Bolivia’s child workers unite to end exploitation (The Guardian)

By Sara Shahriari for The GuardianLink to original article, 27 November 2012

Shining shoes, mining and herding animals among the many jobs done by an estimated 750,000 children between five and 17

Child labor in Bolivia. Shoe-Shine Boy (credit: Alberto's, Flickr creative commons)

Child labor in Bolivia. Shoe-Shine Boy (credit: Alberto’s, Flickr creative commons)

Rodrigo Medrano Calle is a Bolivian labour leader who meets and lobbies top government officials for his constituency’s rights. That’s not surprising in a country where pay is often low, working conditions harsh and unions play a powerful role in society. What’s unusual is that Rodrigo is just 14 years old, and his union’s members are all children.

“I started working when I was nine, and I’ve done everything, shining shoes, bus driver’s assistant, selling. I’ve gone through most of the jobs common for child and adolescent workers,” said Rodrigo, who now sells chewing gum and cigarettes in bars at weekends, making £4-£5 for a night’s work. “I lived on the street for a time and was going in the wrong direction, but then I found the movement, and it gave me a reason to be. I’m going to fight for mycompañeros’ rights, not just my own.”

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Comments
One Response to “Bolivia’s child workers unite to end exploitation (The Guardian)”
  1. Thanks for sharing… as sad as it is, it’s necessary to be talked about, discussed… it just needs to stop… Greetings from La Paz, Bolivia! http://wp.me/p1oMvI-3Jk

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