Child labor is a global issue and found in many parts of the world, especially developing countries (Rena, 2009). 96% of child laborers are found in Africa, Latin America, and Asia (Roggero et. al., 2007). In 2000, the International Labor Organization (ILO) estimated that there were 246 million child laborers and approximately two-thirds of children working in hazardous conditions. The ILO has many definitions of child labor which include any child under the age of 18 workings in hazardous conditions; under 15 in full-time employment; and under 13 in part-time work (Rena, 2009). Child laborers living without parents make up an estimated 5% of all child labor.
Child labor is “negatively correlated with the health status of the population” with increased morbidity and mortality rates (Roggero et. al, 2007, p. 273). Work limits opportunities for education as is seen in this case which is also recognized as a determinant of health. Missed educational opportunities can affect not only the child but the entire educational system (Rena, 2009).
In this case, I would work with my firm’s human resources, legal, and risk-management teams to make sure that this case meets the definition of child labor. Because the child is 16, it would be imperative to know what her job duties entail and if the conditions are considered “hazardous”. There may be work she can do that meets company policy while other arrangements can be made. More important is the fact that she is orphaned and knowing if she has a place to sleep and if basic needs are being met. Since there are no local social services available, I would get any U.S. or international social agencies available involved seeing how we can best support this girl in receiving the care she needs and get her back in school.
Globalization brings together companies and industries of all sizes, industries, and ownership structures together in joint ventures to grow businesses (Ernst, 2016). Because countries all have different cultural complexities, it can make joint ventures very challenging (Williams et. al, 2018). Roughly 50% of joint ventures can overcome differences in culture. This does not have to be a “fatal flaw” though if due diligence is practiced with understanding those differences (Ernst, 2018).
The company may have been ill-informed regarding the culture of child labor in this country and may have to adapt in some capacity. Processes and procedures that work in the U.S. may not necessarily work in other countries for many cultural reasons. It may behoove the company to make amendments in their policies for different cultural norms. The company needs to determine what extent they will adopt a country’s norms and beliefs to gain a competitive advantage (Hill, 2019).
Ernst, D. (2016, December 13). Succeeding in Cross-Cultural Joint Ventures: Key Intervention Points for Side-Stepping Cultural Clash. Retrieved from https://www.waterstreetpartners.net/blog/succeeding-in-cross-cultural-joint-ventures-key-interventions-points-for-side-stepping-cultural-clash.
Hill, C. W. (2019). International Business: Competing in the global marketplace. New York, NY: McGraw Hill Education.
Rena, R. (2009). Child labor in developing countries: a challenge to millennium development goals. Indus Journal of Management & Social Sciences, 3(1), 1-8.
Roggero, P., Mangiaterra, V., Bustreo, F., & Rosati, F. (2007). The health impact of child labor in developing countries: evidence from cross-country data. American journal of public health, 97(2), 271-275.
Williams, J. R., Haka, S. F., Bettner, M. S., & Carcello, J. V. (2018). Financial & managerial accounting: the basis for business decisions. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.
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