|Year : 2016 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 47-52
Management of child labor crisis in developing countries during the process of globalization in the context of convention on the rights of the child
Omid Mahmoudi Ghahsareh1, Amir Mahmoudzadeh2
1 PhD Student of International Law, University of Strasbourg, France
2 The Chancellor of Shakhes Pajouh Research Institute, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering of Shakhes Pajouh Research Institute, Isfahan, Iran
|Date of Web Publication||1-Jun-2016|
Omid Mahmoudi Ghahsareh
PhD Student of International Law, University of Strasbourg
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Developing countries globally are involved in a complex process of globalization. These countries for making profit of globalization adopt new policies and measurements which have positive and also negative effects on child labor and which have let it to a phenomenon of child labor crisis. Within the framework of convention on the rights of the child, the states parties to the convention are committed to protect children from child labor and economic exploitation. For an effective and practical protection of such rights and imposition of such obligations on the states parties, these new polices and measurements should be considered. This research tries to demonstrate this crisis of child labor in the process of globalization for developing countries. The findings of this research show that the development of proper policies and measurements such as improving household's income, and avoiding improper and wrong measurements such as competitive advantages policy could manage this crisis, and it might lead to decrease child labor in developing countries in globalization era. This study is based on the certain experiments of developing countries and the direct and indirect effects of globalization on the situation of child labor in those countries. This research tries by examining these consequences of globalization also discover guides and recommendation of management of child labor crisis in developing countries in their involvement to the globalization.
Keywords: Child labor crisis, child rights, developing countries, globalization
|How to cite this article:|
Ghahsareh OM, Mahmoudzadeh A. Management of child labor crisis in developing countries during the process of globalization in the context of convention on the rights of the child. Int J Health Syst Disaster Manage 2016;4:47-52
|How to cite this URL:|
Ghahsareh OM, Mahmoudzadeh A. Management of child labor crisis in developing countries during the process of globalization in the context of convention on the rights of the child. Int J Health Syst Disaster Manage [serial online] 2016 [cited 2017 Jul 26];4:47-52. Available from: http://www.ijhsdm.org/text.asp?2016/4/2/47/183228
| Introduction|| |
States parties to convention on the rights of the child (CRC)  and other related international instruments are committed to protect children against child labor and economic exploitation.  On the other hand, these countries are involved in a complex and indispensable process of globalization.  In this process, developing countries which have a high rate of child labor and facing a child labor crisis have adopted new measurements and policies which affect positively and also negatively child labor situation in their countries. Some of these policies such as elimination of economical restrictions, dynamic reforms of economic policies, and a fair distribution of social welfare would have positive effects and cause to reduce child labor. On the contrary, there are some other policies and measurements which may increase child labor such as competitive advantages and reduction of supported measurements of developing countries. 
From the legal and practical point of view and with regard to CRC framework about protecting children from child labor, it is necessary to improve effectively these measurements and policies of developing countries to be on truck of reducing child labor and manage its crisis. 
This study after describing child labor situation in international law and CRC concentrates on the explaining the major and important polices and measurement that may affect positively and negatively on child labor situation in the process of globalization. Furthermore, it discusses the development that should be considered in this regard by developing countries as their obligations to CRC. Finally, it will point out some recommendations that might be an alternative way to this issue.
| Child Labor in International Law and Convention on the Rights of the Child|| |
For the first time, the term, child labor has been used in Britain during nineteen century. After that and over the years, some related organizations such as UNICEF and the International Labour Organization (ILO) and many writers have tried to define and explain the features of these kinds of works. 
UNICEF for a precisely distinguish between child labor and other children's works has illustrated some specific features for child labor such as these kinds of works are basically full-time, they need to be spent a lot of time for doing them, there are a highly social and psychological pressure, they include street works in a horrible situation, in sufficient wage and extreme responsibility, prevent children from school, destroy self-confidence, and dignity of children and similar to slavery and exploitation of children, and they are harmful to their social and psychological growth. 
ILO also prepared a definition for realizing intolerable works of children as child labor has been explained that these kinds of works prevent children of their right of education and reaching to a complete point of physical and psychological growth.  The key element of both definitions of UNICEF and ILO is the negative effect that child labor has on physical and psychological growth of children. 
