Conscription, sometimes called the draft, is the compulsory enlistment of people in a national service, most a military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names; the modern system of near-universal national conscription for young men dates to the French Revolution in the 1790s, where it became the basis of a large and powerful military. Most European nations copied the system in peacetime, so that men at a certain age would serve 1–8 years on active duty and transfer to the reserve force. Conscription is controversial for a range of reasons, including conscientious objection to military engagements on religious or philosophical grounds; those conscripted may evade service, sometimes by leaving the country, seeking asylum in another country. Some selection systems accommodate these attitudes by providing alternative service outside combat-operations roles or outside the military, such as Siviilipalvelus in Finland, Zivildienst in Austria and Switzerland.
Several countries conscript male soldiers not only for armed forces, but for paramilitary agencies, which are dedicated to police-like domestic only service like Internal Troops, Border Guards or non-combat rescue duties like Civil defence troops – none of, considered alternative to the military conscription. As of the early 21st century, many states no longer conscript soldiers, relying instead upon professional militaries with volunteers enlisted to meet the demand for troops; the ability to rely on such an arrangement, presupposes some degree of predictability with regard to both war-fighting requirements and the scope of hostilities. Many states that have abolished conscription therefore still reserve the power to resume it during wartime or times of crisis. States involved in wars or interstate rivalries are most to implement conscription, whereas democracies are less than autocracies to implement conscription. Former British colonies are less to have conscription, as they are influenced by British anticonscription norms that can be traced back to the English Civil War.
Around the reign of Hammurabi, the Babylonian Empire used. Under that system those eligible were required to serve in the royal army in time of war. During times of peace they were instead required to provide labour for other activities of the state. In return for this service, people subject to it gained the right to hold land, it is possible that this right was not to hold land per se but specific land supplied by the state. Various forms of avoiding military service are recorded. While it was outlawed by the Code of Hammurabi, the hiring of substitutes appears to have been practiced both before and after the creation of the code. Records show that Ilkum commitments could become traded. In other places, people left their towns to avoid their Ilkum service. Another option was to sell Ilkum lands and the commitments along with them. With the exception of a few exempted classes, this was forbidden by the Code of Hammurabi. In medieval Scandinavia the leiðangr, leding, lichting, expeditio or sometimes leþing, was a levy of free farmers conscripted into coastal fleets for seasonal excursions and in defence of the realm.
The bulk of the Anglo-Saxon English army, called the fyrd, was composed of part-time English soldiers drawn from the freemen of each county. In the 690s Laws of Ine, three levels of fines are imposed on different social classes for neglecting military service; some modern writers claim. These thegns were the land-holding aristocracy of the time and were required to serve with their own armour and weapons for a certain number of days each year; the historian David Sturdy has cautioned about regarding the fyrd as a precursor to a modern national army composed of all ranks of society, describing it as a "ridiculous fantasy":The persistent old belief that peasants and small farmers gathered to form a national army or fyrd is a strange delusion dreamt up by antiquarians in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth centuries to justify universal military conscription. Medieval levy in Poland was known as the pospolite ruszenie; the system of military slaves was used in the Middle East, beginning with the creation of the corps of Turkish slave-soldiers by the Abbasid caliph al-Mu'tasim in the 820s and 830s.
The Turkish troops soon came to dominate the government, establishing a pattern throughout the Islamic world of a ruling military class separated by ethnicity and religion by the mass of the population, a paradigm that found its apogee in the Mamluks of Egypt and the Janissary corps of the Ottoman Empire, institutions that survived until the early 19th century. In the middle of the 14th century, Ottoman Sultan Murad I developed personal troops to be loyal to him, with a slave army called the Kapıkulu; the new force was built by taking Christian children from newly conquered lands from the far areas of his empire, in a system known as the devşirme. The captive children were forced to convert to Islam; the Sultans had the young boys trained over several years. Those who showed special promise in fighting skills were trained in advanced warrior skills, put into the sultan's personal service, turned into the Janissaries, the elite branch of the Kapıkulu. A n
History of serfdom
Like slavery, serfdom has a long history, dating to the Ancient Times. Social institutions similar to serfdom occurred in the ancient world; the status of the helots in the ancient Greek city-state of Sparta resembled that of medieval serfs. By the 3rd century AD, the Roman Empire faced a labour shortage. Large Roman landowners relied on Roman freemen, acting as tenant farmers, to provide labour; the status of these tenant farmers known as coloni eroded. Because the tax system implemented by Diocletian assessed taxes based both on land and on the inhabitants of that land, it became administratively inconvenient for peasants to leave the land where the census counted them. In 332 AD Emperor Constantine issued legislation that restricted the rights of the coloni and tied them to the land; some see these laws as the beginning of medieval serfdom in Europe. However, medieval serfdom began with the breakup of the Carolingian Empire around the 10th century; the demise of this empire, which had ruled much of western Europe for more than 200 years, ushered in a long period during which no strong central government existed in most of Europe.
