With the demand of raw materials, such as gold, escalating due to technologicaladvancements and other motives, child labour has become more prominent,especially in lower income countries. According to the Child Labour Coalition1,approximately one million children from the ages of 5-17 work in hazardousmines which are located globally. Asia, Africa, Latin America as well as fragmentsof Europe. Consumers purchase products, oblivious to the origins of the materials,which sparks the question , is gold more precious than children?In this essay, the topic of Child Labour will be shown through the country ofTanzania and The Philippines.
Firstly, the essay will introduce the country ofTanzania and the reasons for child labour existing in the country. The effects ofextensive labour on children will also be discussed as well as the circumstancesthey work in. Additionally, the essay will then acknowledge how the governmentis adapting to the issue of child labour.
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In order to show how the idea of childlabour changes from country to country, The Philippines will also be explored inthe essay and compared to Tanzania. Similarly, the causes and effects as well asthe government’s reaction will be examined. Finally, personal opinions will also bewritten about to conclude the essay.Child Labour; TanzaniaOne of the main reasons of the existence of child labour is the low developmentof the countries. In Tanzania, the Philippines and Afghanistan, impoverished families are obligated to send their children to laborious work due to financialhindrance. Tradition can also be a reason for sending their children to work. Thefamily may be in debt or may have been working in a specific place or field forgenerations.
In the article 2 “Tanzania: Hazardous Life of Child Gold Miners” written by TheHuman Rights Watch ,It has been expressed that Tanzania’s destabilised economyand political plight has lead to children as young as eight to fall into child labourin gold mines and other industries such as agriculture, the metal industry, fishingagriculture etc. According to The World Bank 6, with only £0.44 earnings per day,twelve million Tanzanians are still living in extremely impoverished conditions. Thus,it is unavoidable for children to not work as they feel the need to support theirfamily: they were obligated to leave their education and liberty behind. Tanzania’slow financial income leads to the neglect of social issues such as child labour.
Effects of Child labour in TanzaniaAs well as mental and emotional strain, It has been proven that physically,children are under developed, therefore, are affected significantly by the jobswhich adults would merely find tiresome. Children were examined to have spinalinjuries due to the heavy loads they had to carry consecutively for hours on end.Additionally, the respiratory systems of the children become severely impairedbecause of dust and toxins; With the use of heavy industrial machinery comes thedanger of amputations and other injuries. Unlicensed, small-scale mines lack safetyequipment, consequently, there may be a chance of collapses, which can bejeopardizing .
Mercury is a liquid metal which is used to bind small pieces ofmetal together; it is cheap and easily accessible , however, is extremely toxic.Unfortunately, due to the lack of education, miners are unaware of the dangers that come with using such a harmful material. it can lead to dizziness, damage tothe immune system and digestive system in addition to being a hindrance in achild’sdevelopment.Therefore, education is assuredly vital in order to maintain a safe environmentfor children and to prevent accidents, however , the majority of children whoparticipate in child labour lack access and permission to attend school. Childrenare unaware of the human rights they are entitled to, therefore they arevulnerable and easily manipulated. Also, with the lack of education comes theoblivion of not knowing the dangers of gold mining. Child miners as well as adultminers are unshielded by the perils that come with their occupation.
Whilst visiting the mines in Tanzania,2 The Human Rights Watch discovered thesexual assault young women were experiencing in and around the mines. It wasquoted in 2The Human Rights Watch that “girls on and around mining sites facesexual harassment, including pressure to engage in sex work. Some girls becomevictims of commercial sexual exploitation and risk contracting HIV or othersexually transmitted infections.
” A high concentration of criminal acts around themines show the lack of government attention and how the mines solely are notthe issue. The Government in TanzaniaWith such a problematic and substantial case of child labour, it would be thoughtthat Tanzania’s government would act accordingly and swiftly , however, whetherTanzania is acting accordingly can be argued. The country has rather strict lawswhen It comes to child labour as claimed by the Human Rights Watch 2 ; childrenunder fourteen are unpermitted to work , furthermore, no child should tolerate child labour.
