Ethics applied to child labour
Running head: CHILD LABOUR
Ethics Applied to Child Labour
Name: Boniface Muli
1. Defining the problem: What is/are the main ethical dilemma(s) in this case?
The main problem which is found in this case study is child labor whereby small children are
forced to work in order to earn their living. Very young children aged between 3 and 15 years
are forced to work in an unpleasant environment in order to get money for their upkeep. The
children work at the dumpsites by picking the valuable trash and scrap metals so that they can
sell them to Zeon Company in order to get money. The key ethical dilemma in this case study is
that parents do not take the responsibility of taking care of young children even if they have
money. Parents allow their young children to go and work in a hostile environment while they
are working in a well conducive environment and earning better salaries. Parents are not
concerned with the welfare of their children even if they are as little as three years old. The
culture of the area is very bad since it states that a child of three years and above should not
depend on the parents. The government is also not supportive of the lives of the people living in
this region. Government is not concerned with the social welfare of the children and people of
this region hence it does not provide social amenities to the people of these regions. When
Zeon Company requested the government to improve the standard of living for the people living
in this region it denied hence the children continued to be involved in child labor.
2. List all the parties or groups that would be affected by any decision made:
The parties and groups which would be affected by any decision made are the children, Zeon
Company, the government and the parents. The parents will be affected if a decision is made
which should force them to take the children to school and protect their children from child labor.
Children will be affected by decision since they will be forced to stay at home or go to school
and read instead of involving themselves on child labor. The Zeon Company may lose
employees if children are forced to leave work and go to schools and stop working. The
company may also face prosecution because of employing underage children to work for the
company. The government may be forced to develop the region by establishing hospitals,
schools, infrastructure and conducive environment that can support human life in the region.
3. What options do you have, both as (a) top executive of ZEON, and as local manager of
The options which the management team of Zeon Company should make is to ensure that it
provides civic education to the people of the region about the importance of being responsible
and taking care of young children. The other option is to establish schools for the children and
hospitals in order to develop the region since the government is reluctant to do that. Zeon
Company should search for donors and well-wishers to support its initiative of improving the
society in order for the company to be able to operate well without suffering from losses due to
the money it uses to sustain the lives of people in the region. The other option is to make the
company be non-profit making organization and develop the region regardless of minding for
the profits and select children assistance as its core corporate social responsibility and search
for sponsors to help in achieving its objective.
4. What are the risk for everyone involved (those you list in Question #2 above):
Zeon Company is risking closure since it employs young underage children and this can result
in problems when the company is taken to the court of law. The parents of the children are
risking losing their children due to illness since they work in an unpleasant environment. Parents
also should face the court of law because of neglecting their young children and allowing them
to go to work for themselves. The children are risking their life by working in filthy areas and
eating dirty food which can affect their lives and result in death or sickness. The government
can face the risk of prosecution since it has neglected the welfare of the people of this region.
The government should take good care of all its citizens.
5. Pick 3 of the ethical theories we have studied and apply their principles to this case. For
each of these 3 theories, provide a solution or recommendation each of them might
a. Deontological theory
This is an ethical theory which uses rules in order to differentiate the right thing from the wrong.
The theory is always linked to theorist Immanuel Kant who believed that moral actions follow the
general moral laws. The theory simply requires people to follow the rules and carry out their
duty. This model fits suitably with the natural intuition concerning what is or is not ethical. The
parents and government of this region should use this theory in order to be able to understand
their responsibilities in society and ensure that they take care of the children. The theory should
be applied to making sure children do not involve themselves in child labor since it is very
b. Utilitarian Theory
This is an ethical theory which determines the right from wrong by simply focusing on the
outcomes and it is a kind of consequentialism. The utilitarian theory states that the most ethical
selection is the one which provides the biggest good for the largest number. It is the only moral
scheme which can be applied in justifying the rights of children. This theory can be used in order
to determine whether it is wrong for Zeon Company to employ young children or it is wrong
based on the situation. The theory can be applied in determining if is good for the parents to
neglect their own children and allow them to get into child labor.
c. Virtual Theory of Ethics
This is a theory which focuses on the personal character as the main component of his or her
ethical thinking instead of the rules about the actions themselves or their repercussions. The
theory can be applied in this case whereby the parents should take good responsibility for their
children and stop them from getting involved in child labor. The company should also stop
providing jobs to these young kids and instead provide them with a full education.
6. What would you decide? Explain why.
I would decide to take care of children and stop giving them jobs in order for the children to
study without any problem. I would also take another initiative of educating the parents of the
children in order to make them see the sense of taking care of their young children and protect
them from child labor. Parents should take full responsibility for their children and protect them
from child labor. Action should be taken to any company which employs underage children who
are supposed to be in school and the government should be mobilized to support the kids who
come from poor backgrounds.