely affected. It interferes with schooling by having to combine long and heavy work with a school, having to obligingly leave school prematurely or denying them the important chance of school attendance (International Labor Organization, 2014). Additionally, the tasks are harmful to the children as they are still growing and the heavy physical work could cause damage. The worst forms of child labor include slavery; offering or involving a child in illicit activities; using a child for prostitution, pornographic performances and production; and work likely to harm the child’s morals, health or safety.
II. Causes
There are several factors that influence the working of children, poverty being the most compelling. As most families spend most of their meager income on food, supplementary income from working children is much needed (UN, 2014). Other factors include lack of education where it is unaffordable; market demand, as child labor is cheap; and culture and traditions that allow children to spend most of their time laboring. It is also prevalent in households affected by economic crises and natural disasters. The menace is persistent with reluctant national laws and policies for the protection of children.
III. Effects
The effects of child labor are devastating, with a heightened risk of injury, illness and even death due to dangers involved. Approximately 22, 000 children die from work-related accidents every year (Gifford, 2009). The physical strain may damage their bones and joints, causing spinal injuries, disabilities and even stunting. Furthermore, living and working in environments with abuse, violence, and harassment often causes physiological damage to children. Ultimately, the exploitation and poverty cycle is enhanced through the lack of education for these children, thus the lack of opportunity to shape their future.
IV. Solutions for Child Labor
To end child labor, international organizations have put in place several measures. They include mobilization and raising awareness against the menace and liaising with country-based programs promoting policy reform (ILO, 2014). As a result, many children have been withdrawn from work and rehabilitated to prevent re-entry. They are provided the opportunity to positively shape their future through quality education, ultimately breaking the poverty cycle.