Published on International Journal of Social, Politics & Humanities
Publication Date: April, 2020
Betalo Endrias Liranso
School of Sociology and Political Science, Shanghai University
Journal Full Text PDF: Impacts of Child Labor (A Case of Shanto Town in Southern Ethiopia).
The aim of this study was assessing impacts of child labor in Southern Ethiopia; Shanto town. Cross sectional mixed research design was employed. The qualitative data collected from 5 purposely selected interview participants and quantitative data gathered from 157 randomly selected survey respondents using simple random sampling technique. Results show that reasons for incidence of child labor in Southern Ethiopia were complex and deeply rooted into society. The positive effect of child labor, in some types of work makes useful contribution to a child development. They have sense of responsibility for their young sibling. Most important contributions of work for children are learning skill of particular business and acquiring good social interaction. Physical hazard and psycho-social impacts are main negative effects of child labor. Improper sanitation and illegal punishment and unwise use of force by employers are common. As a result, social interaction of child labor limited and lead to stress and anxiety. Thus, strengthening existing policies and strategies as well as designing new ones about child labor is required. Hence, creating valuable structural units to recur the right of children in the form of family welfare provision and credit against exploitation of child labor recommended.
Keywords: Children, Child Labor, Poverty & Impacts.
While there are children who have grown up with economic and physical security in some parts of the world, many children, mostly in developing countries, suffer economic, physical and emotional insecurities. A large number of these children must work for their survival often doing things unthinkable in wealthy countries of the world (Nkurlu, 2000).
The incidence of child labor is most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa followed by Asia and the Pacific (Ajakaye, 2013). Parents consider that the work help children learn new skills; however these children are exposed to hazards and to physical factors.
In case of Ethiopia, work is the main activity of children as young as four years of age (Cockburn, 1999). The incidence and nature of child labor are not well appreciated in Ethiopia. A large number of the Ethiopian children find themselves as victims of famine, disease, poverty, civil war, family displacement and social instability (Asefa, 2000). These factors contribute for high incidence of child labor.
The 2003 the Central Statistic Authority report that about 85% of Ethiopian children are involved in some types of work that is productive activity or housekeeping activity in their family. Some studies reveal that kinds of work in general and working condition in particular are detrimental to physical, social and intellectual or the holistic personality development of the child (Nardos, 2006; UNICEF, 2001). Some other argues that, participation of child in labor market has positive impact on socio economic and psychological status of working children, (Anker, 2000).
Southern Ethiopian level and the situation in Shanto town right of children to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work likely to be hazardous. Some forms of child labor are unequivocally bad like those detrimental to a child’s health and well-being, those that involve indentured servitude or deny children basic human rights, and those that involve psychological distress (Woldehanna, 2008). On other hand, in Shanto town, this problem is increasing harm child, influences education and child may learn informally. Thus, now days, assessment of child labor is important issues for the development of our country Ethiopia.
Today, throughout the world, around 215 million children work full time. They do not go to school and have little or no time to play. Many of them do not receive proper nutrition and other care. They denied chance to be children. More than half of them are exposed to the worst forms of child labor such as work in hazardous environments, forced labor, illicit activities including drug trafficking and prostitution. This situation is too serious for employed working children than those who are working their relatives and families (Lomi, 2002). The issue of child labor is complicated issue in a country like Ethiopia. As in many developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, child labor is a wide spread problem in Ethiopia (ILO, 1996). Child labor is a cause and consequence of poverty and education and training is crucial to breaking this cycle.
Most prior researches focus on economic issue that related to the child labor only. However, child labor is one issue of human rights. Lomi, in her study, entitled child labor in the informal sector, looks at the issue of child labor only from working children in the weaving business and their economy. Almost every working environment involves one or several health consequence for working children. Those working children face many effects causing irreversible damage for their physical and psychological development including permanent disability. In this study, the researcher focuses only in child labor mainly on influence of child labor on the life of children in Shanto town. Even if there are some prior research studies on child labor, there are no ample studies on impacts of child labor in Shanto town. This study expected to fill knowledge gap by assessing public perception, cause and impacts of child labor in Southern Ethiopia.
