A Child's Work | Teen Ink

A Child's Work

November 11, 2019
By Anonymous

Light pours through the small windows. Rats scurry across the floor trying to avoid being trapped underneath someone’s foot. The only sound is the many machines that take up the majority of the space. What I’m describing is not a basement, but a factory. 

It’s five in the morning; the sun has just started to peak over the skyline. Already, workers stand outside of the factory waiting for the door to be unlocked. There are more than just men and women waiting for this door to open; there are also children. In fact, the majority of these workers are children.  

The door is finally unlocked by the unpleasant boss. “Get to work now!” he demands from his workers, “You’ve got seven hours 'till break.” 

The workers hurry to their tasks. The boss lurks around. His gaze lingers on the young girls who grudgingly work. I do not want to be here. One of the young girls thinks as the boss walks by. I know he’s thinking of vile things when he gets close to us. I know he’s the reason Susan quit last week after he called her into his office “to chat.” She needed this job more than the rest of us, and we all need this job badly. 

Seven hours later, the first and only break finally comes. They promptly eat the little amount of food they brought with them and prepare for the next five hours of work. As quickly as the break begins, it ends and the workers promptly go back to work.   

A piercing scream rips throughout the factory. Everyone glances towards the textile machines to see a little boy holding his hand with blood starting to drop on the floor. His finger got caught in the machine; he was trying to remove a piece of cloth that was stuck. No, no, no! This can’t be happening. I can’t be laid off or my family will be sleeping on the streets. The little boy thinks to himself while trying to contain his pain.  

“I’m fine, sir, please let me go back to work,” the boy pleads to his boss. The boss takes a scan of the small child. The boy could barely lift his bloody hand. 

“A one handed worker is useless to me. Get out of here, boy, I’ll find someone else,” The boss said in a strict voice. The boy looks around hopeless until finally he makes his way out of the factory. No money. No job. No right hand. Sadly, this wasn’t the first time this has happened. In fact, a young child was laid off last week when his toe was severed from this same machine.   

“Get back to work now!” The boss shouts before slamming the door to his office. Everyone quickly goes back to their jobs in fear of being the next person walking out of the factory doors. 

The last five hours of their day go by much faster than the first seven. The children workers leave their twelve hour shift with only 48 cents to show for their work. With such poor working conditions, people would wonder why these children keep working for the little money they receive . The answer is simple: their families need this money to survive. Every penny counts in taking care of the needs of a family. A child’s work, though dangerous and demeaning, allows the family to survive.

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