The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Is All Right In The World When Children Are Slaves?
If you are a historian or a fanatic of ancient history, you already know that the evolution of humanity has come a long way. From a slaughter and destroy mentality to a conquer and capture mentality to a feudal system to modern thought today, which still somewhat represents fragments of different systems, and unfortunately, still holds true to some of our barbaric nature and actions in war, even in the most developed countries, such as the United States.
Come to think of it and writing that out actually made me realize that humanity still has a long way to go to reach anywhere near representing the peaceful species that it wants to think it is. Our actions speak louder than our words and while the majority of the time, with billions of humans still living on this Earth, paying taxes and going to work, we are a semi-peaceful species because we are kept busy. There are still many unfathomable occurrences that occur today, so many that go unreported and remain that way because if the “general public” actually knew about it, they might rethink buying their products from any store.
As an observer of human beings, there are both good and bad things to be seen amongst human beings. One thing that all human beings have in common is the empathy gap, in which the closer you are to the situation, the more you empathize and sympathize with it. A big part of my knowledge about the empathy gap comes from a professor I had while attending Loyola University Chicago. Basically, the empathy gap states that the further away you are from a situation, regardless of whether you have a direct or indirect impact of the results of why it is happening, you really don’t care.
Do you feel guilty for not caring? You are just one among the billions of people that make the world go round and continue to live life as if nothing is happening. Don’t worry, I am guilty of it too. It is necessary to be human, that I — we — have to turn a blind eye to parts of the world, and let people suffer, so that we can prosper. This is true if you look at the history of any country today. There are “cultures of people”, millions of people, who are no longer alive today, because of what humans are capable of doing and capable of ignoring.
There are other cultures of people who are still alive today, but whose ancestors suffered atrocities and while they may not be dealing with what their ancestors dealt with, the mentality of others as the oppressors and the oppressed still exists. Many people throughout the world are taken advantage of, treated as lesser than human, and beaten or killed because of who they are, what they believe, and even what they look like.
Slavery in the world is one of the most forms of oppression that is still alive and doing very well in the world because it is allowed. Governments and corporations profit too much on it because they do not have to pay child laborers a “living wage salary”. If there is a demand for it, there will be a supply for it, so long as money or some type or profit is involved. This is why governments have often overlooked the “slavery concern” for decades.
It might make people mad and stir them up a bit to start online petitions, but how many people would be willing to give up their lifestyle if they knew the products they used were made by children who are no more than 10, 11, or 12 years old? How many people would forego their lifestyle of having a house, a phone, a car, or even the food on their table, in favor of ending slavery?
For example, knowing full well that your phone was probably made by children in China who are no more than 13 to 15 years old, you still fully supported the company that sold you your phone. I am just as guilty because I own a phone too, probably the same one as yours, and I probably could not be as efficient without my phone. Not that I would not be willing to give up my phone, but American life does not really allow for it, because “business as usual.”
This extends beyond technology, to bricks and construction materials to food and clothes to even non-consensual sex with minors and child soldiers, who are forced into the military or gang. Child labor and forced child labor are common throughout the world. Force child labor is another word for slavery, in which children are not compensated for any of the work they do and are forced to work everyday, all day, without any type of regulation or rights. They are likely born into slavery or sold into it by their parents or governments who cannot afford to take care of them. The worst part of it all? It is not just your fault, but the government of every country who allows it to happen, and has done nothing about it, because of a loophold in the Tariff Act of 1930; and where there is supply and demand for everything, there is a labor force behind it.
Luckily, there are some governments, including the United States government, backed by President Obama, who are taking action against these countries and no longer purchasing any products that are known to be made by a child’s hands. Of course, you too, can take action through research and understanding where the products you use come from, and boycotting the stores that sell these products. Please take the time to consider where your products are coming from and make better choices to end child labor and slavery.
Take a look at your child. Would you like them to be the ones in a factory or a camp making the products you use? I can only assume that you would never want to see your child or your children grow up that way. They would be forced to wake up early each morning, given just enough food to provide them with the energy to work until lunch time, when they are given a very small portion to keep them going, probably a few grains of rice or bread, and then they work until dinner time, where they are given another small portion to keep them going, and finally, they are left to go home, where they are too tired to do anything else, other than sleep, and wake up the next day to do it all over again. This is the harsh reality that most humans do not want to see or face, but because of their own greed and addictions to the luxury of having things available at all times, this is the way it is.
This is a list from United States Department of Labor Government website showing all the countries where there are children laborers, including by force. While this list may be from 2013, the fact that governments have done nothing since then and are just taking action now means that this list is recent and accurate.
|Country||Good||Child Labor||Forced Labor|
|Argentina||Yerba Mate (stimulant plant)||X|
|Bangladesh||Bidis (hand-rolled cigarettes)||X|
|Burma||Beans (green, soy, yellow)||X||X|
|Burma||Physic Nuts/Castor Beans||X|
|Central African Republic||Diamonds||X|
|Colombia||Coca (stimulant plant)||X||X|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||Cassiterite (tin ore)||X||X|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||Coltan (tantalum ore)||X||X|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||Copper||X|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||Diamonds||X|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||Heterogenite (cobalt ore)||X|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||Gold||X||X|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||Wolframite (tungsten ore)||X||X|
|Dominican Republic||Baked Goods||X|
|Guatemala||Gravel (crushed stones)||X|
|India||Bidis (hand-rolled cigarettes)||X|
|Kenya||Miraa (stimulant plant)||X|
|Mexico||Beans (green beans)||X|
|Nicaragua||Gravel (crushed stones)||X|
|Nigeria||Gravel (crushed stones)||X||X|
|Peru||Coca (stimulant plant)||X|
|Sierra Leone||Oil (Palm)||X|
|Tanzania||Nile Perch (fish)||X|