The general objective of the study is to assess impacts of the child labor in Shanto town, Southern Ethiopia. The specific Objectives include:
a. To investigate major causes for child labor in Shanto town, Southern Ethiopia.
b. To explore public perceptions, negative and positive impacts of child labor in Shanto town, Southern Ethiopia.
1.4 Research Questions
a. What are the causes for the involvement of child labor in Shanto town, Southern Ethiopia?
b. What are the public perceptions about child labor in Shanto town, Southern Ethiopia?
c. What are the negative and positive effects of child labor in Shanto town, Southern Ethiopia?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The concept of child labor in the informal sector in Woliso town was not well researched; therefore this research will be the great benefit to academicians and help the researchers as reference. The result of this study will encourage organizations working to reduce child labor. Furthermore, this studies creating awareness about negative consequence of child labor on lives of themselves and their family. In addition, the study would be contributing clear understanding of child labor this would add knowledge on the child labor.
2. LETRATURE REVIEW
2.1. Concept of Child and Child Labor
The term child defined in terms of age. But deferent country may have deferent way to distinguish childhood from adulthood. In some country, age may not be adequate ground for explaining child. These means the term child does not have a universal acceptable definition because it is subject to various factors such as biological, legal and cultural (UNCRC, 1987). Deferent literature defines the term in deferent ways. For example, according to oxford dictionary, term child means young human beings who have no reached the age of discretion that is the age at which one is fight to manage one’s own affairs. The UN conversations on the rights of child define the term “child” as every human binges below the age of 18 years unless under the low applicable to the child majority is attained earlier”(UNCRC,1987:artcle 1).
The term child labor is often defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity and that is harmful to physical and mental development. The international labor organization (1998) on the hand consider child labor to be simply the single most important source of child exploitation and child abuse in world today. It refers to works that mentally, physically, or morally dangerous and harmful to children; interfere with their schooling; deprive them of opportunity to attend school; to leave school prematurely; requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long or high and heavy work.
In addition to the UN as cited by (Nkurlu, 2000) define the child labor as “all form of economic exploitation, any work that is lankly to be hazardous or interfere with the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development. Antislavery international and UNICEF (1992) claims that child labor is exploitative if it is full time work at too early age.
2.2 Cause of Child Labor
2.2.1 Family economic situation
In most society, the family is both the child’s mediate emotional influences and its introduction to living in society and then its first avenue of contact with the outside world. Most children start work by helping their families before they go out to work for others (EAMAT, 1995). This occurs through the world in millions of agricultural families. If a family owns land or works on the land of others, the child will starts by spending the day in fields along sides its parent, doing very easy job at first and then progressively more demanding ones. These show that most of the family could not earn sufficient income to meet the minimum need of the child. This create strong push factors; pushing families to force their children to work and supplement the manager family income (ILO/EAMAT, 1995).
The pattern of children helping parents is common in many societies. Children assist parents in small shop and commercial activities, or in small home based business. In society which family making things in their home for others, children participate as part of the household during the hours they are not at school. In other rural family-based activity such as small scale mining, children also have an economic role to play which increases they grow bigger and strong.
According to Heston (2002), they are two broad reasons why lower income countries are likely to have more child labor. First, they are likely to have more households in extreme poverty, a condition which is conducive to child labor in all its forms. Secondly, it is likely to display the sort of social and economic patterns that are known to results in higher rate of child labor.
Poverty seems to be main cause for child labor in Africa. Within the country higher incidence of child labor depends on the levels of economic development of the regions (Andivig, 2001). As a children between the ages ILO (1999b) estimates Africa with around 41 percent of children between the age of 5 and 14 involve in productive activity has the largest incidence of child work in the developing world. In this respect, Andivog (2001) argues that the bulk of the child labor registered in Africa is not wage labor, but performed in the household where the children live.
