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In recent times, child rights are often under the spotlight as one of the main challenging issues of the international agenda.

In this context, Bolivia represents the first country that has legalized child labor, reducing the minimum age of employment from 14 years old to just 10.

The new law violates the International Labor Organization's minimum working age protocol: this situation represent the abandonment of a child's right to a childhood.

The new law includes some mechanisms of protection: for instance, children between 10 and 12 years old must be supervised by a parent while they are at work. However, the supervision is inadequate to control the respect of these protections.

Although the new law was designed to break the cycle of poverty and illiteracy, it appears to increase the negative consequences of these phenomena. Additionally, experts warn that the new legislation could drive to a greater regional acceptance of child labor, decreasing the possibility to eradicate this plague.

Unfortunately, Bolivia is not an isolated example. Data show that since 2005, the number of child slaves remains at about 5.5 million. These findings stress that child exploitation still represents one of the most urgent issue that governments need to overcome.

Some experts also have argued that fostering economic progress will remove the main causes of child labor and slavery. In line with this, strengthening the establishment of a robust legislation will be a crucial factor in the aim to fight child labor.

However, ending child exploitation and slavery were not included in the millennium development goals, only tangentially mentioned in proposals for the sustainable development goals.

In this framework, policymakers should cooperate with governments to establish new approaches, trying to eradicate these practices with concrete measures including universal access to education and helping families to keep their children in school, rather than prematurely moving them into work.


The gLAWcal Team

The LIBEAC project

Friday, 25 July 2014

(Source: The Guardian)