During this period, powerful feudal lords encouraged the establishment of serfdom as a source of agricultural labor. Serfdom, was an institution that reflected a common practice whereby great landlords ensured that others worked to feed them and were held down and economically, while doing so. Serfdom as a system provided most of the agricultural labour throughout the Middle Ages. Slavery persisted right through the Middle Ages, but it was rare and confined to the use of household slaves. Parts of Europe, including much of Scandinavia, never adopted serfdom. In the Middle Ages serfdom began to disappear west of the Rhine as it spread through much of the rest of Europe; this was one important cause for the deep differences between the societies and economies of eastern and western Europe. In Western Europe, the rise of powerful monarchs, an improving economy weakened the manorial system through the 13th and 14th centuries. Serfdom in Western Europe came to an end in the 15th and 16th centuries, because of changes in the economy and laws governing lord-tenant relations in Western European nations.
The enclosure of manor fields for livestock grazing and for larger arable plots made the economy of serfs' small strips of land in open fields less attractive to landowners. Furthermore, the increasing use of money made tenant farming by serfs less profitable. Paid labour was more flexible, since workers could be hired only when they were needed. At the same time, increasing unrest and uprisings by serfs and peasants, like Tyler’s Rebellion in England in 1381, put pressure on the nobility and the clergy to reform the system; as a result, the gradual establishment of new forms of land leases and increased personal liberties accommodated serf and peasant demands to some extent. An important factor in the decline of serfdom was industrial development—especially the Industrial Revolution. With the growing profitability of industry, farmers wanted to move to towns to receive higher wages than those they could earn working in the fields, while landowners invested in the more profitable industry; this led to the growing process of urbanization.
Serfdom reached Eastern Europe centuries than Western Europe—it became dominant around the 15th century. Before that time, Eastern Europe had been much more sparsely populated than Western Europe, the lords of Eastern Europe created a peasantry-friendly environment to encourage migration east. Serfdom developed in Eastern Europe after the Black Death epidemics of the mid-14th century, which stopped the eastward migration; the resulting high land-to-labour ratio - combined with Eastern Europe's vast, sparsely populated areas - gave the lords an incentive to bind the remaining peasantry to their land. With increased demand for agricultural produce in Western Europe during the era when Western Europe limited and abolished serfdom, serfdom remained in force throughout Eastern Europe during the 17th century so that nobility-owned estates could produce more agricultural products for the profitable export market; this pattern applied in Central and Eastern European countries, including Prussia, Hungary, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Russian Empire.
This led to the slower industrial development and urbanisation of those regions. This process, referred to as "second serfdom" or "export-led serfdom", persisted until the mid-19th century and became repressive and limited serfs' rights. Before the 1861 abolition of serfdom in Russia, a landowner's estate was measured by the number of "souls" he owned, a practice made famous by Gogol's 1842 novel Dead Souls. Many of these countries abolished serfdom during the Napoleonic invasions of the early 19th century. Serfdom remained in force in most of Russia until the Emancipation reform of 1861, enacted on February 19, 1861, though in the Russian-controlled Baltic provinces it had been abolished at the beginning of the 19th century. According to the Russian census of 1857, Russia had 23.1 million private serfs. Russian serfdom was the most notable Eastern European institution, as it was never influenced by German law and migrations, serfdom and the mano
Penal labour is a generic term for various kinds of unfree labour which prisoners are required to perform manual labour. The work may be hard, depending on the context. Forms of sentence involving penal labour have included involuntary servitude, penal servitude and imprisonment with hard labour; the term may refer to several related scenarios: labour as a form of punishment, the prison system used as a means to secure labour, labour as providing occupation for convicts. These scenarios can be applied to those imprisoned for political, war, or other reasons as well as to criminal convicts. Large-scale implementations of penal labour include labour camps, prison farms, penal colonies, penal military units, penal transportation, or aboard prison ships. Punitive labour known as convict labour, prison labour, or hard labour, is a form of forced labour used in both past and present as an additional form of punishment beyond imprisonment alone. Punitive labour encompasses two types: productive labour, such as industrial work.
