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Di Indonesia, angka resmi tentang jumlah buruh anak tidak tersedia.

Namun, jumlah buruh anak


menunjukkan gejala yang makin meluas. Diperkirakan terdapat sekitar 2,5 juta anak bekerja.
Hanya perlu dicatat, kategori buruh anak yang dipakai BPS (Biro Pusat Statistik) adalah mereka
yang berumur 10-14 tahun yang aktif melakukan aktivitas secara ekonomi (Sakernas, 1992;
Nachrowi dan Muhidin, 1996). Sudah pasti jumlah buruh anak akan lebih besar jika kategorisasi
yang dipergunakan lebih luas, yaitu anak-anak yang menghabiskan sebagian waktunya untuk
keperluan mencari upah. Menurut Irwanto, jika kategorisasi terakhir ini digunakan, jumlah
buruh anak di tanah air kira-kira akan mencapai 8 juta anak (Kompas, 23/7/1996). Bahkan, ada
yang memperkirakan lebih besar lagi yaitu 10 juta anak (Thijs, 1994). Angka yang berbeda
mengenai jumlah buruh anak itu karena pertimbangan atas batasan dan konsep buruh anak.

Sudah pasti jumlah buruh anak akan lebih besar jika kategorisasi yang dipergunakan lebih luas,
yaitu anak-anak yang menghabiskan sebagian waktunya untuk keperluan mencari upah

Terlepas dari pro-kontra jumlah buruh anak di Indonesia, diperkirakan tiap tahun, jumlahnya
terus mengalami peningkatan. Krisis ekonomi sejak tahun 1997 sampai saat ini menjadi salah
satu indikasinya. Perkiraan Bappenas, karena krisis potensi angka putus sekolah meningkat
tajam, dari 2,8 juta menjadi 8 juta anak per tahun. Sementara Depdiknas mengemukakan, angka
partisipasi sekolah di Tingkat SLTP yang berusia antara 12-15 tahun yang bersekolah menurun
drastis, dari 78 % menjadi 58 %. Mengacu pada angka perkiraan Bappenas di atas, maka akibat
krisis, terdapat lebih dari 5 juta anak-anak yang potensial memasuki pasar tenaga kerja sebagai
buruh anak. Selain secara jumlah, buruh anak juga meluas secara sektoral.
Tidak hanya soal jumlah, pro-kontra juga menyangkut keberadaan anak-anak menjadi buruh
anak, antara boleh atau tidaknya anak-anak bekerja, antara pembelajaran atau eksplotasi? Di
daerah pedesaan di Indonesia, anak-anak yang bekerja merupakan peristiwa biasa. Bagi
masyarakat desa, bekerja bagi anak-anak adalah kegiatan lumrah dan biasa dilakukan seharihari. Dalam proses industrialisasi, terjadi pergeseran bentuk atau status keterlibatan anak dari
tenaga keluarga yang tidak dibayar menjadi tenaga upahan. Menurut Tjadraningsih dan White
(1992), sektor industri pengolahan di Indonesia selain mengandalkan angkatan kerja di atas umur
14 tahun, juga memanfaatkan mereka yang belum termasuk dalam angkatan kerja resmi.
Para orang tua memang menghadapi situasi yang sangat sulit, karena konstribusi anak sebagai
buruh anak dalam menyangga ekonomi keluarga cukup besar
Keterlibatan anak-anak menjadi buruh yang diupah terjadi sejak zaman penjajahan Belanda.
Masuknya anak-anak menjadi buruh di perkebunan teh dan tembakau misalnya, karena

