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Analyzing Child Labor as a Human Rights Issue: Its Causes, Aggravating Policies, and

Alternative Proposals
Author(s): Zehra F. Arat
Source: Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 24, No. 1 (Feb., 2002), pp. 177-204
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20069593
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HUMAN RIGHTS QUARTERLY

Analyzing Child Labor as a
Human Rights Issue:

Its Causes, Aggravating Policies,
and Alternative Proposals

Zehra F. Arat*
I. INTRODUCTION
The international community has been concerned about child labor for a
long time and attempted to curb it at the first session of the International

Labor Organization (ILO) in 1919 by establishing fourteen years as the
minimum age for children to be employed in industry.1 In 1973, the
Minimum Age Convention of the ILO (Convention 138, or C138) defined
child labor as economic activity performed by a person under the age of
fifteen, and prohibited it for being hazardous to the physical, mental, and
moral well-being of the child as well as for preventing effective schooling.2
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted by the General

* Zehra F. Kabasakal Arat is Professor of Political Science and Women's Studies at Purchase
College of the State University of New York. She also serves as the Founding President of the

Human Rights Section of the American Political Science Association. Her publications
include journal articles and book chapters on topics related to democracy, human rights, and

women's rights. She has also authored the books Democracy and Human Rights in

Developing Countries (1991) and Deconstructing Images of "The Turkish Woman'' (1998).
Currently she is working on a book manuscript, tentatively entitled Human Rights Policies
and Politics in Turkey.
1. Convention Fixing the Minimum Age for Admission of Children to Industrial Employ
ment (ILO No. 5), adopted 28 Nov. 1919 {entered into force 13 June 1921), revised in
1937 by Convention No. 59 and in 1973 by Convention No. 138, art. 2, available on
International Labour Organization <http://ilolex.ilo.ch:1567/scripts/convde.pl?C5> (vis
ited 11 Nov. 2001).
2. Convention Concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment (ILO No. 138),
adopted 26 June 1973, entered into force 19 June 1976, art. 2, reprinted in International

Documents on Children 355 (G?raldine Van Bueren ed., 2d ed. 1998).

Human Rights Quarterly 24 (2002) 177-204 ? 2002 by The Johns Hopkins University Press

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All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms

Id. A/44/49 (1989) (entered into force 2 Sept.N.org/terms . and the Convention broke UN records again by entering into force on 25 September 1990. Supp.4 As this paper was written at the end of 2000. Cynthia Price Cohen et al. procuring or offering of a child for illicit activities. 04 Apr 2016 10:51:58 UTC All use subject to http://about. reprinted in 28 I. Doc.243. in particular for the production and trafficking of drugs as defined in the relevant international treaties. 22 Hum. Smolin.. U. 44th Sess. Q. 32. this Convention was the closest to achieving universal ratification with 191 state parties?the only exceptions being the United States. 440 (1996). 18 Hum. While Article 32 of the Convention obligates states to protect children "from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child's education.M. which entered into force on 19 November 2000.178 HUMAN RIGHTS QUARTERLY Vol.L. and forced labor or compulsory labor. Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention (C182). safety. Res.. Convention on the Rights of the Child. or to be harmful to the child's health or physical. and Somalia. Strategic Choices in the International Campaign Against Child Labor.6 3. or social development. Rts. U. Reserva tions to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. 4. 439. See Convention on the Rights of the Child. For a critique of this prioritization by the ILO. 472 (1996). GAOR. 1990).N. 3. see David M. 1989.jstor." millions of children are overburdened with adult responsibilities and work in hazardous conditions. Despite this high level of state support for the convention on children's rights. 18 Hum. Monitoring the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: The Challenge of Information Management.33. Rts. G. which signed it but did not ratify it. art. such as the sale and trafficking of children. Rts. in 1999. 1448 (1989). art. which did neither.5 In fact. adopted 20 Nov. only a minority of the world's children fully enjoys the rights included in it. 49.3 Among the human rights conventions of the United Nations (UN). including forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict. Article 3 defines the worst forms of child labor as comprising: (a) all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery. 24 Assembly on 20 November 1989. supra note 3. prioritizes the struggle against the worst forms of child labor and calls for their elimination for all persons under the age of eighteen. is likely to harm the health. (d) work which. Q. moral.A. or morals of children. also included several articles against economic exploitation and abuse of children. less than a year after being adopted. 5. and acquired forty-nine ratifications. (b) the use. spiritual. Q. mental. The Convention. No. see William A. debt bondage and serfdom. the Convention on the Rights of the Child enjoys a special status and popularity.106 on Mon. 44/25. or for porno graphic performance. Id. A record number of countries participated in the Convention's treaty-signing ceremony in January 1990. This content downloaded from 41. and many children are denied childhood. (c) the use. for the production of pornography. 6. On the extensive use of reservations in ratification. procuring or offering of a child for prostitution. Schabas. by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out. after not being able to gather enough support for the Minimum Age Convention?it is ratified by only 103 states because it is considered too complex and difficult to implement?the ILO adopted a new conven tion. 942 (2000).

Stolen Youth: Brutalized Children. The State of World's Children 1997. UNICEF opposes child labor not only for being exploitative but also for endangering children's physical. 62 (1998) (for a brief review of the arguments about the impact of child labor on the adult labor market). including: allowing child labor means stealing the childhood of millions of children. Q. see Robert Weissman. unsafe. Globalization and the Campaign to End Child Labor. deprived of education or healthy physical development. Lee Tucker. 8. and the World's Children. the critics. and moral development. tend to organize their efforts around banning child labor through trade sanctions. 18 Multinat'l Monitor 10 (1997). This content downloaded from 41. are likely to become adults with low earning prospects. cognitive.8 7. International Organizations. emotional.org/terms . and these unhealthy. Labor Standards in the Globalized Economy: The Inclusion of a Social Clause in the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade/World Trade Organization.jstor.7 No matter which consequence of child labor has been their primary concern. Q. they not only attract investors but also benefit from "unfair trade" due to their low production cost. child labor replaces adult labor because it is preferred by employers for being cheap and docile. especially those located in the industrial societies. and proposes a more comprehensive approach to the problem. dangerous. 103 Pediatrics 646 (1999). Dev. children usually work under the worst working conditions. child laborers are subject to economic exploitation because they are paid at the lowest rates. Children Enslaved (1988). 17 Hum.33. Regarding the harm done to children.2002 Analyzing Child Labor as a Human Rights Issue 1 79 The critics of child labor constitute a diverse group which opposes the practice of child labor for concerns ranging from moral to economic reasons. Rts. the widespread use of child labor results in lower wages for all laborers. Evidence on Substitutability of Adult and Child Labor. thus. 572 (1997). 19 Hum. 04 Apr 2016 10:51:58 UTC All use subject to http://about. Stud. 443 (1995). Child Slaves in Modern India: The Bonded Labor Problem. countries that allow child labor are able to lower the labor cost. Rts. import restrictions.106 on Mon. Foreign Aid. and consumer boycotts. at 24-25 (1997) (regarding the develop mental impacts of child labor). Roger Sawyer. and poisonous work environ ments cause physical deformations and long-term health care problems in children. UNICEF. 34 J. child labor perpetuates poverty because child laborers. Wegman. See Charles Diamond & Tammy Fayed. Myron E.243. social. Erika de Wet.