On the contrary, the 7 United States Department of labor states that” In 2016, the United Republic of Tanzania made a minimal advancement toeliminate the worst forms of child labor. “From the evidence gathered, it can be concluded that Tanzania is not prioritisingthis issue, however, it would be foolish to think that Tanzania is solely to blame;the Human Rights Watch 2 found that the top import destinations of Tanzania’sgoldincluded China, the United Kingdom as well as the United Arab Emirates . All thecountries listed are high income countries who are, arguably, letting the goldmines from closing by buying their material. However, it should be taken intoconsideration that gold can be extremely hard to trace back. The dilemma ofwhere the materials used for various products originate from is rather intricate.However, if governments prioritise the safety and rights of all miners, buyerswould not have to consider the root of the material (gold) as it would beensured that no child labour was involved: Children should be able to participatein education and hobbies.
They should only be permitted to a certain amount ofworking which is safe and not hazardous to their health.Although such ideas are realistic, it will be strenuous for a country like Tanzaniato establish. Tanzania’s low economy and high rate of impoverishment has provento be a hindrance when It comes to enforcing laws against child labour.Nonetheless, companies who are investing in raw materials should ensure minersare being paid and have a tolerable work environment.
Safety checks should befrequent and education should be compulsory.The idea that child labour is inevitable is inaccurate. It can be difficult todiminish completely, especially in a low income country like Tanzania, however, itis unjustifiable to not take action. Despite having economic and political issues,Tanzania as well as large companies should start restricting children fromexcessive and dangerous work .Child Labour in The PhilippinesDespite the basis of child labour being the same, it varies from country tocountry. The Philippines , which is located in the continent of Asia, also has highrate of child labour. According to4 The Human Rights Watch, Compressor mining ,which is exclusive to the Philippines, is a widely used, but illegal, way to extract gold.
Children are forced to enter water-filled pits which are up to twenty five meterslong. Only with a thin pipe acting as an equipment for breathing, children spendhours under water in confined, unstable areas looking for gold. It is uncertain thatthey will find gold , however, the mentality and the idea of one day becoming richkeeps these miners and their children in such a dangerous job. Also, with themajority of the 103.3 million population being Roman Catholic, families tend to belarge due to the rarity of contraception. Hence, finances tend to be troublesomewhich leads to the children of the families to leave education and attend work.Similar to Tanzania, Mercury is also used as a processor for the gold. 4 TheHuman Rights Watch states that ” They complained about the health effects of thework, such as back pain, skin infections, and muscle spasms consistent withsymptoms of mercury poisoning.
” The Human Rights Watch has estimated thataround 200,00 to 300,000 citizens have small-scale mining as an occupation. Waysof extracting gold vary in the 30 provinces where small-scale mining occurs . Compressor mining and under-ground mining have different risk factors, however ,are equally dangerous.The Government in The PhilippinesThe lack of government reinforcement seems to be a recurring theme ineconomically struggling countries. Despite banning the use of mercury andcompressor mining, the numbers of artisanal and dangerous mining strategies stillremain high and unaffected. From the findings, both Tanzania and the Philippinesare synonymous regarding to government policies and regulations.
So, it can beargued that there must be a reason for the lack of impact and change, althoughaustere laws have been established. In the4 Human Rights Watch, it has beenconcluded that it may due to the lack of monitoring and prioritisation; “Thegovernment should improve child labor monitoring and child protection systems,and do more to reach those who have dropped out of school. It should ensurethat its programs to address the ill-effects of poverty, such as free school mealsand social support programs, are reaching families in mining areas, who frequentlydepend on the labor of children for survival”. If the country begins to improve theireconomy, it may be possible to decrease child labour as citizens will not have torely on physical labour to make a living , but rather education as more academicjobs will be in demand.ConclusionFrom the information gathered, it is obvious that the effects of child labour, inboth Tanzania and The Philippines, are severe and extremely hindering to lives ofmany children. It can also be concluded that the main cause for the government’slack of control is their low income rate. Therefore, it is a difficult issue to resolve.
One may argue that if unlicensed mining ceases, it may affect companies whichfirst world countries rely on to maintain their developed economy. Most of thegold which comes from unauthorised mines are purchased through the BlackMarket where gold is sold for much cheaper and without taxes. It is evident thatthere is inequality when it comes to the purchasing and making of gold: largecompanies make a noticeable amount of profit, whereas miners receive not even afraction of what they deserve. In order to end issues such as child labour, a lot ofregulations need to be altered which is extremely difficult.
Immorality is commonwhen it comes t o affairs relating to capitalist businesses and maintaining profits.Therefore , it is more important to educate people and bring awareness on matterswhich are concealed .The predicament of child labour should be presented in themedia more often, companies should make sure their products are free of illegallyattained ingredients and should appropriately label their products