1.5 million child laborers in Colombia: study

24 august 2012, 18:51
1.5 million child laborers in Colombia: study  - Photo courtesy of nativevillage.org
Photo courtesy of nativevillage.org
Nearly 1.5 million children aged between five and 17 were working in Colombia during the third quarter of 2011, driving the child labor rate up to 13 percent, AFP says citing an official report.

"This is embarrassing news for the country, because the goal of a developed society is that its children do not work," said Jorge Bustamante, director of the National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE).

"Close to 23 percent of working children do not go to school," added Bustamante, who conducted the investigation together with the Institute for Family Well-being and the Labor Ministry.

According to official data, Colombia has 44.9 million inhabitants, 11.2 million of which are children aged five to 17 -- little more than a quarter of the population.

Among the children who were working at the time of the study, 31.7 percent reported voluntarily working to earn their own money, while 27.6 percent admitted to being forced to contribute to their family's livelihood.

Over half of working children said they received no pay, 28.3 percent said they were salaried employees and 20 percent worked independently.

A third of the children work in hotels and restaurants, another third in agriculture or fishing and 16.1 percent in factories, according to the report, which did not include exploitation of minors by armed groups and in the sex trade.

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