In 2002, the U.S. Congress passed legislation ordering the Department of Labour’s Bureau of International Labour Affairs to study the relationship between education and military expenditure in countries where child labour is recognized to be particularly common.
The word child labour in general refers to any economic activity carried out by someone not above the age of 15. Not all work done by children is harmful or manipulative. Child labour does not normally refer to part-time work after school or rightful internship opportunities for young people. Nor does it refer to adolescent people helping out in the family business or on the family farm. Rather, the "child labour" of concern is general employment that prevents children from getting education, and which is often performed under conditions dangerous to the physical and mental health of the child.
The International Labour Organization, or the ILO, defines child labour as "some types of work" done by children under the age of 18. The ILO also says that child labour includes full-time work done by children under 15 years of age that prevents them from going to school (getting an education), or that is dangerous to their health. More complete definitions of what child labour is in regard, age restrictions, job types, and exceptions can be found in convention 138, convention 182, and the convention on the rights of the child. (Child Labour)
Other sources and organizations disagree on what child labour is. Some utter that it is merely perilous work or work that obstruct with a child’s education, while others are broader and include any work done by children working for compensation. Some organizations, such as UNICEF draw a line between child labour and child work, which can consist of light work done by children above the age of 12.
Child Labour in the Fashion Industry
There are no reliable statistics on the rate of child employment in any particular economic activity, including the fashion industry. Most information on child labour in the garment industry comes from eyewitness accounts, studies by non -governmental organizations (NGOs) and academicians, reports by journalists, and studies by the International Labour Organization (ILO).
Unreliable information obtained during the preparation of this report indicates that in some of the countries examined, fewer children could currently be working on garment exports for the U.S. market than two years ago. A striking example involves Bangladesh, where great numbers of children worked in garment factories as lately as 1994. Worldwide media attention and intimidation of boycotts and cancelled work orders led to the dismissal of thousands of child workers from the garment sector unfortunately without any backup support for them. Thus, it is possible that in the lack of government programs to help the children, the abrupt discharge of child workers can put them in danger, rather than protect them. More research is required so that governments, industry, international organizations, and others apprehensive of the welfare of children are better capable of designing suitable programs. It is obvious, though, those local and national assurances to collective and free education for children are instant and optimistic steps which can and should be taken.
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