Sometimes authorities turn prison labour into an industry, as on a prison farm or in a prison workshop. In such cases, the pursuit of income from their productive labour may overtake the preoccupation with punishment and/or reeducation as such of the prisoners, who are at risk of being exploited as slave-like cheap labour. On the other hand, for example in Victorian prisons, inmates were made to work the treadmill: in some cases, this was productive labour to grind grain. Similar punishments included carrying cannonballs. Semi-punitive labour included oakum-picking: teasing apart old tarry rope to make caulking material for sailing vessels. Imprisonment with hard labour was first introduced into English law with the Criminal Law Act 1776 known as the "Hulks Act", which authorized prisoners being put to work on improving the navigation of the River Thames in lieu of transportation to the North American colonies, which had become impossible due to the American Revolutionary War; the Penal Servitude Act 1853 substituted penal servitude for transportation to a distant British colony, except in cases where a person could be sentenced to transportation for life or for a term not less than fourteen years.
Section 2 of the Penal Servitude Act 1853 abolished the sentence of transportation in all cases and provided that in all cases a person who would otherwise have been liable to transportation would be liable to penal servitude instead. Section 1 of the Penal Servitude Act 1853 makes provision for enactments which authorise a sentence of penal servitude but do not specify a maximum duration, it must now be read subject to section 1 of the Criminal Justice Act 1948. Sentences of penal servitude were served in convict prisons and were controlled by the Home Office and the Prison Commissioners. After sentencing, convicts would be classified according to the seriousness of the offence of which they were convicted and their criminal record. First time offenders would be classified in the Star class. Habitual offenders would be classified in the Recidivist class. Care was taken to ensure. Penal servitude included hard labour as a standard feature. Although it was prescribed for severe crimes it was widely applied in cases of minor crime, such as petty theft and vagrancy, as well as victimless behaviour deemed harmful to the fabric of society.
Notable recipients of hard labour under British law include the prolific writer Oscar Wilde, imprisoned in Reading Gaol. Labour was sometimes useful. In Inveraray Jail from 1839 prisoners worked up to ten hours a day. Most male prisoners picked oakum. Female prisoners knitted stockings or sewed. Forms of labour for punishment included the treadmill, shot drill, the crank machine. Treadmills for punishment were used in prisons in Britain from 1818 until the second half of the 19th century. Prisoners had to work six or more hours a day, climbing the equivalent of 5,000 to 14,000 vertical feet. While the purpose was punitive, the mills could have been used to grind grain, pump water, or operate a ventilation system. Shot drill involved stooping without bending the knees, lifting a heavy cannonball to chest height, taking three steps to the right, replacing it on the ground, stepping back three paces, repeating, moving cannonballs from one pile to another; the crank machine was a device which turned a crank by hand which in turn forced four large cups or ladles through sand inside a drum, doing nothing useful.
Male prisoners had to turn the handle 6,000–14,400 times over the period of six hours a day, as registered on a dial. The warder could make the task harder by tightening an adjusting screw, hence the slang term "screw" for prison warder; the British penal colonies in Australia between 1788 and 1868 provide a major historical example of convict labour, as described above: during that period, Australia received thousands of transported c
Debt bondage known as debt slavery or bonded labour, is the pledge of a person's services as security for the repayment for a debt or other obligation, where the terms of the repayment are not or reasonably stated, the person, holding the debt and thus has some control over the laborer, does not intend to admit that the debt has been repaid. The services required to repay the debt may be undefined, the services' duration may be undefined, thus allowing the person owed the debt to demand services indefinitely. Debt bondage can be passed on from generation to generation. Debt bondage is the most common method of enslavement with an estimated 8.1 million people bonded to labour illegally as cited by the International Labour Organization in 2005. Debt bondage has been described by the United Nations as a form of "modern day slavery" and the Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery seeks to abolish the practice; the practice is still prevalent in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, although most countries in these regions are parties to the Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery.
