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Child labour. What comes to mind when you hear these two words? Torture? Injustice? Prostitution? Today I will try my best to present to you both sides of this controversial topic. Should child labour be allowed? What should organizations like the Canadian International Development Agency do about these kinds of things? Should they impose bans or step back and let life take its course? Before we begin, lets state some facts. Child labour is:
1. The employment of children of children under an age determined by the country through a law or custom.
2. Considered exploitative and uncivilized by most modern countries
3. Widespread; over 200 million children aged 5 to 7 in this type of labour worldwide
But let's consider. Is it right? Well to be honest, there are lots of opinions on this topic. In general, most people when asked will respond that it is unethical and that it "violates the rights of the child". This statement is not totally true. In some cases, the child is forced to work, whether by physical or emotional threat, or by sheer need (to pay off debts is one example). However, there are also times when the labour is voluntary (in an instance where the child is earning money to pay for school supplies). Both cases are child labour but they are very different in nature. So the real answer is; it depends. Without a doubt, children should not be forced to work for 12 horus straight, chained to a loom, weavings sweaters for rich citizens in America for pennies a day. However it can, as previously mentioned, be a plausible and practical way to sustain one's education. Let's see what the UN's stance on this is.
"Child labour has serious consequences that stay with the individual and with society for far longer than the years of childhood. Young workers not only face dangerous working conditions. They face long-term physical, intellectual and emotional stress. They face an adulthood of unemployment and illiteracy."