2.3 Impacts of Child Labor
2.3.1 Negative impacts of child labor on working children
Health risk of child labor: The kinds of risks children encounter defers according to the activities involved and the particular working environments (Forastieri, 1997). Regarding health problem, the most exposed group of child labor are girls who involve in commercial sex work. These child commercial sex workers are aware of the possible effects of sexual intercourse with multiple partners at their early age. It is possible to say that these child commercial sex worker are susceptible to HIV/AIDS.
Physical hazard of child labor: Children are frequently observed performing activities incapable with age. These have a serious impact on their overall physical growth (Aseffa, 1995). They suffer from lack of sanitation and proper light; exposed to loud noise and excessive heat.
Psycho-social impacts of child labor: If the child is assigned to work for too long hours she/he does not have a chance to play and to interact with his/her peer group, their social and psychological development can be gravely hampered (CSA, 2001).
2.3.2 Positive impacts of child labor on working children
The international organization and national government claimed child labor has deleterious impact on the working children. Some other also advocates the positive contribution of child work. According to antislavery international, Swinerton (2002) argue that some types of work make useful contribution to Childs development. Work can help children to learn about responsibility and development particular skill that will benefit them, their families and other rest of the society. Often work is vital source of income that helps to sustain children and their families.
3. MATERIALS AND METHODS
3.1 Research Design
The researcher used cross sectional mixed research design incorporated with both qualitative and quantitative approach, and it is a research tool used to capture information based on data gathered for a specific point in time (Kothari, 2004). Why a researcher prefer this design was that; it is not coasty to perform and does not require a lot of time. Because it is the suitable types of research and it is concerned with describing the characteristics of particular individual or group. Mixed method research was a methodology for conducting research that involves collecting, analyzing, and interpreting quantitative and qualitative data in a single study or in a series of studies that investigate the same underlying phenomenon (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2007) .These scholars note that qualitative and quantitative researches in combination provide a better understanding of a research problem or issue than either research approach alone. This means, one is able to draw on the strengths of one method to compensate or complement for the weakness of the other method.
3.2 Study Area Description
This study was conducted in Shanto, Wolaita Zone Southern Ethiopia. The area is astronomically located between located between 60 49” N Latitude and 370 45” E longitude. It is one of 22 towns in Wolaita Zone. The area is located 329 km south of Addis Ababa and 167 km South-West Hawassa. Its altitude ranges from 1501 to 2958 above sea level and annual rainfall varies from 1201 to 1600mm while the annual mean temperature also vary from 12.6 degree centigrade to 20 degree centigrade with mean value of 18 degree centigrade. The time boundary of the study is from December 2018 to July 2019. In this manner, the target population of this study included children working in Shanto town. Shanto town was purposively selected owing to the researcher’s exposure and familiarity to the area. Child labor in Shanto town was very high as established by Wolaita Zone Urban Development Department Annual Report (2018). In view of this, it was therefore timely and worthwhile studied with myriads of causes, outcomes and challenges. Therefore, it was possible to get a wide range of information on impacts of child labor in Southern Ethiopia taking Shanto town as a case study.
3.3 Data Source
A primary data source is on original data source that is one in which the data are collected by the research for a specific research purpose (Kothari, (2004). So a researcher used primary data source through focus group discussion, interview and systematic observation. This is due to the fact that primary data are original in nature and directly related to the issue or problem and current data. Secondary data sources are those collected by someone in different time in the past for different purpose. So it helps to gain censuses and information collected by government department and organizational record that include report and studies by deferent agencies.
3.4 Instrument of Data Collection
The researcher used the following data gathering instruments: questionnaire, structured interview and observation.
Due to resource and time constraint, the investigator not entertains large number of children in case studies, in depth interviews and wider focus group discussions. Therefore, questionnaires used to fill the gap and support the representative sample to address as many as possible to help gather relevant first hand information. Two different sets of questions were prepared: close-ended and open-ended questions. For those respondents who could not understand English, the questionnaire prepared and translated into local language, so that the respondents easily understand and items classified based on the objectives.