It is predicted. Lack of prosecution or insufficient punishment of this crime are the leading causes of the practice as it exists at this scale today. Though the Forced Labour Convention of 1930 by the International Labour Organization, which included 187 parties, sought to bring organised attention to eradicating slavery through forms of forced labor, formal opposition to debt bondage in particular came at the Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery in 1956; the convention in 1956 defined debt bondage under Article 1, section:"Debt bondage, to say, the status or condition arising from a pledge by a debtor of his personal services or of those of a person under his control as security for a debt if the value of those services as reasonably assessed is not applied towards the liquidation of the debt or the length and nature of those services are not limited and defined. When the bonded labourer dies, debts are passed on to children. Although debt bondage, forced labour, human trafficking are all defined as forms or variations of slavery, each term is distinct.
Debt bondage differs from forced labour and human trafficking in that a person consciously pledges to work as a means of repayment of debt without being placed into labor against will. Debt bondage only applies to individuals who have no hopes of leaving the labor due to inability to pay debt back; those who offer their services to repay a debt and the employer reduces the debt accordingly at a rate commensurate with the value of labor performed are not in debt bondage. In the 19th century, people in Asia were bonded to labor due to a variety of reasons ranging from farmers mortgaging harvests to drug addicts in need for opium in China; when a natural disaster occurred or food was scarce, people willingly chose debt bondage as a means to a secure life. In the early 20th century in Asia, most laborers tied to debt bondage had been born into it. In certain regions, such as in Burma, debt bondage was far more common than slavery. Many went into bondage to pay off interest on a loan or to pay taxes, as they worked on farms, lodging and clothing fees were added to the existing debt causing overall debt and interest to increase.
These continued added loan values made leaving servitude unattainable. Moreover, after the development of the international economy, more workers were needed for the pre-industrial economies of Asia during the 19th century. A greater demand for labor was needed in Asia to power exports to growing industrial countries like the United States and Germany. Cultivation of cash crops like coffee and sugar and exploitation of minerals like gold and tin led farm owners to search for individuals in need of loans for the sake of keeping laborers permanently. In particular, the Indian indenture system was based on debt bondage by which an estimated two million Indians were transported to various colonies of European powers to provide labor for plantations, it started from the end of slavery in 1833 and continued until 1920. Important to both East and West Africa, defined by Wilks as "the use of people in transferring their rights for settlement of debt," was common during the 17th century; the system of pawnship occurred with the slave trade in Africa.
Though the export of slaves from Africa to the Americas is analyzed, slavery was rampant internally as well. Development of plantations like those in Zanzibar in East Africa reflected the need for internal slaves. Furthermore, many of the slaves that were exported were male as brutal and labor-intensive conditions favored the male body build; this created gender implications for individuals in the pawnship system as more women were pawned than men and sexually exploited within the country. After the abolition of slavery in many countries in the 19th century, Europeans still needed laborers. Moreover, conditions for emancipated slaves were harsh. Discrimination was rampant within the labor market, making attainment of a sustainable income for former slaves tough; because of these conditions, many freed slaves preferred to live through slavery-like contracts with their masters in a manner parallel to debt bondage. Debt bondage was "quite normal" in classical antiquity; the poor or those who had fallen irredeemably in debt might place themselves into bondage "voluntarily"—or more might be compelled by circumstances t
A slave market is a place where slaves are bought and sold. These markets became a key phenomenon in the history of slavery in the Arab slave trade and the interregional slave trade of the United States. In the Ottoman Empire during the mid-14th century, slaves were traded in special marketplaces called "Esir" or "Yesir" that were located in most towns and cities, it is said that Sultan Mehmed II "the Conqueror" established the first Ottoman slave market in Constantinople in the 1460s where the former Byzantine slave market had stood. According to Nicolas de Nicolay, there were slaves of all ages and both sexes, they were displayed naked to be checked by possible buyers. In Somalia, the inhabiting Bantus are descended from Bantu groups that had settled in Southeast Africa after the initial expansion from Nigeria/Cameroon, whose members were captured and sold into the Arab slave trade. From 1800 to 1890, between 25,000–50,000 Bantu slaves are thought to have been sold from the slave market of Zanzibar to the Somali coast.