000 in sweatshops in the United States.12 While their numbers may not be known for sure.000 children as working in agriculture and 13. however. The ILO reports that 250 million children. 80 million in Africa. 14. And in Latin America. According to the UN reports: The largest numbers of children workers are in Asia. supra note 11. it is widely accepted that "India has the largest number of working children in the world. II.10 Rich countries are not immune to the problem either. 86th Sess. one in four in Asia. Child Labor: Targeting the Intolerable: Report VI (1) of the International Labor Conference.00 per day. ILO. See Christian Huot.org/terms . at 33. where several countries are reported to have up to 20% of their children working. Huot. 12. (1998). But there are also large numbers in Africa. 32:6 Canadian Dimension 33 (1998). for example. Human Development Report 1993.11 A more conservative estimate by the Associated Press identifies 230. It treats child labor as an issue which demonstrates the interdependency of human rights and argues that its elimination demands a multidimensional approach. 5ee/d.243. In addition to the immediate violators of the rights of children. 140 million boys and 110 million girls. and the global estimates range from 200 to 500 million.5 million in Latin America (Table 1).jstor. 217 Dollars & Sense 6 (1998). between ages of five and fourteen are working.9 About 95 percent of the child laborers are in developing countries. and one in five in Latin America (Table 1). 5ee United Nations Development Programme. 11. at 33 (1993). This content downloaded from 41. and 17.13 The problem. The United Kingdom and the United States are estimated to have two million working children each. nearly 153 million of them are found in Asia. more than a quarter of children in some countries are thought to be working.14 Although the estimates range from sixty to 115 million. Taking Steps Against Child Labor. Human Rights Watch. where in some countries they make up more than 10% of the labour force. pick fruit and vegetables and earn as low as $2.106 on Mon. THE SCOPE AND DISTRIBUTION OF THE PROBLEM Obtaining the exact count of child laborers has been proven difficult for all countries. 13.33. Stacie Garnett. The Small Hands of Slavery: Bonded Child Labor In India 122 (1996). the paper identifies parties that encourage the use of child labor by violating other human rights. 10. the fact remains that a considerable number of six-year-olds in Texas. 04 Apr 2016 10:51:58 UTC All use subject to http://about. The Global Crisis of Child Labour. has been colossal in developing countries: one in three children in Africa works. 15. and 120 million of them work full time."15 9. 24 This paper addresses the child labor issue as a human rights violation and examines the root causes of the problem.180 HUMAN RIGHTS QUARTERLY Vol.

0 1.0 36. The Inevitability of Nimble Fingers? Law. at 32-35. hunting.7 Latin America & Caribbean 16. usually as domestic help or farm workers.0 Latin America & Caribbean 7. 43-45.0 67. Development.0 44.8 ? 8. 1997.7 8.9 Source: Kebebew Ashagrie.6 Asia (excluding Japan) 21. UNICEF. UNICEF. International Labor Office. The Small Hands of Slavery: India's Bonded Child Laborers and the World Bank. at 10.8 Distribution of Child Laborers by Industry (26 counties only) 1.17 Although child laborers tend to be more visible in cities. Emad Mekay. supra note 7.0 .3 9. at 38-39. Wholesale and retail trade.3 10. Financing. Geneva.0 43. Construction 1. supra note 8.3 32. 04 Apr 2016 10:51:58 UTC All use subject to http://about.7 27. 19 Oct. insurance. Transnat'l L. Katherine Cox.jstor. 18 Multinat'l Monitor 17 (1997).4 7. supra note 8.3 2.243. Transport. in family farms and businesses.9 75. real estate and busyiness services ? ? ? 9.5 22. UNESCO Courier.0 46.9 3.5 20. Agriculture.ilo. or for their parents' creditors as bound laborers. social and personal services 6.0 54.16 It is estimated that 15-20 percent of children in developing countries work for no pay.0 22.4 46. 1998.33. Sophie Boukhari.7 25. usually without pay.4 69. This content downloaded from 41.5 21.0 33. Statistics on Working Children and Hazardous Child Labour in Brief.0 7. Rural children are estimated to constitute two-thirds of all 16. 115 (1999).org/terms . Electricity. J.0 56.org/public/ english/comp/child/stat/stats. A Story of Children and Cotton.2 57. 17. and Child Labor. at 572. at 38.8 11.9 6. See Weissman. Lee Tucker & Arvind Ganesan. storage and communication 3.9 1. <www.4 5.5 4. restaurants and hotels 8. more of them work in rural areas.htm> Some country-specific studies and surveys also find that many children who are not even five years old work in harsh conditions.0 Oceania (excluding Australia & New Zealand) .4 Africa 41. Mining and quarrying .8 3. Manufacturing 8.2002 Analyzing Child Labor as a Human Rights Issue 181 TABLE 1 The ILO Estimates of the Number and Distribution of Child Laborers of age 5-14 Total Boys Girls World Economically Active Child Population age 5-14 (in millions) 250 140 110 Distribution of working children (% of world child laborers) Africa 32. May 1999.0 Asia (excluding Japan) 61. Community. Revised Version. Tucker. Middle East Times. 32 Vand.106 on Mon. supra note 7. gas and water ? ? ? 5.0 Economic Activity Participation Rate of Children?World 24. at 24. Child labour: a lesser evil?. forestry and fishing 70.1 Oceania (excluding Australia & New Zealand) 29.9 4.9 2.

22. 19. THE BENEFICIARIES OF CHILD LABOR AND THE VIOLATORS OF CHILDREN'S RIGHTS Child labor is sustained by a triangular foundation formed by three corner players: the employers. In India and Pakistan. millions of bonded child laborers work long hours each day in all sorts of activities from agriculture to carpet factories as virtual slaves to pay off debts incurred by their parents or guardians. supra note 15. 20.21 A conservative estimate of bonded child laborers in India put it at fifteen million.24 III. 24 child laborers.22 In Thailand. Child Labor: Targeting the Intolerable.106 on Mon. supra note 7.org/terms .20 The debts are often minuscule. children are routinely bought and sold to work in private houses. especially in the case of girls. Employers use child labor because it is profitable. The ILO plainly states the problem: We do not know how many children are employed in domestic service because of the "hidden" nature of the work but the practice. working to pay off the debts. supra note 17. restaurants. 21. Human Rights Watch. parents. supra note 16. This content downloaded from 41. and about 500. Child Labor: Targeting the Intolerable. at 38. but because of the fraudulent accounting schemes em ployed by the creditor-employers. at 2. Its critics tend to recognize the first two as the immediate violators and hold the state responsible for failing to protect children's rights by allowing the employers and parents to exploit child labor. supra note 9. Governments often turn a blind eye to the practice because they are willing to welcome any form of investment. supra note 14. studies in Indonesia estimate that there are around 400. 24. at 573.33.3. Weissman.243. and brothels. Human Development Report 1993.182 HUMAN RIGHTS QUARTERLY Vol. at 12.19 Bonded child labor is considered to be an acute problem in Asia. at 115. Cox.23 What child labor statistics exclude or underestimate is the number of domestic workers.18 and they.000 child domestic workers in Jakarta and up to 5 million in Indonesia as a whole. tend to start working at a younger age as well.jstor. at 33. Boukhari. supra note 7. Human Rights Watch. factories. For example. at 2 n. at 11 . is certainly extensive. at 33. supra note 15. Human Development Report 1993. supra note 14. in particular girls. supra note 9. Employers prefer children because they are docile.000 in Sri Lanka. 04 Apr 2016 10:51:58 UTC All use subject to http://about. See Tucker. 23. children end up spending their entire childhood. and the state. The ILO reports that in some countries those under age ten account for 20 percent of child labor in rural areas and around 5 percent in urban centers. and at times their entire lives. 18.

