How young of a child could do significant labor?

How young of a child could do significant labor?

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I've been trying to find out whether, in some cultures historically, a child of age 3 or 4 could do enough work to "pay for their keep", so to speak.

In the search I've found out that modern child labor surveys don't look at children under age 5, and it seems that in most lines of work and places the minimum age was older than that (from browsing various references with phrases like "children as young as __").

But I have this memoir, The Worlds of a Maasai Warrior, by Tepilit Ole Saitoti, which gave me a mental timeline of him herding 2-year-old cattle by age 4. Specifically, he says he "must have been about 6 years old" when his mother died, after which he stopped living with his grandfather where he says he lived for 2 years of hell because they were working him too hard--making him herd the older cattle (and he mentions coming home to his grandfather, so they weren't out with him, though maybe other boys were), whereas before moving to his grandfather's he was tending lamb and goat kids.

I think the memoir is vague enough that perhaps he started herding/tending animals independently at age 5-6 and was mostly just along for the ride with older people doing the actual work when younger than that age, but that's not how I read it originally. (And of course memoirs are not always accurate.) But I'm wondering if anyone has more concrete info on child agricultural labor at ages younger than 5, or specifically ages when children would be set to tend animals independently.

An important concept here is "alienated wage labour." That is labour that is performed for someone else for a wage. A wage can be money, or goods, or food. But the wage relationship is focused on "labour" on one side and "money" on the other. By considering labour as convertible into money, the nature of the labouring human is changed and their hours or days of work are reducible to accountancy. Compare to non-commuted tithes. Here a church can demand labour directly to tend land it owns. Immediate physical discipline can be used to compel labour, but more often it is compelled by a social or cultural context. This labour is not directly convertible into a dollar value, rather it is perceived in the context of the movement of seasons, increase of corn / grain, or increase of animals. This labour "does not pay its own way" because it is labour that exists outside of the accountancy concept of payment for labour.

Children in agricultural communities have for the vast majority of history not paid their own way because instead of political economy, a traditional economy has dominated. These traditional economies are governed by customs of what people do, and tend to require collective endeavour to achieve outcomes. In this context if a 4 year old is doing what is culturally required of them, they are contributing as expected. If this is tending lambs, calves, chickens, or other children they're contributing their expected amount.

In contrast, for a very short (~250 year) period there have been labourers who have been accounted for through wages and who were alienated. Here child labour pays its way if the wages bring in more than the cost of reproducing the labour power (food, clothes, rent). Jane Humphries"Childhood and Child Labour in the British Industrial Revolution"makes the point that the break down of pre 1789 high male wages forced working class families to send their children into alienated wage labour to keep the household functional. However, in pre factory housework children were gradually introduced into labour as part of the family / household's production of commodities. What differs between the domestic exploitation of children by parents, and the industrial exploitation of children by factory owners is the breakdown of the traditional family culture of production and its replacement with machine structured labour. For example, Hammond & Hammond's "Skilled Labourer" talks about children being used to open and close gas doors inside coal mines, or operate pumps. These children were underground as was the entire family producing the household's collective wage. Except they were not disciplined by their family (as were the frame-knitters who made stockings and socks), but by the foremen and mine owners.

In general, because the working class still exists, child labour paid its way. Families chose to "consume" additional resources on their children when their wages didn't pay for their upkeep directly, but merely defrayed losses. When children made sufficient wages, then yes they directly and individually paid their way but even wage labour families don't generally keep individuated accounts of profits and loss on children. One could argue that in certain families child labour was sufficiently loss making that these families starved to death or died of preventable disease. However, the supply of labour is social rather than individual. We might pity these individuals, but when the cost of physically reproducing labour power falls below the wage generated by that labour power, in capitalism, the supplier of that labour power the worker eventually or immediately dies. Work camps and work-to-death camps are good examples of wages below the cost of physically reproducing workers. In both the German and Soviet models, workers were explicitly paid for output in food: the relationship was fundamentally wage labour. This may be a good example, because youth tends to perish in such environments. However, due to political scruples against imprisoning four year olds in the Soviet Union for anti-soviet crimes, and due to political decisions in favour of murdering millions of Europeans in Germany we don't have examples for four year olds here.

In traditional economic arrangements children are regularly required to perform labours in order to reproduce the household. However prior to alienated wage labour there is no adequate way to determine if the child itself paid for itself because individuated labour measured in the capacity to purchase food didn't exist. Projecting a concept of a virtual wage onto medieval societies or antiquity is historically perverse anachronism. It is taking ideas and standards of one time and applying them to an other.

Child labour

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Child labour, employment of children of less than a legally specified age. In Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand, children under age 15 rarely work except in commercial agriculture, because of the effective enforcement of laws passed in the first half of the 20th century. In the United States, for example, the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 set the minimum age at 14 for employment outside of school hours in nonmanufacturing jobs, at 16 for employment during school hours in interstate commerce, and at 18 for occupations deemed hazardous.

Child labour is far more prevalent in developing countries, where millions of children—some as young as seven—still toil in quarries, mines, factories, fields, and service enterprises. They make up more than 10 percent of the labour force in some countries in the Middle East and from 2 to 10 percent in much of Latin America and some parts of Asia. Few, if any, laws govern their employment or the conditions under which work is performed. Restrictive legislation is rendered impractical by family poverty and lack of schools.

The movement to regulate child labour began in Great Britain at the close of the 18th century, when the rapid development of large-scale manufacturing made possible the exploitation of young children in mining and industrial work. The first law, in 1802, which was aimed at controlling the apprenticeship of pauper children to cotton-mill owners, was ineffective because it did not provide for enforcement. In 1833 the Factory Act did provide a system of factory inspection.

Organized international efforts to regulate child labour began with the first International Labour Conference in Berlin in 1890. Although agreement on standards was not reached at that time, similar conferences and other international moves followed. In 1900 the International Association for Labour Legislation was established at Basel, Switzerland, to promote child labour provisions as part of other international labour legislation. A report published by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) of the United Nations in 1960 on law and practice among more than 70 member nations showed serious failures to protect young workers in nonindustrial jobs, including agriculture and handicrafts. One of the ILO’s current goals is to identify and resolve the “worst forms” of child labour these are defined as any form of labour that negatively impacts a child’s normal development. In 1992 the International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) was created as a new department of the ILO. Through programs it operates around the world, IPEC seeks the removal of children from hazardous working conditions and the ultimate elimination of child labour.

