Child Labour In West Africa Essay

1433 words - 6 pages

Children are the future of this world, as adults we do everything in our power to provide our children with the opportunity to lead a better life than the one we had. However, in West Africa there are an estimated “1.8 million children” who are stripped of their basic right of attending school, and put to work instead so they can help their families afford basic needs. Many times these children work up to sixty hours a week in hazardous or slave like conditions. Violating many of these children’s fundamental human right. Article 5 of the Universal declaration of Human rights, states “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” ...view middle of the document...

” “In sub-Saharan Africa, 1 in 4 children aged 5-17 [are involved in child labor]” (Child Protection from Violence, Exploitation and Abuse).
There are many causes behind child labor, in “Child Labour Rooted in Africa’s Poverty” Ernest Harsch- a journalist who works on African issues for the United Nations, “suggests poverty is the single greatest cause behind child labour” (Harsch,1). For an underprivileged household in a developing country, a child’s income no matter how little, might be a critical component in order for that family to afford their basic needs. An additional cause to child labor, according to the International Labour Organization, is lack of substantial alternatives, such as schools that provide quality education. Children work because there is a lack of education. There is no other alternative for them. In many developing countries where child labour is most established, schools are most likely nonexistent. Even when schools are accessible, the school is either too far away or unaffordable. Trying to overcome all these obstacles can make families wonder if getting an education is really worth it, particularly when the quality of education is tremendously poor. Another cause to child labour is profitability, the International Labour organization estimates that there are 200,000 children working in Cote D’ivoire, better known as Ivory Coast, the world’s largest producer of cocoa. It is believed, “12,000 of these 200,000 children working in [Ivory Coast] are victims of human trafficking or slavery” (Facts on Child Labor 2010). Violating, article four of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states, “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms” (UDHR, Article 4).

Child labour can have many effects on a child both short and long term. Many of these effects can be physical. A report issued by the human rights watch states that,
In the tobacco fields that supply a Philip Morris factory in Kazakhstan, child laborers as young as 10 encounter such high doses of nicotine that they feel dizzy, vomit, and develop rashes on their necks and stomachs, a condition known as "green tobacco sickness." Other migrant tobacco workers have only pesticide-contaminated water to drink and are forced to work without pay. In a single day, a laborer's skin takes in the nicotine equivalent to smoking 36 cigarettes” (Buchanan)
Children who work on farms, are more vulnerable to abuse and eventually face serious health problems. They are often forced to work long hours in slave like conditions and are almost always malnourished. Not only do children face physical damage but many times children face long term physiological effects. Child laborers “often face severe mental trauma when they attain adulthood, owing to the constant threats and ill-treatment they received toiling away as laborers” (Sailee). Some children will suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. It can become...

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