Three million children and teenagers aged 5 to 17 years old are illegally employed in Mexico and half of them receive no pay, according to a study by the National Commission of Human rights (CNDH).
The organisation warned that a large majority of the underage workforce also puts in extended hours in unsafe places, constantly putting their lives at risk to help their families covering the most basic needs.
The report was picked up by Mexican newspaper La Jornada today. It is intended to inform people of the dire state of child exploitation in the country on the occasion of the International Child Day (30th April).
According to the information released, most of the children suffer “physical abuse and violence that put their health at risk, especially in the agriculture, commercial, artisanal and domestic sectors.”
CNDH has launched a national campaign called ‘No se vale mano pequeña’ (‘No, if it’s made by young hands’) to run labs and workshops intended to inform civil servants of child exploitation. The campaign hopes to raise awareness about the issue among civil servants. As a part of this initiative, 100,000 fliers were distributed to children in 2011 to inform them about their work rights and employers’ obligations.
“Only by co-ordinated efforts by both authorities and the society can child exploitation be eradicated,” the organisation, led by Raúl Plascencia Villanueva, stated.