Child Labour : a growing concern

There is a big difference in children helping their parents with chores around the house and children working day to night on roads, train stations just to earn food for their family. The latter destroys the child’s childhood, deprives them of their dignity, potential and harms them mentally and physically.

Child labour has always been a major concern for multiple underdeveloped nations and recently because of the pandemic and economic crisis, the number seems to be increasing. According to one of the UNICEF records, rougly 160 million children were subjected to child labour at the beginning of 2020 with 9 million additional children at risk due to impact of COVID-19.

Negative effects of child labour

Children are driven into work due to various reasons and poverty outstands them all. The consequences are hazardous since it risks the child’s health both mentally and physically and extreme harm can even lead to death. And most importantly it cuts ties with educational facilities, health care and fundamental rights, thus harming their future.

The worst kind of child labour encompasses forced labour, trafficking, debt bondage, forced prostitution, pornography, compulsory recruitment in armed conflicts and other illicit activities. Hazardous activities like working in mines or construction sites can increase risks of lung cancer, tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, silicosis and several autoimmune diseases.

The difficulty of tasks and bad working conditions lead to premature aging, depression, malnutrition, drug addiction etc. These children from poor and disadvantageous backgrounds and many who are abducted from their families or trafficked because of war have no one to protect them.

Overview of child labour around the world

  • In South East Asia and Pacific, girls are sold to provide prostitution or work as domestic labourers and many are sold to work in textile factories to cover up their family debt.
  • In Africa, parents sell their children mostly for livestock. These children are either left to work in mines and construction sites or sold to become domestic workers.
  • In North America and Latin America, the majority of children are forced in prostitution or are exploited by drug traffickers.

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