Child slavery refers to the slavery of children below the age of majority. In the past, many children have been sold into slavery in order for their family to repay debts or crimes or earn some money if the family were short of cash. A scholar retold a story about a mother where "her predicament shattered the privilege of thinking of her children in purely personal and sentimental terms and caused her to consider whether outsiders might find value in them". Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote about a woman who was bought by a slave owner to breed children for him to sell. [1] The expectations of children who were either bought or born into slavery varied. Scholars noted, "age and physical capacity, as well as the degree of dependence, set the terms of children's integration into households". [2]

The duties that child slaves were responsible for performing are disputed amongst scholars. A few representations of the lives that slave children led portrayed them as, "virtually divorced from the plantation economy until they were old enough to be employed as field hands, thereby emphasizing the carefree nature of childhood for a part of the slave population that was temporarily spared forced labor". [3] This view also stated that if children were asked to perform any duties at all, it was to perform light household chores, such as being "organized into 'trash gangs' and made to collect refuse about the estate". [3] Opposing scholars argued that slave children had their youth stolen from them, and were forced to start performing adult duties at a very young age. [3] Some say that children were forced to perform field labor duties as young as the age of six. [3] It is argued that in some areas children were put to "regular work in the antebellum South" and it "was a time when slaves began to learn work routines, but also work discipline and related punishment". [4]

A degree of self-possession was present in some degree to adults, but "children retained the legal incapacities of dependence even after they had become productive members of households". [2] It was reported by scholars that, "this distinctive status shaped children's standing within familial households and left them subject to forced apprenticeship, even after emancipation". [2] There were slave owners who did not want child slaves or women who were pregnant for fear that the child would have "took up too much of her time". [1]

The conditions of slavery for pregnant women varied regionally. In most cases, women worked in the fields up until childbirth performing small tasks. "four weeks appears to have been the average confinement period, or 'lying-in period', for antebellum slave women following delivery in the South as a whole". [4] Slaveholders in northern Virginia, however, usually only permitted an average lying-in period of about "two weeks before ordering new mothers back to work". [3] The responsibility of raising and tending to the children then became the task of other children and older elderly slaves. In most institutions of slavery throughout the world, the children of slaves became the property of the owner. This created a constant supply of people to perform labor. This was the case with, for example, thralls and American slaves. In other cases, children were enslaved as if they were adults. Usually, the status of the mother determined if the child was a slave, but some local laws varied the decision to the father. In many cultures, slaves could earn their freedom through hard work and buying their own freedom. [ citation needed ]

Although the abolition of slavery in much of the world has greatly reduced child slavery, the problem lives on, especially in developing countries. According to the Anti-Slavery Society, "Although there is no longer any state which legally recognizes, or which will enforce, a claim by a person to a right of property over another, the abolition of slavery does not mean that it ceased to exist. There are millions of people throughout the world—mainly children—in conditions of virtual to slavery." [5] It further notes that slavery, particularly child slavery, was on the rise in 2003. It points out that there are countless others in other forms of servitude (such as peonage, bonded labor and servile concubinage) which are not slavery in the narrow legal sense. Critics claim they are stretching the definition and practice of slavery beyond its original meaning, and are actually referring to forms of unfree labour other than slavery. [6] [7] In 1990, reports of slavery came out of Bahr al Ghazal, a Dinka region in southern Sudan. In 1995, Dinka mothers spoke about their abducted children. Roughly 20,000 slaves were reported in Sudan in 1999. [8] "The handmade woolen carpet industry is extremely labor-intensive and one of the largest export earners for India, Pakistan, Nepal and Morocco." During the past 20 years, [ timeframe? ] about 200,000 and 300,000 children are involved, most of them in the carpet belt of Uttar Pradesh in central India. [9] Many children in Asia are kidnapped or trapped in servitude, where they work in factories and workshops for no pay and receive constant beatings. [5] Slaves have reappeared following the old slave trade routes in West Africa. "The children are kidnapped or purchased for $20–$70 each in poorer states, such as Benin and Togo, and sold into slavery in sex dens or as unpaid domestic servants for $350.00 each in wealthier oil-rich states, such as Nigeria and Gabon." [5]

Trafficking Edit

Trafficking of children includes recruiting, harbouring, obtaining, and transporting children by use of force or fraud for the purpose of subjecting them to involuntary acts, such as commercial sexual exploitation (including prostitution) or involuntary labour, i.e., enslavement. Some see human trafficking as the modern form of slavery. Human trafficking is the trade of human beings and their use by criminals to make money. The majority of trafficking victims are adults, predominantly made up of women forced into prostitution, but children make up a significant number of the victims forced into prostitution. [ clarification needed ]

In Ukraine, a survey conducted by the non-governmental organization (NGO) La Strada-Ukraine [10] in 2001–2003, based on a sample of 106 women being trafficked out of Ukraine found that 3% were under 18, and the US State Department reported in 2004 that incidents of minors being trafficked was increasing. In Thailand, NGOs have estimated that up to a third of prostitutes are children under 18, many trafficked from outside Thailand. [11]

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography estimates that about one million children in Asia alone are victims of the sex trade. [12]

Following the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Save the Children, World Vision and the British Red Cross have called for an immediate halt to adoptions of Haitian children not approved before the earthquake, warning that child traffickers could exploit the lack of regulation. An Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesman said that child enslavement and trafficking was "an existing problem and could easily emerge as a serious issue over the coming weeks and months". [13]

Child soldiers Edit

The United Nations defines child soldiers as "A child associated with an armed force or armed group refers to any person below 18 years of age who is, or who has been, recruited or used by an armed force or armed group in any capacity, including but not limited to children, boys and girls, used as fighters, cooks, porters, spies or for sexual purposes." [14] In 2007, Human Rights Watch estimated that 200,000 to 300,000 children served as soldiers in current conflicts. [15] In 2012, this estimation rose to be around 300,000 in only twenty countries. [16] Around 40% of child soldiers are believed to be girls, that have been taken and used as sex slaves and 'wives'. [17]

Forced labor Edit

More girls under 16 work as domestic workers than any other category of child labor, often sent to cities by parents living in rural poverty [18] such as in restaveks in Haiti.

10 Facts on Child Labor

Child labor is work that steals a child’s childhood. Defined in International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions, child labor is work that children should not be involved in given their age, or – if that child is old enough – work that is too dangerous and unsuitable.