rendahnya upah buruh. Untuk memenuhi kebutuhan sehari-hari para buruh pemetik teh
mempekerjakan anak-anak mereka (Mubyarto et al., 1991). Karena itu, anak-anak yang masuk
ke pasar kerja menjadi buruh anak merupakan rasionalisasi untuk memenuhi kebutuhan ekonomi
keluarga yang dilanda kemiskinan. Konstalasi ini menjadi legitimasi mempekerjakan anak-anak,
bahkan dengan pekerjaan yang eksploitatif, upah murah dan pekerjaan yang berbahaya (Joni,
1997).
Eksploitasi tenaga anak untuk keuntungan perusahaan terjadi sejak zaman penjajahan Belanda
pula. Dokumen Pemerintah Kolonial Belanda tahun 1911, menyebutkan bahwa upah anak-anak
yang bekerja di perkebunan teh, tembakau dan tebu dengan jam kerja yang sama dengan orang
dewasa hanya setengah dari upah buruh laki-laki dewasa dan dua pertiga hingga tiga perempat
upah buruh perempuan dewasa (Tjandraningsih dan Anarita, 2002). Eksploitasi terhadap anak
terus berlangsung dan pada sektor ekonomi yang semakin meluas. Realitas ini ketika
dipermasalahkan, maka mereka yang menggunakan anak-anak sebagai buruh selalu melidungi
dirinya dengan alasan membantu anak-anak tersebut. Para orang tua yang mempekerjakan
anak dalam situasi eksploitatif juga tidak mempunyai pilihan lain, kecuali ikut membenarkan
bahwa keterlibatan anaknya adalah untuk membantu keluarga memenuhi kebutuhan ekonomi.
Para orang tua memang menghadapi situasi yang sangat sulit, karena konstribusi anak sebagai
buruh anak dalam menyangga ekonomi keluarga cukup besar. Diperkirakan buruh anak rata-rata
memberi sumbangan 20 persen bagi ekonomi keluarga. Angka ini muncul dalam sebuah laporan
yang diungkap dalam konferensi PBB (Perserikatan Bangsa-Bangsa) mengenai masalah
pemukiman (habitat II) di Turki tahun 1996. Dengan jumlah sebesar itu, wajar jika orang tua
dengan ekonomi pas-pasan merelakan anaknya mencari tambahan penghasilan, walaupun tidak
sedikit anak-anak tersebut bekerja pada lingkungan yang eksploitatif.
Keberadaan buruh anak ini sangat dilematis. Di satu sisi, anak-anak bekerja untuk memberikan
konstribusi pendapatan keluaraga, yang sampai mencapai 20 %, namun di sisi lain, mereka
rentan dengan eksploitasi dan perlakuan salah. Menurut Irwanto (1995) pada kenyataannya, sulit
untuk memisahkan antara partisipasi (sebagai pembelajaran, penulis) anak dan eksploitasi anak.
Berkat advokasi dari berbagai lembaga nonpemerintah dengan dukungan lembaga internasional
yang memiliki kepedulian terhadap permasalahan buruh anak selama lebih dari sepuluh tahun,
kini masalah buruh anak makin terbuka dan dikenali masyarakat. Pergeseran sifat
ketaknampakan (invisibility) buruh anak menjadi terbuka, adalah sebuah kemajuan yang sangat
berarti. Begitu pula, perubahan paradigma dari melihat buruh anak sebagai ancaman terhadap
buruh dewasa, sehingga upaya-upaya mengatasi buruh anak yang bersifat anti buruh anak yang
berwujud dalam gerakan penghapusan buruh anak, ke paradigma yang mendukung gerakan pro
buruh anak, namun disertai pemenuhan hak mereka atas pendidikan dan pelayanan kesehatan
untuk menjamin kesejahteraannya. Pergeseran ini bersifat positif dalam upaya melindungi anakanak yang terlibat dalam dunia kerja, dibanding kita terus berada dalam perdebatan yang tidak
habis-habisnya antara boleh atau tidaknya anak-anak dipekerjakan.
Beberapa peraturan internasional lebih lunak, lebih pro pada buruh anak namun faktor-faktor
yang menjadi hak dan kebutuhan anak perlu menjadi perhatian yang memadai. Peraturan tersebut
diantaranya, Konvesi ILO 138 tentang Usia Minimum untuk Diperbolehkan Bekerja 1973 (ILO

