Study finds 1 million children undertake illegal labor in Colombia

CCTV News

Study finds 1 million children undertake illegal labor in Colombia PHOTO

According to a new study, in Colombia one out of every 10 children is subject to illegal child labor. While the reasons vary, one young worker we spoke with says he has no choice but to try and help his family.

CCTV America’s Michelle Begue has more.

Study finds 1 million children undertake illegal labor in Colombia

Study finds 1 million children undertake illegal labor in Colombia

According to a new study, in Colombia one out of every 10 children are subject to illegal child labor. And while the reasons vary, one young worker we spoke with says he has no choice but to try and help his family. CCTV America's Michelle Begue reports.

10-year-old Juan Esteban and his mother were forced to move from their farm land to Colombia’s capital city, Bogota, after guerrillas occupied his home town.

In the city, he goes to school and on the weekend works with his mom selling trash bags on a street corner. On a good day they make $10.

During the summer school break, Juan Esteban works all day with his mom, which is something many people who pass by frown upon.

Juan Esteban is one of the more than 1 million children working throughout 13 cities of Colombia, according to a study by Bogota’s Rosario University.

The author of the study told CCTV the number could be much higher if you include rural areas, where 15 percent of children work rather than go to school.

The study found four main reasons why minors work: they simply wanted to, they wanted to help out their family, the family believes it will help them grow up or stay away from drugs or they need it to pay for their education.

Juan Esteban is an only child and has not only lived the effects of Colombia’s war, But now he also wants to shoulder the adult responsibilities of helping his family.

The Convention on the Rights of Children is the most endorsed human rights treaty in the world. It states that youth under the age of 18 have the right to education and protection from economic exploitation. Despite this, the International Labor Organisation estimates that 215 million children ages 5 to 17 around the world work.