Rampant child labor keeps Colombian youth out of school

Government and educational leaders from across Latin America gathered in Bogota on Tuesday to come up with strategies to combat child labor, a problem on the rise in Colombia.

In 2012, a survey of over 100 thousand children from all 32 departments across the country found that 31% of the respondents were considered child or adolescent laborers. According to DANE — the national statistical agency — in 2011, there were more than 1.7 million children or adolescent laborers. That figure constitutes 13% of all Colombian minors and a three point increase from the last survey. According to the same study, 23.3% of children that work do not study.

Underage workers are employed most frequently in stores, hotels, restaurants, or in an agricultural capacity.

The meeting in Bogota was hosted by Colombia’s ministry of labor and the International Labor Organization and was attended by representatives from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Equador, El Salvador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, the Dominican Republic and the United States. Colombian delegates included the country’s minister of labor, and the director of the Colombian Institute of Family Wellbeing.

There are an estimated 215 million child laborers in the world.


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