There are realistic legal tools in CRC as the most important international document for protecting children, for defining and legalizing the context of child labor. Article 32 of CRC is the most important of all that indicated states parties recognize the rights of the child to be protected from exploitation and child labor. Article 32 (2) provides,
"States Parties shall take legislative, administrative, social, and educational measures to ensure the implementation of the present article. To this end, and having regard to the relevant provisions of other international instruments, States Parties shall in particular: (a) provide for a minimum age or minimum ages for admission to employment; (b) provide for appropriate regulation of the hours and conditions of employment; (c) provide for appropriate penalties or other sanctions to ensure the effective enforcement of the present article."
Along with article 32, there are some other articles in CRC that are about child labor such as Article 33: Prohibiting use of children in illegal products and trafficking drugs; Article 34: Protecting children of all kind of physical exploitation and abuse such as prostitution or pornography; Article 35: Kidnapping and trafficking children with any purposes that include economic exploitation; and Article 38: Protecting children under 15 years old of joining to military organizations and attending directly to war or armed conflicts. 
States parties to CRC also have particular responsibilities in relation to extreme forms of hazardous child labor identified in the Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention, 1999 (No. 182) of the ILO.  UN's committee on rights of the child has recommended states parties to ratify this convention.
| Globalization and Child Labor Crisis|| |
As this paper already pointed out, developing countries in the process of globalization have adopted new policies and measurements that may cause to increase child labor. With regard to protection children from child labor and the proper management of its crisis, first of all, it is necessary to recognize and illustrate these harmful policies of developing countries and try to avoid or at least amend them for the sake of children as it follows.
The competitive advantages of developing countries
Having higher extent of child labor can help developing countries to cut costs of their exported productions to gain competitive advantages over other countries.  Children are more desirable to employers because they are cheaper than adults, they do not need medical insurance and pension and they are paid lower wages. They also tend to have more flexibility in hard work conditions. Since all developing countries are persuaded to use these competitive advantages, it will lead to a high amount of child labor. Developing countries with lax labor standard, low wages, and a high rate of unskilled workers, including children, consider as a heaven for foreign investors. 
The effects of foreign direct investment
When a developing country as a result of globalization opens to international markets, foreign direct investment (FDI) often comes to that country.  FDI in two ways may increase child labor.
Decreasing supported measurements of developing countries
- In the process of globalization, FDI may affect the quality of jobs available in domestic industries that provide higher wages. These jobs are also available for children and if we add competitive advantages of developing countries, it will make a horrible situation for children. Kailash Satyarthi, the Indian child slavery fighter, argued that as a result of gaining profit of international markets, child labor has been increased in the export-oriented industries of India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka in 1994.  In the case of carpet industry in India, about 75,000-100,000 children had been employed in 1984. In that time, the industry has been earned about 100 million USD while in 1994 and over 10 years, the companies has tripled to 300,000 million USD, as a result of increasing in child labor of more than 300,000. In Pakistan, there was similar situation that nearly half a million children were working in the carpet industry. 
- Using tax breaks attract FDI for the possibility of competition. In a free-trade circumstance, there are some policies in developing countries to eliminate taxes of foreign investors in the purpose of attracting FDI. If doing so, it may force the government to compensate by arising taxes of households that may cause to increase child labor due to family decrease of income. 
The result of new economic policies, in globalization era, has reflected the old policies of protection. From the beginning, developing governments used to protect their citizens and especially vulnerable households through some public health polices, but later on and after the 1980s, neoliberal economic policies were official policies of states and the old policies of protection of national industries (e.g., import-substitution, production licenses, and import tariffs) and the protection of citizens (e.g., food subsidies, free health services, and employment programs) became week or completely stopped. The maintenance of public interests, social, and compulsory education for all children was no longer allowed. This aspect of globalization may affect households' incomes and forced them for sending their children at work as a matter of survival. 
