Why isn’t rolling back child labor exploitation a higher priority for Democrats? – Flux
Why isn't rolling back child labor exploitation a higher priority for ... Flux.community
A Report on the Hypocrisy of “Tough on Crime” Politicians and the Need for Action on Child Labor
Adam Johnson has written a righteous and right-on piece identifying the blatant hypocrisy among so-called “tough on crime” politicians who demand prison time for shoplifters, yet refuse to demand any jail time for corporate miscreants who illegally use child labor. Johnson is correct: the difference in attitudes demonstrates an unwarranted deference towards law-breaking corporations, and a notable ambivalence towards being tough on all crime.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Johnson was (rightly) provoked by news of the Biden administration’s latest announced plans for dealing with the scourge of exploitative child labor (which comes half a year after staggering pieces from The New York Times on the wide extent not only of migrant child labor in particular, but of injuries to migrant children illegally hired by companies). After all, the new plan appears to be more of the same old non-plan: more fines for corporations that engage in this immoral activity, even after years of experience have demonstrated, again and again, that too many companies see such fines as simply the price of doing business — or even as a slamming good deal in exchange for being able to underpay, injure, and otherwise exploit young workers.
The Need for Action
I have to confess that the Times’s articles by Hannah Dreier on abuses of child migrant labor agitated me deeply when I first read them — I tried to express some of my outrage here — and the stories she recounted and the broader crisis described have continued to haunt me. This isn’t an issue with a lot of grey area, and what grey area there is (such as young undocumented workers helping to support their impoverished families in the U.S. or back home) is essentially irrelevant to the foundational question of whether or not the federal government should act in ways that actually eliminate both child exploitation and concomitant child workplace injuries.
The double standard that Johnson identifies in politicos’ attitude toward child labor is indeed glaring, and seems essential to point out if we are to ever see any movement on real punishments that would deter this immoral practice. If a thief should go to jail, then surely an employer who repeatedly illegally hires underage workers should as well, given the physical and emotional risks to the children and the inevitable power differential that makes it difficult for kids to stand up for themselves in the face of adult authority. But I’ve found myself befuddled in particular by Democrats’ resistance to taking a hard line on this issue. GOP politicians? I can understand Republican lack of concern just fine — the deference to business interests, the wish to undercut growing labor power as the economy nears full employment, the generalized lack of concern about child safety (witness the analogous lackadaisical attitude towards gun violence’s maiming and killing of American youth), the racism-informed not giving two shits about young undocumented workers in particular being injured on the job. Indeed, as Sonali Kolhatkar writes at In These Times, the GOP’s assault on children’s well-being and freedom reaches far beyond retrograde views on child labor:
- Republicans claim they care about protecting children. But their actions speak louder than words: they have made it easier for mass shooters to kill children in schools, and they have attacked the rights of LGBTQ children to play sports, to use the bathrooms of their choice, to access gender-affirming care, and to learn about their community. They have barred children from learning accurate history about racism and white supremacy and unleashed police into schools in spite of evidence that school cops are targeting Black and Brown children.
So while child labor is on-brand for the GOP, the Democrats’ reluctance to act
SDGs, Targets, and Indicators Analysis
1. Which SDGs are addressed or connected to the issues highlighted in the article?
- SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
- SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities
- SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
The issues highlighted in the article are connected to SDG 8 as it focuses on promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all. The exploitation of child labor is a violation of decent work standards and hinders economic growth.
The issues are also connected to SDG 10 as it aims to reduce inequalities within and among countries. Child labor is often prevalent in marginalized communities and perpetuates intergenerational poverty and inequality.
Additionally, the issues are connected to SDG 16 as it focuses on promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions. Addressing the exploitation of child labor requires strong institutions and effective enforcement of laws.
2. What specific targets under those SDGs can be identified based on the article’s content?
- Target 8.7: Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking, and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor.
- Target 10.7: Facilitate orderly, safe, regular, and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies.
- Target 16.3: Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all.
Based on the article’s content, the specific targets that can be identified are Target 8.7, which focuses on eradicating forced labor and child labor, Target 10.7, which aims to ensure safe and responsible migration, and Target 16.3, which promotes equal access to justice.
3. Are there any indicators mentioned or implied in the article that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets?
- Indicator 8.7.1: Proportion and number of children aged 5-17 years engaged in child labor, by sex and age group.
- Indicator 10.7.1: Recruitment cost borne by employee as a proportion of yearly income earned in country of destination.
- Indicator 16.3.1: Proportion of victims of violence in the previous 12 months who reported their victimization to competent authorities or other officially recognized mechanisms.
The article does not explicitly mention indicators, but based on the identified targets, the following indicators can be used to measure progress:
Indicator 8.7.1 measures the proportion and number of children engaged in child labor, which aligns with Target 8.7.
Indicator 10.7.1 measures the recruitment cost borne by employees as a proportion of their yearly income, which relates to safe and responsible migration under Target 10.7.
Indicator 16.3.1 measures the proportion of victims of violence who report their victimization to competent authorities, which aligns with promoting access to justice under Target 16.3.
4. Table: SDGs, Targets, and Indicators
|SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth||Target 8.7: Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking, and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor.||Indicator 8.7.1: Proportion and number of children aged 5-17 years engaged in child labor, by sex and age group.|
|SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities||Target 10.7: Facilitate orderly, safe, regular, and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies.||Indicator 10.7.1: Recruitment cost borne by employee as a proportion of yearly income earned in country of destination.|
|SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions||Target 16.3: Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all.||Indicator 16.3.1: Proportion of victims of violence in the previous 12 months who reported their victimization to competent authorities or other officially recognized mechanisms.|
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