Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Child Labor is a Worldwide Problem.

According to Andrew W. Savitz’s book “The Triple Bottom Line”, “A sustainable business ought to be able to measure, document, and report a positive ROI on all three bottom lines - economic, environmental, and social” (Savitz, 2006, p. 8). Child labor is connected with all three. Child labor is a worldwide problem. It is connected with economy, because, for children, they must earn money for their livelihood in some third world country. Companies use child labor in their factories, because children are not needed high wages. So, companies can get more profits. Also, in environment, most working children are working in very dangerous workplaces, because for more profits, companies do not try to improve working environments. I think that some companies, included Nike, think just how they can more profits, so they are making these problems. Definitely, child labor is a moral problem. I think that people should keep children from workplaces for their own benefit. There are some solutions. First, we need an international guard system for preventing child labor. Second, we have to concentrate on the child labor problem for a long period. Finally, every person has to lead in fixing this problem.

Firstly, we have to make international guard systems. Mr. Dogar of IMAC, the Independent Monitoring Association for Child labor, said that we are not able to do “24-hour surveillance,” and cover “the whole area” (Montero, 2006). So, we make a new international association with nations, companies and non-government organizations. That is because, according to “Child Labour”, “Though the United Nations has already created a large number of international conventions, setting legal standards to prohibit the exploitation of child labour, the problem remains widespread” (n.d., p. 4). For example, we make international laws. If some companies do not obey those, countries do not allow selling these companies’ products. If we can do that, we can make a trend of obeying these rules.

Secondly, we have to concentrate on children’s entire life situations. Children’s working environment is very serious. We have to keep child workers far away from hazardous environments. For example, in factories, they work with hazardous chemical mixtures and glass bangles (Child Labour, 2006). Although solving these problems may make third world people’s livelihoods harder than now, after several years, it will be clear that their lives are more comfortable. So, we have to support their education for their future lives. For example, if their children study hard, they will get higher knowledge and technology. These changes give a chance for their living conditions to be more improved. In IKEA’s study, there were 22,000 children out of school in Andhra Pradesh. So, IKEA donated 18,000 tables for use in schools (International Partnership: IKEA, n.d.). In the long term, for their lives and their children’s lives, they do not have to steal their children’s future.

Finally, people have to lead in fixing this problem. Nowadays, many international organizations are trying to solve this problem. However, there are still problems. For example, in China, Nike’s factories are using children to work in assembly lines (Nike finds problem in China, 2008). So, people have to do movements such as a boycott. According to Joel D. Joseph (2008), “Our purchases keep children in chains,” he said, “Don’t buy it. Tell your Senator, Congressman and presidential candidates that we should oppose the cruelest abuse of human rights: child labor” (para. 10).

Some people have said that preventing child labor will have a bad effect on their economic activities such as unemployment. In Sialkot, Pakistan, there were 5,000 children workers. If they lose their job, about 20,000 families could be affected (Montero, 2006). However, if their problem continues, their livelihood will be worse. According to John H. Cushman Jr., in “Nike Pledges to End Child Labor,” “American companies pay workers in China and Vietnam less than $2 a day and workers in Indonesia less than $1 a day” (1998, para. 6). I think that we should apply higher the minimum age and pay more wages. If the minimum age rises by about 2 years, and minimum wage is raised, the effect on children worker’s families will be minimized.

In conclusion, child labor is not only a problem of their lives, but also a problem of their countries and whole nations. So, we should make a system that is able to do a 24-hour watch. Also, we have to watch these problems as a long-term project. In order to do that, people have to lead in fixing this problem. People should prevent Child Labor.

Child Labor (2006). Dictionary.com. Retrieved April 16, 2008, from http://www.dictionary.com

Child Labour. (n.d.). Retrieved April 16, 2008, from http://www.un.org/Pubs/CyberSchoolBus/briefing/labour/index.htm

Cushman, Jr., J. (1998, May 13). Nike pledges to end child labor and apply U.S. rules abroad. The New York Times. Retrieved April 16, 2008, from Lexis-Nexis.

International partnership: IKEA. (n.d.). UNICEF. Retrieved April 16, 2008, from http://www.unicef.org/corporate_partners/index_25092.html

Johnson, C. (2006, September 11). Businesses ignore environmental, social bottom lines at own risk. McClatchy Newspapers. Retrieved April 16, 2008, from Lexis-Nexis.

Joseph, J. (n.d.). Our purchases keep children in chains. Knight-Ridder. Retrieved April 16, 2008, from http://www.saigon.com/~nike/childlabor.htm

Montero, D. (2006, December 22). Nike’s dilemma: Is doing the right thing wrong? Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved April 16, 2008, from Lexis-Nexis.

Nike finds problems in China. (2008, March 15). The Toronto Star. Retrieved April 16, 2008, from Lexis-Nexis.

Nike sacks Pakistani supplier over child labour row. (2006, November 20). Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved April 16, 2008, from Lexis-Nexis.

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