The researcher use structured interview in order to gather data from administrative bodies, key informants and experts. This was preferred because it is flexible, allowing new questions to be brought up during the interview and gave equal chances for both interviewers and interviewees. This aimed at obtaining back ground information on child labor in Shanto town.
3.5 Sampling Techniques
The study conducted with the aim of assessing the impacts of child labor in Southern Ethiopia Shanto town. To this end, both probability and non-probability sampling methods were applied in order to select respondents. First, the investigator obtained the list of all working children from Shanto town municipality. Second, with regard to simple random sampling technique, the sample of 157 respondents were randomly drawn using random number generating table from the total survey population of 4,071.
Third, non- probably sampling method was used to conduct the in-depth interview with 5 purposely selected informants of municipality officials to dig in the very details of their experience on the topic under investigation. The researcher particularly employed purposive sample technique to select the informant based on the judgments of researcher. On top of this, key-informant interview conducted with 3 authorities from kebele administration of town municipalities in order to obtain data that signify the roles of concerned governmental organizations in tackling child labor.
3.6 Sample Size
The sample size for this research is determined by using the formula, as indicated in Bartlett and Higgins (2001). The following formula to calculate sample size as follows:
n = _____N____
1+ N (e) 2
n: designates the sample size.
N: designates total number of houseless government employees of Sodo town
e: designates maximum variability or margin of Error = 0.09.
1: designates the probability of the event occurring.
=157 was sample size
3.7 Procedures of Data Collection
During the initial stage of questionnaires administration, the investigator made the objectives of the study clear to the respondents in order to avoid any confusion. Before distributing questionnaires, the time convenience for the respondents considered in order to maximize the rate of return of the questionnaires. Thus, research data collection procedure followed the subsequent patterns as informants were communicated and asked for their consent to participate in the research; then, notified how anonymity, confidentiality and ethical principles preserved during the research process and questionnaires distributed to all selected respondents.
3.8 Method of Data Analysis
The raw data collected through questionnaires tallied, tabulated, and organized. Accordingly, respondents categorized; percentages used to analyze the demographic characteristics of the sample population and frequency count employed to analyze various characteristics of sample population. On the other hand, data collected through interview presented and analyzed qualitatively by directly reflecting and narrating the interviewees’ word.
Data obtained from documents of municipality analyzed by quoting and reflecting on issues of child labor. All types of computations for the analysis of data done by using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 16.00 and Microsoft office excel.
3.9 Ethical Consideration
It is useful to consider ethical issues when the researcher conducting the research in order to conduct better research. The researcher is confidential, permission asked from the considered bodies and also explanation about the study in generally and also it describes what the researcher wants to be and also explain the purpose and significance for their study. After these the respondents and informants were not to be forced to participate and give the response voluntarily. The researcher never injured the respondents and informants who have volunteered to cooperate with this study.
4. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
4.1 Demographic Characteristics of Respondents
Based on the study, demographic characteristics of respondents such as sex, age and educational background are presented and expressed in the following manner.
Table 1: Sex and Age of Respondents
According to the above table 1 from the child laborer respondents 132 (84%) were males and the remaining 27 (16%) were females. As a result it indicates that the majority of the respondents were males and the rest respondents are females. From the table as shown the researcher could expressed the result that 30 (20%) were at ages from 6-9 years old. 59 (37%) were at age ranges from 10-14 years old and the remaining 68 (43%) were at the age ranges from 15-17 years old.
Table 2: Educational Level of Respondents
As shown in table 2 below, educational characteristics of the respondents indicates, 27 (17%) of the respondents were educated from 0-2, 119 (75%) of the respondents were educated 3-5 grade, and the rest 11 (8%) of the respondents were educated 6-8. This explanation indicates the majority of the respondent’s educational levels were 3-5 grades. This shows they haven’t the chance of education in case of deferent factors like poverty and etc.
