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Word Count: 1,548
The reaction of a typical citizen of a western state to child labor is generally one of disgust They dream up images of a shoe factory in South Eastern Asia with hundreds of children stooped over sewing machines slaving their youth away Instead of going to school or playing these children are locked in dangerous workshops paid barely enough to survive The truth of the matter is quite different The average westerner does not realize that most often child laborers are working alongside their parents on small family owned pieces of land They are not tortured by a mean overseer but rather surrounded by family and friends My intent is not to paint a glowing picture or to diminish the fact that children would be better off in schools but we must be realistic Generally life for the child laborer is not as bad as many imagine and frequently their hard work is the difference from their family thriving and their family starving Not only that but when they work in the export-manufacturing sector of the economy their labor can fuel future growth of the economy preventing their children or grandchildren from having to work in factories This is not to say that we should do nothing to help child laborers but rather that we should focus our aid in areas other than merely restricting the importation of items produced by them We need to turn to more creative devices that will focus on improving the education and opportunity for education rather trying to focus on blindly banning child labor In short child labor is not the purely evil institution many feel it is and can even be useful in developing third world economies At the same time we should still try to attempt to do more to develop those economies in order to not only end child labor but also to reduce all the forms of suffering which go on in the third world
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