Bureau of International Labor Affairs. Poor parents who are unable to make an adequate living rely upon the contribution of the youngsters.g. 29. Social Econ. 77 For. 30 (2000). For a more optimistic view on the use of multinational codes of conduct to protect labor rights.L. This content downloaded from 41.243.and macro-economic analyses of child labor practices. supra note 25. silk production. 545 (2000). small hands.106 on Mon. 7 (1998). 57 Rev. and thin arms can do the delicate jobs better. Aff. Companies That Play Hide and Seek With Child Labor. Elizabeth Ann Kuznesof. 225. or even forcing. The Spotlight and the Bottom Line: How Multinationals Export Human Rights. The Political Economy of Child Labor and Its Impacts on International Business. the children of the well-to-do families do not share the fate of the poor children. Human Rights Watch. synthetic gemstone manufacturing. a healthy and safe work environment.26 Powerful investors?individuals as well as national or transnational corpo rations?usually use their power to bribe officials to ignore violations. participate in the process by allowing. The Multinational Corporations and Social Justice: Experiments in Supranational Governance. it is important to note that parents usually resort to child labor when they have no other options. see Deborah L. 26. at 18.2002 Analyzing Child Labor as a Human Rights Issue 183 willing to work for lower wages and in undesirable work conditions. Usually the poorest parents. The reliance on the productive labor of non-elite children has been observed throughout the history. S. at 22.27 Parents. For a review of various micro.jstor. and easier to manage. The Puzzling Contradictions of Child Labor. sign up their children to work in bondage for their creditors. 507 (1999). "living wages/' disability benefits. see S. Deborah Leipziger & Pia Sabharwal. what many employers fail to provide for adult workers?e. See Tucker. 95 Bus.L. Spar. 27. even in the poorest countries.S. their children to work. While the options are generally limited by the resources of the country.. Econ.28 However. 53 J. unable to pay bills for a medical emergency or funeral. Family Hist. & Soc'y Rev. supra note 15. including parental and employer choices.33. health care coverage. 11-13 (1995). Bachman. Int'l Aff. and Education in Brazil. 23 J. 04 Apr 2016 10:51:58 UTC All use subject to http://about. Bachman.org/terms . and jasmine picking due to a belief that nimble fingers. incapable of collective bargaining. A New Economics of Child Labor: Searching for Answers Behind the Headlines.25 Child labor is particularly favored in industries such as carpet weaving. 28. Bureau of International Labor Affairs. U. supra note 7. who normally care about the welfare and future of their children. Foreign Labor Trends Report: International Child Labor Problems 18 (1994). Child labor is provided by lower classes and poor households which are unproportionally high among immigrant and ethnic minority groups. More importantly. pressure governments to relax employment restrictions. Department of Labor. and childcare allowances?create the conditions that increase the family dependency on child labor. and encourage or support governments to restrict labor rights and union activities.29 In 25. either in the form of unpaid labor in family farms and businesses or as wage labor paid by other employers. 226 (1998). Unemployment. 35 Bus. See Brent McClintock.

16-19 percent of the ten to fifteen year-olds in the United States worked during 1880-1910)32 show that parents made their children work because they had no choice?fathers' income and children's likelihood of working had an inverse relation. the government runs a 30.33 Similarly. at 28-41. supra note 8. & Cultural Change 853 (1999). 120 (1999). at 31. While the law specifically forbids the employment of children in the carpet industry due to its hazardous nature. While the Constitution and nearly a dozen laws forbid both forced labor and child labor. The apathy and corruption among government officials.35 Education is a human right. Joan Aldous. contemporary survey data from various countries such as Paraguay. See UNICEF. The Trade-off between Child Labour and Human Capital Formation: A Tanzanian Case Study. The Economics of Child Labor. and in some countries constituted 50 percent of the workforce. The Effect of Microenterprise Lending on Child Schooling in Guatemala. the more they are likely to be considered traditionally the province of the poor and disadvan taged. Most governments deny the existence of the problem. This content downloaded from 41. Stud. 24 fact. Kaushik Basu & Pham Hoang Van.243. 35. 47 Econ. is not limited to its failure in law enforcement or regulations. Human Rights Watch. Rev. See Bruce Wydick. caste and class biases. Family Iss. See Harry Anthony Patrinos & George Psacharopoulos. 04 Apr 2016 10:51:58 UTC All use subject to http://about. 36.106 on Mon. The state contribu tion to the child labor problem. Dev.31 Historical studies of England and the United States (e. UNICEF. India is an "exemplary" case that demonstrates all of these problems. 15 Int'l J. 32. "[t]he harder and more hazardous the jobs become. 71. and primary education is mandatory in many developing countries. 412 (1998).. Educational Performance and Child Labor in Paraguay.184 HUMAN RIGHTS QUARTERLY Vol. 72 (1997). and the lack of adequate enforcement staff are listed as obstacles for enforcement. 31. Econ. 118-44. lack of accountability. the lower classes and ethnic minorities. supra note 15. The Political Process and the Failure of the Child Labor Amendment. Tanzania. several officials have insisted that there were no child laborers in their provinces. at 18. Indian governments have been unsuccessful in enforcing these laws. supra note 8. however. and some of them actually sustain the practice by hiring child laborers in state-owned enterprises. and Guatemala show a direct relation between household poverty and the use of child labor."30 Child labor was common in industrial countries during the earlier stages of their industrialization process.jstor.33. 18 J. Egypt. Educ. Hideo Akabayashi & George Psacharopoulos.34 Studies on micro-enterprise lending also confirm that having access to credit increases the parents' investment in their children's schooling. obstruction by employers. 33. Dev. Most countries also have laws that ban child labor. 34. 88 Am. Dev.g. 47 (1995). but governments often fail to enforce these laws.org/terms . 35 J.36 and the government itself has been using child laborers.

at 38-39. See id.106 on Mon. I will discuss the impact of these agencies on child labor in Section V. United Nations Development Programme. influence state policies and create socioeconomic conditions which are not conducive to the protection of child rights or elimination of child labor. Human Development Report 2000 (2000). supra note 7. 39. supra note 16. The critics note that by ignoring the educational provisions of the program.5 million children under the age of fourteen working.. In addition to employers.40 several states routinely recruit children in their late teens (e.000 child soldiers around the world might have been recruited by private militia or opposition groups. Smolin.33. and eight out of ten of these working children are employed in agriculture or related areas."41 Child labor emanates from poverty and persists with a host of other interrelated problems such as unskilled adult labor force. at 615. THE ROOT CAUSES OF CHILD LABOR As expressed by the ILO and reiterated by several other organizations and agencies that work on child labor. Child Labor: Targeting the Intolerable. 04 Apr 2016 10:51:58 UTC All use subject to http://about. poor and exploitative work conditions.38 It is noted that the Ministry of Agriculture. 38. This content downloaded from 41. Despite its mandatory education and child-protective labor laws. Egypt has about 1.2002 Analyzing Child Labor as a Human Rights Issue 185 "training" program for child carpet weavers and recruits children as young as six. such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.39 The military and armed conflicts are also often sustained by recruiting the young.37 Another illustrative case is Egypt.243.g. supra note 9. supra note 6. IV. and states. overlooks the regulations that restrict child employ ment and relies upon children as young as five years old to pick cotton in the state-owned fields. These children comprise 9 percent of the age group and 7 percent of the country's total labor force. international actors should be included among the violators as the fourth base of the foundation that supports child labor. the United States) and even younger ones at times of civil war. inadequate social services.jstor. Transnational corporations and international financial agencies. Although the majority of the estimated 250. the Indian government in effect runs a business that is entirely based on child labor. Mekay. Human Development Report 1999 (1999). Tucker. parents. at 964. weak labor laws and unions.org/terms . "poverty is the most important reason why children work. see also United Nations Development Programme. which owns about 10 percent of Egypt's cotton fields. and improper economic policies formulated by 37. 40. 41.

43. supra note 16. implying that human poverty affects at least a third of the population in more than one third of the developing world. This content downloaded from 41. while others work for low wages in rice. at 27. 48. Most of the child employees give their entire wages to their parents. nearly 1.51 The population below the age of fifteen constitutes 33. 45.42 and consequently are not able to make a decent living for themselves or their families. All of these have been more arresting in developing countries.6 percent of the population in developing countries. 52.43 The cotton fields of the village. and a study of nine Latin American countries indicates that "without the income of working children aged thirteen to seventeen. Child Labor: Targeting the Intolerable. 51. supra note 41. Id."50 The demographics and population trends of developing countries also work against their children. See id. developed by the UNDP for eighty-five countries. 49.org/terms . supra note 41.52 With the elderly constituting 42.jstor. an Egyptian village with 50. nearly nine out of ten (87 percent) of the world's children (ages zero to eighteen) live in developing countries. at 24.44 According to Human Development Report 2000. supra note 41. 24 governments and international financial organizations.46 The Human Poverty Index.2 billion people live on less than a dollar a day and cannot meet their basic needs.47 According to ILO reports. 44. the incidence of poverty would rise by between 10 and 20 percent. children commonly contribute around 20-25 percent of family income. Id.000 people. UNICEF. exceeds 33 percent in twenty-seven of the eighty-five developing countries.33. 46. in Sal Hagar. 50." Human Development Report 2000. however. Id. are full of child laborers picking cotton. at 130. The United Nations reports that "at least 150 million of the world's workers were unemployed by the end of 1998.106 on Mon. Even though children are paid no more than $1. including those owned by the state.186 HUMAN RIGHTS QUARTERLY Vol. at 8. Human Development Report 2000. 04 Apr 2016 10:51:58 UTC All use subject to http://about. wheat and corn fields. supra note 9.49 the meager earnings of children are critical to their survival. Id. "About 790 million people are hungry and food insecure. 47. For example. Mekay. Many adults in developing countries are unemployed or underem ployed.48 Since more than four fifths of private income is spent on food in developing countries. their earnings provide a major source of income for their families. According to UNICEF.243. supra note 8. more than 30 percent of the adult males are unemployed."45 and more than half of the population in nearly a dozen countries lives for less than one dollar a day (in 1993 PPP$). at 38. Human Development Report 1999.50 for an eight-hour day. In other words.

