Monday, June 12, 2023

PBS NewsHour explains 'Why several states are pushing to loosen child labor restrictions' on World Day Against Child Labor

Today is Loving Day, but I don't think I can top my favorite post from last year, so I'm moving on to another day being observed today, World Day Against Child Labor.
June 12 is set aside to focus on ending child labor. The World Day Against Child Labor is held annually on June 12 as an international day to raise awareness and prompt action to stop child labor in all of its forms. Supporters of the day work year round to see that children everywhere are not working in fields or factories, or even worse places. It is estimated that between 215 million and 220 million children are working full time instead of being in school or on a playground.

The United Nations estimates that almost 75 million victims of child labor are aged 5-11 years. Forty-two million children (28%) are 12-14 years old; 37 million (24%) are 15-17 years old.

More than half of them are exposed to the worst forms of child labor such as working in hazardous environments – slavery, or other types of forced labor, illicit activities including drug trafficking and prostitution, as well as involvement in armed conflict.
The World Day Against Child Labor is an International Labor Organization (ILO)-sanctioned holiday first launched in 2002. ILO has worked on finding, reporting, and ending child labor since 1919. The ILO believes that exploiting childhood constitutes evil.
Unfortunately, child labor is making a comeback and is in the news, as PBS NewsHour reported Why several states are pushing to loosen child labor restrictions earlier this month.

The U.S. government found child labor violations involving over 3,800 minors in 2022. At the same time, some states say there is too much regulation of child labor. Katherine Walts, director of the Center for the Human Rights of Children at Loyola University Chicago, and Dan Bowling, a distinguished fellow at Duke University School of Law, join Ali Rogin to discuss the state of child labor laws.
I'm being a good environmentalist by recycling my reaction from John Oliver on 'Biden & The Border' and FiveThirtyEight on immigration for the end of Title 42.
An apparent short-term solution [to the current labor shortage] is allowing more child labor; I expressed my disapproval in Fox News didn't have to apologize, so 'The Late Show with Stephen Colbert' did it for them.
I think relaxing child labor laws is not a good way to deal with a labor shortage. I prefer raising wages and improving working conditions so more adults will return to the workforce. Instead, Iowa has joined Arkansas and several other states in permitting teens to work more. I find that worrisome and a reversal of a century of progress.
That's a clear set of choices — increased legal immigration, improved wages and work conditions, or more child labor. I'm with Professor Mayda that the choices should be made clear to voters, whether French or American. I may disapprove of the eventual choice, but at least the voters will have made their decision consciously and explicitly instead of blundering into it. Also, everyone will know what their priorities really are.
I set this up as a clear set of choices — improving working conditions and wages for adults, allowing more immigration, or loosening labor laws for minors. It turns out that the choice isn't as clear-cut, as NBC News reported Government looking into child migrant worker allegations at U.S. companies: NBC News investigation just last week.

NBC News has learned that the Department of Homeland Security, Justice Department and White House officials are examining companies that allegedly hired Guatemalan children in at least 11 states, according to two U.S. officials. NBC News’ Julia Ainsley has details.
Sure, exploit some of the most vulnerable, unaccompanied minors seeking asylum. It figures. It also makes it worse.

There are more videos on the topic, which is not going away, so I might revisit it. Stay tuned.

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