It seems crazy that child labor is still a problem around the world but when you really think about it, many children work because they feel like they have to. Some governments, like in Uzbekistan require child labor to harvest cotton and other countries are so impoverished that families feel there is no choice but to have children add to the family income. The problem is that child labor actually perpetuates poverty and violates basic human rights. Unfortunately, these violations and poverty cycles are only made worse by Western economies that literally buy into the cheap items it produces.
The government, especially in the past two decades has worked hard to set up legislation and regulation against foreign labor. Businesses too have have tried to take a stand and monitor exactly where their materials come from. But they can do better. Corporations must know every step of their production process, right from the start – raw materials. They also need to make the consumer aware of every step in this process. Consumers also need to step up and take an interest in how the clothes on their backs are being made. Public shame to a company means little if consumers still flock to the shelves for the cheap clothing.
It seems that transparency is going to be the best way to fix the problem. Companies need to be more transparent in their corporate responsibilities and consumers need to feel burdened by child labor that produces their clothing. These changes will hold the source of the problem accountable for their actions. Making it publicly known that you directly or indirectly support child labor and how you intend to change that can hopefully curb the problem and be the next step to more serious enforcement of government policies against child labor.