Bolivia legalizes Child Labour from the age of 10

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'Desperate situations call for desperate measures
And short-sighted Bolivian lawmakers believe every word of it - both in letter and spirit.

The poorest country of South America has taken the extreme decision to legally allow the children above 10 to be part of nation's workforce - a move seen as poverty alleviation measure (strangely).

The Details

  • It allows any self-employed child above 10 to work provided that they don't miss out on schooling.
  • For Children above 12 working for others (contracted job) is now permitted if it has parental authorisation.
  • The legislation seeks to balance out the law by setting harsher punishment for violence against children.

Some stark facts about Bolivia

  • More than 500,000 children already work to economically sustain the family in the landlocked nation as per an old Unicef report.
  • It's estimated that the number must have crossed 1 million by now, accounting for 15 percent of the workforce, in Bolivia. 
  • These are figures of those who works regulary and thus lose access to education.
  • Another report says that one in every three Bolivian kid don't attend school.
  • Neighbouring Chile has illegalized child labour under 16 years of age - a stark contrast.

What says the International Law?

  • As per International Labour Organisation its illegal to employ children under the age of 15.
  • However, the rules have been relaxed for poor and developing countries to a minimum working age of 14. (including India)
  • Maybe these measures have helped in bringing the global child labor figure down by one-third since 2000.


  • While most of the world is united in discouraging the child labor by framing stringent labour laws, Bolivia defies the progressive trend with such regressive legislation.
  • Child labor may appear a solution to economic misery in short-term, However in reality this magnify and perpetuate poverty by creating an army of uneducated, unskilled and unhealthy workforce.
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