Children who are subjected to child labor are more vulnerable than adults and other children. Due to this, they qualify as a child who has experienced trauma.
Consideration of child labor victims as traumatized children compels us to search for the difficulties and wounds they (these young breadwinners) are experiencing.
We can classify the most significant obstacles faced by children subjected to child labor as follows:
- economic obstacles
- cultural challenge
- social difficulties
- mental challenges
- corporal challenges
- physical obstacles
All of them will be discussed in detail in the following sections.
Economic challenges :
First and foremost, child labor results from the family’s incomplete economy. Many of these children provide for their families. Essentially, one of the most influential variables in child labor is the family’s economic difficulties.
In the absence of economic issues, many of these children would be able to continue their normal lives and enjoy their childhoods in the same manner as other children. However, due to the weak household economy, these children are required to work. Many of these children’s parents are either unable to work (due to disability, addiction, etc.), have passed away, or the child feels the absence of both parents. In other words:
- a) In some instances, neither the mother nor the father is able to work due to physical or mental disability.
- b) Father or mother cannot work due to their addiction.
- c) There are children, and despite the fact that both parents are physically healthy, they must work due to a low family income.
This is the circumstance in which the family’s child submitted to arduous and exhausting labor to provide for the family’s needs.
-cultural challenges: the second obstacle a child laborer faces is a cultural one. The weakness of family institutions is one of the most significant problems in this area.
Due to the fact that the first rule of the family is to teach children socially acceptable rules, the family can be considered the child’s entryway into the larger society. In other words, family is the entrance to society. As a result of family foundational flaws, however, these children do not learn the proper social norms of their society. On the other hand, a lack of connection with the normative society leads to the development of cultural misunderstandings, which are often passed on to subsequent generations. For example:
- a) Many families do not view education as beneficial for their children’s future.
- b) It is widely accepted, despite the physical healthiness of the parents, that the children should be working.
- c) For some parents, laboring children is the norm and standard.
Therefore, cultural poverty has the same weight as economic poverty, if not a greater weight.
-social challenges: in this area, the following are the most significant problems:
Educational attainment, substance abuse, rape,…
Numerous labor children are unable to receive an education due to cultural and economic deprivation.
In other words, cultural and economic deprivation present these labor children with numerous social obstacles. The effects of cultural poverty are manifested when a family does not provide a place to acquire knowledge and does not value it as an asset. Regarding economic poverty, the reason for its effectiveness is evident and straightforward. Education is one of the last things on a child’s mind when he or she is occupied with work and providing the necessities of life. In fact, daily hardships prevent the child from receiving an education. In addition to the list of challenges is addiction. These children travel frequently in the streets surrounding their homes and interact with numerous neighbors. This frequent interaction with socially awkward individuals increases their likelihood of falling prey to addiction.
Due to the inadequacy of the location where these children reside and the precarious nature of these areas, addiction and other forms of social mischief is ever-present among the children who reside there.
Another challenge for these children is rape. Due to the high level of communication these children engage in on a daily basis in the streets and workshops, they may be subject to numerous instances of abuse.
Among these children’s other social challenges, we can mention their identity situation. A significant proportion of these children are either foreign-born or are Iranian only through their mothers. This has caused them to encounter numerous difficulties in numerous situations. (such as enrolling in school or being deported in the event of an arrest by an authorized organization,…)
– Psychological challenges: Many children in the labor force face innumerable dangers due to unfavorable family circumstances, location (neighborhood), working conditions, etc.
Instead of being a place of spiritual healing, the family environment of these harmed families is not one of tranquility and rest.
The child’s soul and spirit are irreparably damaged by family violence, sexual violence – whether at home, on the street, or at work – the family’s economic situation, etc.
Many of these children struggle with self-esteem, trust, social anxiety, etc.
– Corporal challenges: corporal challenges can be summed up as the locations in which they reside. Many of these children reside in disadvantaged communities. The most fundamental living conditions are unavailable in these areas. These children reside with their families in sheds (rooms). Occasionally, a house with multiple rooms does not have bathrooms or adequate sanitary facilities, and the residents share them.
In other words, one of these children’s problems is the expansion of the household and even the simultaneous occupancy of the same room by multiple individuals. Typically, the alleys where these children reside are so narrow that passage is difficult. Due to the corridor-like nature of alleys, a large number of social crimes occur there. The parks in their neighborhoods are also overrun with drug addicts and the homeless, which has detracted from the parks’ primary functions.
– Physical challenges: physical challenges are also among the barriers affecting child labor. Whether in the short, medium, or long term, working at a young age will cause significant physical harm to children. Due to their employment in innumerable jobs, such as bricklaying, working at intersections, heavy work in workshops, carrying loads, etc., children in the labor force are susceptible to a variety of physical injuries.
Working as a child would affect the future physical health of these individuals. In such a way that many of these children will develop various physical diseases in middle age, such as joint pain, back issues, etc. On the other hand, due to economic issues, these children will experience malnutrition and complications such as anemia, thyroid enlargement, liver diseases, etc.
Overall, these obstacles can be described as the main components of these social harms. However getting out of this situation is extremely difficult , it is not impossible. In order for the roles of non-governmental organizations and government institutions to be highly effective, convergence and consensus are required, along with action cohesion.