Sanction against child labor
When a developing country for making profit of free-trade, goes to world markets, there is a possibility which faces to some sanctions and restrictions that has been arranged by developed countries and some related international organizations. In December 2001, Pascal Lamy, EU Trade Commissioner, announced that there is a preferential tariff scheme for countries who respect ILO labor standards including child labor. This plan is approved by the EU foreign minister. 
Bush and also Clinton, the former presidents of USA, also have established a plan for preferential tariff for those countries who respect to labor standards of ILO. For example, in 1999, the USA government imposed quotas on Cambodia's garment industry because of working conditions and child labor in their industries. 
Senator Tom Harkin claimed a scheme for goods that has been made totally or partly by child labor. In this scheme, importing these kinds of goods was forbidden to the USA. 
These are to ensure that the developing countries are committed to their obligations in the framework of international law but if children work because of poverty, these sanctions and restrictions are affectless and in some circumstances have negative effects. 
For example, in 1999, Bangladesh garment industry had employed more than 750,000 that about 10% of them were under 14 years old. In 1993, because of USA restrictions on child labor, many of Bangladesh employers had been forced to expel more than 55,000 children from their factories. Later on, UNESCO and ILO reported that none of these expelled children had gone to school and half of them had been forced to work in a worst situation like prostitution. 
Subcontracts of multinational companies
One of the outstanding outcomes of globalization is multinational company (MNC). For developing countries, these companies are an excellent opportunity to improve their economy and so these companies always are welcome to developing countries.  The big negative impact of using child labor on image and reputation, increasing consumer awareness, and the pressure of human right's NGOs has forced these MNCs to reduce child labor from their companies. Nowadays, "Child Labor-free" has become one of the most important labels on MNCs' products although companies such as Nike and Reebok started some plans for fighting against child labor. 
Regardless of MNCs, there are some small companies which use a lot of child labor and they have subcontracts with the main MNCs. It has been seen even in large companies such as Nike, Adidas, and Reebok that have had contracts with the factories which use child labor. 
Despite many efforts that have been made by their own MNCs against child labor but unfortunately, the chain of these companies eventually instigates increased child labor.
| The Proper Management of Child Labor Crisis|| |
In parallel with harmful policies of developing countries, because of globalization process, there are also some policies that have reflected positively child labor situation and has been lead to decrease child labor. These experiences of some developing countries can be used for a proper Management of child labor in the process of globalization.
Elimination of economic restrictions
In the process of globalization, developing countries try to increase their export by accessing to free trade markets. Export growth, FDI, and attendance of MNC provide employment opportunities and may increase the amount of wages. All of these factors have positive effects on households' income and hence would result in decreasing of poverty and reducing child labor. With regard to income affect, families are eager and prefer to let their children educate instead of working. The Vietnam government has reduced its export restrictions as a result of globalization that led to increase the price of rice between 1993 and 1998. About 70% of Vietnam's families were producing rice in those years.  Back to 1993, about 26% of children between 6- and 15-year-old were working in rice production in Vietnam. 
The studies showed that increased price of rice in those years resulted in a 47% of overall decrease in child labor that means about 1 million children out of work.  The developments of families' income might be an alternative way to be replaced by children's payments. The studies showed that every 30% increase in the price of rice could lead to 9% decrease of child labor. 
Fairly distribution of social welfare
One of the important policies that would cause decrease of child labor in a developing country is fairly distributing of facilities and social welfare and also eliminating inequality among different parts of society. For example, in Vietnam, those households that did not own land suffered from increased price of rice. For these households, the price of food had been increased. Studies indicated that children of these families have been forced to work harder while in the other side, equitable distribution of land caused more than 1 million children benefit of increased rice price as a result of free trade and globalization. 
If equality in a country is less than Vietnam, something worse will happen for the children of that country and we cannot see any decreasing in child labor as we have seen in Vietnam any more.
Dynamic economic changes and avoiding radical measures
Making benefits of globalization for growth and development requires dynamic and frequency changes and reforms in economic policies. In the process of globalization, radical measurement, such as abrupt, massive lay-off, or immediate withdrawal of government subsidiaries, could increase unemployment and cause more poverty for families, thus the child labor. In many developing countries, the process of production is so traditional yet and it takes a long time to convert to a new technological process and by that time, the government should invest in traditional agricultural productive systems, because in the process of globalization, they could not attend a competition with others that use new technologies and they need to be supported by the governmental authorities especially in the urban informal sectors. 