Convention No. 138 concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment) yang diratifikasi
oleh Pemerintah Indonesia dengan UU No. 20/1999, Konvensi Hak-hak Anak (The United
Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) diratifikasi Pemerintah RI dengan Keppres
36/1990, dan Konvensi ILO 182 mengenai Pelarangan dan Tindakan Segera Penghapusan
Bentuk-bentuk Pekerjaan Terburuk bagi Anak 1999 (ILO Convention No. 182 Concerning The
Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Form of Child Labour)
diratifikasi Pemerintah RI dengan UU No. 1/2000. Pasal 32 Konvensi Hak Anak menyebutkan
bahwa buruh anak berhak dilindungi dari pekerjaan yang membahayakan kesehatan fisik,
mental, spiritual, moral maupun perkembangan sosial atau mengganggu pendidikan mereka.
Dalam pasal ini terkandung pengakuan bahwa persoalan buruh anak harus didekati sebagai
persoalan kesejahteraan dan pekerjaan anak.
Konvensi ILO 138 tentang Usia Minimum untuk Diperbolehkan Bekerja dan Konvensi ILO 182
tentang Pelarangan dan Tindakan Segera Penghapusan Bentuk-bentuk Pekerjaan Terburuk bagi
Anak, secara tidak sengaja merupakan bentuk kesepakatan antara gerakan anti dan pro buruh
anak, untuk bersama-sama membatasi umur anak yang masuk dalam dunia kerja, dan
memprioritaskan dihapusnya pekerjaan yang menyebabkan anak hidup dalam pekerjaan yang
membahayakan.
Prinsip bahwa anak tidak boleh dipekerjakan, memang harus tetap menjadi pegangan, namun
buruh anak adalah realitas yang dihadapi oleh masyarakat dunia. Maka upaya untuk melindungi
dan memenuhi hak-hak anak yang telah menjadi buruh anak, sambil berupaya keras untuk
menahan laju masuknya anak-anak ke lapangan kerja, apalagi yang eksploitatif, adalah lebih fair
dan bijak. [V]

Pendidikan di Indonesia yang terus berbenah tampaknya belum bisa menyentuh semua elemen masyarakat yang ada di
Indonesia khususnya untuk anak-anak kurang mampu. Hal ini kemudian memunculkan para pekerja anak yang merupakan
generasi putus sekolah.
Sebenarnya, faktor penyebab munculnya para pekerja anak ini cukup beragam. Sementara itu, yang terus mengemuka
saat ini faktor penyebab adalah karena masalah sosial ekonomi dan kesejahteraan keluarga yang tidak mencukupi
sehingga mengharuskan anak-anak ini harus bekerja.
Sementara itu, Direktur Pengawasan Norma Kerja Perempuan dan Anak Dirjen Pembinaan Pengawasan Ketenagakerjaan
Kemenakertrans, Adji Dharma, mengatakan bahwa ada faktor lain yang melatarbelakangi anak-anak ini menjadi pekerja
anak.
Bukan hanya masalah sosial ekonomi saja. Ada faktor lain juga. Itu yang kami coba tuntaskan bersama dengan
Kemendikbud, kata Adji, di Yayasan Al Himatuzzainiyah, Cakung, Jakarta.
Adapun faktor lain yang menyebabkan anak usia sekolah ini menjadi pekerja anak yaitu budaya masyarakat yan
berpandangan anak adalah aset keluarga sehingga harus menjadi tulang punggung keluarga. Kemudian adanya
diskriminasi gender, permintaan pasar yang tinggi terhadap pekerja anak karena bayarannya murah dan yang terakhir
lemahnya penegakan hukum terhadap masalah ini.
Selanjutnya, ia menjelaskan bahwa jika anak-anak ini terpaksa harus bekerja, maka ada beberapa hal yang wajib diketahui
terkait pekerja anak. Hal wajib ini sama sekali tidak boleh dilanggar karena berpengaruh pada tumbuh kembangnya.
Untuk mulai bekerja harusnya berusia 18 tahun ke atas. Tapi jika terpaksa di bawah itu, maka anak bekerja tidak boleh
lebih dari tiga jam per hari, pekerjaannya harus ringan dan tidak membahayakan keselamatan jiwa, fisik serta
perkembangannya sebagai anak, jelas Adji.
Durasi waktu bekerja ini dimaksudkan agar anak-anak ini tidak kehilangan waktu belajar dan bermain. Untuk itu, adanya
pendidikan layanan khusus ini diharap dapat menjadi solusi sehingga anak-anak ini tetap terpenuhi kebutuhan
pendidikannya agar menjadi sumber daya manusia berkualitas.
Anak bekerja tidak boleh jam kerjanya seperti orang dewasa. Kalau mereka sudah jadi pekerja anak, maka kebanyakan
lupa sekolah, sulit dikembalikan ke sekolah, tandasnya.

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Debating on Child Labor


Public By Marion Dupont on August 9, 2010
#Labor Practices #Supply Chain Management
UNICEF defines child labor as, work that exceeds a minimum number of hours, depending on the age of a child and
on the type of work. Such work is considered harmful to the child and should therefore be eliminated.From our
Western point of view, child labor is absolutely not acceptable in any case and governments, labor institutions, NGOs
and companies should work together to eliminate this terrible plague, which hinders the poorest countries
development. Nevertheless, eliminating child labor can sometimes do more harm than goodwhich is very difficult
for us to admit. Lets check the pros and cons of this complicated and hot debate, which keeps dividing child
protection associations.

