Home » Languages » English (Sr. Secondary) » Essay on “The Origin of Child Labour” Complete Essay for Class 9, Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Essay on “The Origin of Child Labour” Complete Essay for Class 9, Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

The Origin of Child Labour


Practically everyone is guilty of participating in this abusive practice through the purchase of goods made in across the globe, usually in poor, developing nations. This issue has been around for a  great length of time but has come to the forefront recently because of  report that link well-known American companies like Wal-Mart and Nike to the exploitation of children. Child Labour is a designation formerly applied to the practice of employing young children  in factories, now used to denote the employment of minors generally , especially in work that may interfere with their education or endanger their health. Throughout the ages and in all cultures children joined with their parents to work in the fields, in the marketplace, and around the home as soon as they were old enough to perform simple tasks. The use of child labour was not regarded a social problem until the introduction of the factory system.

As the first country to experience the Industrial Revolution, Great Britain was the first to exhibit particular problems of child labour associated with the factory system. During the latter part of the 18th century, owners of cotton mills collected orphans and children of poor parents throughout the country, obtaining their services merely for the cost of maintaining them. In some cases children five and six years of age were forced to work from 13 to 16 hours a day.

Social reformers attempted as early as 1802 to obtain legislative restrictions against the worst features of the child-labour system, but little was done even to enforce existing laws limiting hours of labour and establishing a minimum age for employment. Conditions as bad as those imposed on pauper children rapidly developed in enterprises employing non-pauper children. Often with the approval of political, social, and religious leaders, children were permitted to labour in hazardous occupations such as mining. The resultant social evils included illiteracy, further impoverishment of poor families, and a multitude of diseased and crippled children.

Popular agitation for reform steadily increased. The first significant British legislation was enacted in 1878, when the minimum age of employees was raised to 10 years and employers were required to restrict employment of children between the ages of 10 and 14 to alternate days or consecutive half days. In addition to making every Saturday a half holiday, this legislation also limited the ,”workday of children between 14 and 18 years of age to 12 hours, with an intermission of 2 hours for meals and rest.

Meanwhile the industrial system developed in other countries, bringing with it abuses of child labour similar to those in Great Britain. In the early years of the 19th century children between the ages of 7 and 12 years made up one-third of the work force in US factories. The shortage of adult male labourers, who were needed for agriculture, contributed to the exploitation of child labourers. In addition, the majority of adults cooperated with employers, helping them to recruit young factory hands from indigent families.

Modern legislation against child labour in the developed world is usually tied to educational legislation on school attendance. Though most industries and business are prohibited from employing underage staff on a full-time basis, many children are able to work as newspaper deliverers and sales personnel, as part-time workers at home, or even as actors and performers in radio, television, and films Another type of child labour is the family unit. This is where the whole family works in order to provide food and shelter. This is the common type in Egypt. In most cases the family cannot afford to pay for the child’s education so instead of playing football all day, he goes to work. When they work they aren’t abused or maltreated, they are well-treated and well-paid.

The ILO cannot put an end to all the child labour. They don’t have any legal power. The employers sure won’t since they don’t want to increase costs. Some morally conscious employers will but the majority won’t. Then there is the government of the country where the multinational comes from (99.9% of the time American) which can force inspections and could take action against the company. The trade unions are weak and don’t have the funds to do the job. This is also the third world, where bribes are an everyday thing.


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