Child Labor in Global Southern Countries

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Child labour is also one of the most heinous forms of violence against children in the world. Since the colonial era, legislation and numerous amendments have been implemented to shield children from child labour. However, there are many isolated areas around the world where children are already subjected to slave labour, working even in minefields that endanger their lives. Child labour laws have been enacted around the world to shield children from violence. Many people fought to end child labor, such as Paul Warburg, Florence Kelley, Felix Adler, Jacob Schiff, etc.

Child labour has been linked to high levels of family poverty. In order to relieve hunger, the children chose to work in the fields. Despite the general acceptance that child labor is detrimental to children, even high-income nations still experience high incidences of child labor. Governments have worked on their labor policies to ensure that child labor is highly discouraged and that young children go to school. Several states in the Latin America have implemented a program which offers households income transfers in exchange for taking their children to schools and protecting them from the labor markets. The current paper assesses three articles which focus on research studies on child labor. The findings will help in understanding the milestone made in research regarding child labor in the global south countries.

Articles Review

The work was done by Gunnarsson, Orazem, and Sanchez highlight the effect of child labor on academic achievement. The research assessed schools in Latin America to ascertain whether or not those children involved in child labor performed poorly in class. The research utilized data from 3rd and 4th graders in at least 9 countries within Latin America. In the study, data was collected from forty children from hundred learning institutions in every state resulting in 4000 respondents. Child labor was measured by asking the kids whether they were involved in work outside their homes (Gunnarsson et al, 48). The researchers also requested for the test scores for language and mathematics for the children who took part in the research. The data on child labor was compared to their performance in class to ascertain whether there is a difference. The process was carried out in all the selected countries and data analyzed using least squares.

The results indicated that child labor indeed had a negative impact on the test scores of the children. The data showed that kids working displayed results which were 16 percent reduction on math tests and 11percent reduction on language tests. The authors concluded that working outside home lowered the average school achievement. The authors argued that those children who worked occasionally displayed even worsening results in the two subjects, going as low as 7% in both subject tests. They added that the variations in the child labor occurred within countries and not across the states, implying that policies should look into the labor markets of the local societies and the poverty levels together with national strategies to combat child labor. The authors’ conclusions and arguments are convincing, fully supported with evidence, and give answers to the initial research question regarding the impact of child labor on academic achievement. The authors further provide suggestions on how best the problem can be handled which include the implementation of labor laws to protect the minors.

The second work done by Thomas Palley focused on the child labor problem and the need for international labor standards. The author argues that despite the fact that child labor has received increased attention, the solutions to the problem remain elusive. He further adds that the answers to the question of child labor become more complicated because the extent of child labor is firmly attached to the economic development of various countries (Palley, 605). Combating child labor would, therefore, mean crippling such economies. I believe the author makes a strong claim that the strengthening of labor standards is the only way to reduce child labor across the world. The author focuses on the international labor bodies, adding that they should formulate policies which help in addressing the problem of child labor around the globe. The author mainly singles out the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Labor Organizations (ILO) as the institutions which can help in reducing the menace. The author, therefore, champions for the legal means of handling the child labor problem. The author argues that ILO core labor standards have the capability of addressing the causes of child labor which include the inefficient functioning of the labor markets and weak economic development.

The author argues that the developing countries have developed a stereotype that the ILO core labor standards are a form of imperial bullying while in reality, it instills right economic policies. ILO standards contribute to better economic development and policy formulation. The author concludes by adding that child labor can be averted by building labor markets which operate for the gain of the working people thus enhancing economic growth. The author makes convincing arguments, championing for the implementation of the international labor laws to curb the problem of child labor. The legal evidence given in the article is strong enough to push for a stronger recognition of the global labor laws.

The other work done by Kishor Sharma focuses on the labor standards and the WTO rules. The author surveyed the above topic concerning child labor in South Asia. The paper focuses on non-legal ways in combating the problem of child labor. The author argues that most of the developed countries have faced stiff competition from the industries based in developing countries resulting from the recruitment of children in the production of goods and services in the third world countries. In his research, Sharma argued in his study that the developed countries, in a protectionist move have refused to compete with the developing countries adding that the quality of the goods and services do from the weak economies do not measure up to the international standards (Sharma, 37). The West argues that poor working conditions in the developing nations which include child labor have led to the production of inferior quality goods.

In his research, the author argued that there is a need for a more appropriate approach to combat the problem of child labor which include speeding up the economic growth in the third world countries. The author proposes the integration of the developing counties into the global trading system to make them compliant with the international labor laws. The author gives an alternative approach to the issue of child labor. He believes that while the safety and health of the working children remain a top priority when disciplining countries through trade sanctions, he believes that the penalties are of no benefit unless critical issues such as poverty and underdevelopment are adequately addressed. He cites the case of Bangladesh, a country where a complete ban on child labor would result in economic sabotage. He suggests that for the enhanced fight against child labor in such countries, the international labor organizations should direct development assistance to such nations focusing on improving the quality and quantity of schools and providing meals for the school children. Also, there is need to link part-time work to schooling in a bid to reduce child labor.

Summary of Articles

From the three articles, it is evident that the authors have been very critical in ascertaining their claims. Whereas the studies done by Gunnarsson, Orazem and Sanchez and that of Thomas Palley are similar in that they champion for the legal ways of combating the child labor problem, the third study by Sharma gives an alternative option of economic development rather than legal means such as sanctions. The survey by Sharma seems to provide a better argument to the issue of child labor. Sharma explores the problem and includes evidence with practical and sustainable solutions to the question of child labor. His argument that the menace can be addressed through the economic development in countries practicing the vice seems to offer a better option for the problem. Legal means always have repercussions especially on the economies of the affected countries. Economic solutions, therefore, give better ways which lead to improvement of the living standards of people living in such countries. Such programs include strengthening of the school programs by offering quality education and supporting research studies to engage young people in meaningful activities. An improved economy will eventually value the labor laws and ultimately result in the eradication of child labor as opposed to sanctions which usually bring negative economic growth to the affected countries.

Works Cited

Gunnarsson, V. "Child Labor And School Achievement In Latin America." The World Bank Economic Review, vol 20, no. 1, 2006, pp. 31-54. Oxford University Press (OUP)

Palley, Thomas I. "The Child Labor Problem And The Need For International Labor Standards." Journal Of Economic Issues, vol 36, no. 3, 2002, pp. 601-615. Informa UK Limited

Sharma, Kishor. "Labor Standards And WTO Rules: Survey Of The Issues With Reference To Child Labor In South Asia." Journal Of Economic Issues, vol 43, no. 1, 2009, pp. 29-42. Informa UK Limited

May 04, 2022




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