6 44.7 5.2 4.4 4.5 1.likely (<15 dency live to years) Ratio age 40 33.org/terms .5 percent of the population.4 4.7 57.9 54. supra note 41.5 35.106 on Mon.9 3.5 66.7 62.5 12.7 71. See id. developing countries. Survival and Age Distribution. Having a high percentage of young population means that more people depend on the work of fewer people. especially those in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. 04 Apr 2016 10:51:58 UTC All use subject to http://about.1 6.5 21.9 World 2. This content downloaded from 41.6 62.5 60.33.9 9.6 15.8 30.8 1. In order to avoid starvation.6 66.9 % % not young Depen.6 Source: Compiled and calculated from Human Development Report 2000.3 Least Developed Arab States East Asia East Asia (excuding China) Latin America & Caribbean South Asia South Asia (excluding India) South-East Asia & the Pacific Sub-Saharan Africa Eastern European & the CIS 2. at 171.7 3.6 6.5 83. countries that have high dependency ratios would need to either increase the productivity level of the working age population or allow some of the under-aged to participate in the work force.9 percent of the population. at 223-26.6 91.7 14.2 8.6 22.0 58.3 38.jstor.3 59. As seen in Table 2.6 2.54 The extreme poverty prevalent in many of these countries with high dependency ratios is a factor that works against the prospect of increasing TABLE 2 Demographics: Fertility.5 3.8 66.0 32.8 20. Human Development Report 2000.0 61.3 40.9 6.53 The proportion of the under-age (youth) and elderly population to the working age population provides the "dependency ratio" in the domestic economy.6 11.9 52.5 39.(15-64 and 2000 years) older 3.2 74.3 3. 2000.6 73.2002 Analyzing Child Labor as a Human Rights Issue 187 4.7 4.7 15.1 3. New York: Oxford University Press.1 57. 1998 Fertility % work Country Groups All Developing rate age % 65 1995.0 12.9 50.8 4.3 59.9 12.9 5. the working age population (fifteen to sixty four years) comprises only 61.3 61.5 47.3 4.3 62. 53.6 42.8 30.0 34.243. 54.7 50.5 32.2 25.1 OECD 1. have larger youth populations and higher dependency ratios.6 1.2 7.8 67.0 12.3 3.

most of the effort and money have been devoted to population control programs that turned out to be coercive and ineffective. Overcrowded schools. The Country Dossiers. Rural areas tend to lack schools. at 79. 57. education in general.org/lnternational/Databanks/Dossiers/mainfram. especially beyond the perimeter of urban centers. This content downloaded from 41. and sanitation. While there has been a considerable global interest in curbing the population increase in developing countries.57 Thus. Id. supra note 41.3 percent in case of the least developed countries. books. sending children to school is seen as nothing but a waste of time and money. The World Bank. while recognizing educa tion and health as crucial to eliminating poverty in its development reports.106 on Mon. International Bureau of Education.33.unesco. The UN reports that 14.ibe. from the perspective of impoverished parents. and girls' education in particular. in many countries "free" education means only the absence of tuition and fees. The Child and the State in India: Child Labor and Education Policy in Comparative Perspective (1991). the cost of uniforms. In fact. offer poor quality education which promises very little in terms of improved prospects.55 The low levels of life expectancy. and to 34.jstor. In addition to its opportunity cost (the time the child could use to earn some money instead of spending it at school). and this figure jumps to 30.org/terms . Less than 4 percent of national income is spent on education in developing countries (Table 3).3 percent of the population in developing countries is not expected to survive age forty. clean water. Although studies repeatedly show that the increase in women's education is directly related to the decline in fertility rates. 55. Human Development Report 2000. education. combined with the high fertility rates. poverty is likely to skew the population distribution further.6 percent for those in Sub-Saharan Africa.188 HUMAN RIGHTS QUARTERLY Vol. with inadequate staff and supplies. and supplies still has to be absorbed by the family. has been neglected by governments and many internationally sponsored development pro grams.243.htm> (visited 11 Nov. 24 labor productivity.56 National laws that declare primary education as mandatory are not enforced. Myron Weiner. keeping a child in school imposes an extra financial burden on parents (even if schools were available and properly equipped). and most village schools have been severely underfunded. 2001). are likely to push up the already high dependency ratios in developing countries (Table 2). 04 Apr 2016 10:51:58 UTC All use subject to http://about. generating more young people depending on fewer "working age" people. available at <httpy/www. While "modest" school fees actually constitute large sums for the poor. 56. has been allocating only about a combined 8 percent of its development assistance funds to projects on primary health care.

1997 Primary Secondary 1. UNICEF. it should not be surprising that more than 260 million of the primary and secondary school-age children of the world are out of school.1 0.2 3. Moreover. supra note 8.9 88. at 29. 60.6 65.106 on Mon.4 97.8 World 4. enrollments are not stable or continuous. the UN data for 1992-1995 show that. This content downloaded from 41.3 41.6 1.9 Education Enrollments. 59.5 85.4 2.8 3.4 31.8 5.4 Latin America & South Asia South Asia (excluding India) South-East Asia & the Pacific Sub-Saharan Africa Eastern European & the CIS Source: Compiled from Human Development Report 2000.5 3.9 93. 2000.2 61.6 87.2 3.jstor.4 80.8 56.2 2.3 6.4 86.60 58. in developing countries.0 6. Given these problems.7 60.2 1.9 93.0 65.33. See Human Development Report 1999.243.3 78.5 OECD 5.5 2.4 60.8 71.0 China) 3. at 179.4 4.2002 Analyzing Child Labor as a Human Rights Issue 189 TABLE 3 Education and Health Expenditures and Education Enrollments Public Expenditures On Education On Health Country Groups All Developing Least Developed Arab States East Asia East Asia (excluding (%ofGNP) (%ofGDP) 1995-97 1996-98 2. supra note 41.1 1.58 Enrollment rates are particularly low in least developed countries and in Sub-Saharan Africa (Table 3). 22 percent of all primary school enrollees fail to reach grade five.2 99.8 5.9 4. 04 Apr 2016 10:51:58 UTC All use subject to http://about.7 Caribbean 4. Id.2 58.4 97.7 99.org/terms . at 22.59 In some countries the figure rises to 60 percent.3 3. New York: Oxford University Press.

tend to ignore human rights and their interdependency in their dealings with the developing world.190 HUMAN RIGHTS QUARTERLY Vol. these agencies require governments to implement measures of "fiscal discipline" which involve freezing wages. and privatizing government enterprises. Improving the parents' economic conditions would cer tainly provide better opportunities for the children and free them from laboring. reducing government spending. The conditions that the IMF and the World Bank set for lending. and with the same emphasis. International finance and development agencies. Doc. however. INTERDEPENDENCY OF HUMAN RIGHTS. UNICEF.243." do exactly the opposite of what is necessary to promote the rights of the poor and improve the lives of poor people. utilities or transportation. Denying the right to employment or the right to livable wages for adults inevitably results in the violation of children's rights. This content downloaded from 41. As well put by UNICEF. A/CONF. and interdependent and interrelated. declining wages.."62 In the name of economic stability. While the reduction in government spending typically means cutting down social expenditures (e. their adverse impacts are probably most remarkable on the children from poor households. 04 Apr 2016 10:51:58 UTC All use subject to http://about. Facing increasing unemployment levels. At least since the Proclamation of Teheran in 1968.org/terms . and the increase in out of pocket expenditures for essential food items. privatization almost always results in major layoffs. at 28.33. 157/23 (12 July 1993).g. 24 V. health and education) and eliminating government subsidies on basic goods. AND MISGUIDED AND COUNTERPRODUCTIVE ECONOMIC POLICIES The advocates of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights have repeat edly emphasized the interrelatedness and interdependency of human rights. "61 The issue of child labor shows not only that the full enjoyment of one right by an individual depends on his ability to enjoy other rights.jstor.106 on Mon. The Vienna Declaration and Programme for Action of 1993 asserts: "All human rights are universal.N. commonly referred to as the "structural adjustment policies. these principles have been accepted and underscored in various international declarations and conventions. The international community must treat human rights globally in a fair and equal manner. but also that the fulfillment of children's rights depends on the recognition and realization of their parents' rights. supra note 8. the low income households in recipient countries find 61. Although these policy formulations have no direct reference to children. on the same footing. "the real cost of adjustment is being paid disproportionally by the poor and by their children. 62. Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. U. indivisible.