Most of the slaves were from the Majindo, Nyasa, Zalama and Zigua ethnic groups of Tanzania and Malawi. Collectively, these Bantu groups are known as Mushunguli, a term taken from Mzigula, the Zigua tribe's word for "people". Bantu adult and children slaves were purchased in the slave market to do undesirable work on plantation grounds. Enslaved Africans were sold in the towns of the Arab World. In 1416, al-Maqrizi told how pilgrims coming from Takrur had brought 1,700 slaves with them to Mecca. In North Africa, the main slave markets were in Morocco, Algiers and Cairo. Sales were held in souks. Potential buyers made a careful examination of the "merchandise": they checked the state of health of a person, standing naked with wrists bound together. In Cairo, transactions involving eunuchs and concubines happened in private houses. Prices varied according to the slave's quality. Thomas Smee, the commander of the British research ship Ternate, visited such a market in Zanzibar in 1811 and gave a detailed description:'The show' commences about four o'clock in the afternoon.
The slaves, set off to the best advantage by having their skins cleaned and burnished with cocoa-nut oil, their faces painted with red and white stripes and the hands, noses and feet ornamented with a profusion of bracelets of gold and silver and jewels, are ranged in a line, commencing with the youngest, increasing to the rear according to their size and age. At the head of this file, composed of all sexes and ages from 6 to 60, walks the person who owns them, thus ordered the procession begins, passes through the market-place and the principle streets... when any of them strikes a spectator's fancy the line stops, a process of examination ensues, for minuteness, is unequalled in any cattle market in Europe. The intending purchaser having ascertained there is no defect in the faculties of speech, etc. that there is no disease present, next proceeds to examine the person. From such scenes one turns away with indignation. Among many other European slave markets and Venice were some well-known markets, their importance and demand growing after the great plague of the 14th century which decimated much of the European work force.
The maritime town of Lagos, was the first slave market created in Portugal for the sale of imported African slaves, the Mercado de Escravos, which opened in 1444. In 1441, the first slaves were brought to Portugal from northern Mauritania. Prince Henry the Navigator, major sponsor of the Portuguese African expeditions, as of any other merchandise, taxed one fifth of the selling price of the slaves imported to Portugal. By the year 1552 African slaves made up 10 percent of the population of Lisbon. In the second half of the 16th century, the Crown gave up the monopoly on slave trade and the focus of European trade in African slaves shifted from import to Europe to slave transports directly to tropical colonies in the Americas—in the case of Portugal Brazil. In the 15th century, one third of the slaves were resold to the African market in exchange of gold. In the early 18th century, the Crimean Khanate maintained a massive slave trade with the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East, exporting about 2 million slaves from Russia and Poland-Lithuania over the period 1500–1700.
Caffa became one of the significant trading ports and slave markets. The slave trade had existed in North Africa since antiquity, with a supply of African slaves arriving through trans-Saharan trade routes; the towns on the North African coast were recorded in Roman times for their slave markets, this trend continued into the medieval age. The Barbary slave trade on the Barbary Coast increased in influence in the 15th century, when the Ottoman Empire took over as rulers of the area. Coupled with this was an influx of Sephardi Jews and Moorish refugees, newly expelled from Spain after the Reconquista; the Barbary slave trade encompassed both African slavery and White sl
History of slavery in the Muslim world
Slavery in the Muslim world first developed out of the slavery practices of pre-Islamic Arabia, was at times radically different, depending on social-political factors such as the Arab slave trade. Throughout Islamic history, slaves served in various social and economic roles, from powerful emirs to harshly treated manual laborers. Early on in Muslim history they were used in plantation labor similar to that in the Americas, but this was abandoned after harsh treatment led to destructive slave revolts, the most notable being the Zanj Rebellion of 869–883. Slaves were employed in irrigation and animal husbandry, but the most common uses were as soldiers and domestic workers. Many rulers relied on military slaves in huge standing armies, slaves in administration to such a degree that the slaves were sometimes in a position to seize power. Among black slaves, there were two females to every one male. Two rough estimates by scholars of the number of slaves held over twelve centuries in the Muslim world are 11.5 million and 14 million, while other estimates indicate a number between 12 to 15 million slaves prior to the 20th century.