Forcing children to take part in often dangerous and strenuous work and preventing them from attending school, child labor stands in the way of a child’s healthy physical and mental development in addition to his or her education.

In some cases children are enslaved laborers, engaged in the agricultural, mining and manufacturing sectors, or in domestic service, subsequently pushed into homelessness and living on the streets. However, others are trafficked and enslaved in prostitution, or forced into armed combat as child soldiers. These are all forms of child labor the latter qualifying as some of the worst forms of child labor given that such bondage is especially harmful and in direct violation of a child’s human rights. Child labor is a continuing global phenomenon and following are some shocking, but important, facts regarding the practice.

Important Facts about Child Labor

  1. Currently, there are nearly 30 million people held in slavery and an estimated 26 percent are children.
  2. In 2012, 168 million children – from 5-years-old to 17 – were involved in child labor. Of this number, 85 million worked in hazardous conditions, enduring beatings to sexual violence.
  3. Around the world one in six children are forced to work, with children below the age of 18 representing between 40 to 50 percent of laborers.
  4. Children living in more rural areas can begin working as young as the age of five.
  5. According to the ILO, an estimated two thirds of all child labor is in the agricultural sector.
  6. The highest proportion of child laborers is in Sub-Saharan Africa where 49 million children are forced laborers.
  7. The highest numbers of child laborers are in Asia and the Pacific, where over 122 million children are forced into work.
  8. According to the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF), there are over 300,000 child soldiers forced into armed combat.
  9. In most regions, girls are just as likely as boys to be involved in child labor however, girls are more likely to be involved in domestic work.
  10. According to the ILO, only one in five child laborers is paid for their work, as the majority of child laborers are unpaid family workers.

So why are some children forced into labor?

Poverty is the most often cited reason why children work. Pressured to provide food and shelter, as well as to pay off debt owed by the parents, some children have no other choice but to become involved in labor in order to support their families. However, some children are sold against their will and forced into slavery. Other factors that influence whether children work or not include barriers to education and inadequate enforcement of legislation protecting children.

Child labor is a complex issue, as are the solutions, but the following steps must continue to be pushed for in order to see further progress. First and foremost, child labor laws must be enforced. Another strategy would be to reduce poverty in these areas so as to limit the need for children to be forced into these situations. Finally, providing access to quality education ensures that each child has a chance for a better future.

Causes and Effects of Child Labor

Child labor is still seen in many developing nations. Here, we provide you with an insight into this deeply abominable practice, and the scarring effects it can have on children and society as a whole.

Child labor is still seen in many developing nations. Here, we provide you with an insight into this deeply abominable practice, and the scarring effects it can have on children and society as a whole.

Child labor alludes to the practice of employing children full-time in industries, often under dangerous and unhealthy conditions. The practice still prevails in developing countries, glaring examples being countries in Africa, south-east Asia, and Latin America. Many children across the globe lose their childhood working in hazardous conditions with meager pays. It is a law in all countries that the stipulated age of employment should be such that the child can finish his/her compulsory education. However, this law is violated and many industries still employ children, subjecting them to work in conditions that can pose a danger to their health.

The history of child labor can be traced back to the Industrial Revolution, when very young children were forced to work in coal mines, factories, sweatshops, and even as domestic servants. Even today, as per UNICEF, a whopping 150 million children all over the globe are engaged in labor. This practice is widely observed in the mining, ceramics and glassware, garment and carpet manufacturing, and fireworks industries. This form of exploitation denies children their basic right to education which is so crucial in their growing years. To curb this malevolent practice, we need to take a deeper look into its causes and harmful effects.

Causes of Child Labor

  • The major reasons being poverty and overpopulation. These two go hand in hand. Poor families tend to have more children, and when earnings of a sole person do not suffice, young children are forced to take up jobs wherever they can. Having too many members puts a financial burden on poverty-stricken families, and parents are compelled to send their children to work to get extra income.
  • Lack of education among the poorer sections of society is also a leading cause for children to start working early. Ignorant and illiterate people do not think twice about engaging their children in manual labor, since they are not aware of the harmful physical and mental trauma it can inflict on the child. Being poor, they cannot afford a decent education for the children, nor do they understand the importance of primary education in children’s lives.
  • In many developing nations, textile and garment manufacturers use children to make garments. Factory owners cut back production costs by employing children rather than adults, who are in turn paid a lot less and forced to work a lot more. Also, there is no risk of these young laborers coming up against the factory owners by forming unions because they are unaware of their rights, and hence this practice flourishes on a large-scale.
  • Even though countries have laws in place, these are not being implemented, leading to further exploitation of innocent children. Apathy by the government and the society has seen an increase in child workers in developing and under-developed countries.
  • In some countries, women are denied formal education and are brought up only to perform household chores since a very young age. Such a society believes that an educated woman will not fit into the traditional role of a home maker and bear children. This notion fuels child labor and young girls thus get pushed into doing manual house work from an early age.
  • Families migrating from rural to urban areas in search of better prospects often end up pushing their children to take up odd, menial jobs. This happens due to lack of proper educational resources in the rural areas, as a result of which these people do not find jobs in cities. So to make ends meet, children bear the brunt while the adults are left unemployed.
  • In villages, people under heavy debt “sell off” their children for a small amount of money or to repay the outstanding amount. This has given rise to the practice of bonded child labor. As a result, children are thrust into doing very hard work for long durations of time, that could well extend into their adulthood, till their family is free from the debt.

Effects of Child Labor

  • Children who work often face serious health problems because of working incessantly in perilous conditions. Often the employers do not care at all about underage children who are almost always malnourished, and continue to work for long hours with little or no respite.
  • Their mental health also takes a beating owing to this severe form of exploitation. These children often face severe mental trauma when they attain adulthood, owing to the constant threats and ill-treatment they received toiling away as laborers.
  • Children who cannot find work to feed large families resort to begging on the streets, and in many cases, also fall prey to prostitution. At other times, they even turn into thieves just to make a quick buck on which the family’s survival depends.
  • It also has a negative impact on the welfare of a nation. Since these children do not receive any education, it increases illiteracy, hampering the overall economic growth of the country, reflecting poor human development.
  • Lack of education as children also means that when they turn into adults, finding jobs becomes tough since these children do not possess the necessary skills and training. This leads to a sharp hike in unemployment.
  • Such children are always underpaid, and that lowers the country’s per capita income, putting long-term economic development in peril.

