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The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

Working kids to the max

The harsh realities and effects of child labor
Sophia Eljamal
Victims of child labor have to face harsh consequences and realities such as dangerous environments, excessive hours, no education and health concerns.

According to World Vision, 79 million children worked in dangerous conditions in 2020. Ranging from not being able to pursue education to trying to help your family make money, child labor has become a serious issue. 

After the COVID-19 pandemic, lots of families were struggling economically. Because so many kids started becoming victims of child labor, one of the many effects was that they were more at risk for COVID-19. Not only that, but child labor can lead to mental/physical harm, death, slavery and children being cut off from school and healthcare. 

A report conducted showed that 265 million children were involved in child labor, with Sub-Saharan Africa being the most common place. The main reason that child labor is so dangerous is because of the environments the kids are working in. For example, agriculture and mining are the most popular environments. Kids who work on a tobacco farm are exposed to extreme heat, nicotine, and toxic pesticides. Others who mine work in easily collapsible pits that can expose them to toxic mercury, which can cause brain damage and other health conditions. 

Most of this work is happening in third-world countries, so people tend not to pay attention to it. But until today, this is a huge global problem. In Bangladesh, child laborers work from 64 to over 100 hours per week in inhumane conditions, getting paid less than $2 a day. This is happening right in front of our eyes at companies such as H&M, Apple, Hershey’s, McDonald’s, Shein and many more. 

If kids were to stay in education and be successful, their parents would realize how they benefit more from school and how child labor can harm their children. Staying in child labor can result in very young kids being left to fight for themselves, separation of families and even trafficking. 

Child labor comes at a price that people don’t realize. For example, 88 million boys and 64 million girls are taken away from their childhood and have their lives destroyed as young children due to poverty, which is most likely what forced them into child labor. Just shy of 50% of child laborers are between the ages of 5-11. This illegal practice makes around $150 billion in illegal revenue but at the cost of kids’ childhoods. 

Although kids are forced into this industry, this should not be something that follows them for the rest of their lives. There are many short-term effects along with long term. Some long-term effects are cancer, lung issues, chronic back pain, stunted growth, trauma from abuse and mental health issues. Along with that, 22,000 kids are killed at work every year, ones who didn’t even choose this life. 

Many people are attempting to stop the worst forms of child labor by 2025 but it has already been stated that it will not happen due to the severity of it. Since the year 2015, violations of child labor laws have increased 283%. No matter how hard families have it, parents nor children should ever be forced into an industry like this. 

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About the Contributor
Sophia Eljamal, Staff Reporter
Sophia is a junior at Millard West and this is her first year on the staff for the CATalyst. She likes traveling around the world and running. Over the summer, she traveled to numerous countries in Europe. In her free time, she enjoys going shopping, hanging out with her friends, and listening to music. She also loves to work and watch her favorite shows and movies on Netflix. Sophia looks forward to writing stories about sports and working with her classmates to produce interesting stories.

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