Manumission of a Muslim slave was encouraged as a way of expiating sins. Many early converts to Islam, such as Bilal ibn Rabah al-Habashi, were former slaves. In theory, slavery in Islamic law does not have a racial or color component, although this has not always been the case in practice. In 1990, the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam declared that "no one has the right to enslave" another human being. Many slaves were imported from outside the Muslim world. Bernard Lewis maintains that though slaves suffered on the way before reaching their destination, they received good treatment and some degree of acceptance as members of their owners' households; the Arab slave trade was most active in West Asia, North Africa, Southeast Africa. In the early 20th century, slavery was outlawed and suppressed in Muslim lands due to pressure exerted by Western nations such as Britain and France. Slavery in the Ottoman Empire was abolished in 1924 when the new Turkish Constitution disbanded the Imperial Harem and made the last concubines and eunuchs free citizens of the newly proclaimed republic.
Slavery in Iran was abolished in 1929. Among the last states to abolish slavery were Saudi Arabia and Yemen, which abolished slavery in 1962 under pressure from Britain. However, slavery claiming the sanction of Islam is documented at present in the predominantly Islamic countries of the Sahel, is practiced in territories controlled by Islamist rebel groups, as in Libya. Slavery was practiced in pre-Islamic Arabia, as well as in the rest of the ancient and early medieval world; the minority were European and Caucasus slaves of foreign extraction brought in by Arab caravaners stretching back to biblical times. Native Arab slaves had existed, a prime example being Zayd ibn Harithah to become Muhammad's adopted son. Arab slaves, however obtained as captives, were ransomed off amongst nomad tribes; the slave population increased by the custom of child abandonment, by the kidnapping, or the sale of small children. Whether enslavement for debt or the sale of children by their families was common is disputed.
Free persons could sell their offspring, or themselves, into slavery. Enslavement was possible as a consequence of committing certain offenses against the law, as in the Roman Empire. Two classes of slave existed: a purchased slave, a slave born in the master's home. Over the latter the master had complete rights of ownership, though these slaves were unlikely to be sold or disposed of by the master. Female slaves were at times forced into prostitution for the benefit of their masters, in accordance with Near Eastern customs; the historical accounts of the early years of Islam report that "slaves of non-Muslim masters... suffered brutal punishments. Sumayyah bint Khayyat is famous as the first martyr of Islam, having been killed with a spear by Abū Lahāb when she refused to give up her faith. Abu Bakr freed Bilal when his master, Umayya ibn Khalaf, placed a heavy rock on his chest in an attempt to force his conversion." W. Montgomery Watt points out that Muhammad's expansion of Pax Islamica to the Arabian peninsula reduced warfare and raiding, therefore cut off the sources of enslaving freemen.
According to Patrick Manning, the Islamic legislations against the abuse of the slaves convincingly limited the extent of enslavement in Arabian peninsula and to a lesser degree for the whole area of the whole Umayyad Caliphate where slavery existed since the most ancient times. According to Bernard Lewis, the growth of internal slave populations through natural increase was insufficient to maintain numbers right through to modern times, which contrasts markedly with rising slave populations in the New World, he writes that Liberation by freemen of their own offspring born by slave mothers was "the primary drain". Liberation of slaves as an act of piety, was a contributing factor. Other factors include: Castration: A fair proportion of male slaves were imported as eunuchs. Levy states that according to the Islamic traditions, such emasculation was objectionable. Jurists such as al-Baydawi considered castration to be mutilation, stipulating law enforcement to prevent it. However, in practice, emasculation was frequent.