These days, about 158 million children from 5 to 14 are engaged in Child Labor says the UNICEF, mainly in South
Asia (60%) and South-Saharan Africa (30%). Child labor is particularly developed in poor countries, where children
often work to help their families survive financially. The reality is, many families cant do without supplemental
earnings and encourage their kids to go to factories instead of schools. In our Western culture, we condemn these
practices by developing programs with NGO or institutions to forbid the use of children as workers in local factories,
without understanding that we are not always improving the system and are at odds with the reality of extreme

poverty.
The cons of Child labor
Children workers often have extremely difficult working conditions: very long work duration (from 12 to 16 hours a
day), injuries from machinery, health problems from chemical poisonings, and no access to drinking water or toilet
blocks. Children who have worked in these conditions suffer from life-long disabilities and die at younger ages. This
kind of child labor is of course absolutely immoral.
Because of their young age, children are less expensive to hire, less likely to protest on their working conditions or
salaries, and therefore, easier to fire. Businesses are not bound by any regulations and most of companies tend to
abuse this situation and literally exploit them.
While children are getting jobs in factories because of their low wages, adults often face difficulties to find work due
to child competition. They tend to feel unproductive and ashamed that they cant support the family, but that their
children are, which causes social issues.
By working every day, children miss school and the proper education that could enable them to find better-paid jobs
in their adult lives. Children labor perpetuates poverty and exploitation from companies.
The Pros of Child Labor
Child labor may be a financial necessity for families, who dont make enough money to buy the basic essentials to
survive. Poverty is the main cause of child labor, and the less educated the parents, the more likely the child will
work explains Werner Haas. In certain areas, families are forced to make their children work to be able to feed them,
which is simply tragicbut the grim reality!
Child workers are not always exploited like in Dickens books: they may work alongside with their parents to run the
family business, like for instance to help at a restaurant or at a shop. Child labor can be seen as a participation in
foreign families work ethic, and was part of normal life in almost every society in history.
In certain cases, regulations can do more harm than good. For instance, read the case explained by Toby Webb
from EthicalCorp. As already happened in Bangladesh or Pakistan, companies can forbid child labor because of
pressure from Western customers. Children that used to work in textile factories lose their jobs overnight and end-up
working in less-paid sectors, with more dangerous working conditions like metalworking, or worse join criminal
activities or sex trade. Child labor in textile factories may be safer than the alternatives.
Child labor may be acceptable if the work is appropriate, light and not harmful to their health or development, and if
children have time left to attend school. In our context of intensive globalization, price is the main buying factor for
consumers. Companies will then be tempted to cut their costs, and keep using child labor. A reasonable compromise
could be found for children: companies, associations and governments together could set up programs, like in Brazil,
to divide childrens time between their work at factories to help their families and school attendance, which is their
only chance to build a better future. Is it, as Toby Webb explains, the best of bad options?
Nevertheless, we can ask ourselves the influence of Western consumers who always want to buy goods at the lowest
prices but at the same time condemn the use of child labor or the lack of environmental protection from companies.
The important increase of fair trade in recent years proves that we have a role to play and are finally ready to take
conscience of our purchases impact on the social and environmental stakes of the planet.
If you want to react on this subject, dont hesitate to join the discussion in the forum !

Best Answer - Chosen by Voters


Pros:
Generally you can pay them less.
They generally will do jobs adults will not do.
It keeps kids from getting into trouble.
It gives kids an idea of financial responsibility and work ethics.
Cons:
Hours are restricted.
Ages are restricted.
Certain jobs are illegal for them to perform (dangerous machinery, handling alcohol, etc)
They are less experienced.
They need more supervision

