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Child labour means the employment of children under an age determined by law or custom. Children are sometimes forced to work in factories, to help their parents, to assembly boxes, or to polish shoes at a very young age. But the worst forms of child labour are defined as those which involve children’s being enslaved, prostituted, and forced into illegal activities. It was not seen as a problem throughout most of history, but I think it must be debated in detail. Things that can be done to prevent child labour must not remain in words but must be put into practice.

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Some people say that working and earning can be a positive experience in a child’s growing up. Children face with the hardships of life and they become more mature. Secondly, Employers have advantages as child workers do not want much money and security insurance. They also add that it is not realistic to suggest banning all forms of child labour, because so many poor families depend on income their children earn.

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However some others including me do not approve of children’s being forced to work. First of all they work under unhealthy and unsafe conditions. They carry heavy boxes or they work for long hours. Secondly it prevents children from going school and they actually become unqualified when they grow up. They are devoid of theoretical information. And from this long-term perspective child labour only brings more poverty.

When we search about what is being done around the world to protect children, we come across with such organizations as UNICEF, Concerned for Working Children (CWC), and International Labour Organization (ILO). They all promote a worldwide movement to combat child labour either with laws or education. What is being done to solve this problem in Turkey? I think they are so superficial that nothing is being solved. It is actually a proven fact. According to a recent ILO study, Turkey ranks fourth among countries which use child labour. It is frightening and shocking.

What can be done then? For me, we can start from the elimination of the hazardous forms of child labour. Secondly, we can try to work towards reducing poverty. Thirdly, if we cannot prevent child labour, we can at least provide education services for working children. For example; we can build night schools. To conclude I am strongly suggesting you doing whatever you can to disburden children’s work from their weak and small shoulders. I am repeating that do not only say that this can done. Please put them into practice!

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Kylie Garcia

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