child labor This is probably not legal. el universal

Kids at work: there are 3.6 million in Mexico

Study says six out of 10 are looking for an 'informal but honest' way to survive

A study by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) has found that 3.6 million Mexican children and adolescents between five and 17 years old are currently employed in some way or another, representing close to 50% of all working children in Latin America.

The report, published Monday for the World Day Against Child Labour 2017, states that six out of every 10 children in Mexico are looking for an “informal but honest” way to survive.

Víctor Inzúa Canales, a faculty member at UNAM’s national school of social work, told the newspaper El Universal that children and teenagers in that age range should not work because they have yet to fully experience childhood.

But families in extreme poverty turn to them for a contribution, she said.

According to INEGI, the national statistics institute, 5.7% of the population between five and 17 performs housework under inadequate conditions. By gender, 5.5 out of every 10 boys and six out of every 100 girls are employed in such a way.

Domestic work under inappropriate conditions is defined as “the set of domestic activities that put at risk or affect the health or development of children and adolescents.” It involves the use of dangerous equipment or moving heavy loads that endanger the child.

Nearly 21% of that cohort of the population have abandoned their studies while 53.3% both study and do housework. Another 27% combine outside employment with housework.

According to Mexican labor laws, working hours for children under 16 can not exceed six hours a day. However, 36.6% of the employed population aged five to 17 works 35 hours or more a week.

Of the child population that works, 42.5% do not receive any income for it; 19.1% receive up to twice the daily minimum wage (160 pesos) and three out of 10 receive only one minimum wage. Of those, 38.2% work from 40 to 48 hours a week.

Nearly one-quarter of the working children declared that they work in order to pay for schooling and/or their own expenses; another 23.5% said they do it for pleasure or to help at home.

As for the person they work for, six out of 10 (59.2%) said they do it for a relative and 3.85% work on their own.

Another sector of working children are homeless and are exposed to violence, drug abuse and delinquency.

An analysis performed by professor Inzúa found that 40% of homeless children are addicted to drugs and commit crimes. Their life expectancy is between 22 and 25 years, rather lower than the average in Mexico of 76.7.

Source: El Universal (sp)

Reader forum

The forum is available to logged-in subscribers only.