by Jamie Craig
Created on: October 04, 2009 Last Updated: October 05, 2009
Child labor does exactly what is says on the tin. It is the use of workers under the age of 16 to do
tasks that would otherwise be allocated to unfortunate adults. The word labor of course suggests
that the tasks these children have been provided are physically strenuous such as mining, farming
of repetitive factory work. These jobs are described as being in the primary and secondary
sectors (jobs including the creation of raw materials and the processing of them, respectively).
Within the collection of developed nations there are tough laws
regulating the use of child labor, this is partly down to UN
conventions which suggest legal standards regarding child labor.
However the majority of the work done to protect children is done
by the governments working within the countries. The earliest laws
in the United States concerning child labor began to be enforced in
1918. Similarly laws in the UK began to be introduced at the
beginning of the 19th century as a means to protect young children
working in factories during the industrial revolution. The
"International Labour Organisation" set up the Minimum Age
Convention in 1973, which suggested that all developed nations
stated a minimum age at which a child could begin employment
without a parent's fully informed consent. This age has been
allocated at between 14-16 years in all nations which have

conformed to the guidelines. All of these laws and conventions have


been introduced as a means to protect the welfare and education of
a country's youngest members.
We are forgetting of course that there are many nations which have
yet to enforce a minimum age for which children can undertake
regular employment and that at one time or another all nations
have relied upon children as an active part of their workforce. There
are then presumably many advantages of child labor, otherwise it
would not have been used in the first place. Using this logic there
must therefore be many disadvantages which have led to its
downfall and abolishment within developed nations.
*The Pros*
Child labor's main advantage is that compared with employing an
adult it is remarkably cheap. This means that a business expense
can be driven down be expanding its child workforce. This in turn
increases a business profits, which is the ultimate goal in any
economical climate. Child labor can be a key cog in a system which
ultimately provides a nation with more money, which in turn grants
it greater political power and a higher likelihood of being able

to deal with the more advanced, richer nations in the West which
tend not to use child labor.
Child labor is a prevalent driving force in countries such as China
and Vietnam and it is easy to imagine the scope of goods that are
manufactured from such regions. Good which are produced in bulk
such as toys, packaging, furniture and clothes are all mainly
produced in these countries and others like them, due to the low
cost of manufacturing which is a result of child labor. A major
benefit means that consumers in developed nations will
theoretically pay less for the goods which they purchase.
A final advantage of using child labor is that children often prove
very useful in primary and secondary sectors, as outlined in the
introduction. Repetitive tasks which require specific skills are easily
picked up by children; this is because they are innately designed to
learn. Also, in farming communities families often encourage their
own children to work as a means of supporting the welfare and the
continued existence of the family and the society as a whole.
Children are also adapted very well to jobs which adults are
physically ill-suited for. There are notorious examples of children

doing jobs such as chimney sweeps and working down narrow mine
shafts because of their small size.
*The Cons*
The first, and most obvious, con involved within child labor is that of
the ethical issues involved. Children are correctly depicted as being
largely defenceless. Since children have younger, more innocent
minds and a smaller physical presence than that of an adult they
are much more liable to exploitable by employers. This is why they
are so poorly paid for often very hard jobs in poor working
conditions, such as those generally present within "sweatshops".
Another negative factor of having children working is that they are
often prone to physical and mental abuse as a means to force them
to work harder or with fewer mistakes. Whilst this drives up the
productivity of the children it also damages impressionable minds
and ruins a period of a person's life which should otherwise be full
of adventure, innocence and discovery.
Child labor can also be interpreted as a vicious cycle. Children are
stuck doing poor quality, hard and mundane jobs in relatively
unrewarding industries, and because of this they miss the chance to
ever acquire a proper education, even at the taken-for-granted level
that is provided at kindergartens and primary schools in the
developed nations. This impairs even the most basic literary and
numeracy skills from developing. In turn this will reduce the amount
of workers that can work within the tertiary and quaternary
industries. These industries typically deal with providing public
services and the use of information technology; these industries are
not accessible to nations with generations without proper
education.
Having written this article I would, of course, like to point out that I
am firmly against child labor and that I am a firm believer in Fairtrade goods and the proper treatment of children within society and
their absence from full-time employment.
Sources:
UN Regulations:
http://cyberschoolbus.un.org/briefing/labour/index.h tm

