By Rosemary David – Art in Tanzania internship
Child labour or child labor refers to the exploitation of children through any form of work that deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and is mentally, physically, socially and morally harmful. Such exploitation is prohibited by legislation worldwide, although these laws do not consider all work by children as child labour; exceptions include work by child artists, family duties, supervised training, and some forms of child work.
All over the world, children are being exploited through child labour. This mentally and physically dangerous work interferes with schooling and long-term development -the worst forms include slavery, trafficking, sexual exploitation and hazardous work that put children at risk of death, injury or disease.
CAUSES OF CHILD LABOUR IN TANZANIA
Physical and mental attributes of children influence their abuse. Physical disabilities have long been associated with child abuse and neglect, as these children are often victims of discrimination, sexual exploitation and social exclusion. More often than seldom, the abused or the victims of abuse do not report such cases to the authority, for fear of reprisal by the abuser who may be a parent and due to ignorance.
Socio – economic Aspects
Modern socio-economic developments have diminished the traditional role and power of women. This change in status, has brought about strains in family life and decreased the value of children, resulting into more frequent occurrences of child abuse and neglect.
Social – cultural Aspects
Social-cultural aspects, play a vital role in contributing to the increasing rate of child labour in many developing countries today. Traditionally, children have been viewed as personal property and were generally expected to work. There was a maximum division of labour, where girls were expected to do all the house chores and the boys went hunting. These roles were meant to prepare the children for future adulthood, especially girls who were often subjected to early marriages when they clocked the age of puberty, while their male counterparts went to school. It is however important to note that, some of the household work is too excessive and exploitative and can be categorized under child labour.
Family characteristics have played a crucial role in the employment of children based on the type of family (polygamous and monogamous), family size and the employment of parents. Household poverty, is one of the underlying causes of child labour that affects school enrollment, as many cannot afford school fees and school materials. Child labour becomes a majority option for most families for survival, which eventually affects the academic performance of some children, who labour for fees which endangers them physically and psychologically. While it might seem obvious that, children had to fend for their families, parental consent to work, comes in the way as a major issue of maximum consideration in child employment.
Many studies indicate that, children who reported their parents as no longer staying together, or those who had lost one of their parents and in most cases drained in poverty, engaged in work. The increasing number of orphans and children raised by single parents, undoubtedly necessitated the employment of children.
At community level, societal transformation and challenges therein, act as a stressor on families and diminishes the capability of families to look after their children properly. The rampant slum developments, which are a manifestation of poor socio-economic conditions and overcrowding, represent a bigger challenge to the life of a child than the society itself.
Political factors, refer to conditions that cause civil and national strife and unrest including wars inter alia as considered. Children migrate to bigger cities in search for help. These children sometimes go accompanied by their parents and some unaccompanied, especially orphans. War zones, serve as catchment areas for vulnerable children who end up on the streets and involve themselves in child labour for survival.
The Social Capital Theory
The social capital theory offers a beginning point in the theoretical analysis of the street children phenomenon in Tanzania. This theory draws a correlation between family structure and home-leaving. Most of street children end up being employed at small age.