Child Labor in Mexico
Veronica Hernandez began her working career in a factory sweatshop. She was only 8 years old. After more than 12 years of intense and monotonous work in a number of different factories, Hernandez still, “felt as poor as the day she first climbed onto the lower rungs of the global assembly line” (Ferriss, source#2). Veronica works about 45 hours a week for only a base salary of $55, an occupation where she assembles RCA televisions by the Thomson Corporation. While some people you know complain of not having cable or enough channels for their big screen television, Veronica is blessed that she even owns one. She lives in a one room hut that includes no more than an out-house and an old refrigerator. She has to haul water from a single faucet that services a group of other families as well as her own. Hoping that some development would come (either in working conditions or wage) since the beginning of her working career as a child, Hernandez knows that progress hasn’t developed within the last couple of years. While she continues to slave in ‘maquiladoras’ (U.S. and other foreign-owned factories that assemble products for consumers), people around the globe are searching to find alternate ways to create work. The need for improvement in working conditions and withholding laws to keep young children out of factory work is urgent. Child labor is a serious issue that needs the world’s attention now more than ever.
Child labor has become an ongoing global concern for many years. The practice sweatshops in places such as South America and Asia are responsible for much of the manufactured goods people own today. While hundreds of organized unions and corporations look for answers to this unhealthy working environment for children, no dramatic changes are being done. Due to the massive amount of children being unfairly forced to work, a change isn’t quick to come by. Many different variables play a part in finding a solution to help end child labor. Unfortunately, this form of labor plays a large role in Mexico’s economy. Although the country has anti-child labor laws, the children of Mexico are forced to work for a variety of reasons. Most families force the children to work due to their struggle with poverty and lack of income. Although some organizations (like the North American Free Trade Agreement) look at solutions to help boost Mexico’s economy, large international corporations enter the country’s struggling economy capitalizing on it’s low cost manufacturing and wages, thus forcing children to work. Solutions must be looked at in order to stop kids from working their childhood away instead of getting an education to ultimately help Mexico’s economy.
The link between Mexico and poverty is a large reason why children are forced to work in factories. Poverty began to be an issue for Mexico starting many years ago. In the 1940s, when industrialization began taking place, Mexico’s economy was growing at a rate of 6 per cent per year (Latapi and Gonzalez). This increase in the economy created two new social classes: the urban middle class and the new working class. By the late 70s, at least half of the working middle class held jobs related in manufacturing (Latapi and Gonzalez). This employment gave wages high enough to allow one worker the ability to support his entire family. Unfortunately, while the rich were getting richer, the poor were becoming increasing poor. While some flourished in the successful social classes, the poor were dealing with a lifestyle hard to live by. During the 1980s an economic crisis erupted in Mexico and throughout Latin America. Economic growth stopped abruptly, revising trends from the previous, successful years. The impact of this economic crisis hit especially hard on the employment structure as well as the price of consumer goods. “The urban poor were hit particularly by shrinking wages, growing unemployment, stagnation in the level of...
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