to send children to work. which are likely to turn to child labor for additional income. at 17-20. 225 Dollars & Sense 21-23 (1999). or to keep them at home to watch their younger siblings. 65. at 29. reports by both the national government and the ILO "linked the explosion of child labour directly to the impact of the country's structural adjustment programme. Id. Vijay Prashad. UNICEF. in Zimbabwe.67 In addition to pushing government spending down. and health.jstor. According to the Commission on Labor Standards and International Trade."68 63. Calloused Consciences: The Limited Challenge to Child Labor. This content downloaded from 41.33. the Indian government slashed social spending. Trying to cope with the shrinking family income. reflecting decisions by families to remove girls from schools at a greater rate than boys. the education of the female child is likely to be sacrificed first. supra note 8. 66. and in all regions spending per student declined. 67. while simultaneously making every effort to increase its exports as it liberalized its economy. not only increased poor households' dependency on child labor but also enabled the local elite who employed poor children to run exploitative and unsafe businesses that subsequently escaped government regulations and law enforcement.63 Through the reduction of aggregate demand. As a result of its agreement with the IMF in 1991. Jeanne Vickers. 68. 64. education. supra note 16.243. child labor in India grew at an annual rate of 4 percent in the 1990s. The experience of India in the 1990s provides an illustrative case. Vickers. especially on food subsidies.64 The reduction in government services. 04 Apr 2016 10:51:58 UTC All use subject to http://about. at 28. the structural adjustment policies adversely affect children's education by forcing parents to rearrange their priorities. poor parents stop sending children to school or take them out of school to reduce household expenses. but it does so at the expense of poor households.2002 Analyzing Child Labor as a Human Rights Issue 191 themselves tightening their belts more and more. combined with a deregulated economy and economic policies catering to business interests.106 on Mon.org/terms . supra note 63. A study of seventeen countries that had implemented the structural adjustment programs in the 1980s identified "a clear tendency for a deterioration in the ratio of girls to boys in secondary education after the onset of recession. the IMF may be successful in curbing inflation (although it has not been always as successful as expected even in meeting that objective)."66 It is noted that during the debt crisis of the 1980s. since their mothers have to enter the labor market or increase their work hours. Women and the World Economic Crisis 22-30 (1991). Given the patriarchal nature of the societies. at 29.65 Similarly. government cuts in social spending hit education particularly hard. Tucker & Ganesan. as the cost of living and unemployment increased.

and starting in the late 1980s it included the development of "safety nets" in its loan packages.33.71 The GDP per capita has shown a steady decline during the last two decades for the least developed countries. Annual Report 1990 6 (1990). who has subscribed to the same neoliberal economic theories followed by the IMF and shaped the policies of the World Bank as its chief economist."69 While working for less has been prescribed to the developing countries with the promise of prosperity in the future. 24 As a response to its persistent critics.5 in per capita values (Table 4). which experi enced economic growth.73 In fact.6 to $33. finds himself agreeing with the protestors of the IMF: "They'll say the IMF's economic 'remedies' often make things worse?turning slowdowns into recessions and recessions into depressions. and especially for the working class. the last century demonstrated steady and unprecedented levels of increases in 69." the benefits of development in some countries. at 6.243. their development assistance shrank.. Human Development Report 2000. from $42.70 Indeed. after years of "structural adjustment. The Insider: What I learned at the world economic crisis. However.72 The net official development assistance received by developing countries dropped from nearly $48 billion in 1991 to about $35 billion in 1997. with the largest decline observed in South Asian and Sub-Saharan African countries (Table 4). Real income. 73. supra note 41. The World Bank notes that while donor countries' economies grew after 1992. supra note 41. New Republic. at 158. and again. exports and other means also marked a net benefit for the industrial world. The net capital transfer through loans. 72.org/terms . has declined in many countries. Moreover. 17 & 24 April 2000. are still waiting to trickle-down. distributing free milk in some urban slums) appears to be too small to fill the big hole that its other "adjustment" policies open.1 billion in 1980. 71. The World Bank.5 billion was transferred from South to North.g. World Development Report 2000/2001 : Attacking Poverty 190 (2001). UNIFEM noted that while the net transfer of funds from the North to South was $19. This content downloaded from 41. 70.106 on Mon.192 HUMAN RIGHTS QUARTERLY Vol. on the other hand. 04 Apr 2016 10:51:58 UTC All use subject to http://about. Human Development Report 1999.jstor. from $287 in 1975 to $245 in 1997 (measured in 1987 US$). United Nations Development Fund for Women. the IMF has demonstrated a sensitivity to the situation of the poor. the aid from the developed world has shown a steady decline itself. the poorest countries have failed to show any improve ment at all. by 1990 the direction of the flow had changed and $27. And they'll have a point. It is noted that the average annual growth of income per capita for the 1990-1998 period was negative in fifty countries (only one of them is an OECD country). Even Joseph Stiglitz. the IMF notion of safety nets (e. Joseph Stiglitz. at 56-60. the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa experienced the largest decline.

2002 193 Analyzing Child Labor as a Human Rights Issue ^ O ?) OMO N N Q CD o CX.org/terms . cu c </> C ? O .t fO (N CO r cooot enr-io K <>> CO ^ CT> ro O oo oo T? 0> CN O '? crsv <u a> S? O C? O ^ 00 ? es Og C0(NNrNCT>O^C0K M ro r. fN r.CO t ^ oQ S? . O fOKOCTi^NOOrnrO II Lu ? O r-K^r-'tK^MLO II ? II C ^ io K a.106 on Mon.E U ' cu .2 ^= ?^ <* OS ? < ' O) -r u oo as ^ !R CL O ? o v U : _c _c c/> ? 3 "3 _Q ) O O D ) C/) C/) C/) 3 T5 This content downloaded from 41.K vu ^.5= a> "O <u Q. 04 Apr 2016 10:51:58 UTC All use subject to http://about. io K : I r-53 c * E tt -2 ?Q > o v. oo 3 c ^ cu I"? $o <3^ > & ? * Q ?o .jstor. a. o no ?8 2 II r?^6?6^inr-^(N 0^ O CT? > (/"> O) CU -7 In i 00 co .33.243.

1980." and "gaps between rich and poor are widening in many countries.194 HUMAN RIGHTS QUARTERLY Vol.66 in 1993. and educa tion.g. 1990. It 'negotiates' the conditions for receiving aid/'75 What Stiglitz fails to mention. lower fertility rates) since the late 1960s. the need to invest in human resource development."74 In addition to its poor economic policies. 44 to 1 in 1973 and 72 to 1 in 1992. with its development mission and programs geared toward fighting poverty. higher labor and land productivity. 24 national and international inequalities. Officially. This content downloaded from 41. is that the World Bank has also been guilty of imposing the very same structural adjustment policies?policies that are also known as "austerity measures" because of their negative economic and social impacts. See annual reports by the World Bank. however. Id. the fund supports democratic institutions in the nations it assists. Human Development Report 2000 indicates that "the distance between the incomes of the richest and poorest country was about 3 to 1 in 1820. and 2000-2001. improved nutrition and health of children. 04 Apr 2016 10:51:58 UTC All use subject to http://about. Stiglitz criticizes the IMF for being undemocratic: "In theory. it undermines the democratic process by imposing policies. World Development Report. of course. 76. Moreover.63 in 1988 to 0.. nutrition.76 In case of funding. although there is a transient component).33. Stiglitz.106 on Mon.jstor. it has been reluctant to acknowledge the violations of human rights caused by some of its grandiose projects and stubborn in denying the negative impact of its adjustment policies on health. which focus on global poverty and poverty reduction efforts. supra note 69. and the enormous social gains promised by improving education and income opportunities for women (e. including accusations about enabling the trends that contribute to child labor. see especially the reports for the years 1970. the World Bank. at 57. the Bank has been slow in incorporating these findings into project designs and policy formulations. when compared to the IMF. In practice." industrial and developing.243. 35 to 1 in 1950. 75. however. The report also notes that a "study of worldwide income distribution among households shows a sharp rise in inequality?with the Gini coefficient deteriorating from 0. the Bank officials have been rejecting the notion that the Bank had any responsibilities in devastating the poor and insisting on the argument that the recipient countries would have been worse off and 74. the IMF doesn't Impose' anything.org/terms . presents a more complex picture in terms of its approach to the issues of poverty and development. When confronted by critics about the social ramifications of its policies. Numerous studies conducted by the Bank staff or published by the Bank have repeatedly pointed to the persistent nature of the poverty problem (some households experience chronic poverty. Of course.

