Child labor evokes deep emotions and is cause for growing international concern.
Most recent global estimates show that 186 million children are engaged in full
time economic activity. This paper discusses the possibilities and pitfalls of
Western policies that seek to curb child labor abroad. Since such policies aim
to combat practices in other societies, policy-makers should be aware of the
many relevant differences between developing and developed countries. We discuss
three issues that are central to this debate: different conceptions of childhood
and the dominance of the Western conception in these debates; the distinction
between child work and child labor; and socioeconomic causes of child labor. We
then evaluate the implications of these investigations for direct and indirect
policy options against child labor abroad.
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