Dear Future President,
There are many problems facing our country today. Child mistreatment is an increasingly serious problem in the United States and around the world that often goes unreported. Forms of child mistreatment include sexual, psychological, and mental/emotional abuse as well as domestic violence, and child labour in other parts of the world. It’s up to us and the government to protect all of the children in this country and make sure that they are always safe, because they are indeed the future of the United States and the world.
Twenty percent of adult females and ten percent of adult males in the United States claim that they were sexually abused as a child. Most of the time, children as well as many other people who are sexually assaulted are too afraid to report the crime because their perpetrator may have threatened to expose them. Sometimes, the adult culprit is someone who is close to the child’s family or even in the family itself, so the child may not be taken seriously if they try to report their being harassed. Domestic violence is also a major issue, that goes hand in hand with child mistreatment. This is mainly the physical abuse of people in the home, including children. Children who are abused by their parents or relatives are shown to one day become abusers themselves. Lastly, child labour is yet another issue having to do with the mistreatment of children needs to be addressed. Although it is very rarely a problem in the United States, it is severe in countries in Asia, where over forty four million children aged ten through fourteen work in harsh conditions. When families face problems such as poverty, lack of education, and/or poor child labour enforcement laws, their children are many times sold, and forced to work at factories and farms. Many of the candies we are familiar with, such as Hershey, Nestle, and Mars, were made by child slaves in West Africa, where two thirds of the world’s cocoa beans are found. Child workers or slaves are often separated from their families, and have to protect themselves on the streets.
There are many ways that a world without child mistreatment would be a better place. Children wouldn’t have to live in fear of being abused as many do now. Children who were abused would be able to grow to their full potential. If we could somehow teach children to not pick up their parents’ or culprit’s abusive behavior and habits, we could break the chain of abusers. Without child labor, jobs could be given to adults who are in need of a job, for whatever reason that may be. Children would have the chance of receiving an adequate education.
We could fix this problem in multiple ways, our examples as following. If ever a child comes to us saying that someone abused them, we need to listen to them and investigate the matter immediately. We cannot underestimate children simply because they are too young to understand certain things, and we should not take any risks with the matter of abuse. There would be no reason as to why a child would lie about a person physically harming them (e.g hitting, kicking), mentally hurting them (saying words like “I hate you”, “you’re worthless”, etc.), or even sexually harassing them (touching inappropriately). If somebody ever witnesses an act of abusive behavior while visiting another person or even in public, it should be their responsibility to report what they have seen to the authorities or stand up to the person doing the wrongful act. All forms of child abuse are already underreported as it is. If everyone helped out, we would soon see change in our society. With child labour, many people have boycotted products of famous chocolate-making companies because of their use of child slaves, which (if enough people do it) could cause these companies to lose a great deal of money. This is something we could encourage others to do. Buying from local farmer’s markets and growing some our own food would ensure that we don’t buy products from large conglomerate businesses who use child slaves to operate.
When you become president, one thing you could do is place sanctions or bans on countries which have large corporations that execute child labour. These companies would be in danger of being put out of business, seeing as the United States already trades with many countries with these characteristics. Child labour needs to end, and all children should have the right to a good education. In order to prevent child abuse and eventually end it, stricter laws need to be enforced. For example, we could have professionals (with a warrant) conduct an inspection of the homes of children they feel have symptoms resulting from abuse in the home. In conclusion, we need to take steps to end any form of mistreatment of children. Today’s children will grow up to be the next scientists, inventors, lawyers, teachers, politicians, and many other life-changing professions, and we need to see to it that they grow up safely. All children should be able to enjoy their childhood, no matter what the situation may be.
Jini S. and Katarina B.