To put an end to this socio-economic problem, the government must target the root causes, namely poverty, unemployment among adults, and take measures to control population growth. Steps must be taken to educate ignorant people from poorer sections about the benefits of education so that children are not deprived of their right to go to school, and they can turn into civilized adults, get decent jobs, and contribute to the economic growth of the nation. Child employment or under-age labor is a social evil that needs to be abolished. We as a society must work together so children are freed from the evil clutches of this malpractice and lead a happy, healthy life.

Stop child labor in the mines of the DRC

Hundreds of children die working in the mines or from pulmonary issues or other diseases caused by their work. A UN study conducted in the DRC showed that between September 2014 and December 2015, more than 80 child laborers met an accidental death in the mines of the old province of Katanga. This number barely touches the reality, since many accidental deaths go unregistered—and not to forget the hundreds of children whose bodies are buried in the rubble.

Child labor in the mines of the DRC is a terrible reality that must be exposed. In spite of various regulations governing mining as announced by the Congolese government and the 2009 law on child protections prohibiting the economic exploitation of children, no concrete or effective measures or policies have been made by the State to eradicate this problem.

Consequently, it is time for the Congolese government and specific mining companies to really look at the issue of child labor in the mines seriously and to establish mechanisms for surveillance and review by inspectors of the mining sites to take bold action to combat this problem, a cancer within the DRC.

United Nations Development Programme Human Development Report 2014: Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience, 2014, Table 2, p164.


What is the problem with child labor?
Child labor can create many different problems in the life of a child, such as malnutrition, mental health issues, drug addiction, but also it can violate other children&rsquos rights, like the right to education. Let&rsquos have a look at some facts on child labor.

  • In the world&rsquos poorest countries, around 1 in 4 children are engaged in child labor.
  • Worldwide 218 million children between 5 and 17 years are in employment. Among them, 152 million are victims of child labor almost half of them, 73 million, work in hazardous child labor.
  • Among 152 million children in child labor, 88 million are boys and 64 million are girls.

These children often work in horrible and dangerous conditions. Their rights are violated daily. In some cases there is even sexual exploitation involved and this also violates the dignity and morals of a child. It is also possible that they are separated from their parents, because they have to work in a different place from where their parents live. Sometimes children are forced to work without food and very low wages which is almost the same as slavery. These children are often also victims of physical, mental, and sexual violence.

Why is child labor important?
Child labor has to be stopped so that every child can have the opportunity to go to school, to play and to have the best future possible. If children are working, they cannot go to school! This means that these children will grow up to be adults without any education and not being able to read or write, which means they lack important life skills. Usually, the majority of children engage in child labor are from disadvantaged backgrounds, from minority groups, or even abducted from their families. They have no protection. In addition, their employers do whatever it is necessary to make them completely invisible, so that nobody knows or cares about them. This way they can exercise an absolute control over these children. Child labor is also an obstacle to be a child, to be able to play (which you also have the right to!) and do whatever you want.

Timeline of child rights

The League of Nations adopts the Geneva Declaration on the Rights of the Child, drafted by Eglantyne Jebb, founder of the Save the Children Fund. The Declaration articulates that all people owe children the right to: means for their development special help in times of need priority for relief economic freedom and protection from exploitation and an upbringing that instils social consciousness and duty.

The United Nations General Assembly establishes the International Children’s Emergency Fund, UNICEF, with an emphasis on children throughout the world.

The United Nations General Assembly passes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in which Article 25 entitles mothers and children to ‘special care and assistance’ and ‘social protection’.

The United Nations General Assembly adopts the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, which recognizes, among other rights, children’s rights to education, play, a supportive environment and health care.

With the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, United Nations Member States promise to uphold equal rights – including education and protection – for all children.

The International Conference on Human Rights is convened to evaluate the progress made by countries in the 20 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. An agenda for future work is drafted and national commitments to upholding human rights are bolstered.

The International Labour Organization adopts Convention 138, which sets 18 as the minimum age for undertaking work that might be hazardous to a person’s health, safety or morals.

Concerned about the vulnerability of women and children in emergency and conflict situations, the General Assembly calls on Member States to observe the Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergency and Armed Conflict. The Declaration prohibits attacks against or imprisonment of civilian women and children, and upholds the sanctity of the rights of women and children during armed conflict.

The Commission on Human Rights puts forth a draft of a Convention on the Rights of the Child for consideration by a working group of Member States, agencies and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.

To mark the twentieth anniversary of the 1959 Declaration of the Rights of the Child, the United Nations General Assembly declares 1979 as the International Year of the Child, in which UNICEF plays a leading role.

The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice detail the principles of a justice system that promotes the best interests of the child, including education and social services and proportional treatment for child detainees.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is adopted by the United Nations General Assembly and widely acclaimed as a landmark achievement for human rights, recognizing the roles of children as social, economic, political, civil and cultural actors. The Convention guarantees and sets minimum standards for protecting the rights of children in all capacities. UNICEF, which helped draft the Convention, is named in the document as a source of expertise.

The World Summit for Children is held in New York. The Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency outline strategies for preventing criminality and protecting young people at high social risk.

Experts from UNICEF, Save the Children, Defence for Children International and other organizations meet to discuss data gathered from the reporting process of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The meeting leads to the formal establishment of the Child Rights International Network (CRIN) in 1995.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) adopts the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, calling for the immediate prohibition and elimination of any form of work that is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children. UNICEF has been working with the ILO since 1996 to promote the ratification of international labour standards and policies concerning child labour.

The United Nations General Assembly adopts two Optional Protocols to the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, obligating State Parties to take key actions to prevent children from partaking in hostilities during armed conflict and to end the sale, sexual exploitation and abuse of children.

At the United Nations Special Session on Children, child delegates address the General Assembly for the first time. The World Fit for Children agenda was adopted outlining specific goals for improving the prospects of children over the next decade.

UNICEF co-publishes the Manual for the Measurement of Juvenile Justice Indicators with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. The Manual enables governments to assess the condition of their juvenile justice systems and make reforms as necessary.

The United Nations Secretary-General issues the Status of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

A new Optional Protocol to the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child is adopted. Under this Optional Protocol on a communications procedure, the Committee on the Rights of the Child can field complaints of child rights violations and undertake investigations.

