Child Labor: A Global Issue
“It is like trying to empty a bathtub with a teaspoon while the tap is running” (Wines). This is how Brigitte Poulsen, the technical specialist for the International Labor Organization in Zambia, describes the idea of tackling the child labor industry. Children are sometimes forced to work dangerous jobs that put their lives at risk. If not by force, these children are deliberately working for little to no pay just to stay alive. No child should have to carry the burden of working long hours to support themselves or their families. Child labor is a worldwide issue that is most prevalent in third world, poverty-stricken countries. Because child labor is a global issue that robs millions of children of their health, education, and freedom, organizations such as UNICEF should increase public awareness and investigate foreign work unions.
One of the ways that child labor robs millions of children is the chance at a healthy life. This is because the unsuitable conditions that they are forced to work in are detrimental to their well-being. According to an article by the Human Rights Watch Organization, children in places such as Tanzania work as gold miners and are susceptible to mercury poisoning which attacks the central nervous system and harms their overall health (Tanzania: Hazardous Life of Gold Miners). How awful is it that these children are risking their lives to live? Another health risk that these children are vulnerable to is AIDS. Young girls are not only working manual jobs but are also prostituting for just enough money to eat dinner. Some girls working in the mines become victims of rape and sexual exploitation leading to the contraction of AIDS. Chola J. Chabala, the labor commissioner in Zambia states, “I’ve heard children who work as prostitutes say they would rather die from AIDS, because it is slower than dying of hunger” (Wines). The mere thought of young girls selling their bodies for food is pitiful.