2 Cause of Child Labor
Table 3: Cause of Child Labor
In the context of Shanto town, there are different factors that contribute for the involvement of children in child labor. As indicated in review of literature, many studies from different part of the world indicated that poverty, population growth, family disintegration, social and cultural pressure complimentary with my finding. As the above table 3, among the child labor respondents 70 (45%) were from poor family. That indicate the majority of child labor comes from poor families and 32 (20%) of them were with unemployed families and 23 (15%) were loss of their parent and lack of other support and the rest 16 (10%) were leaving of school due to lack of financial support and peer influence respectively. Child labor and poverty create many problems such as prostitution, corruption, robbery, increased unemployment, poor living conditions, malnutrition etc.
Child poverty refers to children who are born to poor parents. Child poverty differs from adult poverty because it has different reasons and effects, for example it robs a child of his/her childhood. It may affect or bear a long lasting or psychological makeup in their mind and the impact of poverty during childhood leaves permanent effects on children. Poverty influences children in many social ways, for instance that malnutrition can affect health and education which in turn may impact a child’s long term development.
4.2.1 Parental unemployment
Parental unemployment is a one cause of child labor in Shanto town, According to interviewed; there are some parents who seen their children to work to compensate their unemployment.
“My father has been working as a carpenter in Shanto town. But in 2017 he fell from the top of the house and his leg was broken, in case he lost his job. Following his withdrawn from his job I began to work in street vending activities. Now he is working manual work but I proceeded to work as before, otherwise how could I survive and finance my schooling”
As indicated in above case, parents assume that contribution of children is very important in their life even after parents secure job. In case of doubling of unemployment rate and limited resource, they engage themselves in informal sector activities like daily laboring, fire wood collection and sale etc. Since these works are seasonal and less paid, they abandon activity totally.
4.2.2 Family backgrounds
Table 4: Family backgrounds of child labor
On table 4 below, child laborer’s family 16 (25%) were Bagger and Craftsman respectively. This indicates the majority of respondent’s families were relatively poor and 30 (20%) were farmer and labor respectively and the rest 16 (10%) were weaver. These indicate how the family backgrounds affect the condition of children. Child labor and the worst forms of child labor as defined by International Labor Organization (ILO). Conventions damage children’s health, threaten their education and lead to further exploitation and abuse.
4.3 The Public Perception about Child Labor
There are different views or perception towards child labor among the society of the study area. In this area, there are people who come from different socio-cultural backgrounds. As interviewees indicate, perception of society depends on the level of their literacy and economic status. Moreover with respect to child labor, there are two different views experienced in the study area. On the first, there are people who views child labor from the angle of its positive contribution to the child and his/her family’s survival. They contended that children participation in the world of work is good to acquire skill, help the child and their family to survive and as means of socializing to external world. This group of people sees it virtually as harmless.
Parents of working children also share the same view though both of them agree to some extent on its negative impacts on the child’s education. They are support the participation of children in child labor and argued that it is normal for children to assist parents since it is one of the ways of training the child. Some members of society perceive child labor moderately, as something ‘useful’ and ‘harmful’ to the child. They say the reason is that; the children’s who have no food, clothing and shelter, and have no other option to survive, therefore, taking part in the labor market is a must. Those who live with parent or relatives should not take part in the labor market rather they have to attend school. It is also common perception that there are children who work part time in the evening and weekends to support the efforts of their parents or guardians in meeting family needs, but as a researcher it is difficult to the general development of children.
There are many different perceptions about child labor among different group of society. Working children hold different viewpoints about child labor. Some children say that work is important for their survival and some argue that work is detours their development. This perception are forwarded depends on types of work they perform, the working condition they experience and benefit they get.
As most of employed child labor argued they perceive their work and their working condition s as detrimental to their physical, health, safety and intellectual development. This perception is mainly resulted from the attractiveness of the incentives they earn from their work, the unsafe working condition and the treatment of their employers, working too long hours with little or without any payment; awful treatment and abusive practice; work load, malnourishment, etc. has contribution for these kinds of perception among employed child labor. In child laborers, little is known about their right and the law that protect children. In this respect, that was trying to know the knowledge children have about their right.
