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Why do children work? An analisys of child labour in the carpet-belt industry

This paper – referring to India in general and to the carpet industry of Uttar Pradesh in particular - argues that economic poverty alone is a valid but not complete argument to explain child labour. Chapter one begins by exploring the definitions of “child work” and “child labour”. It then overviews the main theories on child labour, showing that a dominant section of these theories considers poverty the fundamental variable determining the incidence of child labour. Chapter two analyses child labour in the so-called “carpet-belt” industry in the Eastern part of Uttar Pradesh. After analyzing the peculiar socio-economic profile of this area, the chapter explores the most typical kinds of activities engaged by child weavers, as well as their living and working conditions.Chapter three investigates the main factors behind the use of child weavers. It shows that, contrary to popular opinion, economic poverty alone is an essential but imperfect proxy to explain child labour in the carpet-belt industry. There are, in fact, many other factors that conspire to drive children into employment, both on the demand and on the supply side. Lack of access to the credit market for poor families, lack of school infrastructures, caste-based discrimination and vested interests are among the most important. The lack of quality education proves also to be an important factor to explain the high incidence of child labour in Uttar Pradesh, where the failure of the educational system has led many parents to view work as the best option for their children. Chapter four deals with some of the most popular measures – both legal and political – used by the Government of India to reduce child labour. Finally it introduces a comprehensive policy package, stressing the importance of an educational reform that creates incentives for parents to send their children to school instead of work.

Mostra/Nascondi contenuto.
4 INTRODUCTION In recent years the child labour problem and its impact have received increasing attention, which has been manifested at international level in the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989 as well as in the creation of the International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour of the ILO in 1992 and in the adoption of the Worst Form of Child Labour Convention (N.182) in 1999. Moreover, from the beginnings of 1990s, institutions as UNICEF and ILO have set up their own research projects with the intention of deepening their understanding on this evil and of working out effective solutions. Figures on the global magnitude of child labour, recently published by the UNICEF, estimates that 211 million children between the ages of five to fourteen are involved in some economic activity. Among them, 182 million are engaged in hazardous works 1 (UNICEF, 2004). The Asian-Pacific region harbours the largest number of child labourers (60 per cent), followed by Sub-Saharan Africa (23 per cent), Latin America and the Caribbean (8 per cent) and the Middle East and North Africa (6 per cent). Analyzed in relative terms, Sub- Saharan Africa has the highest proportion of working children. The child-work ratio for this region, in fact, shows that almost one child in three is economically active (UNICEF, 2004). However, child labour is not just confined to developing countries. ILO’s estimates indicate that about 4 per cent of children in transition economies and nearly 3 per cent in rich countries are economically active (ILO, 2002a). 1 ILO Convention N.182 defines hazardous works as activities that are “likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children” (Article 3).

Tesi di Master

Autore: Marco Stella Contatta »

Composta da 53 pagine.


Questa tesi ha raggiunto 609 click dal 26/10/2004.


Consultata integralmente 2 volte.

Disponibile in PDF, la consultazione è esclusivamente in formato digitale.