Somalia and South Sudan ratify the Convention. The Convention is the most widely ratified international instrument with 196 States. Only the United States has not ratified to date.

List of Essays on Child Labour in English

Essay on Child Labour – Essay 1 (100 Words)

Child Labour means indulging the children in arduous labour which affects their physical and mental development and exploiting their potential to grow up with dignity.

UNICEF shows that about 10.1 million children in India are engaged in Work, thereby constituting 13% of the workforce in India. The age limit of these children ranges between 5 to 14 years.

Challenges & Steps to Be Taken:

Child labour doesn’t follow pattern and happens in all walks from within families to factories. Hence, the mindset of the society should be changed to emphasize that children must go to school and adults should be employed.

Government should make stricter laws to eradicate child labour. NGOs should pitch in to these avenues and empower these children to a brighter future.

Essay on Child Labour – Essay 2 (250 Words)

Any work that snatches away the dignity, potential and most importantly the childhood of a child is termed as child labour. Child labour has often been associated with work that is harmful to the physical as well as mental development of the child. Unfortunately, the most number of child labour cases in the world are reported from India every year. But what has eventually led us to adopt this otherwise disrespected practice?


Lack of social security, hunger and poverty are the fundamental drivers of child labour. The expanding gap between the rich and poor people, privatization of fundamental organisations and the neo-liberal monetary strategies are causes of significant areas of the population remaining out of business and without essential needs. This antagonistically influences kids more than some other age groups. A significant concern is that the real number of child workers goes un-distinguished. Laws that are intended to shield youngsters from unsafe work are ineffectual and not executed accurately.


Elimination of poverty, the abolition of child trafficking and compulsory and free education and training can help diminish the issue of child labour. Strict implementation of work laws is additionally a basic requirement with the end goal to counteract abuse by organisations. Amendments in the present child labour laws are required to actually take control of the situation. The base of the age of fourteen years should be expanded to something like eighteen. Then only we can put an end to the continuous harassment faced by our kids and help them have a bright future not only for themselves for the nation as a whole.

Essay on Child Labour – Essay 3 (300 Words)

Child labour is a social issue in India and abroad where kids are exploited by organized and unorganized sectors of industry. The issue of child labour is quite prominent in dominating countries like India where families belonging to poor or weaker sections push their kids to work to earn instead of educating them. Such kids are easy prey for industries that are always on the look for cheap labour. It is estimated that around 70-90 million children in India are engaged in some sort of industry work. Of the total number of children working in the industry. 15% is approved by the Child Labour Act while 85% of them are illegally employed.

Child Labour Act in India was introduced 10 years back to protect the rights of the children. Unfortunately, even after a recorded number of child labour in various industries, there has not been a single reported case of child exploitation or illegal child labour. There is no forum in place to protect their rights and expose the exploiters. Child labour is a crime to humanity as kids below the age of 18 years are pushed to work in coal industries, construction, fireworks and more. They are forced to work as domestic help, brick kiln workers and bid rollers against their abilities and without seeking their consent.

It is saddening to know that the country where children are regarded as the future are forced to work for money. Another staggering fact is that children belonging to the affluent family takes up job in industries out of excitement and to earn extra money. In short, cultural and economic factors interact in India to encourage kids to work.

The issue of child labour can be dealt with only after understanding the real cause behind kids working in the industries. The children should be encouraged to speak up for themselves and say no to child labour.

Essay on Child Labour – Essay 4 (400 Words)

Child labor is an important topic that is being debated as a serious social issue all around the world. Keeping the society aware of this issue will help to avoid such illegal and inhuman activity from destroying the lives of many children.

Child Labor is something that replaces the normal activities a child, like education, playing, etc., by economic activities. These economic activities may be paid or unpaid work, which benefits the family of the child or the owner the child work’s for. The age limit is restricted to fourteen years or even seventeen years in case of dangerous works.

Reason for Child Labor:

Children may be forced to do child labor because of poverty and financial problems in their family. Many owners accept child labors since they only need a less amount as salary or even some accept non-monetary jobs too.

Children are often made to do such hard jobs by their irresponsible parents. They send their kids for domestic works for the money as well as for food they get through these works. These demanding works often spoil the childhood and give a harder way of living to the kid.

Parents allow their children for such jobs because of lack of awareness too. When they are too poor to take admissions in schools and the lack of good schools in their locality may also lead to such activities.

Not all form of jobs done by children are considered as child labor, but there are some things to note while categorizing them. Whether the job done mentally, morally, physically and socially affect the child in a dangerous way? Does the job done affect their education and other childhood activities like playing? The job they do shouldn’t be both tiring and excessive that they are forced to avoid other activities they should be doing in their age. These are the characteristics of Child Labor.

In extreme ways, there are owners who treat children like slaves and separate them from their families to do such hard jobs. Whatever be the job done, child labor depends on the age of the kid involved, type of activity and hours of work they do per day.

As a conclusion, children are meant to be enjoying their childhood and should be allowed to educate themselves at early ages. There are many schemes introduced by the government to reduce such child labors like providing free education and taking severe actions against those who promote child labor.

Essay on Child Labour – Essay 5 (450 Words)

Child labor is illegal exploitation of children below the age 18. It is a cognizable criminal offense. Indian Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 and subsequent amendment of CLPR Act1986 prohibits employing children below the age of 14. Children under the age of 14 even should not be employed as domestic help. However, children between 14 and 18 categorized as ‘adolescent’ and can be employed if it does not violate the Factories Act, 1948.

Child labor is a bane to any country. It is a shameful practice and rampant more in developing and underdeveloped countries. Child labor is a hot topic in India among intellectual communities and political circles still this social evil is seamlessly being practiced in our country, with the blessing of bureaucracy and political patronage. It is high time to eradicate child labor from our society and punish the unscrupulous people who have been continuing the evil practice.

The development of any nation begins with the welfare of children. At an age adorned with colors and pranks, the tiny tots wither away their innocence in hazardous working conditions devoid of any childish fantasies.

At a tender age, the toddlers take up responsibilities to feed their families, and there could be many reasons that might have forced the children to work as a breadwinner. They strive hard day and night to feed their entire family. They sacrifice their lives, for their family even without knowing the personal repercussions in their later life.

This trend must have to stop at any cost. A practical solution to keep this social menace at bay is to organize awareness programs and introduce stringent laws which force children not to work or employ them as child labor. Some unscrupulous and merciless people appoint them because of cheap labor, as they have no bargaining power or no other choice but to succumb to their destiny.

