By Kamala Sarup
In the US, slavery was outlawed at the national level in 1865. "Oppressive child labor" was outlawed at the US national level in 1938. Yet child labor persists around the world as national and multinational companies seek lower labor costs and greater profits. Adult consumers around the world benefit with cheap goods made with child labor.
Will worldwide morality over this issue become so great that all countries will banish child labor forever as they did the once prevalent black slavery? Or will the benefits that accrue to consumers and corporations by child labor prevail? Will economics trump morality or not?
According to Anti-Slavery International "There are about 300,000 child soldiers involved in over 30 areas of conflict worldwide, some even younger than 10 years old. Child soldiers fight on the front line, and also work in support roles; girls are often obliged to be sex slaves or "soldiers' wives". Children involved in conflict are severely affected by their experiences and can suffer from long-term trauma. The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child entered into force on 12 February 2002, which encourages governments to raise the age of voluntary recruitment into the armed forces and explicitly states that no person under the age of 18 should be sent into battle".
Article 32 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989): "State 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."
Convention 182 of the International Labour Organization (1999): The main aim of Convention 182 is to eliminate the worst forms of child labour. It stresses that immediate action is needed to tackle the worst exploitation of children, and that measures taken by the authorities should start as soon as the government is able following ratification. The main provisions of the convention are to clarify which situations should be classified as the worst forms of child labour, and to specify what governments must do to prohibit and eliminate them. A copy of the full text of Convention 182 can be found on the ILO website (Source: Anti-Slavery International).
I see mention of torture, human rights, rule of law, and child slavery. For example, let's talk about child torture. I'll use this definition: Torture is the deliberate infliction of psychic or physical pain by a person on another person. The torture inflicted in many countries would certainly be morally abhorrent for most people.
The same kind of thought experiments can be applied to human rights, child rights, rule of law. So all peace lovers must use the humanitarian method to assume an anti slavery action.Children's Rights through Education. If schooling in underdeveloped countries improves the students in those countries will become better scientists, engineers, programmers, and mathematicians. However, I predict that if the present decline in the quality of education continues, then child living standards will decline. We must remember that with declining educational achievements in high school and college, our competitiveness in the globalized economy will decline.
Nepali Journalist and Story Writer Kamala Sarup is specialising in in-depth reporting and writing on Peace, Anti War, Women, Terrorism, Democracy, and Development. Some of her publications are: Women's Empowerment (Booklet). Prevention of trafficking in women through media,(Book) Efforts to Prevent Trafficking in for Media Activism (Media research). Two Stories collections. Her interests include international conflict resolution, cross-cultural communication,philosophy,feminism, political, socio-economic and literature. Her current plans are to move on to humanitarian work in conflict areas in the near future. She also is experienced in organizational and community development.