underwritten an industry which relied on bonded child labor at all stages of operation..33. supra note 64. and "in effect. 04 Apr 2016 10:51:58 UTC All use subject to http://about. 82. 80. moving away from large scale projects and increasing funding for education and health care. it was confronted by critics who argued that the Bank had failed to monitor labor conditions. Id. This content downloaded from 41."79 Although an official of the Bank claimed that "the Bank has tried to look in terms of providing the environment to discourage child labor. the lending was extended to the state of Uttar Pradesh and involved the overall modernization of the industry. Tucker & Ganesan. 81. also that India's silk projects have been "regularly appraised" by the Bank.org/terms .jstor." yet "in some areas child labor is essential for families to survive". Id.106 on Mon. However. and other international agencies heavily influenced by the US Treasury Department continue to subscribe to 77. at 19.243.82 This and other recent changes in the approach of the World Bank."78 The Bank responded to these charges with a range of statements: "The Bank does not condone the use of child labor. supra note 7. e. the Bank hired an official in 1998 to oversee the process to avoid lending to businesses that use child labor. supra note 16. which was intended to create jobs and alleviate poverty began with loans of $54 million to support sericulture (the raising of silkworms) in Karnataka in the 1980s.77 A more direct undesirable impact of the Bank's work on child labor can be best observed in its financing of the silk industry in India. the Bank has been lending India millions of dollars since the 1980s. are all promising developments.81 As a result of this pressure. called on the Bank to suspend funding until the Indian government fully implemented its law against bonded labor and worked on the rehabilitation of the children working in the industry. they are not likely to be effective if the Bank. Prashad. but the problem of child labor "has not shown up in any of our reports. Id. at 14 (quoting Peter Fall?n). 79. In an effort to help India increase its silk exports.000 bonded children in every stage of silk production" has been overlooked by the Bank. on the other hand. Human Rights Watch. The Bank's support. the IMF.g. In 1997. Weissman. 78.2002 Analyzing Child Labor as a Human Rights Issue 195 registered higher rates of child labor if they had not carried out the policies formulated by the Bank."80 the mechanisms used for creating such an environment were not specified. The Bank was also urged to set up educational and other programs that would allow the bonded child laborers to attend school. In the 1990s. The fact that the silk industry in India has been largely dependent on child labor and that in Karnataka alone there might have been "as many as 100.

retirement policies and labor laws. both in developing and industrial countries. protect property rights. have been busy redefining their welfare policies. President Fernando de la R?a.C. Pol'y 87 (2000). See Mois?s Nairn. privatize state enterprises. encourage direct foreign investment. and require all loan applicants to implement essentially the same structural adjustment policies. N. or mandatory education."84 What he did not mention is the fact that these expected gains will come at the expense of the unions and workers who can now be dismissed in six months or a year after their employment without any benefits.. This content downloaded from 41. 2000. Since they are all located in Washington. Thus. even if they had the will to do so. eliminate subsidies. expressed his satisfaction with the legislation by describing it as "a law that will contribute to the development of small. healthy and safe work conditions.and medium-sized business and work in Argentina.83 These requirements clearly weaken government control over the economy and favor the freedom of capital. 28 Apr. 84. Such a "labor law reform"? which intends to reduce the negotiating power of unions.33.243. constantly pushes governments in developing countries to find ways to reduce the cost of labor. Forced to follow these prescriptions. social security systems. along with the desire to attract foreign capital. limit workers' benefits. Washington Consensus or Washington Confusion? 118 For. 04 Apr 2016 10:51:58 UTC All use subject to http://about. Although they all uphold the principles of neo-liberalism. the executive and legislative bodies. Argentine Leader Wins Reform of the Nation's Rigid Labor Code. Times.Y. D. The IMF and the World Bank employ a "cookie-cutter approach" to economic stability. 24 the policy principles that are known as the "Washington Consensus"?a set of neoliberal economic policies that require developing countries to limit government spending.85 Historical data show that unionization in a country increases as the country becomes more industrialized. the price competition in international markets. at A9. the underlying economic philosophy of the structural adjustment policies is commonly referred to as "the Washington Consensus" by the critics. broaden the tax base but reduce the marginal tax rates. In order to increase their country's competitiveness in global market. who pushed for the bill. Their implications for the poor and working classes are all negative and point to a tacit mission of resource allocation. and the Department has been influential in formulating the lending policies of the two international financial agencies. de regulate private businesses.106 on Mon. See id. 85. the key players in these agencies may have some minor differences on the specifics. governments with reduced budgets and declining regulatory power. cannot enforce laws on minimum working age. not surprisingly old industrial 83. Clifford Krauss. devalu ate their currency.196 HUMAN RIGHTS QUARTERLY Vol. and liberalize trade.org/terms .jstor. and undermine job security?was recently legislated in Argentina on 27 April 2000. These policies are supported and promoted by the US Treasury Department as well. Moreover.

Sweden (85 percent).89 The current version of globalization which prompts "labor law reforms" is likely to push unionization levels down. The welfare of workers and the elimina tion of child labor. 90. noting that "Most unions now understand that they must match the mobility and agility of employers in the global economy. Iceland (78 percent). 90 (2000). Although some countries. Denmark (73 percent). This content downloaded from 41. trade union membership has been falling in most industrial countries in recent years. Id.jstor. and Sri Lanka. have tried to achieve this through imposing trade bans and restrictions. 86. at 43. 88. where the conservative cultural hostility and anti-unionism have prevailed. Labor's New Internationalism. 87. Id. This is a misguided strategy that will be discussed in the following pages. supra note 14. such as Argentina.87 In the United States. Jay Mazur.243. See Human Development Report 1993. where only about 10 percent of the workforce is in the formal sector. however."90 VI. which have smaller industrial sectors. For example. 04 Apr 2016 10:51:58 UTC All use subject to http://about. union membership has seen a slide from a low 30 percent to about 15 percent during the last three decades. however. In Africa. Id. 79 For. In the Netherlands. The labor leaders in the US. Singapore. on the average the unionization levels in Asia and Latin America remain around 20 percent. Finland (71 percent) and Norway {55 percent). Mexico. membership in unions fell from 39 percent in 1978 to 24 percent in 1991. the proposals and policies that have been formulated in industrial countries tend to employ a simplistic approach.2002 Analyzing Child Labor as a Human Rights Issue 197 countries hold higher levels of unionization. of course have smaller unionized proportions of their workforces.106 on Mon. union members are estimated to be only 1-2 percent of the total workforce.86 However.33. HOW TO APPROACH THE CHILD LABOR ISSUE While every measure should be taken to stop the abuse of children. Venezuela. Jay Mazur.org/terms ." emphasizes the need for a new internationalism and global campaign for "core labor rights and standards everywhere to ensure that the global rules were respected at home and abroad. 89. Chair of the AFL-CIO International Affairs Committee.88 Developing countries. And workers understand that conditions abroad clearly affect their prospects at home. register higher unionization rates. Banning child labor and imposing trade sanctions on countries that continue to allow it without any consider ation of the root causes of the problem only palliates the guilt of Northern nations and will not end the suffering of poor children and their families. 88. Brazil. Aff. would demand resisting and reversing this declining trend.

