The Other Side Of Child Labor
So I was reading articles online, as I often do when I can’t sleep, and in the comment section of one of the articles I saw this:
Education is a wonderful thing, for moral minded people who think all child labor is an abomination and for the child workers who we all wish could be spending their days in a school room rather than a factory.
I’m a journalist and I make films about the developing world for television news and current affairs programmes around the world including PBS and the BBC. Back in 1995 my views on child labor were changed when I heard the views of Bangladeshi children who had been thrown out of work thanks to a proposed US anti child labor bill proposed by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA). Watch the film (linked above) and hear the other side of the story. …and no, this is not corporate propaganda; I am an independent journalist and this film won a Unicef award.
Insight News Television
So I followed this guy to Insight News TV
And watched the video Bangladesh: Child Labor. Like he said, it’s an older video, but definitely worth watching.
I’ve often wondered if the Western fight against child labor had more negative effects than positive ones. Where else can these children go when they need to work to survive?
The video shows that the children keep on working elsewhere anyway, often in worse conditions. The stipend they are supposed to get to go to school is not enough to keep them afloat, so they try to manage a work/study kind of situation.
The privileged “but think of the children” hand-wringing that can make sense in a more wealthy country doesn’t always mesh with the realities of an impoverished one. I’m not condoning any action or solution (I don’t feel I know enough to do so), but I do think that people who want to enact laws like these need to consider every side of a situation.