According to the latest figures and statistics of the population census conducted by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, short the IBGE, over one million children aged between 10 and 14 work in the country, despite government measures against child exploitation.
Although it is illegal for a child to work in Brazil until he or she is 18 years old many children work as domestic servants or in small farms, particularly in the most difficult places to reach, where invisible child labor is most widespread. Another difficulty for the government to decrease child work is of a cultural nature, since it is a generally accepted practice in rural areas of Brazil.
Especially children from low-income families are still forced to work in Latin America’s biggest country and have no chance or opportunity to enjoy an appropriate education at school as well as no chance to have social contacts. The Brazilian Northeast, for example, is the region with the largest number of children working in agriculture – about 800,000 or 50% of the total child workforce. In 2008, the ILO defined as “critical” the number of children working in 18 municipalities in the semi-arid region of Northern Bahia. Most were employed in family farming, often encouraged by their parents and supported by the community. Maria Cláudia Falcão, a project officer in Brazil for the ILO’s International Program to Eliminate Child Labor (IPEC) says: “We must invest in full-time education and show parents that making their children help to support the family is not a positive thing, child labor is a human rights violation.”
In order to abolish this “child- work-phenomenon” by 2020, according to experts, more effort on behalf of the government is needed, since the current monitoring system fails to detect children who work in hidden areas…and the domestic work seems to be the hardest to monitor.
Photo: Tackling Child Labor in Brazil
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