There are many different causes of “bad” child labor around the world.
In many cases, the parents of a child cannot find jobs because they are scarce, forcing them to make their children work instead. Children are more easily employed due to the fact that they can be paid less than adults, and because they are more docile and easier to exploit.
Sometimes, greedy employers decide to illegally employ children because they are easy to exploit, they cost less, and they don’t complain as much.
For some poor families, the government does not provide education, health care, or a way for them to earn money to get out of their poverty. This can force them to send their children to work. Some families even believe that child labor is not harmful to a child, encouraging them to send their children to work.
Another cause of child labor is that some families are dysfunctional. If a parent spends all the available money of drinking, gambling, or another harmful addiction, a child may be forced to work. In other cases with dysfunctional families, children are beaten or otherwise abused by their other family members. When this happens, a child can actually be forced to leave his home entirely. Once he or she is gone from this “protection” they must work to survive.
Also, many families earn just enough money to support themselves and their children. However, if one of the wage-earners in the family falls ill, the family most likely does not have a “safety-net” or social security benefits that help them pay for the illness and recover from the financial setback. This makes it necessary for the family’s children to work to support the rest of the family.
Discrimination is also a cause of child labor. This can be seen in many countries today. In Thailand, many child laborers are from the neighboring country of Myanmar. This type of pattern repeats across the globe in countries with child laborers. Also, in many countries, women have limited roles to play in society (for example: in some places, families send their boys to school and keep their girls home to work around the house).
While these reasons may seem very different at first, they all are poverty and education related. Many of the causes of child labor, such as lack of health services and social security benefits are the result of poverty in third-world countries. If these countries could work to increase the incomes of families below the poverty line, then the amount of child labor would likely be cut by a large percentage. Education, or lack of education, really, plays a big role in causing child labor. In many cases discrimination against other races and women can be stopped through education on the subject. And education has always been the key to stepping out of poverty and into a better situation.
While there may seem a large number of causes for “bad” child labor, there are solutions as well. You can take a look at what some solutions to child labor are and what you can do to help on our solutions page.
Most child labor happens mainly because of poverty. Help put a stop to this by taking our survey.