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Child Labor In Myanmar


One of the major issues in the world is exploitation of children and their rights. From the past it is estimated around 150 million of children are forced to work all over the global economy. According to the statistics it is said that most of the child labors are found at the labor markets of developing countries. Furthermore 90% percentage of the total child labor market is employed in the rural parts of Asia and African continent due to lack of rules and regulations by the state. The top worst countries for child labor are from Africa and Asian regions. Some statistics say that the high rate of child labor exists in Myanmar. Most of the children are not enrolled in the schools. Almost 40% of the total children are not enrolled, because Burmese army recruits the children ageing 12 to the army forces. Those who fail to serve as soldiers are forced to work in the farms, street markets and to collect rubbish. The most common problem in Myanmar is the child soldiers. (Luke Mckenna, Business Insider).

Apart from military there are some cases the children are forced by their own parents to support their family expenses and sometimes the children are kidnapped by Mafia gangsters to work for no wages. Across the globe, millions of children are involved in extremely hazardous jobs in bad working conditions. This has become a great threat for the future generation. Because, it prevents the children from obtaining the basic primary education, as a result it can lead for uneducated citizens in the future. Other than education they are subjected to under development of physical, mental and social conditions. Everyday 168 million of children including both boys and girls work as child laborers in homes, industries, farms and battlefields.

Problem statement

There is a saying that “Children of today are the leaders of tomorrow”. So the children must be taken care as the wealth of the human kind. But the present society fails to do so. Children are ill-treated in many forms, especially in the form of child labor. Although the children are not allowed to work legally, the adults force them to work. Children are supplied to labor market willingly or unwillingly by their parents and also some children are trapped in the forms of slavery and debt bondage to set off the debts incurred by the parents of the children. In this scenario, children have become the indirect victims of the whole society. Because of these acts the children lose their basic rights and they face many physical, mental and social problems. They

  1. lose the right of enjoying their childhood

  2. fail to obtain the primary education

  3. Isolation in the society and un future

Most of the children are induced to do dangerous jobs in mining areas, fireworks and matchbox industries and also used for producing pornographic performances by the employers. Because of these the childhood of children and the education are destroyed and whereby it can lead to an uneducated society in the future with lot of crimes.

Content and Development

1.      Why children shouldn’t be sent to work?

Childhood is also an ideal time for safe and healthy human development. Because that is the age where a child grows and has needs in terms of physical, mental and behavioral aspects. In this period everyone should be given the rights of enjoying their childhood life. But it is very miserable to see that children are not allowed to enjoy their childhood wishes and needs. The major cause is child labor. (UN, 2008) The children are forced to work when they are young due to several reasons. But the children who are set to work are not provided with good working conditions and they are given very difficult tasks which a normal child cannot do. So the children are at a high risk of illness, injuries and even death due to biological, chemical and ergonomic hazards as well as from long hours of work and poor living conditions. The huge machinery in the factories can strongly affect the children than the adult workers. For example the physical strain when combined with the repetitive movements on growing bones and joints can cause spinal injuries and other lifelong disabilities. (Global March)Children often also suffer psychological damage from working and living in an environment where they are denigrated, harassed or experience violence and abuse. Finally the children become the victims of serious diseases; uneducated and also socially isolated, as a result the future generation of the globe will become a non-worthy group of citizens. (Tina Narang, 2009)

Furthermore the child labor doesn’t allow a child to continue his education. In the childhood each and every child has a dream about his/her future, but the minute he/she is set to work, all his dreams and wishes will be destroyed. So the educated children will reduce while uneducated will increase. Later in future the citizens who are uneducated will be more than the educated citizens.

