Why is Child Labor Bad?
Around the world, 152 million children are involved in forced child labor,1 but why is child labor bad? Even the definition of child labor gives us a clue. It is defined as work that “deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development.”2
How does child labor impact children negatively?
The definition itself details several reasons:
Children in child labor are deprived of their childhood.
Play, interaction with others and education are formative to a child’s development. Child labor interferes with these basic steps. For example, play is crucial to child development because it is through play that children develop emotional and physical skills. Through play, they learn how to process the world. Child labor prevents such activities.
Child labor robs children of their potential.
Education plays a large part in a child’s development. Without education, children rarely reach their potential. With regular attendance in school, however, children learn basic concepts that help them through childhood and give impoverished children the skills they need to break the cycle of poverty in their families.
Children in child labor are deprived of their dignity.
The emotional impact of child labor creates lifelong emotional and mental health challenges. This is true in many areas of child labor work, but perhaps it is most impactful in the sexual trades. Dignity is torn from these children as they are exploited for the pleasures of others.
Child labor is harmful to physical health.
In an article by Voice of America concerning the hazards of child labor, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said, “Honestly, the annual toll is appalling—2.78 million work-related deaths, 374 million injuries and illnesses. If these were the victims of a war, we would be talking a lot about it. Children and young workers are at greater risk and suffer disproportionately and with longer lasting consequences.”3
Forced labor is detrimental to a child’s mental development.
As children grow physically, their mental development grows as well. It’s very difficult to experience hope when the cycle of poverty continues generation after generation. Hope is essential to mental development!
Why is child labor bad?
Childhood is an essential, formative time of life and child labor wrecks proper development. The children involved in child labor bear physical, emotional and physiological consequences from being forced into adulthood early. They no longer have the chance to gain the knowledge and skills that will be needed to escape the cycle of poverty many of them were born into. The negative impact of child labor also perpetuates generational poverty.
What can be done?
GFA World is on the forefront of creating positive alternatives that decrease the likelihood of child labor.
We seek to provide and care for those who are in the lowest positions in life. We minister to their needs and show God’s love in action. One way we do this is through poverty alleviation. When poverty is alleviated, child labor isn’t needed to meet the basic needs of the family. We also provide literacy and education assistance so children and adults know how to read and write, giving them the basic skills necessary for a better future. GFA World also provides farm animals for impoverished people in rural areas. These animals give families an income-generating source through their eggs, milk and meat.
Children can also be enrolled in GFA World’s Child Sponsorship Program, though parents need to keep their children enrolled in school to keep their child in the program, giving them incentive to prioritize their children’s education.
Child sponsorship helps families by providing essentials such as school supplies, nutritious food, health checkups and other supplies. This relieves a parent’s financial burden of supplying those items on their own.
Will you join us in the fight against child labor and the negative impact it has on children around the world? Together, we can transform the lives of children in need, their families and their communities. By sponsoring a child, you are showing the love of Jesus by meeting practical needs and providing solutions for their daily life. Your sponsorship provides help and hope!
1 Maki, Reid. “10 Basic Facts about Child Labor Globally.” Child Labor Coalition. http://stopchildlabor.org/?p=4504. July 16, 2018.
2 “What is child labour” International Labour Organization. https://www.ilo.org/ipec/facts/lang–en/index.htm. February 2019.
3 Schein, Lisa. “Half the World’s 152 Million Child Laborers Do Hazardous Work.” Voice of America. https://www.voanews.com/a/half-the-world-s-152-million-child-laborers-do-hazardous-work/4432362.html. June 10, 2018.