FROM LEGAL REGULATIONS AND THEORIES TO SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC REALITIES ON THE CASE OF CHILD LABOR IN ROMANIA

Viorel Sîrca

Abstract


International law literature distinguishes between different categories of children used as labor force by the abusive character of the work and by the degree of risk to which children are exposed. Convention 138 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) establishes the worst forms of child labor (slavery, forced recruitment, prostitution, trafficking, the practice of forced illegal activities and risk exposure) gradually until the light work, therefore not affecting education, and permitted after age 12. The fundamental rights of the child are often an elusive goal in individual cases or in communities where poverty families push children to work at an early age. Around the world, about a quarter of children less than 15 years old have the labor activities as their principal occupation. In this study, the tension between the legal frame and social reality is emphasized by exemplifying with several studies and statistics on child labor (exploitation of the child) in Romania. To analyze the phenomenon in all its dimensions, we must understand the social context of family, cultural-values and politico-economic background of working children. Then there are several kinds of child labor (domestic help, product sales, various occasional jobs, and even beggary) covering a wide range of behavior of adults towards children: from neglect and abuse to ill-treatment and exploitation. Finally, the paper outlines a series of potential solutions for reducing the phenomenon of working children.


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