Parents from the vulnerable section required proper advice and counseling to make them understand the importance of education. The government should come forward to identifying such families by offering social security without cast and religion consideration. The government should provide free boarding education for such financially backward communities, irrespective of any consideration. The only consideration must be their financial status.

Moreover, the existing laws pertaining to child labor must have, and if required, a proper amendment should be made to the Child Labor Act to stop the social evil system. Then only our dreams of a child labor free India, come true.

Greedy employees, poverty, poor financial background, lack of education are the main reason for child labor. It is the responsibility of government, social organization and society to address the issue for finding a permanent solution. Children are the asset of the nation. When they fail, the country fails, period.

Essay on Child Labour – Essay 6 (750 Words)

One of the cruelest crimes that are done to the children is the child labor in which the kids are forced to do work at a tiny age. They are compelled to earn like adults for supporting their families economically. As per the International Labour Organization, the children who have not attained the age of 15 should not get forcefully involved in any kind of work.

Employing children in work at an early age make their childhood deprived of the right to education along with the lack of mental, physical and social welfare. Child labor is prohibited in certain nations, but still, it is a global concern in maximum countries for rescinding the kid’s future predominantly.

As per the Indian law, the children under the 14 years of age should not be hired to any work at the workshops, organizations or restaurants. Their parents cannot also force them to do any job.

Different Causes of Child Labour:

There are numerous causes of child labor like repression of child rights, poverty, improper education, limited rules and laws on child labor, etc. The reasons for the child labor are almost the same in different nations.

The following are the various causes of child labor:

i. The high level of unemployment and the problem of poverty in developing countries are the primary cause of child labor. As per the statistics of U.N. in the year 2005, over 1/4 th of the people globally are living below the poverty line.

ii. The lack of right to regular education is one of the reasons for child labor in numerous nations. According to the research done in the year, 2006, nearly 76 million kids have not seen the face of the school.

iii. Violating the regulations about the child labor has also provided the way to enlarge this problem in developing nations.

iv. Insufficient social control has resulted in an increasing percentage of child labor in the region of domestic work or agriculture.

v. Small kids have to get involved in the child labor to add up in the income of their family so that they can eat food for at least two times a day.

vi. They are employed by the industries at the decreased labor expenses to get extra work done.

Probable Solutions to the Child Labour

With the purpose to eradicate the problem of: child labor from society, there is the necessity to follow certain effective way out on a serious basis to protect the future of an emerging nation.

Below are some probable solutions to avoid the issue of child labor:

i. Constructing new unions might benefit in stopping child labor since it will inspire more people to support against the point of child labor.

ii. The parents should consider the education of their children as the priority from their childhood. In this movement, the schools should also cooperate by providing free education to the children without any obstruction.

iii. There should be a high level of social awareness regarding child labor with the accurate statistics of enormous damage in the future for any emerging nation.

iv. Every single family should earn their minimum earnings with the purpose of surviving and preventing the problem of child labor. It will also decrease the number of people living below the poverty line in the country which ultimately reduces the child labor cause.

v. There is the requirement of more strict and effective government rules against the child employment with the aim of preventing the kids from working at their early age.

vi. The issue of child trafficking must be abolished by the different nation’s governments.

vii. The child laborers must be substituted by the adult labors so that the adult can get the job and kids get free from the child labor.

viii. The opportunities for employment for the adults must be increased for adults to decrease the issue of poverty as well as child labor.

ix. Trade proprietors of manufacturing work, businesses, mines, etc., must have the pledge of not employing any kid in any labor.

Child labor is one of the broad social issues that require getting resolved on an urgent basis. This step is incomplete without the support of parents as well as the government. Kids carry a flourishing prospect of any developing nation. Thus, they should be a considerable concern of all the citizens.

Children should get appropriate chance to grow and develop inside the contented surroundings of school and family. People should not use them for their earnings or for-profit motive. Children have full right to live their personal life with proper education.

Essay on Child Labour – Essay 7 (800 Words)


Children are a gift and blessing to a family. They deserve the unconditional love and care of the parents. It is inhuman to take advantage of their innocence and helplessness. However in India, a lot of children are being subjected to child labour, probably due to lack of awareness. They are deprived of a happy and normal childhood.

Meaning of Child Labour:

Child Labour involves engaging children to produce goods or services for financial gain. It denies their right to attend regular school and enjoy a happy childhood. It rips their capacity in the bud to have a good future. It affects the overall development of their physical and mental faculties.

When children are involved in full or part time work, it affects their schooling, recreation and rest. However, any work to promote and develop the child’s capability without affecting these three components is encouraged positively.

Causes of Child Labour:

Poverty is the foremost cause of child labour in India. Indian children have the history of labouring with their parents in their professional activities. It may seem right for the poverty-stricken parents to involve their children in labour for the sake of their family’s welfare. However, the right of that child for education and normal childhood is denied in the process.

Some illiterate parents often subject their children to bonded labour. Unaware of the exorbitant interest rates, they exploit their children by allowing to labour against their debt. Sometimes, the non-availability of affordable education in the villages are a cause of child labour.

When parents are sick or disabled, the need to earn the living falls squarely on the children’s shoulders. In such cases, they are not in a position to abide by the law. Rather than stealing and begging, they tend to allow their children to labour at a young age.

Sometimes, greediness of men play a part in child labour. The parents, who wish to increase the economic status of the family subject their children to labour. The employers, on their part, prefer child labourers against adults, taking advantage of the low labour cost.

Some families traditionally believe that the next generation should continue their family business. The children of these families are restricted to pursue their own goals in terms of education and career. In the Indian Society, there are still people who believe that girl children are fit only for domestic chores. So, girls often lose their right for education and normal childhood.

Child Labour Laws in India:

Child labour laws were formulated to prevent child labour, monitor and punish violators, and rehabilitate the victims.

They were laid down as early as 1938 during the colonial rule. But, year after year, during the various Government regimes, several amendments were made.

In the 1974 policy, children were declared as “nation’s supremely important asset.” The need to prioritize their welfare in national plans was recognised. The overall development of their sound spirit, soul and body was emphasized.

The 2003 policy underlined the right of the child to enjoy a happy childhood, to clear the causes that dampen their development, to educate the society to strengthen family ties and to protect them from all kinds of mistreatment.

