Child labor legally allowed in Bolivia from age 10

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According the new law, children can work at age 10 if they also attend school.A 2008 study done by the ILO and Bolivian government found that 850,000 children ages 5 to 17 were working in Bolivia. They work in textiles, on farms and as street vendors, coca leaf pickers and porters at markets. The President Evo Morales previously offered support to legalize this situation saying there is no alternative in a society where half the population is poor. The opinion of the New York-based Human Rights Watch representative Jo Becker, children’s rights advocacy director, is different: “Child labor may be seen as a short-term solution to economic hardship, but is actually a cause of poverty.” He emphasized that this will do nothing than perpetuating the cycle of poverty because the actual working children will send later their own children to work. Bolivia’s new law contravenes a U.N. convention designating 14 as the minimum work age. Bolivia is classified by the World Bank to be a lower middle income country. It has a poverty level of 53% with a population estimated at 10 million.

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