would only mean closing an employment opportunity for the needy child. That would also hurt the export sector of developing countries. at 9.91 Similarly. McClintock.05 percent. their impact would be limited because export industries employ only 5 percent of child workers. supra note 28.org/public/ english/comp/child/stat/stats. supra note 41. According to the ILO.htm> (visited 11 Nov. supra note 8. 04 Apr 2016 10:51:58 UTC All use subject to http://about. at 85 (for a brief critical assessment of using trade sanctions as a way of improving labor rights).198 HUMAN RIGHTS QUARTERLY Vol.33. the majority of the full-time working children are located in the commercial agricultural sector. 94. 2001). 5ee Erika de Wet. relying on consumer labels and hoping that consumers in wealthy countries will refuse to buy goods produced by child labor.6 percent to . supra note 14. 42 Challenge 80 (1999). See Table 1. Many would be recruited into illegal operations and prostitution that appear to be the thriving industries of this new phase of globalization which has already registered the international trafficking of women and children as an overwhelming problem. 24 Simply adding a social clause that links banning child labor to trade would not only fail to improve the living conditions of poor children in developing countries but would cause further deteriorations. supra note 27. 136 Int'l Lab. at 443 (for an overview of efforts to include a social clause in trade agreements). Those who escape the underground life would join the ranks of street children?usually taken as a 91. available on <http://www. 215. which are already losing in the global market. See Human Development Report 2000. Selectively addressing the child labor issue in export-oriented industries is problematic for a number of reasons. Third. Statistics on Working Children and Hazardous Child Labour in Brief (revised version) (1998).93 Second. Leipziger & Sabharwal. This content downloaded from 41. 93.)94 Finally. banning child labor in export industries could push children from these relatively (though not always) more secure and better paying jobs to seeking employment in less protected informal sectors. Social labelling to combat child labour: Some considerations. 231 (1997). trade bans on goods produced by child labor would pull down the demand for such goods which consequently would result in a decline in demand for labor in general (including the adult labor) and trigger a decline in wages.ilo. the share of least developed countries declined from 0.org/terms . Rev. Human Development Report 1993. These countries attracted also less than $3 billion in foreign direct investments in 1998.106 on Mon.jstor. such sanctions would miss the fact that many export items that are produced solely by adult labor may depend on raw materials and intermediary goods that are created by child laborers. supra note 27.92 These solutions cannot be effective because they fail to address the multiple factors that cause and perpetuate the problem and they apply only to the export-oriented industries. even if effectively managed. (While the world exports more than doubled between 1980 and 1990. Bachman. First. Janet Hilowitz. International Labor Standards and Child Labor.243. Kebebew Ashagrie. even if sanctions were carried out effectively. 92. Kaushik Basu. not creating options for her.

supra note 28. asserting their opposition to trade sanctions and claiming that they have a right to work. More recently child laborers in Africa and Asia have joined this movement.33. 97. and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association reached an agreement in 1995: no more child workers would be hired but none would be fired either until alternative arrangements were made.000 people. the Child Labor Deterrence Act of 1993.jstor. (1999) (most recent version). 04 Apr 2016 10:51:58 UTC All use subject to http://about. Child Labor in Bangladesh: A Critical Appraisal of Harkin's Bill and the MOU-Type Schooling Program. Human Development Report 1993. Unicef. See Child Labor Deterrence Act.95 and try to survive by shining shoes. Similarly. at 985."99 In an effort to remedy the situation. supra note 8. Rahman. 33 J. UNICEF.96 US Senator Tom Harkin's bill. selling marginal consumer items such as gums or paper tissues. Eventually. Bombay and Calcutta are reported to have around 100. has already illustrated the unruly impact of such flat bans. 99. or scavenging. the United States..106 on Mon. little or no education and precious few alternatives". at 4.97 which was introduced on 18 March 1993 as an attempt to ban the import of goods that have been produced by child labor. some of them would turn to crime. 95. This now international movement started with Ni?os y Adolescents Trabajadores (Child and Teenage Workers) in Peru in the 1970s and later spread to other Latin American countries.' many of them "went looking for new sources of income and found them in work such as stone crushing. however. and the businesses would pay monthly stipends that would help compensate for lost wages so the children could attend UNICEF-funded schools. 96. This content downloaded from 41. some of the child workers from urban areas have started to organize. 98.000 street children each?and the juvenile crime rate in India is reported as 3. S. Mohammad Mafizur Rahman et al. found out that these "freed" children were actually "trapped in a harsh environment with no skills.1 per 1.2002 Analyzing Child Labor as a Human Rights Issue 199 sign of urban deprivation and estimated to include 100 million children of the world. Issues 985 (1999).000 children younger than fourteen in 1993. street hustling and prostitution?all of them more hazardous and exploitative than garment production.243. Id. the United States was also working with the IMF on conditions for lending to Bangladesh and in effect forcing its government to reduce expenditures on health and education. supra note 98.. which demands the UN and other organizations make a distinction between the exploitation of children through labor and other forms of work that help them. The bill's threat led Bangladesh garment manufacturers to lay off an estimated 50. at 23. Bachman. supra note 14.100 Ironically. at 60. of Econ. begging.98 UNICEF research.org/terms . India probably has the greatest number of street children?New Delhi. supra note 8. at 24. Id. in the middle of this crisis. 100. 60. Unicef. Recently. 106th Cong.I 551.

the use of child labor. UNICEF also points out that while domestic workers constitute the most vulnerable and exploited children of all. most of whom are girls. What they don't want is to wake up and find in their district some ill-thought-out project from a rich country which is going to lose them their job."102 Simple bans or restrictions imposed upon export-industries that employ child labor would not only harm the children working in that sector.243. the legal work age is usually fifteen and education is supposedly free and compulsory up to the age of twelve. emotional. In addition to working for long hours and living in unsuitable conditions (e. It should be added that many girls.g. they question what the children between the ages of twelve and fifteen should be doing. a former ILO official.106 on Mon. at 30-35. Boukhari. for example. including textbooks and school uniforms.200 HUMAN RIGHTS QUARTERLY Vol. 103. Unicef. do domestic labor for their own families in the form of field labor. For example. supra note 8. They earn very little and sometimes are paid only "in kind" in the form of leftover food and used clothing. and exposed to humiliation by the children of their employers. for example. In Guatemala. if not eliminate. The State of the World's Children 1997 Report by UNICEF identifies domestic work as the form of child exploitation that is most widespread but least researched. This content downloaded from 41. Providing improved and free education. at 38.103 The report notes that domestic child workers. Id..jstor. 24 some NGO leaders. at 38. 23 Women's Int'l Network News 75 (1997). and enforcing the principle of mandatory education would curb. have emphasized education. but they would fail to reach children who are employed in other economic sectors.104 The solution to the problem of child labor has to be a comprehensive one that would work to eliminate the poor family's need for child labor and create educational opportunities for children. 102. and sexual abuse by household members. supra note 17. suffer from a wider range of abuse.101 Michael Bonnet. they are also the most difficult to protect. sleeping on the kitchen floor). and access to education and health care. cooking. girls spend an average of 21 hours a week on household duties on top of a 40 hour working week outside. Those girls who work outside home come back home to pick up household chores. they are exposed to physical.33. and consequently both states have 101. throughout the world. 04 Apr 2016 10:51:58 UTC All use subject to http://about. See Global March Against Child Labour: Empowering the Girl Child. taking care of the younger siblings. who help child workers. noting that in African countries. have work breaks. the state of Kerela in India. get a decent wage. supra note 8. recognizes the fact that these children who demand the right to work face a risk of being manipulated but also supports their position: "They want to be respected. and China until recently. point to administrative and institutional incongruities. 104. deprived of their parents' affection and support. See Unicef. and many other chores.org/terms . cleaning.

