Whether Consumers Have to Buy Products From Countries Supporting Child Labor?

1376 words | 5 page(s)


The controversies around use of the child labor still continue to disrupt business environment and status of most global companies. Child labor implies employment of young people for any job in deprivation of their childhood resulting in several forms of impairment in their community. In fact, many consumers are misguided with perception that the child labor has been terminated some centuries ago with finalization of the industrial revolution. However, this false prejudice does not allow to look at the facts where most global companies are accused of employing children in several factors in China and other emerging markets in order to save costs. To the contrary, across the world the American companies tend to hire children under scrutinized working opportunities including small and inadequate pay. In this respect, one should agree that only small percentage of consumers takes care of the origins of the products. This implies that consumers do not think over the fact that certain items are produced by children that are engaged under exhausting conditions. Hence, the issue is: whether it is possible to limit purchase of the products made by children? Responding to this issue, one should look at ethical side of the dilemma and find that the consumers should not be limited in purchase of the items made through the use of the child labor. Otherwise, the position of this social category in the least developed countries will be partially damaged (Janzen, 2016).

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Today majority factory owners prefer to hire children since they represent cheap workforce. According to the statistics of the U.S. Department, in China and similar regions, child may work up to 18 hours per day and receive about $2 for this activity (Janzen, 2016). Moreover, on several occasions children have to work under hazardous conditions which are non-compatible with the life of young people.

Apart from ongoing globalization and industrialization of the production process, children as still involved in the employment market in order to earn money for living in poor countries. Their engagement is crucial for family”s survival, while in some states hiring children is referred to ordinary practice. For sure, developing countries depend on use of child labor as it allows to boost economy of the state. In this respect, some states are not concerned with the way of the production of clothes or other items as they are guided with desire to earn financial resources. The United States has already solved the issue with use of the child labor with introduction of child labor legislation, while there are still overwhelming amount of emerging economies that rely on the use of child labor. Given this fact, it is clear that the advanced economies and their consumers should not endorse child labor for the sake of the business environment. This implies that the cost of the use of child labor means lives of these children. In turn, business should ground on ethical principles in protection of the human rights (Fatima, 2017).

The advanced countries bear the duty to terminate use of the child labor in order to defend their access to proper living, adequate living conditions, basic needs and education. Hiring children deprives them of the opportunity to gain quality education to be used further as a basis for improved quality of life and receipt of independent income. Albeit, child labor is close in meaning and essence to exploitations. In fact, the owners of factories and plants succeed to increase their revenues from child labor. This activity becomes possible due to absence of legislation aimed to protect rights of the children at the local level. Hence, the childhood and future development of young people is damaged. Following this statement, it should be noted that any advocacy or support of the use of child labor implies immoral activity of the companies. In case consumers continue purchase of cheap items, clothes and shoes, they show personal ignorance of child trafficking and child labor, However, imposition of the ban on the purchase of products made by children is short-sighed and hypocritical. One should agree with the fact that with introduction of the ban over these products, the developing countries will be deprived of significant source of income. Therefore, it is hard to decide whether limitation of buying products made through the attraction of child labor is moral and ethical. Consequently, imposing trade barriers on the companies will only increase reliance of poor families on the use of child labor. From this perspective, expression of external pressure may lead to the reduction of the support of the developing countries to the use of the child labor there (Fatima, 2017).

According to the International Labor Organization, more than 20 000 children die annually because of their engagement under hazardous working conditions. In view of this fact, child labor becomes a serious issue to the modern democratic community (Programme, 2010). Hence, existence of the child labor is harmful to the prosperous future of the current generations as this king of working activity damages mental and physical development of the children. With that, it should be noted that the most global companies have been already accused of using child labor. Therefore, Nike, Adidas, Apple are aware of possible damaged to the reputation of the company and its position in the global business environment (Fatima, 2017). In case any similar company is revealed to use child labor, it will cause marketing challenges to the enterprises that should be solved with attraction additional investment. In turn, there are several reasons depending on which stopping child labor is not desired. If prosecution of the child labor is the only action to be taken by the international organizations and advanced economies without provision any alternative income to the developing regions, the well-being of these young people may become even worse.

This means that the global community should consider opportunity to ensure access of the children in all countries to education in order to allow them to leave poverty. With that, it is evident that introduction of the ban on purchase of the items made by the children will not affect significant portion of young workers. There are still not effective mechanisms that may be invoked for the effective enforcement of this ban. Moreover, UNICEF has not developed plan of actions in order to tackle this social issue, while solving of the poverty issues becomes much more significant problem. At the same time, consumer power is quite effective in reference to the previous experience of the global companies in transformation of their business strategies in order to meet demand of the consumers. It is clear that the consumers may be highly effective with advancement of the ban on the purchase of the items made by the children, while the companies should be able to recognize risks related to this fact. Accordingly, consumer pressure will be too weak so to facilitate changes in the economic sphere, while a solid political will is required.

Therefore, simple introduction of the trade barriers and sanctions on the global companies with regard to the way of the production will lead to the shift in child labor underground. In conclusion, it should be noted that the connection between child labor and school attendance is weak. This means that child labor is not an impediment to the education, while engagement of the children to the domestic work is the main bar to proper education among children. Albeit, the companies have proved that they are not able to increase rates for child labor in the least developed countries. Thus, introduction of the economic sanctions will become counterproductive and ineffective, while provision of export opportunities will only facilitate termination of the use of child labor in the poor regions. Depending on these arguments, one should agree that the consumers should not terminate buying of the products made by the children as it will worse situation. Another plan of actions is required in order to solve this problem (Fatima, 2017).

  • Fatima, A. (2017). Child labour in Pakistan: Addressing supply and demand side labour market dynamics.”The Economic And Labour Relations Review,”28(2), 294-311. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1035304617690332
  • Janzen, S. (2016). Child Labor Measurement: Whom Should We Ask?.”International Labour Review. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ilr.12041
  • Programme, U. (2010). Child Labour: Trends, Challenges and Policy Responses – Joining Forces Against Child Labour.”SSRN Electronic Journal. http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1780187

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