Child Labor

Topics: Industrial Revolution, Child labour, Victorian era Pages: 5 (1597 words) Published: February 24, 2013
Iqbal Masih was born in a small village in rural Pakistan, his father abandoned the family. Iqbal's mother struggled to support her children as a housecleaner, but could not. When he was four years old, Iqbal was sold for $16 into bonded labour at a carpet factory. He worked 12 hours a day and was horribly undernourished and beaten by the foreman many times. When Iqbal was nine years old, a local labour rights organization helped him escape the factory. He was given a place at a school for freed child labourers in Lahore where he'd be safe. Iqbal began telling other child labourers about the law in Pakistan that made bonded labour illegal-they had never heard about this law. When children started to follow Iqbal's example and escape the factories, the owners threatened Iqbal and his family. But he didn't back down. At age 12, he travelled to Sweden and the U.S. to speak out against child labour. When he returned to Pakistan in April, 1995, Iqbal was shot and killed. Iqbal's story reflects the lives of over 200 million children around the world who have been forced to give up school, sports, play and sometimes even their families and homes to work under dangerous, harmful, and abusive conditions. DEFINING CHILD LABOUR:

According to the United Nations and the International Labor Organization, child labor is to be considered if:

“...States Parties recognize the right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child's education, or to be harmful to the child's health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.” (UN stipulation in article 32 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child). Thus, child labour basically means when you devoid children of their basic rights and ask them to work forcefully. HISTORICAL CONTEXT:

Child labour was not new to the world but it is believed that during the 1780’s and 1840’s there was a massive increase in child exploitation. This was due to the Industrial revolution era. More than 60% of the workers in the textile mills were children. Also, the main reason for child labour (as seen in the Victoran era) was that parents were poor and they couldn’t afford to send their kids to school and therefore they used t send their kids to work in order to support their families. The chart below shows that the greatest percent of people involved in child labour are those that come from a poor family background.

Thus the greatest percentage is coming fro the poorest sector and also the rural sector as shown above. this would mentally challenge them.
Industrial Revolution: During the Industrial Revolution, children as young as four were employed in production factories with dangerous, and often fatal, working conditions. Based on this understanding of the use of children as labourers, it is now considered by wealthy countries to be a human rights violation, and is outlawed, while some poorer countries may allow or tolerate child labour. Child labour can also be defined as the full-time employment of children who are under a minimum legal age. The Victorian era became notorious for employing young children in factories and mines and as chimney sweeps. Child labour played an important role in the Industrial Revolution from its outset, often brought about by economic hardship, Charles Dickens for example worked at the age of 12 in a blackingfactory, with his family in debtor's prison. The children of the poor were expected to help towards the family budget, often working long hours in dangerous jobs for low pay, earning 10-20% of an adult male's wage. In England and Scotland in 1788, two-thirds of the workers in 143 water-powered cotton mills were described as children. In 19th-century Great Britain, one- third of poor families were without a breadwinner, as a result of death or abandonment, obliging many children to work from a young age. Child labour had...
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