in the war-torn and impoverished Cambo dia. the Director and President of the Foundation for Children's Rights in Brazil (a country which has 3-4 million children below fourteen years old working). thanks to its social programs and emphasis on schooling?despite its relative poverty and the increased economic embargo imposed by the United States.org/terms ."107 In fact. This content downloaded from 41. as posted by Stop-traffic list serve. supra note 8. UNICEF treats the improved access to education as the most effective way of eradicating child labor.2002 Analyzing Child Labor as a Human Rights Issue 201 fewer child laborers than states with comparable economic means. 98 percent of girls in prostitution are found to be the main providers for their families.108 105.106 on Mon. as well as by the international lending agencies. Parental Perceptions and Child Labor in Kenya: What Factors Determine Who is Enrolled in School? 78 Soc. 04 Apr 2016 10:51:58 UTC All use subject to http://about. supported. Cuba has largely managed to save its children from the burden of work. at 21. 106. a survey of Kenyan households by Claudia Buchmann includes valuable information about the value of children's schooling. Simi larly. Government efforts and investments in education should be encouraged. Oded Grajew. available on <http. that an estimated addition of $6 billion a year?less than 1 percent of what the world spends every year on weapons?would have put every child in school by the year 2000. Battling Brazil's Child Labor Brutality: An interview with Oded Grajew. should be expanded to serve larger child populations?not only for the rehabilitation of child laborers but also as preventive measures. but "the main reason children work is because the family needs money. in 1997.//fpmaiI. and reinforced by unilateral and multilateral aid. UNICEF reported.jstor. See Family Structure. From the report by the UN's Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). Forces 1 349 (2000). Although some of her conclusions on the causal links between child labor and school enrollments are debatable. Providing school meals and even stipends paid to parents to compensate for the children's labor can be considered among those measures. 2001).friends-partners. Unicef.html> (visited 15 Nov. Id. He states that the problem in Brazil is not the absence or quality of schools (although this might be the case in some rural areas). Arguing that the failures in providing primary education as stemming from a lack of political will rather than a question of scarce resources.106 argues in support of paying a stipend to the family and requiring the parents to send the children to school. Along with several analysts. launched in 1992 to help countries in combating child labor. such as those established by the ILO under its International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC). 108.org/ pipermail/stop-traffic/1904-January/001100.33. Educational programs and schools.243. at 55. 107. other interim measures should be taken to make the schooling of children attractive to parents. 18 Multinat'l Monitor 20 (1997).105 In addition to making education accessible.

that protect labor rights can be effectively enforced without proper monitoring by groups other than the employers and government. supra note 64. Unicef. Both of them may be too willing to undermine the well-being of the workers for profit and other short-term interests. and day-care for their siblings. improving working conditions. A similar shift in the targeting of development aid by donor countries could generate much of the rest. but labor unions are critical to promoting workers' rights. in December 1994. no proposal that attempts to improve working conditions and no labor law. which calls for developing countries to increase government spending on basic social services from the current average of approximately 13 percent to 20 percent.243. According to UNICEF.110 Of course. 24 Such data demonstrate that the lasting solution to the problem of child labor would be improving the income and living conditions of the world's poorest families?that is. which is repeat edly reported to be an enforcement problem by governments. and they demanded to have schools in their areas. That can be achieved only if the adult labor force is paid meaningful wages and has access to credit. at 21-23. itself. an "interesting" education. education and safe water. 04 Apr 2016 10:51:58 UTC All use subject to http://about. training programs. and for donor countries to earmark 20 percent of official development assistance (ODA). free books and uniforms.109 Many child laborers are aware of the causes of their predicament and they know what they need. 110.jstor. and safety nets.202 HUMAN RIGHTS QUARTERLY Vol. jobs for their parents. would necessitate other competent and committed observers who can be logically found in labor unions. This premise is set out in the 20/20 initiative.000 child workers participated at a conference organized by the Campaign against Child Labor in Chennai. The shortage of trained and committed government inspectors. supra note 8. and enforcing minimum 109. More than 1. India. See Prashad.org/terms . to eliminate poverty. increasing wages. domestic or international. health care.106 on Mon. some of these goals are not out of reach: An additional $40 billion a year could ensure access for all the world's people to basic social services such as health care. could provide enough additional resources to reach most of the goals for the year 2000. Unionization is not only the realization of a human right.33. freedom of association. Their interim proposals included having rights in the workplace and being able to unionize. Two thirds of this amount could be found by developing countries if they realigned their own budget priorities. at 14. Redirecting just one quarter of the developing world's military expenditure?or $30 billion of $125 billion?for example. This content downloaded from 41.

115 Insisting on such sanctions may stem from naivete. Unions in industrial countries. but it should be noted that not all of those who are in favor of linking trade to restrictions on child labor or other social clauses are interested in promoting the rights of the child or labor rights. first to improve the conditions of child laborers. This entails improving the condition and scope for adult labor. at 20. The first-best policy is to attack the problem at its source. 24 Nov. Basu and Van. neither these arguments nor the devastating case studies deter people like New Jersey Representative Chris Smith from sponsoring bills that would punish countries that allow child labor not only by imposing trade sanctions against them but also by cutting off foreign aid. at 425. (1997). They are advocates of "fair trade. Kaushik Basu and Pham Hoang Van.106 on Mon.114 Nevertheless. reach the conclusion that: If the market has only one equilibrium which is likely in very-poor countries. This content downloaded from 41. unions would push for contracts and laws that would make child labor less attractive to the employers. should direct their energy and resources to resisting the trend of de-unionization and restrictive labor legislation both at home and abroad. 114. de Wet. at 10. By emphasizing anti-discrimination in wages (including age discrimination) and seeking healthy and safe work conditions and environments for all workers." mostly located in developed countries. such as Jagdish Bhagwati. then a ban can worsen the condition of the labor households.33. Id. unionization should be promoted. but for the reasons already discussed. See International Child Labor Elimination Act o? 1997.111 Other economists. supra note 33. 112. Insight on the News. but eventually to eliminate the need for child workers. who try to limit imports from those countries that 111. Thus. who serves on the academic advisory committee of Human Rights Watch/Asia. at 443. 04 Apr 2016 10:51:58 UTC All use subject to http://about. 1997.jstor.R.org/terms . John Berlau. H. inferring from their economic modeling of child and adult labor substitutability. 113.243.112 He argues that "the greatest enabling factor for social legislation is economic growth" and proposes foreign aid as an important solution to the problem. Partial bans are especially likely to backfire and cause deterioration in labor conditions. 2678.2002 Analyzing Child Labor as a Human Rights Issue 203 age rules. See Weissman. supra note 7. 105th Cong. 115. it should be directed to the development of human resources and enable governments to pay for needed social services.113 Foreign aid is essential. The Paradox of Child Labor Reform. points out that child labor laws were effective in cracking down on child labor in the United States and other industrial countries only after the standard of living had risen to a level where the economic need for child labor ceased to exist. instead of lobbying for trade sanctions. for all ages. supra note 8.

Prohibition of Acquisition of Products Produced by Forced or Indentured Child Labor.33. in April 2000. incorporate the solutions offered by them.383. The World Bank (2001 ). 04 Apr 2016 10:51:58 UTC All use subject to http://about. supra note 64. Some others.204 HUMAN RIGHTS QUARTERLY Vol.106 on Mon. Reg. 24 are supposedly enjoying a trade advantage by keeping their exports cheap thanks to their lower labor cost. Unfortunately. the latest annual report of the World Bank. 13.116 In the style of the old left.118 which focuses on fighting poverty and proposes "empowerment" of the poor as a strategy. Prashad.C. 64 Fed. World Development Report 2000-2001.org/terms . Vijay Prashad writes that: refusing to split apart the 'special' question of child labor from exploitation in general may be the key which unlocks the child labor issue?placing the onus not on the aberration of exploiting children. D. at 23. 32. This content downloaded from 41. 117. at Sec. See Exec. fails to link empowerment to labor unions.117 This is the point that some of the protestors were trying to make recently in Seattle in November 1999. The World Development Report 2000-2001.243. prevents the US government from purchasing goods made by the "worst forms" of child labor but exempts those produced in Mexico (a party to the NAFTA) and countries that are WTO members. 5 (12 June 1999). in Washington. 118.126. An illustrative case for the latter is the executive order that President Clinton signed in June 1999. and empower them by allowing them to organize and unionize. but on a world system which makes this and other forms of hyper-exploitation all too typical. The complete omission of labor unions and repeated commitments to privatization in the report indicate that the Bank's vision and grasp of issues are far from recognizing the rights of poor people?adults or children. the challenge is to communicate the concerns of the deprived. on the other hand. and in Prague in September 2000. Order No. Now.jstor. They were somewhat successful in attracting the attention of the "masterminds" of the world economy and globalization. the Executive Order 13126. propose halfhearted sanctions that would serve no other purpose than ?mage saving. 116.