In the 2013 policy, the rights of the child to survive, to enjoy good health, to be nourished with nutritious food, to have overall development of their personality, their opportunity for good education, their protection from abuse and participation in decision-making of their future life were the key priorities. This policy is due for review every five years.

Solutions to Child Labour:

The Government is working close with social agencies and common public to solve the issues of child labour.

Since 1988, National Child Labour Project Scheme (NCLPS) started to reinstate the rescued child labourers working in hazardous occupations. When children are rescued, they are enrolled in Special Training Centres and given education, meals, stipend, health care and recreation. Eventually, they are directed towards mainstream education. Adolescents rescued are given skilled trainings and suitable jobs.

The present Government has revived this scheme in 2017 with the latest use of technology to register child labour complaints online. With aims to eradicate child labour, the PENCIL (Platform for Effective Enforcement for No Child Labour) Portal serves to receive complaints, rescues the child with the help of local police and tracks the progress until he/she is successfully enrolled in a school or vocational training.

Since the community and local governance have definite roles in the welfare of a child, many programmes are being conducted to create awareness and sensitize the common people. Several coordination and action groups have been formed at State and District levels to monitor. The Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) is the nodal Ministry that oversees and coordinates the implementation of the current policy.

Nobel Peace Laureate, Kailash Satyarthi, the Indian Children’s Rights Activist, believes that child labour could be abolished only through collaborative action, dedication at political level, sufficient capital and compassion for the needy children. The Government and the stakeholders like him, with their organisations, are working closely to root out this social evil by 2025.

Essay on Child Labour – Essay 8 (1000 Words)

In India, child labor refers to the hiring of any child below the age of 14 for the purpose of any economic benefits. In other words, it is illegal for an organization, including shops and factories to engage a child in their business for physical labor. This especially holds true for employment with occupational hazards, such as coal mines, welding, construction works, and painting, etc.

Though constitution makes employing the kids for laborious works a punishable offense, data says otherwise. Many national and international laws have been created to give these children protection from child labor but ground reality is something else. In India alone, more than 50 million children are forced into child labor for one or the other reasons.

Major Causes of Child Labor:

First of all, poverty strikes a major percentage of the total population of India. Life in rural areas of villages is even more difficult. The poor economic condition and low standard of living pave the way for child labor. To compensate for the daily needs of food and survival, both boys and girls are forced to work beyond their capacities. It is fair to say that they are left with no choice.

Lack of education in the rural areas means parents are less educated. Consequently, they also do not value the importance of school and education in the lives of their own children. In the scarcity of contraceptive awareness, couples end up having multiple children. Arranging three meals every day becomes an impossible task and the children learn it the hard way quite soon.

Gender Discrimination:

Girls are often prevented from going to school at a very low age. They are made to help in the fieldwork and the house chores as well. The story is not much different for the boys too. They quit school in order to take up some labor work in factories and farms and help their father in breadwinning.

In big cities and towns, these factors may be absent but that doesn’t immune the urban areas from the child labor cases. Child labors are easy to afford. They can be made to do more tiring jobs at low pays. Often the owners would provide them little food and money for continuous hours of work. As these kids have no family support, they end up giving in to such exploitations.

Child trafficking is also another factor that leads to child labor. Trafficked children have no home. They are sent to faraway place unknown to them. Ultimately, these little souls are pushed into extremely torturing and dangerous work conditions, such as prostitution, domestic helping, transport of drugs, etc.

Impacts of Child Labor:

Poor Physical and Mental Health:

Children at such a young age are gullible and vulnerable. Child labor affects their physical, mental, and emotional health in a severe way. They are deprived of their basic rights to education. Arduous physical strain and the burden of arranging their own food cause malnutrition in them.

In order to survive in this world, they tend to become mature faster than they need to. Their childhood is lost and crushed with the bitter pressure of acting like an adult. The kind of affection and love needed at such a tender age is never available to them. Both parents and the owners are often highly demanding to them.

Such consistent threats keep the children in a frightening state of mind all the time. There are increased chances of physical abuse. To cope up with these pressures, girls and boys fall victims to the drug abuse. Many more dangerous habits become a normal part of their lives.

Addiction and Sexual Abuse:

From taking drugs to selling them, alcohol addiction, sexually transmitted diseases, rape, emotional numbness, violence, are common things that surround their living conditions. Poor kids may also catch up these habits from their own parents or localities, where their parents or friends are showing these behaviors on a regular basis.

The situation becomes worse if these kids are physically handicapped. In villages and low-income groups, the adults struggle to arrange a proper livelihood for themselves. So, they begin to see girls and handicapped children as nothing more than a baggage. As a result, girls are sold off to marry old men and the kids are left to beg on the streets.

Challenges in Controlling Child Labor:

While the laws to diminish the curse of child labor have been made, they are pretty vague in nature. For instance, most of the laws are unable to dictate strict guidelines for the unorganized sectors. Immunity from the dangerous works is not sufficient. Moreover, clear points should be laid out in terms of where and for how many hours can the children work (if they really need to).

Lack of Rehabilitation Plans:

Another issue that the authorities face is the lack of rehabilitation facilities for the children who have been saved from the devil grips of child labor. It becomes an unanswered question as to how these children should regain control of their new lives and start afresh. Proper counseling and nutrition play an indispensable role to help them thrive.

More awareness needs to be created in rural and urban areas. Adults including the parents should be taught about the negative impacts of child labor on the minds of children. They should also be explained about the power of education and the various schemes which promises a free basic education for kids. It is even more important to emphasize how the education empowers girls and makes their lives better.

Child labor is not just about forcing children to work. Its side effects are quite large and gruesome. It leaves a stain on the child’s mind. It interferes with their mental and emotional health and prevents their proper growth and development. It is a blemish on the face of humanity that must be erased as soon as possible.

After all, what kind of citizens do we expect them to grow into after such kinds of abuse? We need to think about it. Children are the future of our society, our country. We cannot hope for true growth and prosperity until and unless our young generation is safe and healthy in every way.

Child Labor

History of Child Labor in America
There had always been forms child labor in America that ranged from the enforced work of indentured servitude to child slavery. But child labor also provided the help needed in farming families and communities. Child labor was needed in the rural farming areas, dictated by essential daily chores and the requirements of the agricultural seasons. Poor families relied upon child labor in order to attain basic necessities and living essentials. The jobs allocated to children depended on their age and whether they were boys or girls.

