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Government Reports, Legislation, Statistics: Child Labor (page 3)

In 1938, Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act:

"Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as Amended (Title 29, U.S. Code,
Section 201 et seq.; 29 CFR 570-580).

Who is Covered?

The child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (the Act)
are designed to protect the educational opportunities of youths and
prohibit their employment in jobs and under conditions detrimental to
their health and well-being.

...The Act's child labor provisions include restrictions on the hours of
work and occupations for youths under age 16. These provisions set
forth 17 hazardous occupations orders for jobs declared by the Secre-
tary of Labor to be too dangerous for minors under age 18 to perform.
The Act prohibits the shipment of goods in interstate commerce which
were produced in violation of the child labor provisions. It is also
a violation of the Act to fire or in any other manner discriminate
against an employee for filing a complaint or for participating in a
legal proceeding under the Act." (43)

This excerpt shows the general intentions of the government in 1938 to restrict child labor. Since then, legislation has progressed to become more strict on the prevention of child labor. In 1995, the American Congress passed the Child Labor Deterence Act which is quoted below:

"Purpose.-The purpose of this Act is to curtail

2 the employment of children under age 15 in the production

3 of goods for export by-

4 (1) elimination the role of the United States in

5 providing a market for foreign products made by un-

6 derage children.

7 (2) supporting activities and programs to ex-

8 tend primary education, rehabilitation, and alter-

9 native skills training to underage child workers, to

10 improve birth registration, and to improve the scope

11 and quality of statistical information and research

12 on the commercial exploitation of children in the

13 workplace and

14 (3) encouraging other nations to join in a ban

15 on trade in products described in paragraph (1) and

16 to support those activities and programs described in

17 paragraph (2)." (44)

This purpose shows the change in the national government's attitudes and policies on economy and labor and its movements and regulations on child labor. Unlike the government of the Gilded Age, present-day government is clearly attempting to regulate labor and stop American dependency upon child labor.

"Principle 9 of the Declaration of the Rights

9 of the Child proclaimed by the General Assembly of

10 the United Nations on November 20, 1959, states (page break)


that"...the child shall not be admitted to employ-

2 ment before an appropriate minimum age; he shall

3 in no case be caused or permitted to engage in any

4 occupation or employment which would prejudice his

5 health or education, or interfere with his physical,

6 mental, or moral development ..." (45)

America and the United Nations are thus striving for the abolishment of child labor and advocating the unadulterated development of children, probably trying to prevent cases such as the moral deterioration of Vilimas and Nikolajus in The Jungle.

"According to the International Labor Orga-

15 nization, worldwide an estimated 200,000,000 chil-

16 dren under age 15 are working, many of them in

17 dangerous industries like mining and fireworks.

18 (4) Children under the age 15 constitute ap-

19 proximately 11 percent of the workforce in some

20 Asian countries, 17 percent in parts of Africa, and

21 a reported 12-26 percent in many countries in Latin

22 America." (46)

These statistics reveal that child labor is still a problem (which the government now recognizes) today.

 

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