Child Labour is any work that deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful.
Child labour involves going to work after school and even the idea of apprenticeship. 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.
Effect of child labour
Children are exposed to accidental and other injuries at work. They should thus be protected to prevent social, economic and physical harm, which persist to affect them during their lifetime. Such injuries include :
- General injuries and abuses like cuts, burns and lacerations, fractures, tiredness and dizziness, excessive fears and nightmares.
- Sexual abuse, particularly sexual exploitation of girls by adults, rape, prostitution, early and unwanted pregnancy, abortion, Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and HIV/AIDS, drugs and alcoholism.
- Physical abuse that involve corporal punishment, emotional maltreatment such as blaming, belittling, verbal attacks, rejection, humiliation and bad remarks.
- Emotional neglect such as deprivation of family love and affection, resulting in loneliness, and hopelessness.
- Physical neglect like lack of adequate provision of food, clothing, shelter and medical treatment.
- Lack of schooling results in missing educational qualifications and higher skills thus perpetuating their life in poverty.
- Competition of children with adult workers leads to depressing wages and salaries.
Apart from the above, lack of opportunity for higher education for older children deprives the nation of developing higher skills and technological capabilities that are required for economic development/transformation to attain higher income and better standards of living.