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A Child Labour In The Corporate World And How To Minimize It (Research Paper Sample)


The task was to write a research paper about child labour in the corporate world and how to minimize it.

Name: Course: Professor’s name: Institution: Date: Executive summary A major impact of child labor to the economy is through the debilitating effect it has on education which is a crucial component to human capital. Also, the country’s demographic development is also greatly impacted by child labor incidences. Higher incidences of child labor are generally found in poor countries where children are bound to work in hazardous situations because of poverty. Due to this, the respective governments have taken many initiatives that prevent companies from violating children’s rights through child labor. But still, lots need to be done in connection to child labor as poverty level in many countries is quite concerning which contributes to more and more children opting to work instead of schooling. So, the government, companies, NGOs and also the public should take appropriate steps to impoverish children who are vulnerable to child labor, ensure enforcement of laws, and awareness buildings aimed at minimizing these incidences as the level of child labor plus the victims of various disparities is quite concerning to the future generations. Introduction Child labor is a global problem, especially the developing countries. International Labor Organization (ILO) states that approximately 215 million children are working across the world today. Around 70% of these children are working in the agricultural sector and around 115 million are in the worst forms of child labor. Despite this, many companies claim that they adhere to the strict policies put in place about child labor. This report explores the issue of child labor by reviewing the theoretical literature available where we shall develop and critically analyze a case study, and also review the responses from the businesses, society and the government on the issue. Issues from literature review Opinions about child labor greatly depend on historical and cultural traditions, general social conditions, and the stages of economic development, however, there is a broad consensus on the unacceptability of the worst child labor forms (Galli 2011, p.60). Amnesty International conducted a report where they found out that there are a number of supplier companies, which are linked with the major technological and automotive companies, still profiting from child labor. Companies like Nestle which has assured their customers that their products use sustainable palm oil, usually turn a blind eye to the worker's exploitation in their supply companies. These companies can exercise they due diligence by investigating the sources of raw materials to determine whether they have been acquired ethically. These companies are supposed to care about child labor by limiting child labor case in their supply chain. One possibility why child labor is still a challenge is the constraints and preferences faced by the children or their parents do not figure out what happens to the children. Another possibility is the fact that in most instances, the children’s parents are the ones that decide their children does. These parents act on their own or household’s best interest, regardless if it what is in the best interest of the child where they end up being exploited by the employers (Nielsen 2015, p.560). The literature on child labor suggests that once a child is in an exploitative labor, there are a variety of barriers preventing them to escape. These barriers might include; being removed from their parents’ households or losing emotional and financial support that could have been provided by their parents. Also, these children don’t attend schools which prevents them from acquiring the skills that are needed to earn decent wages when they are adults (Bequele & Boyden 2015, p.115). This might lead to sending their own children to work upon becoming parents themselves, forming some sort of a circle referred to as the “poverty trap” where generation after generation continues to miss schooling to work. High incidence of child labor interferes with mechanisms of growth and economic prosperity. This is due to the fact that, a large population of educated people in an economy makes the work of the uneducated be more productive. Therefore, when the level of child labor increases, it means that, education level drops (Cockburn 2014, p.70). The reason why child labor exists is due to the fact that labor is in high demand and adult workers are insufficient therefore using children as back up. Another reason is that of poverty where these children have to work to support their families with finances. Also due to globalization, many businesses outsource their workforce making it possible for the wage differentials to be exploited by these businesses. This reduces production cost and maximizes profits making many businesses prefer to go for children workforce as they are the cheapest and the most subordinate form of labor. In recent years, economists have been studying the causes and also the possible solutions to child labor. But the absence of proper analysis and research, and pressure groups in the developing countries is of great concern as it might force some policy measures which worsens the situation that faces the children and their families in those countries (Dessy & Pallage 2015, p.70). Also, child labor is a tough issue where the factors behind the labor predominate in several contexts. Therefore, to be able child labor, all the underlying causes must be well understood as an in-depth understanding of this situation should include the views of the children which will be important and will greatly help in trying to combat this vice. Presentation of an original case Sametta is a twelve-year-old girl from Cote d’Ivoire in West Africa who goes to work in her family’s cocoa bean field which is two miles away from their house. For 12 hours, she picks cocoa pods where she breaks them open to get the 30-50 seeds inside and also needs 400 seeds to make one pound of chocolate (Clark 2013, p.170). Sametta does not go to school as she is the breadwinner in her family. She uses sharp objects to harvest the cocoa pods, which puts her in great danger of hurting herself as well as the poisonous pesticides sprayed which puts her health at risk. Nestle company, the largest food producer in the world, is the one being linked to this cocoa harvesting by children in Cote d’Ivoire. Nestle is being sued by a local group where they are saying that the company aided and abetted violations of human rights by purchasing the cocoa (Grootaat & Kanbur 2015, p.187). Despite being aware of the child slavery problem in the region, they went ahead and provided technical and financial assistance to local farmers so as to get the cheapest product. The company wanted the case dismissed, but the court rejected the appeal where they said that the plaintiffs could update the case so as to meet a bigger hurdle than previous cases. The company themselves are tackling the child labor issue in their cocoa supply chain since the allegations through monitoring, remediation and pioneering schemes in ivory coast and Ghana forming part of the Nestle Cocoa Plan (Deb & Rosati 2018, p.503). They reported the progress they made in tackling the issue but they admitted that they are more to be done if child labor still exists. They also said that, ending child labor is a shared responsibility and that they are keen to take a collective action with everybody committed to tackling it. The government is also tackling the child labor issue through fixing a minimum age that one must be if they are to get employment. They are doing this so that they can prevent young children from working prematurely. If the government is to ensure that the minimum age is respected, they will make sure that school attendance is compulsory and that the minimum age for leaving school will be the same as the age of starting employment (Hillowitz 2017, p.215). They also make sure that young workers, who have attained the minimum age, are protected by ensuring that they are not involved in hazardous work A critical review of the case If Nestle Company really does care about ending child labor, they should investigate their supply chains continually seeking whether they are involved in the unethical issue. When the issue comes up, they should factor the information in their decision making as well as out of their way to seek it out (Jafare & Lahiri 2017, p. 141). So far, the company has shown real commitment in tackling the vice by starting an investigation in their supply chains. Therefore, they should do it continually without fearing the potential costs likely brought by the investigation process. They should use third party reports which can really help them in tackling the child labor issue as these reports force them to face the ethical issues that they are facing. However, these reports aren’t enough to spur change the needed change, therefore the need to commit to specific ethical actions publicly which will help them solve their unethical behavior with immediate effect. And as we had stated earlier, child labor is a global problem, hence the need for global attention (Anker 2010, p.260). However, substantial progress in reducing this problem has been made in many regions in the world. But there are stills challenges given that there are different support levels in ratifying states which complicate the implementation of international standards as the process of eliminating child labor is being slowed down. Companies like Nestle should ensure effective social responsibility which will help them in improving compliance with the international labor standards on the issue of child labor. They should also follow the international legal framework against the problem of child labor as it will allow the development of the instruments of a soft law allowing them to regulate their corporate operations activities...
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