Regulations for prohibiting child labor
Adopting and implementation of general regulations of child labor ban and standards of work environment usually would help reduce and decrease of child labor. Domestic rules of states parties to CRC should be in accordance with the convention. They have committed to protect children from exploitation and child labor and if so, they could not involve in contracts or adopt regulation and rules that have negative effects on children. 
States could encourage children for attending school. The lack of educational facilities and equipment would cause to discourage children of school and persuade them to go to work.  The costs and quality of education, its accessibilities, and its equality would effect on the demand of child labor. The families consider these facts whether they decide to send their children to school or work. Although the free and equal education is available just for primary school, it also will persuade children and their families to choose work instant of school because there is not any certain future for them. 
As well, states for their own development growth need to invest on education and training individuals to make them acquire better skills and if they fail to increase the skill endowment of its people, it will cause a lack of skilled workers and, subsequently, it would lead to growth of poverty and increase of child labor. 
| Recommendations in the Framework of Convention on the Rights of the Child|| |
CRC as the most important international instruments for protecting children and their rights in spite of indicating clearly fighting against child labor also has provided some solutions for effective implementation of its rights. This study focuses on two major solutions that may help developing countries in the process of globalization.
Distinguish between harmful works and intolerable works
Eliminating all kinds of child works may not cause to an absolute positive results. Complete elimination is the only way for dealing with the worst forms of child labor as it has been illustrated on ILO convention (no. 182), such as prostitution, pornography, child trafficking, and force attending to military services. 
Nevertheless, these worst kinds of child labor which include the majority of child labor forms (95%), can be considered harmful in their normal condition, but they have potential to be less harmful by taking some measurements such as proper legislation and public pressure. 
For the majority of children in these kinds of works, the priority should not be expelling them from work and they only need to get better condition of work, such as part-time work instead of full-time and help improve their situation and their families' poverty. They need to work and make income due to survive but at last, it could happen in a tolerable condition. 
Considering children's opinion
Article 12 and 13 of CRC provides children's opinions as one of the most important tools that can be used against child labor.
Article 12 states,
"1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.
2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law."
And also Article 13 states,
"1. The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child's choice.
2. The exercise of this right may be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary: (a) for respect of the rights or reputations of others; or (b) For the protection of national security or of public order (order public), or of public health or morals."
Better than any other organizations and individuals, children are completely aware of their situations and if their governments ignore their opinions, they may adopt false and inappropriate measurements and policies. 
In the Vietnamese case, about 100 of children have pleaded their employers not to dismiss them and allow them to continue their work but give them the opportunity for attending school by declining the hours of work because it was matter of surviving. 
Helping developing countries in their policies and measurements
Developing countries which are involved in reducing child labor are in need for receiving advice and recommendation and knowledge as a matter of improving polices and standards of child labor standards. Developing countries could gain positive effects of globalization if only they use suitable policies and otherwise they could not decrease child labor in their countries. Helping these countries in improving polices and measurements would make them to decrease child labor. 
| Conclusion|| |
As this study pointed out, in the process of globalization, the developing countries may face with a child labor crisis which is the consequences of improper policies and measurements such as benefiting of competitive advantages child workers. Based on the experiences which have been achieved in certain developing countries such as Vietnam and Bangladesh, some proper policies such as improving household's income could be lead to a decrease in child labor and so can be used for an efficient management of this crisis.
Theoretically, this improvement of managing child labor crisis in developing countries could not be achieved unless by following considerations:
Financial support and sponsorship
- Try to strengthen those policies and measurements which have positive effects on child labor situation
- Try to avoid or modify and amend those policies and measurements which have negative effects on child labor and could lead to increase it
- Also, there are some affective recommendations, based on CRC that would improve child labor situation, recommendation, and guidelines such as distinguish between harmful works and intolerable works, considering children's opinion and helping developing countries in their policies and measurements.
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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