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Children in Bolivia Legally Permitted to Work

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Children as young as 10 are now allowed to work legally in Bolivia, according to NPR. This new law comes against the United Nations convention ruling of 14 as a minimum age.

A report from the U.S. Department of Labor from 2013 said that more than 20 percent of Bolivians from the ages of 7 to 14 worked. In 2008, a United Nations reported said that the number was three times that.


Children from the ages of 10 to 12 are permitted to work independently, which means they can work in jobs such as shining shoes, selling juice and other odd jobs so long as they are not in contact with a superior.

A child from the age of 12 to 14 can be employed in contract work. This is legal so long as they do not work more than six hours per day and are provided time to go to school. The children must receive permission from their parents to work. They must also work the job under supervision of a child protection agency.

Children from the Union of Child and Adolescent Workers said, “Look, we have to work, our families don’t have enough money. We want to give our mothers money so that they can buy food, we want to buy our school supplies … we work, and we’re going to continue to work. So this gives us an opportunity to be recognized and to be more protected as young workers.”

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Other young people have said, “This is not a great situation — our parents need to be able to have better jobs so that they can actually support our families.”

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