However, these children know little or nothing about their right. Only a handful of children who combined work and education know little about their rights. As they told they learn this either from civic and ethical education course or from the school community. As indicated in the FGD, most children value their work primarily by viewing it as the only source of livelihood.
4.5 Impacts of Child Labor on Working Children
4.5.1 Positive impact of child labor on working children
Some types of work make useful contribution to a child development. Work can help children to learn about responsibility and develop particular skill that will benefit them, their families and rest of the society. Often work is vital source of income that helps to sustain children and family.
There are children in the study area who value their work as a means to reach as the level of self reliance. As self- employed informant and FGD reported, they feel independence and proud of having their own source of income. They consider themselves as contributor r not as dependents. As a result it shows the positive psychological impact of work on children. The working children who engaged in productive activities to supplement their family’s meager income developed good sense of responsibilities especially for their younger sibling. The other most important contribution of works to children is that it helps them learn the skill of the particular business. And it enables them to be more interacting or sociable with so many people and working peers. In this regard those who are working outdoor setting like: shoeshine, motor cleaners and etc appreciates is good example. Unlike who are working in the home, based business, they have good social interaction and chance to establish friendship because they contact with many clients
4.5.2 Negative impacts of child labor
As a researcher have observed, working environment of child labor in most cases are unsafe. Child labors suffer from improper sanitation and exposed to loud noise and excessive heat. Moreover the duration of work without rest and working beyond the level of their ability and age are some problem. Some of working children are also exposed to physical abuse in the form of corporal punishment such as unwise use of force by employers to insure the obedience or submission of children in common but consequently affects the physical condition of working children, so this practice are affect the physical and mental development of children.
The involvement of children in productive work may alienate the children from their family and it leads to the problems on the psycho-social growth of children. In addition the child who work for long time, have no time to play. As a result their social interaction is limit and this leads to mental stress and anxiety.
5. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
The aim of this study was to assessing the child labor in Southern Ethiopia Shanto town. Based on some research questions, public perceptions about child labor, causes for the involvement of child in the labor market, challenges those child laborer face, and negative and positive effects of child labor have been met and the research questions have been answered.
The perception of society depends on the level of their literacy and economic status. In study, areas there are different views. Some people view child labor as a positive whereas the other views as a negative for the survival of child. The view as a positive show that, it is good to acquire skill, to earn money, etc. the negative view show that; as it is the cause for the withdrawal of child from education. Some of them view as an important for their survival and some of them argue work is detour their development. This argument holds true in the case of these study. Although working children know little or nothing about their right, they only think about livelihood.
As a result indicated, there are many indicators for cause of child labor. The parental unemployment and the family background are the main cause for involvement of child in labor market. The majority of the families of child laborer are craftsman and bagger, this leads them to force and exploit their children in labor market. Majority of child labor had physical problem which are detrimental to child health and well-being. They faced many psychological problem like damage their moral that leads them to depression.
The positive effect of child labor, in some types of work makes useful contribution to a child development. The child in the study area are value their work as means of self- reliance and considered themselves as contributor. They have sense of responsibility for their young sibling. The most important contributions of work for children are learning skill of particular business and acquiring good social interaction. As the study shows physical hazard and psycho-social impacts are main negative effects of child labor. Improper sanitation and illegal punishment and unwise use of force by employers are common, as a result social interaction of child labor are limited and its lead to stress and anxiety.
As the finding of this research raveled that child labor is relevant in Southern Ethiopia Shanto town due to different social, demographic, individual family situation and other factors. Therefore to reduce the impacts of the problem, the researcher suggest the following points for concerned bodies directly or indirectly. Child welfare service and providing awareness about the negative impacts of child labor is the crucial point in this regard.
Strengthening the existing ones and designing new policies and strategies about child labor in Ethiopia is very important to tackle the problem. In addition, creating valuable structural units which have a significance input to recur the right of children and intervening for poor families in the form of family welfare provision and credit for better income generating activity against the exploitation of child labor abusers. These efforts may turn migrated children in to their families providing counseling services and transportation costs. Therefore, every person has a responsibility in reducing child labor and impact of child labor.
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