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Today, throughout the world, around 215 million children work, many full-time. They do not go to school and have little or no time to play. Many do not receive proper nutrition or care. They are denied the chance to be children. More than half of them are exposed to the worst forms of child labor such as work in hazardous environments, slavery, or other forms of forced labor, illicit activities including drug trafficking and prostitution, as well as involvement in armed conflict. Child labor is an insidious evil. Leaving aside pathological cases of child abuse and abandonment, it exists because it is the best response people can come up with to intolerable circumstances. Child labor, however, is a broad term that encompasses a diversity of activities and working conditions, thus the belief that child labor is detrimental to human capital accumulation, may or may not be generally true, and, even if accurate, at what age does this adverse effect cease to exist, and does the initial occupation matter, are open questions. Studying and providing robust estimates of the effects of starting to work as a child on adult earnings will allow future studies of child labor to be informed by this research. Though it is generally assumed to be detrimental, the potential effects of child labor on adult earnings are potentially twofold.
On one hand, child labor can be detrimental through the hindering of the acquisition of formal education, both quantitatively and qualitatively, and causing irreparable damage to health, reputation or other things that effect adult human capital, which could lead to lower wages in the adult labor market. On the other hand, there may be positive pecuniary benefits to young labor: vocational training, learning by doing, general workplace experience as well as the potential for making contacts, learning job market strategies, etc. In other words, there are many reasons to expect that a young laborer can gain some human capital from their workplace experience. Furthermore, child labor could be a way to finance education that an individual would not otherwise have access to, which, in turn, could lead to better outcomes for older child or adolescent workers. Though virtually all studies of child labor assume it is harmful, there is as yet no reliable measure of the effects of working as a child on adult outcomes.
Purpose of the Study
Considering the problem of child labor in New Taytay Public Market, San Juan, Taytay, Rizal, the research aims to investigate in general, factor that force the children to work for a living. Specifically, it intends to look into the relationship of educational interest of children and child labor in the target area.
Significance of the Study
The research hopes to gather relevant information on the issue of child labor. The results of the study may benefit the government and non-government agencies, policy makers, legislators, and the future researchers. Concerned, the researchers hope to share information and data to government agencies such as Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), as well as to non-government agencies, particularly the Bantay Bata 163. As they work hand in hand to initiate programs to save the concerned children from the evil effects of child labor, and to help alleviate the conditions of the families of the involved. Also, this study hopes to provide real data to the local and natural policy makers and legislators for a possible review of the policies and laws governing the local units and the nation as a whole on the issue of child labor. Finally, for the future researchers, the results of the study can be a source of future investigators on the problem of child labor.
Scope and Delimitation of the Study
The research attempts to investigate the factors that cause children ages 8 – 17 years old to work for a living particularly in the area of New Taytay Public Market, San Juan, Taytay, Rizal. Specifically, it aims to look into the relationship of educational interest of children and child labor in the target area. The research intends to apply the results to the approximately 12 male and female children who are employed as baggers, factory workers and sellers in Taytay. Most of these children are residents of Taytay and a small percentage of 3% coming from neighboring towns such as Cainta, Angono, Binangonan and Antipolo City. The research does not attempt to provide solutions to the growing population of child laborers either in our country or within the target area. It focuses only on the factors that cause child labor among children from 8 – 17 years old in New Taytay Public Market, Taytay, Rizal.
The term Child Labor means illegally employing children who are less than 18 years of age in dangerous and life threatening activities. Poverty is the main reason due to which children under the age of 18 years are compelled to work in dangerous and life threatening conditions. Here in Philippines there are about 2.06 million children who are forced to work in rock quarries, farms, industries, mines and on fishing boats. The consequences of Child Labor on an underage child can be numerous and crippling on his or her physical, mental and emotional state. It can seriously hamper the well being of a child who is supposed to get a sound education and nutrition to develop into a healthy adult. Due to Child labor these children end up being malnutritioned, weak and can also suffer from a large number of ailments (Child Labour in Philippines, October 15, 2008). The percentage of young people here in the Philippines between the ages of five and seventeen is about 33 percent of its total population which is about 22.4 million. This is a large number considering that Philippines is a young nation.
Between the ages of 5 to 7 years, one in every six children has to work to earn a living and help support their family. This astounding fact tells us that around sixteen percent of young children here in Philippines are working. Child Labor is prevalent in mining, production, farming, and deep sea fishing industries and many children are also working as domestic workers (Child Labour in Philippines, October 15, 2008). The most common industry where child labor is practiced here in Philippines is Deep-sea fishing. About forty years ago the sea around here in Philippines was plentiful of fish, the fishermen could make a tremendous catch just along the shore. Sadly that is not the case now as fishermen need to go miles into the sea to get a decent catch which will get them a day’s meal. Many a times they need to use cyanide, dynamites and nets to able to catch a good amount of fish. There are many fishermen who use young boys to help them catch the fish, who quite unfortunately die while fishing, due to hazardous practices (Child Labour in Philippines, October 15, 2008). An illegal method of fishing called Muro Ami which is used frequently in Philippines is the most common form of Child labor prevalent today. In this method the young child dives down to deep depths of the sea. He carries with him a rock or a pipe which he uses to beat the delicate corals so that the huge number of fishes living in them get startled and are driven into large nets waiting to catch them.
