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FOCUS September 2001 Volume 25

Working Children


How do working children look at the future? Is it a world without child labor?

Child laborers are probably wishing to be in school. But they understand that poverty and/or societal conditions give them little option other than to start earning money at a young age.

Given their early exposure to hard work, and the deprivation of childhood and education, aren't they being imprisoned in a warped idea of their own future? As they grow older, is their hope for a better future growing also? Or are they getting more engrossed with work and find life to be solely a long period of hardship?

Child labor should be eliminated. But the problem is not simple. And solutions are complex.

The human rights of child laborers will not be realized in any meaningful sense as long as they are trapped in the situation they are in. Continuing violations of their human rights take place as a matter of course.

One way out is to ask the affected children early on what can be done to improve their situation. Their view is as important as that of any expert.