In eighteenth century Mecca, the majority of eunuchs were in the service of the mosques. Moreover, the process of castration (which inc
Child labour refers to the exploitation of children through any form of work that deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, is mentally, physically or morally harmful. Such exploitation is prohibited by legislation worldwide, although these laws do not consider all work by children as child labour. Child labour has existed to varying extents throughout history. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, many children aged 5–14 from poorer families worked in Western nations and their colonies alike; these children worked in agriculture, home-based assembly operations, factories and services such as news boys—some worked night shifts lasting 12 hours. With the rise of household income, availability of schools and passage of child labour laws, the incidence rates of child labour fell. In the world's poorest countries, around 1 in 4 children are engaged in child labour, the highest number of whom live in sub-saharan Africa. In 2017, four African nations witnessed over 50 percent of children aged 5–14 working.
Worldwide agriculture is the largest employer of child labour. The vast majority of child labour is found in informal urban economies. Poverty and lack of schools are considered the primary cause of child labour. Globally the incidence of child labour decreased from 25% to 10% between 1960 and 2003, according to the World Bank; the total number of child labourers remains high, with UNICEF and ILO acknowledging an estimated 168 million children aged 5–17 worldwide were involved in child labour in 2013. Child labour forms an intrinsic part of pre-industrial economies. In pre-industrial societies, there is a concept of childhood in the modern sense. Children begin to participate in activities such as child rearing and farming as soon as they are competent. In many societies, children as young as 13 are seen as adults and engage in the same activities as adults; the work of children was important in pre-industrial societies, as children needed to provide their labour for their survival and that of their group.
Pre-industrial societies were characterised by low productivity and short life expectancy, preventing children from participating in productive work would be more harmful to their welfare and that of their group in the long run. In pre-industrial societies, there was little need for children to attend school; this is the case in non literate societies. Most pre-industrial skill and knowledge were amenable to being passed down through direct mentoring or apprenticing by competent adults. With the onset of the Industrial Revolution in Britain in the late 18th century, there was a rapid increase in the industrial exploitation of labour, including child labour. Industrial cities such as Birmingham and Liverpool grew from small villages into large cities and improving child mortality rates; these cities drew in the population, growing due to increased agricultural output. This process was replicated in other industrialising countries; the Victorian era in particular became notorious for the conditions under which children were employed.
Children as young as four were employed in production factories and mines working long hours in dangerous fatal, working conditions. In coal mines, children would crawl through tunnels too low for adults. Children worked as errand boys, crossing sweepers, shoe blacks, or selling matches and other cheap goods; some children undertook work as apprentices to respectable trades, such as building or as domestic servants. Working hours were long: builders worked 64 hours a week in summer and 52 in winter, while domestic servants worked 80-hour weeks. Child labour played an important role in the Industrial Revolution from its outset brought about by economic hardship; the children of the poor were expected to contribute to their family income. In 19th-century Great Britain, one-third of poor families were without a breadwinner, as a result of death or abandonment, obliging many children to work from a young age. In England and Scotland in 1788, two-thirds of the workers in 143 water-powered cotton mills were described as children.
A high number of children worked as prostitutes. The author Charles Dickens worked at the age of 12 in a blacking factory, with his family in debtor's prison. Child wages were low. Karl Marx was an outspoken opponent of child labour, saying British industries, "could but live by sucking blood, children’s blood too," and that U. S. capital was financed by the "capitalized blood of children". Letitia Elizabeth Landon castigated child labour in her 1835 poem The Factory, portions of which she pointedly included in her 18th Birthday Tribute to Princess Victoria in 1837. Throughout the second half of the 19th century, child labour began to decline in industrialised societies due to regulation and economic factors because of the Growth of Trade Unions; the regulation of child labour began from the earliest days of the Industrial revolution. The first act to regulate child labour in Britain was passed in 1803; as early as 1802 and 1819 Factory Acts were passed to regulate the working hours of workhouse children in factories and cotton mills to 12 hours per day.
These acts were ineffective and after radical agitation, by for example the "Short Time Committees" in 1831