Many a times these young children drown and lose their lives. This inhuman practice has also destroyed the beautiful coral reefs surrounding Philippines (Child Labour in Philippines, October 15, 2008). The gold mining industry is especially dangerous with blasting and drilling going on more than a mile underground. Heat, noise and dust are everywhere as children labor for less than a dollar for a 12-hour work day with little or no time off. The work environment is appalling. Lung diseases, bruises, fractures and loss of hearing are common place. Child miners work 10-12 hours in appalling working conditions. In the Philippines, children carry ore in 28KG sacks from gold mines. They break rocks with hammers, wash ore and transport it. Girl miners also work in bars and restaurants in mining communities. Bar work, in many cases, leads to sex work or sexual abuse (Jon Czajkowski, Child Labor in the Philippines, November 2010). On the sugar plantations, more than 500,000 metric tons of sugar are harvested by Filipino kids as young as 10 years old.
This sugar is than being exported to the U.S. every year where American consumers buy it not having any idea of the struggles that these children are going through. These children work long hours, in oppressive heat doing back-breaking labor. “Filipino sugar is grown by exploited child laborers and sold to U.S. markets. This isn’t abuse taking place oversees and far away, it’s abuse being packaged into a bag of sugar and sold in U.S. supermarkets. Maybe it’s being sold in your supermarket. This is exactly why it’s important to know where your products come from and ask pointed questions of companies and governments.” (ILO) (Jon Czajkowski, Child Labor in the Philippines, November 2010). Also being exported to U.S. markets are products made by child laborers from the wood, rattan furniture, sardine canning and garment industries. As recently as 15 years ago, the Philippines exported to the U.S. over $1 billion worth of garments with children being used to make baby dresses, smocks and button holes. Many of these children lived at the factories where they worked and had to pay rent and buy their own needles and threads the cost of which was deducted from their salaries (ILO) (Jon Czajkowski, Child Labor in the Philippines, November 2010).
One of the largest problems children in the Philippians face is sexual exploitation. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO) of these millions of slave labor children, more than 100,000 eventually wind up as sex slaves and find themselves in prostitution rings. They wind up forced to sell themselves on street corners, brothels, discos massage parlors or even cruise and foreign tourist ships. Most of these slaves are young girls. Most of these girls, ages 15-20 are from rural and urban backgrounds. Of 500 prostitutes known in the Philippine’s Angeles City, 75% are children (Jon Czajkowski, Child Labor in the Philippines, November 2010). In the mining industry, teenage girls who become more physically desirable as they age are often pulled from the mines to work as waitresses and bar maids in the mine camps. This often evolves into these girls serving as prostitutes and sex slaves for the older male miners and mine mangers (Jon Czajkowski, Child Labor in the Philippines, November 2010). In Davao City alone there are more than 1,000 prostituted teenage girls where customers, some of them foreign tourists, pay as little as 50 cents to $2.50 for a sexual encounter.
As a result, sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS, syphilis and gonorrhoea are increasing in the Philippines. Sadly, as evidence of the widespread nature of poverty and the desperation of many parents, large numbers of prostituted children in the age group 11-15 are introduced into prostitution by relatives (Jon Czajkowski, Child Labor in the Philippines, November 2010). However, this problem becomes even greater beyond the Philippine borders. Reports now show that more than 150,000 young Filipina women have been trafficked into prostitution in Japan and other Asian countries. Some even find their way into the United States. Young Philippine women are vulnerable to sex trafficking into Japan and are forced to go there through “entertainer visas.” The label “entertainer” often implies sex worker. These women are vulnerable in Japan because they are young, beautiful women in a hazardous and vulnerable occupation. Trafficking laws exist in the Philippines, but are not enforced.” (Jon Czajkowski, Child Labor in the Philippines, November 2010). Most often, prostituted children suffer long term psychological damage from their experiences.
