Subject: The Theory of child Labour Transition
From: Melanie Orhant (email@example.com)
Date: Tue Feb 15 2000 - 09:50:31 EST
>Please find below the "Theory of Child Labour Transition" which I
>conceptualized a few days ago, borrowing ideas from the Theory of
>Demographic Transition and the Theory of Fertility Transition, for a wider
>circulation. The theory is still in a developing stage.
>The theory says that child labour, especially the worst forms of child
>labour (trafficking in children for commercial exploitation, bonded child
>labour and children in hazardous child labour condition) (WFCL) is a
>temporary phenomenon. It arises due to certain social conditions and can
>be eliminated if appropriate interventions are designed and implemented.
>The worst form of child labour has three stages. In the first stage, the
>WFCL starts rising from a low level until it reaches to a high peak. In
>the second stage it remains constant at that high level. In this stage the
>national and international agencies realize the problem and come up with
>interventions to reduce it. In the third (final) stage, it starts falling,
>because of interventions. It WFCL curve will fall until it reaches to a
>Example: In Nepal, there was no bonded child labour prior to 1950. The
>system of bonded child labour developed only after the implementation of
>malaria eradication programme in the late 1950s and the mass migration of
>hill people in the Mid-Western and Far-Western Terai. The mass migration
>led and change in social and economic structure of that area. Some people
>became rich and others poor as a result of this in-migration. The poor had
>to borrow money for their survival. Since the poor could not pay the debt
>they borrowed from the landlord, they offered themselves to be in bondage
>for a period of one year. They could not pay the debt the next year also.
>So the bondage continued. Slowly, the wife and children also became the
>part of the bondage. When the father in bondage died, the debt of the
>landlord was transferred to his sons. When the son in bondage got married,
>his wife became a part of the bondage.
>The system of bonded labour in Nepal's Mid-and-Far Western Terai reached
>its peak around 1990 and remained constant during 1990-95 period. Although
>His Majesty's Government of Nepal had started actions against bonded
>labour prior to 1990, the national and international agencies started
>intervention against bonded labour and bounded child labour in a greater
>scale after this date. The interventions has lead to a fall in the bounded
>labour and bonded child labour to a certain extent. With interventions,
>the fall will continue until it reaches to a low level.
>The intensity of fall in the bonded child labour curve is determined by
>the type of interventions that we imply. The fall will be rapid if
>determinants are clearly identified and programmes designed to hit these
>determinants. We have to understand that bonded labour and bonded child
>labour are the function of certain determinants. The functional
>relationship can be shown by an equation, such as,
>x1 = f(y1,y2,y3, .............yn)
>where x1 = bonded labour or bonded child labour, and
>y1,y2,y3, ........, etc. are the determinants
>The more we know about the determinants, the more our life becomes easier.
>The above-mentioned example applies to child trafficking and other
>hazardous forms of child labour as well. However, the elimination of child
>trafficking, is more difficult than the elimination of bonded child
>labour, because of the links of child trafficking with commercial sex
>work, one of the oldest profession.
>I think, all countries, should think of preparing analytical report on the
>state of child labour transition in their country. We can have reports
>like, Child Labour Transition in Nepal, Child Labour transition in
>Tanzania, Child Labour Transition in Mexico, etc. We can compile the
>reports of all countries in Asia and draw a summary on child labour
>transition for Asia. Similarly, we can draw a summary for Africa, Latin
>America, developed countries, developing countries, for the whole world,
>etc. This will greatly enhance our knowledge base on the WFCL, which will
>help us in designing programmes to eliminate it.
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