Parent Herald reports:
Bolivia’s Controversial Child Labor Law Fails To Protect Children
By Nicole Earll
In Bolivia, the government passed a child labor legislation that enabled children aged 10 and above to work legally. Two years after it was approved, is the law living up to its purpose?
In 2014, Bolivia passed the controversial law that made it legal for 10-year-olds and above to be part of the workforce. It was a given that many opposed to the passing of the law for many reasons including the violation of the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child, TIME reported. They argue that children should not be allowed to work until they have reached the age when they are supposed to be finished with the compulsory schooling.
But because child labor has been considered as already part of the culture, many others believe that the law is a good move to protect the children who are already working. TIME quoted Lizeth Castro, 16, president of children’s labor union UNATSBO, saying, “The law gave us a voice.”
In a documentary, a Medill student looked into the positive and negative effects of Bolivia’s child labor, as reported by North by Northwestern. Mathias Meier, whose documentary was published by the New York Times last year, believed that the legalization of child labor in Bolivia was a good thing. In a place where children are sort of born into child labor, having the government regulation require employers to put into place measures that would protect the children and keep them safe, even force them to go to school.
Fast forward to the present, reports say there is a shortcoming in the implementation of the law. The lack of resources is hindering the law to fulfill its purpose. TIME learned that due to lack of funds to administer the legislation, only 30 to 40 percent of applications are processed.
As a result, children are put to work unsupervised and the rules set by the law are ignored. The government, therefore, needs to ensure there are enough resources to implement the child labor law and their efforts to not be futile.
I find child labor atrocious, and the lack of responsible parenting is to be blamed.
In Bolivian society, it is common to hear parents say that elder children will look after their younger children … they also say that every child comes with their bread in their hands … both unjust ‘assumptions” as no child should have the responsibility to look after their younger brothers and sisters. Nor would a child have to work for his food and health care.
People blame on poverty for all their misfortunes; and so there are some sociologist that tend to justify the need for children to work. While religion also tends to justify large number of children, regardless of the family’s capacity to provide … in the end, mo matter well or ill intentioned justification, child labor is despicable!
Children do not ask to come to this world, parents bring them here and it is their sole responsibility to nurture them, period!