2.      Misconception on eradicating poverty will continue the poverty cycle

The misconception among most of the poor families is they thing sending their children to work is the only solution to overcome the poverty. Parents fail to thing about child’s age, health, and emotional needs and about the future of the children. Uneducated parent’s thing that there is no use of sending their child to schools, because of that they send them to work, and some parents thing spending on education is an additional cost for the family. So they send their children to work in their young age. But the results become worst in the long run. One of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) is eradication of poverty, but if this ineffective system continues the MDG of eradicating poverty will be only a dream for United Nations.(UNICEF,2013)

The children miss their primary education and they become uneducated citizens in the society. And then they get married and they give births to children. Then again they will face the same problem because of no proper education. They will be financially weak, so that they will have to send their children to work to support their family. This can continue from generation to generation and in future the problems will not be solved unless increasing. Child labor has a profound effect on a child’s future. Denied the right to a quality education, as adults they have little chance of obtaining a decent job and escaping the cycle of poverty and exploitation. (UN, 2008)

3.      The major reasons for increase in the child labor

Another argument against child labor is that the lack of rules and regulation regarding child labor. (UN, 2008) It is said in some countries there are no strict rules for sending children to work. Especially in Myanmar the rules regarding to human rights are very poor, but the rate of child labor are very high. According to the Human rights watch it says Burma’s army has doubled in size since 1988, and with an estimated 350,000 soldiers is now one of the largest armies in Southeast Asia. In the army the most of them are child soldiers.

This was said by a child soldier in Myanmar. So we can imagine how the children are taken to forces at the little age. “My Gun was as Tall as Me: Child Soldiers in Burma,” (Human Rights Watch, Burma)

The government is not keen in protecting the rights of children. Even though governments know the sequences of violating the children rights, they don’t take proper actions in protecting them. So the employers prefer to hire many numbers of children because they are cheaper than their adult counterparts. Under some states of few countries the primary education is not made compulsory, so people show less interest in educating their children, rather send them to work. Besides that the children face the problem in obtaining the education for free or sometimes with low cost. In most of the nation education is not provided free of charge, so it is difficult for the children coming from poor families to continue their education only from their parents income. Therefore in most of the rural areas the children are sent to work by their parents to earn a living and as well as to continue their education.  Few children work after school in agricultural sectors, (ILO,2013) but most of the children drop from school and they work fulltime to support their family. Even the parents don’t want their children to attend the schools, because parents in the rural areas are unaware of the value of education; they don’t realize the long run benefit of the education, so that they send their children to work rather than sending them to school.

And all over the world the education for female are considered as luxury rather than a necessity, and most of the young girls ageing from 5-17 are sent to work in brick industries. All the expenditure on education for boys will be higher when compared with girls. The percentages of young girls are the more out of total child labor. (Tina Narang,2009)


In conclusion, it is understandable that how child labor can cause both social and economic effects in the society. The effects of child labor don’t affect only the family but also whole society. The children are the assets of the nation, so every adult must know to protect them and treat them well. The children must be given the chance to enjoy their childhood irrespective of rich or poor. Not only the children even the social organizations should make aware about the rights of the children to the parents as well as the employers who hire children for their work. In my point I think the education should be provided free of charge in all countries. So that at least every child would be able to get the education. “Knowledge is Power” so each child will be fed with some kind of knowledge and then they will know how to live in future. Indeed providing free education only won’t work alone, the government and the labor organization should implement strict rules and regulations against child labor, so that no one will supply children and no one will hire children for work. Finally the international social organizations should help the poor families to come out of poverty. Then it will also be an advantage for the United Nations to achieve the Millennium development goals of poverty eradication and as well as the Universal Primary Education.


UNICEF.(10th January 2013). Child Labour, Retrieved on 21st December, 2013 from

United Nations.(2008). Child Labour. Retrieved on 21st December, 2013 from

ILO.(2013).Child Labour. Retrieved on 21st December, 2013 from–en/index.htm#a1

Child Labor Public Education Project. Retrieved on 20th December, 2013from

ILO.(2013).What Is Child Labour. Retrieved on 21st December, 2013 from–en/index.htm

Global March.Child labour Retrieved on 20th December, 2013 from

Narang,Tina.(2009).Child labour and school attendance: an empirical study. Retrieved 

Mckenna,Luke.(January, 6th 2012). Child Labor Is Making A Disturbing Resurgence Around The World. Business Insider. Retrieved on 25th December,2013 from

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