by Algy Moncrief

Created on: December 26, 2006 Last Updated: May 19, 2009
This question must be divided into two sections - the pros and cons of child labour in developed
countries, and the pros and cons of child labour in developing countries. It is a difficult question
to answer in both cases, but in the developing world where children may be expected to work in
sweatshop conditions for pitiful wages it becomes particularly controversial.
THE DEVELOPED WORLD
Most countries in the developing world have a system of minimum wages that is not a flat rate
for all ages, but one that increases with age. This is for the simple reason that older workers tend
to be more competent and experienced, and therefore produce more than younger counterparts.
No child could possibly compete with the better workers if the wages were the same, unless there
was a severe shortage of labour, in which case their wages would be driven up anyway.
The main advantage then to firms of hiring child labour is that they are considerably cheaper to
employ than workers older than 21. Not only can you offer them a lower wage, but also are
unlikely to have to make contributions to their pensions, health insurance and so on. Other than
these cost advantages it is hard to point to any benefits of employing child labour.
The main disadvantage of child labour is that, as already mentioned, children tend to be weaker,
less able to work for long stretches and less experienced at the job in question. Needless to say,
child labour is unlikely to be found in high-skilled positions (although, bizarrely perhaps, the
minimum age to be CEO of a company is 14 in the UK - that's not to say there actually are any
though). A further disadvantage, at least in the eyes of the government, is that during a recession
they would rather the jobs went to needy adults on low incomes rather than the children of rich
middle-class families who want some extra pocket money.
THE DEVELOPING WORLD
This is the really contentious area. Is it really acceptable for children to be working in sweatshop
conditions to bring us cheap trainers from brands that make vast amounts of money anyway? An
outraged NO seems to be the obvious response, but the reality may be a little more complicated
than that.
The dilemma is a major one. For manufacturers in fiercely competitive markets it may come
down to a decision to outsource to countries with dubious moral standards where they have little
control over the factories, or go out of business. The pro here of child labour is that it helps to
keep big fat western firms in business. Big deal.

Actually these large firms are a fairly great benefit to the world economy - providing
employment, paying taxes and producing cheap goods for consumers. Most important perhaps is
the employment part, and especially in developing countries this is likely to include a lot of
cheap child labour.
The problem with this is that safety standards can be very low in these factories in order to keep
productivity as high as possible - after all there are few benefits that need to be paid to injured
workers, and they can be replaced almost instantly. Few people would argue that it is good
practice to subject children to this kind of treatment and, all other things equal as economists like
to say, I would have to agree.
But before we make any resounding judgements and refuse to buy unethical trainers, we have
to consider the alternative to this: because even child labourers are paid for their work, and
wages throughout the developing world are inexorably rising. Abject poverty, and the disease
and starvation that goes with it, is arguably much worse than long hours and hard conditions in a
factory, because factory workers have a bed to sleep in and food to eat. If they want to, they can
quit their jobs. Is it fair to make people choose between ridiculous working hours, poor
conditions and considerable danger, or starvation? Certainly not. However, there is little we can
do about it, and refusing to buy trainers will simply force workers to take the starvation option.
The crucial thing to remember is that industrialisation allows for economic growth which in turn
brings rapid improvements in living standards. As workers spend their money, this provides
income to shopkeepers, who then go on to spend that money and so on and so forth. This is
known as the multiplier effect, and is a powerful engine for growth. If people have no money, it
cannot happen.
That does not mean to say that I condone child labour in sweatshops, but I find it a difficult
puzzle to solve, and one that really only time can be the healer of. During the Industrial
Revolution in Britain child labour was abused terribly, and was an abhorrence that I am quick to
condemn. However, as much as I hate to say it, it is part of the reason why children no longer
have to climb chimneys or crawl into moving machines to collect a dropped tool.
While the economics allows it, child labour it seems is set to continue.

by Anum Gull
Created on: July 24, 2007
Primarily what does the child labor refer to? It means the children who are forced to work
outdoors due to the financial crisis faced by their families and because of this poverty they are
devoid of the basic right of studying and are left with no other option except to ruin their mental
aptitude by doing these trifling jobs from which they earn meager sum of money which they do
not deserve at all.
If we scrutinize the present situation of the poor and wretched children of Pakistan, we will
infer that today in this so called modern era these innocent and blameless members of the society
are subjected to wrath and abomination and are not considered to be worthy of being studied and
taken into any educational institutes whatsoever. The attitude of society towards these children is

