Child labour is the exploitation of children through any form of work that interferes with their childhood and has negative effects on them physically as well as mentally. Nowadays, talking about capitalism as the culprit is a popular occurence. A lot of industries strive for a sustainable, green economy (at least in theory). Should word get out that a multinational enterprise supports factories in which children are working, their reputation would be ruined in an instant.
Sadly, there are states where 10-15 year old children working several hours a day, instead of focusing on their studies and development, is seen as nothing out of the ordinary. In these parts of the world, the daily income of families only make up a few percentages of what is considered average in better developed countries. Child labour is much cheaper, and as such, guarantees a bigger amount of profit for the company involved. As unbelievable as it sounds, a 12 year old child could be making a living for a family of 10. This is a burden that no child should bear.
Ideally, the countries where this problem is more prominent should step up and take specific measures in order to counter poverty. Boosting the economy would lead to the number of people unemployed to decrease, and with that, poor people would not be desperate enough to resort to drastic means just to ensure their own survival. It’s a bit ironic, since monitoring human rights in these countries gives job opportunites to masses of people in the west. The question, whether doing this will actually help those countries develop or not. Remains unanswered.
In China the problem of child labour is as serious as ever. The low prices of chinese products is thanks to the factory and farm workers getting paid less. This allows for cheap mass production, but poor working conditions for the labourers. This is especially true in the more underdeveloped parts of the country. With the rising of already high salaries in the Far East, the pressure of cost reduction and the lessenging of child labour usage becomes heavier. In India and Pakistan, the situation may be worse. The difference, however, in the afforementioned two countries, is that the political closeness to the West influences the way human rights are portrayed in media. This makes spreading awareness of the problem much easier.
The Union is also taking action against the employment of children. The European Parliaments (EP) so called „system of observing and acting” has been operating for decades now – with it being more or less successful. One of the most important tools used is APS, a generalised system of preference, which provides easier access to the markets of the old continent. Regarding our current subject, the most important part of it is a clause for human rights violation. With ninety developing states as participants, the clause deprives the priviliges given from these states, should they find traces of systemic violation of human rights.