Their health and well-being can be permanently scarred. Dr. Norietta Clama of the Philippine General Hospital’s Child Protection Unit says that the longer a child stays in the sex industry, the harder it is to overcome the trauma. “Few children rescued from brothels have been able to live anything like a healthy life again.” (Jon Czajkowski, Child Labor in the Philippines, November 2010). There are many reasons for these problems. Poverty and illiteracy in the Philippines are rampant, so any promise for an escape from poverty and even some financial gain are lures for young children and their families. Although aware of the great risks, many mothers and fathers support the child labor practices and even the sex-exploitation of their own children. Even though children must go through school through the sixth grade or age 12, about 40 percent of school-age kids don’t attend school at all in the Philippines. The parents simply can’t afford the cost of clothing, food and transportation (Jon Czajkowski, Child Labor in the Philippines, November 2010).
Once trapped in slave labor, the children cannot go to school, those ensuring the owners of the factories, mines and plantations entire generations of low-cost workers that have no other choice but to remain trapped in their lifestyles. It becomes a vicious cycle (Jon Czajkowski, Child Labor in the Philippines, November 2010). For the industry owners, it’s all about increasing production and becoming more efficient while lowering costs. What rules in the end is building profits. Philippine government sources have speculated that some industries will go so far as fire paid adult workers and enslave children to take their place (Jon Czajkowski, Child Labor in the Philippines, November 2010). What can be done to solve this problem? The Philippine government, despite its best efforts has been slow and lax to address the problem and enforce existing laws ands regulations against slave labor. More enforcement of existing anti-child slave and exploitation laws is necessary. Currently, the legal minimum age for general employment in the Philippines is 15 years, unless the child is working for a family business, but children under 15 can work for industries that get special work permits.
They promise to protect the health welfare, safety and morals of these workers. This is where there if obviously a big loophole, since the government Labor Standards and Welfare Division has only a total of 197 labor inspectors nationwide to monitor child labor and other laws. Another watchdog agency, the Bureau of Women and Young Workers is supposed to also monitor child worker abuse, but has no inspectors in the field (Jon Czajkowski, Child Labor in the Philippines, November 2010). The Catholic Church and a number of international human rights organizations are trying to organize a “Common front” to eradicate child exploitations. The archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, has publicly questioned practices that allow for child slavery (Jon Czajkowski, Child Labor in the Philippines, November 2010). The government has promised one approach to solve the problem by providing four-year educational grant for poor families, thinking that if families are better educated, they will find better opportunities in life and not have to resort to sending their children off to work (Jon Czajkowski, Child Labor in the Philippines, November 2010).
Most recently as last week on October 31, the Filipino government has set aside 10.7 million Philippine dollars to help improve the socio-economic conditions of 30,000 disadvantaged migratory field workers, many of them children. Its goal is to help eliminate the worst forms of child labor in sugar plantations (Jon Czajkowski, Child Labor in the Philippines, November 2010). Other remedies that are working to some degree or are in the works include the Philippines becoming more active with international groups and non-governmental organizations that address child and slave labor. These include the International Labor Organization’s International Program for the Elimination of Child Labor, the United Nations Children Fund, and concerned groups within the Philippines that include non-governmental social agencies, businesses, the Catholic Church and even the news media all working together to combat child exploitation (Jon Czajkowski, Child Labor in the Philippines, November 2010). Finally, this horrific situation can be felt even close to our homes. As reported in the Newark Star-Ledger just days ago the effect of child labor and sex slave practices finding their way from places like the Philippines, China and India to New Jersey is being successfully slowed by our state’s Trafficking Victims Protection Act which provides counseling and shelter for young foreign women under the age of 18 brought to New Jersey and then forced into coerced sex and prostitution (Jon Czajkowski, Child Labor in the Philippines, November 2010).
Most of the people involved in child labor are between 13-17 years old. Majority of them attained the secondary education and currently working to supplement personal needs including their education. Most of them are female, who are working as sales staff. Majority of the respondents are living in Taytay where their work place is located. They are all currently employed in New Taytay Public Market, San Juan, Taytay Rizal.
Majority of the children working for a living, are working to meet their personal needs like foods, clothes and utility. Some are working specifically for future intention such as, entering the next school year, working for full-time job, enterprising family business, completing education to start working and owning small business.
Results of this study may encourage some government institutions, such as Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), as well as to non-government agencies, particularly the Bantay Bata 163. As they review or formulate programs that will alleviate the living conditions of the urban poor.
The Department of Education may consider giving scholarships for families that have four children and above. By doing so, DepEd could help families who are suffering to support their children’s education.
For the parents and guardians the study suggests planning their families, the number of children, specifically, and finding proper jobs so that they will be able to support the children and so that they, the children, will not work for their needs.
Future researchers who may be interested in the results of this study may review and reconsider the instrument used in the survey of this study paper. If they may plunge into similar study, it is recommended that they find the right target population before embarking on their research and involve experts in the field to validate and ensure the reliability of the data gathered from the target population. It is also suggested that future researchers delve further into the variable of child labor being used as working experience by families, specifically Chinese families