Children do not yearn for the factory

Nate Henneke, Staff Writer

During high school, almost everyone had some sort of job — many people were fast food workers. Almost every person working at your local Whataburger drive-thru window is a child. While child labor is not inherently toxic and cruel, the violation and exploitation of children through labor is. Ensuring the safety of children in the workplace is extremely important; without government regulations and laws protecting young workers, they will be taken advantage of. 

The quality of working conditions for children is declining at an alarming rate, with a 37% increase in child labor law violations in the 2022 fiscal year. The problem here is not that children are working, it is that adults are taking advantage of them. In a society so focused on productivity and profit, it only makes sense that children are exploited for the gain of another. 

Instead of protecting children with harsh laws against corporations using child labor, the United States has decided to start rolling back the laws that protect and look out for them. There are reasons that these laws were created. Without them, the safety and security of young children are being put in jeopardy. There are jobs that children should not have, for example, working in a Kia factory or cleaning a JBS Meatpacking plant. These are just a few examples of the dangerous situations that children experience while on the job. When the health of children is blatantly jeopardized for profit with no intervention from the government, it is clear that the youth is not a priority.

When child labor is the only solution to no one working for minimum wage, the problem is not a labor shortage. Finding willing and able-bodied teenagers to fill positions and seats at jobs should not be the answer. Yet instead of raising the minimum wage or addressing inflation, state governments are finding ways to roll back the laws protecting children from exploitation. This can not be the solution.