Child Labor in China
Wyatt Craven is a senior at the University of Central Missouri. Wyatt is in his 3rd year studying Digital Media Production. This week he will be guest blogging for the Show Me Justice Film Festival blog.
Around the year 2000, there were more than 11 million children in China that were put to work. These children were all under the age of 16 which means this work violated their constitutional rights in China. The millions of children were forced to work in dangerous conditions and had to set their education aside in order to work. China is one of the most known country for child labor. Although this statistic is from 17 years ago, the problem is still prevalent today, and is continuing to grow in China.
Many children begin work at a young age because of poverty. Along with poverty, many children also begin work to help support their families, and attempt to make their living conditions better. Another reason that child labor may occur is school fees. Many children feel that it is their responsibility to get themselves an education, so if they cannot afford schooling, they must find a way to pay for it. Children in China strive to get an education so they can move on and get a better job when they are older. Many schools suggest a work and study program in which children will work in order to gain money for their tuition. However, many schools do take advantage of the children and their work. According to the Human Rights Watch, “In 2004, Work and Study programs scheme for 12-16 year olds profited of more than $1.25 billion in a year.” It also seems that when children are in desperate need of money, they will work for less. Large companies and factories understand this so they target these children. After the children are hired, the companies can pay them less money and make a large profit for themselves.
Because these children are paid so little, many people compare child labor to slavery. These children are payed small wages, forced to work for long hours in dangerous environments, and are even had harsh punishments for small errors in their work. These children also are not provided healthcare of any kind. Children are also seen as small, weak, and helpless therefore they are taken advantage of through child labor. This can also lead to children being abused because of child labor.
Despite all of the help from the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), children all over China are still being abused through child labor. There are multiple ways that the Chinese Government can begin to take a stand on child labor. One example is to make elementary education free. This would allow children to not worry about having to work for the money to get their education. Let’s hope that the Chinese government will recognize how horrible this issue is and take a stand.