Child labor is called the employment of children in any type of work, denying them the possibility of enjoying their childhood, affecting their mental, physical and morals . This practice is considered by several international organizations as an act of exploitation and is prohibited by the laws of the world. It should be noted that not all activities are considered child labor, but only those that interfere with the child’s good development ; thus, studying, training, performing artistic activities is far from being harmful to the child’s health and that is why they are excluded from this characterization, but they can also be considered beneficial.
Although today there is awareness of the problems that the employment of children entails, in distant times it was a widespread practice. Thus, before the first half of the 20th century, countless cases of child labor can be glimpsed, where children who had not yet reached puberty were employed to work in agriculture, mining, factories, etc. In some cases, working hours extended up to twelve hours a day, which gives an inhumane picture of the situation. With the development of laws based on dealing with this problem, this practice began to fall into disuse in more developed countries.
However, in countries that are still developing there are signs of child labor, especially in social areas with the highest poverty rate. Thus, the largest records of child labor in current times are present in sub-Saharan Africa, with a 50% incidence of children being employed in inappropriate work, mainly in rural areas.
Based on these considerations, it appears that the main cause of child labor is related to precarious socioeconomic situations. In some cases, the income earned by the minor can mean the difference between life and death. Furthermore, it is noteworthy that in these cases there is a deficiency of educational institutions to confront the situation.
The solution to this type of child labor problem cannot be legally dealt with in isolation. In fact, social condemnation is not enough to provide long-term solutions, so it is categorically necessary to take measures to improve income distribution . On the other hand, developed countries must contribute with concrete programs to encourage the cessation of the practice of child labor.