very adverse which provides them an urge of doing these trivial jobs which are not creditable for
them because their age is of learning and adorning themselves with the jewels of education and
not to waste their mental capacities in doing these laborious tasks.
Since the family members of these children take the rights of education from them, it is our
responsibility and it is now incumbent upon us to take the initiative and provide them the
educational facilities. But on the contrary, the self centered and heartless people don't even
bother to think of taking an apt stand for these dejected and miserable members of the society.
Hence due to lack of knowledge and skill, they remain deprived and underprivileged all their
lives and the future becomes bleak for them. The doors of edification and schooling are closed on
them and they are left with no other option but to return to these petty jobs and spend the rest of
their lives in anguish, desolation and dismay.
Another most ironic and startling demerit of child labor is that there innocence and virtuousness
is snatched from them brutally and they are left to live their lives in a mature and adult ambience.
What a pity, that these children who have stepped their foot in this world just ten years back; our
society has made them mature enough to perform manly tasks. They are supposed to act as
children and do all those mischiefs and innocent deeds which are the gems of youth and the
source of mirth and joy for these children but our frigid and callous society has made them lose
their beautiful innocence. Now they cannot play with the children of their age and cannot do all
those vivid and enchanting things which their comrades do. This unfortunate and biting reality
leaves an adverse psychological effect on the minds of these wretched children and they start
thinking pessimistically. It is inevitably very detrimental and harmful thing for the mental as well
as the physical health of the children and hence they feel distressed and abject all their lives and
can't enjoy their youthful days.
In the light of all these demerits of child labor, the State of Pakistan should forge its steps on the
way of propagating the awareness of the significance of education among the illiterate people of
rural areas. Also apt policies should be adopted to ensure the educational facilities to these
children free of cost so that their parents don't feel hampered and fraught because of financial
reasons. In this way we can glorify the future of these wretched and dejected children and can
revive the mirth and ecstasy in their lives by washing away the tears in their eyes and bringing
back smile on their faces.

4 of 7

by Penny B
Created on: March 12, 2008

When asked, many will tell you that they are dead set against
the concept of child labor. In the developed countries, child
labor is absolutely prohibited. No child is allowed to work
before the age of sixteen or seventeen, unless given special
permission by their parent(s), and even then, the options are
extremely strict and few. However, a child is allowed to have
such jobs as a paper route or babysit at an acceptable age.
In North America, child labor laws were first set up in and
around 1915 with two agendas in mind. One was to abolish the
practice of having children working jobs that were unsafe and
unsuited to young children. Some jobs were far too dangerous for
these young children to be doing, even risking death or
disfigurement.
The other purpose was due to the fact that because it was cheaper
to hire children, many adults found themselves out of work and
unable to provide for their families, which presented more problems
for the American family to deal with. It is believed that much of
the depression during the 1930's was due to too many children, still
in the workforce, working for the low wages. Adults then found
themselves either vying for the same job, at the same low wage, or
being out of work altogether. Because it was more important for the
adults to have the work, both to provide their families with the
necessities of life, as well as being more beneficial to the
American economy, the laws were then reinstated and enforced again
in the 1930's.

PROS
A lot of people will look unfavorably at developing countries when
they see young children, who should be in school learning basic
educational skills, but are instead in the streets or shops doing
hard, manual labor for long, endless hours. Yes, children of all
ages should be in school or out playing with friends, enjoying
their childhood. However, this is not always a perfect world.
Sometimes, because of extreme and extenuating circumstances, these
children must help in providing their families with just the basic
needs in life, such as food and shelter. Without their jobs, the
family doesn't eat. It would be beneficial if the governments of

these countries were as aware of the situation as was North America


at the turn of the 20th century, enforcing the same laws, but
unfortunately it is just not happening.
It has also been brought to world attention, that by abolishing
child labor in developing countries, homeless children without
parents or adult supervision, tend to enter the sex trade or lean
towards other criminal activities in order
to earn money to live.
It is better that they HAVE legitimate jobs, even if they are in
the sweat shops or doing tedious work for long hours, in the
streets or open air markets. It is a far better solution, than for
them to be prostituting themselves at such ridiculously young
ages, where diseases and the criminal element run rampant.
CONS
This brings to the forefront that children are definitely
exploited. Companies will often hire them as they can get away
with paying much lower wages to a child, keeping bigger profits
for themselves. This will in fact, take away the jobs from their
parents (or adults), who might expect to be paid a bit more. In
turn, so many adults are left feeling unproductive and probably a
bit ashamed that it's the children who are supporting the family
financially.
This also keeps young children working far into their adult
lives, at such low paying work, never getting out of the rut to
do better for themselves. Without proper education, it perpetuates
extreme poverty levels as a way of life.
This sets in motion, a system entwined in a catch-22 situation.
Someone in the families have to work, and if children are the only
ones to get the job, then that is the way it must be. It doesn't
make it right, but until governments around the world start to
stand "for" the people of their own countries, then nothing will
change anytime soon.