How is child labor, a “necssary evil,” still utilzied today? Read the two excerpts below and create your own claim arguing whether child labor is still necessary today?
Bertha Miller in Thomasville, N.C. in Hard Times Cotton Mill Girls, 2003.
The Invisible Work of Girls: Inside the Life of Female Child Labor in Ghana (Feb. 2020)
“I was eleven years old when I went to work in the mill. They learnt me to knit. Well, I was so little that they had to build me a box to get up on to put the sock in the machine. I worked in the hosiery mill for a long time and, well, then we finally moved back to the country. But me and my sister Molly finally went back up there in 1910 and I went to work in the silk mill. Molly went to work in the hosiery mill… We worked twelve hours a day for fifty cents. When paydays come around, I drawed three dollars. That was for six days, seventy-two hours. I remember I lacked fifty cents having enough to pay my board.”
Almost seven days a week, Amina, her mother and sisters wake up at 5 a.m. and leave home in Sabo Zongo, a devastating, poverty-stricken neighborhood where most beggars in Accra live, and trek one hour to an area called 37, a central part of the city where many pedestrians frequent.
Once they arrive, they set up at their home base, a littered traffic island made of dry soil. Bilkisu lays a thin cotton bedsheet on the island, kneels to take a seat and rolls prayer beads between her fingers while her daughters get to work. If Amina and her sisters are lucky, they will make at least GH¢5 (about 91 cents) by the end of the day.
Their routine is similar to the monotonous task of most female beggars in the city. They begin knocking on car windows, sometimes clinging on the arms of passers-by who either ignore their requests for change or scold them in Twi, a Ghanaian local language.
When offered a bottled beverage or food, the children fight for scraps. When they do have the chance to eat, they eat plain, white rice or waakye, a local Ghanaian dish made of rice and black-eyed peas. Once they’re done eating, they get back to work.
“I would rather be home or go to school,” Amina mumbles as the day passed. “It doesn’t feel good when I am here.”