Farm work could be hard, but working conditions were not dangerous and at least allowed kids to breath the fresh air. The use of child labor, and the risks and working conditions of children, underwent a enormous change in the 1800's. Industry developed on an extensive scale and the mechanization of industry resulted in the abuse of children who were forced to work in terrible conditions in factories, mines and mills. This article provides the history of child labor in America during the 1800's, the following links provide facts and information about events that were particularly relevant to the subject of child labor.

1800's Child Labor in America
This article provides facts and information about child labor in America during the 1800's. This was the time when the Industrial Revolution and the process of Industrialization transformed America from a rural, agricultural to a city based industrial society that resulted in a massive increase in child labor during the 1800's.

Child Labor Causes in the 1800's

Child Labor Causes in America: Inventions and new technology of the Industrial Revolution

Child Labor Causes in America: The Process of Industrialization and the mechanization of industry that led to the building of factories and the factory system

Child Labor Causes in America: The Rise of Big Business and Corporations and the emergence of the ruthless Robber Barons whose unethical, uncaring working practices led to mass production and the depersonalization of workers

Child Labor Causes in America: The need for cheap labor - the power driven machines could be operated by children

Child Labor Causes in America: Urbanization, the movement of millions of people from rural locations to the cities made possible by new transportation systems

Child Labor Causes in America: Poverty - children were forced to work to help their families

Child Labor Causes in America: Labor Shortages - the massive influx of immigration in the 1800's fed the demand for labor including the extensive employment of immigrant children

Child Labor Causes in America: Lack of government regulation to enforce safety standards, working conditions and working hours. A variety of laws differed from state to state

Child Labor Causes in America: The opposition to Labor Unions prevented workers from protecting children and making it more difficult to improve labor standards and living standards in order to eliminate child labor.

Child Labor Causes in America: Reform movements, who worked to abolish child labor, did not emerge until the 1890's with the start of the Progressive Movement and Progressive Reforms.

Child Labor Causes in the 1800's

1800's Child Labor in America for kids: Wages and Hours of Work
During the period of Industrialization child labor was the norm. Child labor made up 20% of the workforce. Their parents had no choice to send them to work as their meager wages helped to support the families. The working children had no time to play or go to school, and little time to rest. The prevalence of child labor in America meant that the poor could not receive an education to enable them to get better, skilled jobs. Children were deprived of a decent education and entered the spiral of poverty from which there was no escape for the growing number of unskilled and uneducated workers.

● How long did children work and what were they paid? The typical hours of work lasted from sunrise to sunset, 11 or 12 hours per day, six days a week. They had less than one hour break in their working day.
● How much did they earn? They earned an average weekly wage of one dollar.
● How old were the children? Some were employed in child labor as young as five years old and were paid low wages until they reached the age of sixteen
● According to the 1900 US Census, a total of 1,752,187 (about 1 in every 6) children between the ages of 5 and 10 were engaged in "gainful occupations" in the United States of America.

1800's Child Labor in America for kids: Types of Jobs and Work

Child Labor jobs and work: Agricultural Industry - Jobs included chasing away birds, sewing and harvesting the crops.

Child Labor jobs and work: Textile Industry - Children worked spinning and weaving cotton and woolen goods in the mills. Bobbin boys were employed in the textile mills bringing bobbins to the women at the looms and collecting the full bobbins.

Child Labor jobs and work: Mining Industry - The mining industry was an extremely dangerous, unpleasant and filthy occupation. Young boys called "Breaker Boys" processed raw coal by breaking it into various sizes for different types of furnaces. Other children were employed as coal bearers, carrying coal in baskets on their shoulders. The smaller children worked as "trappers" who opened trap doors in the mines to move the coal.

Child Labor jobs and work: Manufacturing Industry - The factories were often damp, dark, and dirty with few toilet facilities. The machines and sharp tools used performing various jobs caused many injuries. Glass factories were notorious and boys under 12 where expected to carry loads of hot glass

Child Labor jobs and work: Laboring work - Children were also employed to help the laborers engaged in construction and transportation projects including the railroads and canals. Water Boys were employed to carry water to workers who dug canal beds and railroads

Child Labor jobs and work: Domestic Work - Children performed domestic work in large houses up to 16 hours per day, seven days per week. The hall boys, scullery maids, kitchen girls or drudges performed the worst jobs such as emptying chamber pots. .

Child Labor jobs and work: Sweatshops - Children worked in the dirty tenement sweatshops making clothes and other small items

Child Labor jobs and work: Street Work - Children performed a variety of jobs on the streets and sewers. Ragpickers made a living by rummaging through refuse in the streets collecting items and scraps for salvage including cloth, paper, broken glass and even dead cats and dogs could be skinned to make clothes. Other street jobs included delivery boys and shoeshine boys

1800's Child Labor in America for kids: Types of Jobs and Work

1800's Child Labor in America for kids: Deaths and Injuries
The children worked in dangerous conditions. According to statistics in 1900 there were 25,000 - 35,000 deaths and 1 million injuries occurred on industrial jobs, many of these victims would have been children.

● Children had higher rates of injury and death at work than adults and over 50% of child labor was involved in hazardous and dangerous work.
● Many worked in confined spaces and underground in unhealthy environments.
● They were exposed to extreme heat and cold.
● There was no government regulations for health and safety and no state safety regulations existed.
● There were some safety instructions on factory machines but as most workers were completely illiterate these were as good as useless.
● The causes of the most deaths were fires, explosions, cave-ins and train wrecks.
● The main causes of injuries were the factory machines and sharp tools. Children lost fingers, hands were mangled and some were scalped when hair that got caught in the machinery.
● Some children were killed when they fell asleep and fell into factory machines.
● Carrying heavy loads caused lifelong deformities and handicaps.
● Children not only suffered from physical stress they were also subjected to mental stress due to appalling working conditions.
● The health of children suffered working in back-breaking jobs in dark, gloomy environments with poor ventilation. They suffered from lung, ear and eye infections and unsanitary conditions led to terrible diseases and illnesses such as cholera, bronchitis and tuberculosis

Child Labor Laws in America for kids: Progressive Reforms
The 1916 Keating-Owen Child Labor Act was a federal law passed limiting how many hours children were allowed to work, prohibiting the employment of children under the age of fourteen in factories producing goods for interstate commerce.