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Child Abuse in form of Child Labor

Updated on February 19, 2014

There are various forms of child abuse and child labor is one of them. There are differences that exist between the kinds of work that children do, some of the work is difficult, demanding, hazardous and sometimes morally questionable. Not all the labor is considered child labor. Works that do not affect the health, development of children physically and the education of the child are not considered as child labor. This may include activities that children do to assist at home, or assist the family business, or the work they do to earn pocket money after school hours and during the school holidays. These activities help the child’s welfare and that of their families and they provide the children with skills that are useful to them and help them become productive people in the society.

Definition of Child Labor

Child labor is defined as the full employment of children under the minimum legal age, which ends up depriving the children their childhood and their education. It also robs them of their dignity and pride and harms them physically and mentally. The children are not able to grow up normally and enjoy their childhood like most of their peers.

Child labor refers to work that is mentally, socially and morally dangerous to the children. It may also refer to work that deprives them of the opportunity to attend school or makes them oblige to leave school. It may require them to try to do heavy work for long hours as they also attend school. In some of the worst scenarios, children are enslaved and separated from their families. Some may be left to fend for themselves and they are exposed to hazardous places and illnesses at a very early age.

Minimum Age

Most countries define child labor according to the number of hours worked and the work done, or the conditions that the child was exposed to during the work. These may vary from sector to sector in some countries. The minimum legal age is normally 18 in most countries but some countries have lower minimum legal ages that allow children to work.

In Egypt the minimum age is 12, in Philippines it is 14, and in Hong Kong it is 15. In Peru the age varies according to the various sectors. It is 14 in agriculture, 15 in Industry and 16 in deep sea fishing. Though child labor is strictly forbidden by laws in many countries and other international organizations such as the United Nations, it is still being practiced in most countries by businesses and big companies that are seeking cheap labor.

About 158 Million children between the ages 5 and 14 years are being engaged in Child Labor. This just implies that for every six children one is involved in child labor.


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