Child Labor

Before and after the Industrial Revolution

Historical background

Before the Industrial Revolution the children worked in the farms with their parents, the education was variable, but the children of the poor might get a little of elementary education at a charity school or 'dame' school.

And the difference between working in the farm and working in the factory is that in the farms the family produced their own food and they did their own work, the life was more healthy, because they didn't have any type of chemical or pesticides. And in the factories the place to work was very hard, among the most serious hazards faced workers was the routine exposure to dust and gases emitted from machines. And the conditions for children to work was very dangerous, because they had to clean the machines and if they weren't fast the machines could kill them.

The child labor happening in the late 1700's and early 1800's. One of the important person was Charles Dickens, he was a writer and he helped publicize the evils of child labor with his novel Oliver Twist.

Social, economic and political impacts during the Industrial Revolution

The children couldn't go to school, they had to work because their parents had a lot of children to care for. The factory owners viewed them as more manageable, cheaper, and less likely to strike. The government had to do laws to protect the children and had the right to go to the school.

Today there is still some places in the world that children work, the International Labor Organization show that there are about 73 million children between ages 10 and 14 that work in economic activities. A new foundation called Child Labor Free aims to provide an accreditation and certification system along the whole value chain of a product, which guarantees that the product is free from child labor.