The term Child Labor is used for employment of children below a certain age, which is considered illegal by law and custom. The stipulated age varies from country to country and government to government. Child labor is a world phenomenon which is considered exploitative and inhuman by many international organizations.
Child Labor began to be considered a human rights issue and became an issue of public dispute, when the foundation of universal schooling was laid. Historically the transformation came with the industrial revolution and the emergence of concepts like children’s rights and worker’s right’s. Child labor is widely prevalent in some form or the other, all over the world. The term is used for domestic work, factory work, agriculture, mining, quarrying, having own work or business’ like selling food etc, helping parent’s business and doing odd jobs. Children are regularly employed to guide tourists, sometimes doubling up as a marketing force to bring in business for shop owners and other business establishment. In some industries children are forced to do repetitive and tedious work like weaving carpets, assembling boxes, polishing shoes, cleaning and arranging a shops goods. It is seen that children are found working more in the informal sectors compared to factories and commercial registered organizations. Little children are often seen selling in the streets or working quietly on domestic chores within the high walls of homes – hidden away from the eyes of the media and labor inspectors.
According to the statistics given by International Labor Organization there are about 218 million children between the age of 5 and 17 working all over the world. The figure excludes domestic labor. The most condemned form of child labor is the use of children for military purpose and child prostitution. Child agricultural works, child singers and child actors outside of school hours during season time are more acceptable by champions of human rights and law. The phenomenon of child labor is a complex development issue worthy of investigation. The fact that vulnerable children are being exploited and forced into work, which is not fit for their age, is a human rights concern now. India and other developed and developing countries are really plagued by the problem of child employment in organized and unorganized sectors.
Child labor is a human rights issue of immense sensitivity. Child labor is considered exploitative by the United Nations and International Labor Organization. The article 32 of the UN speaks about child labour as follows-“States parties recognize the right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education, or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.” To sum up, most countries of the world consider it highly inappropriate when a child below a certain age is put to work. People should be prohibited from hiring labor below a certain age. However, the minimum age at which a human can be put to work differs from country to country. In the US the child labor laws have set the minimum age to work in an organization without the parents’ consent at sixteen.