The Instigator
bripho
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
whenry14
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

Should American companies work with countries that use child labor?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/11/2017 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 422 times Debate No: 101878
Debate Rounds (3)
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bripho

Con

In certain countries such as India, children as young as 5 are working in agriculture, restaurants, in factories, etc. Some would argue that children in developing countries should be allowed to work for bonded labor (to pay of family debt) but I do not believe in bonded or unbonded child labor. Children need should not be subjected to such dangerous conditions, they should be getting an education. American companies should not support companies that support child labor. It was abolished in America for a reason.
whenry14

Pro

Child labor has been a cheap and plentiful work force for centuries and many different nations continue to follow this tradition today. It is true that America abolished child labor in the 1930s but you have to look at the why behind the decision at the time of being abolished. Children in the 1930s were subjected to hard dangerous labor in factories mainly to feed themselves or help feed there families. This is during and after the great depression where many families had little to no source of income. Agriculture was a in down spiral and this forced many families to employ their children in factories to survive. While factories are still common place for child labor today they are hardly the death traps they were in the 30s with many factories being completely autonomous or having state of the art equipment.
Further more you mention Agriculture as a child labor hots pot in other countries, but how out of place is it to have families of farmers who employ and continue to employ their own children to grow and raise livestock and crops. This is actually a badge of honor to some in the central United States as the children of these farmers hold themselves as a tougher breed of children.
Finally I think the term "child" needs to be defined for this debate to be continued as "child" is a word to describe the offspring of a human being and does not have a standardized age across cultures.
Debate Round No. 1
bripho

Con

I can agree with you in that families in these developing countries may rely on children as sources of income, as I've stated before, bonded labor. This type of labor has been abolished in many countries like India through the Bonded Labor Abolition act of 1976. You mentioned that this form of outsourcing is cheap and that many countries follow this "tradition". I don't believe ethical companies would employ children if they were subject to dangerous working conditions, and be proud to bring those products back to America. If their consumers knew that their products were coming from the hands of children, wouldn't this deteriorate the company's brand equity? People have different cultural practices, so I understand why countries still allow for this to happen. But my concern is the ethics in participating in this practice.
whenry14

Pro

The type of product that comes from children makes all the difference when it comes to personal ethical views. When people who believe that child labor should be illegal world wide they limit themselves to a view that has become obsolete. Child labor exists today even in America. When people see children selling products (Bake sales, Girl Scouts of America), providing services (mowing lawns, washing cars), or working at businesses (Part time, Full time) they view it as a grooming a generation to be more productive and support that action. But when people view similar actions in other countries such as Afghanistan where children sell products ( DVDS/Sovineirs), or work at businesses (farming, packaging) they view it as dangerous and against the rights of the child. What do you mean by "ethical companies"? This isn't a problem of ethics more than it is a problem of properly ensuring the safety of children in hazardous environments.
Debate Round No. 2
bripho

Con

Children selling lemonade on relatively safe streets on America (in comparison to developing countries) cannot be compared to products that manufacturers would have children work for. They are factory workers. And when I classify children I don't mean those that are old enough to legally work in America. I'm talking about very young children under 14 years old. It is true, working is a way of growing up here. But in developing countries, these children are subject to work for essentially nothing. They don't get an education at the end, they just work to survive because otherwise they'd be on the street. Potentially selling drugs, prostitution, or other things of that nature because they don't have a chance to be educated. If factory conditions are dangerous, and if American companies know they are providing products with child labor, they are subjected to a huge ethical dilemma. If they choose to continue working with companies that allow child labor, I would hope they do something to make a positive change. I understand you can't change a country's culture. But you can try to help them. Every company has a corporate social responsibility. It's not all about profit anymore.
whenry14

Pro

I believe that companies most companies and countries are stepping in the right direction when it comes to child labor. The companies that do utilize child labor allow children to stay off the streets, provide some sort of income or basic needs. They do this because they have to retain their workers or else they would have to continually hire new workers, train them and they would not nearly be as proficient as the old workers. To many developing countries child labor is an essential workforce that needs to be utilize to push forward. That being said I am against unsafe work environments and putting young children in harms way just so that can work. Children need equal opportunities to their adult counterparts in such environments and if companies wish to continue using child labor they need to implement these changes.
Debate Round No. 3
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