Kate Orkin on “In the Child’s Best Interests? Legislation on Children’s Work in Ethiopia”

Kate Orkin, a doctoral candidate and Rhodes Scholar at the Department of International Development at Oxford University, spoke at Amherst College on Oct. 13, 2010. Orkin examines abolitionist vs. regulatory approaches to child work. Using case study research from rural Ethiopia, she finds that the current abolitionist approach is overly restrictive. Orkin argues for a regulatory approach, using the “least restrictive” alternative test applied in law. She contends that children and parents are able to define “harmful work” more precisely than international definitions, suggesting that locally specific definitions developed with working children should form the basis of a regulatory approach. Orkin is a research associate with the Young Lives Project (www.younglives.org.uk), a four-country study of the causes and consequences of childhood poverty. Her paper and talk are based on research conducted with Young Lives participants. The views expressed are those of the author.

Sponsored by the Copeland Colloquium for 2010-11, Orkin’s talk is part of a series of Copeland events on the theme of “International Development: Successes, Failures and Future Directions.”

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