With Brazil holding the latest International Conference on Child Labour earlier this month, all eyes are currently on Latin America as it continues to strive to eradicate child labour. The Argentina Independent stepped onto the streets to ask the public to what extent child labour is an issue here and whether they believe that the Argentine government will be any closer to eliminating it in the near future.
Candela Font, 20, student, Belgrano
I think it’s a problem. I think we have to analyse each case individually because everyone has certain needs. Neither I nor my family ever needed to work as a child. I’m not saying it’s right, just that sometimes it can be better than the alternative… There should be more laws to prohibit it, but it’s difficult to tell someone how to raise their child.
Rosario Fernández, 22, student, Palermo
The problem is if children are working it’s because they have to. Before making a law which prohibits child labour, it’s better to make sure that these young people don’t need to work. Really, I don’t know if the worst forms of child labour will be eradicated by 2016 but as I said the root causes of the problem must be tackled if there is a chance of that – it’s all about education.
Hugo Glaudón, 45, composer, Liniers
I’ve been thinking about this exact issue. There is child labour in the streets but there’s another child labour, which is children in the media – on TV, in commercials, other places. In a way, there’s just as much exploitation in going through the streets begging or working as being placed in front of a camera for certain types of publicity, for example in favour of a certain political party or ideology. Both are child labour but one is casually accepted and one is condemned. They condemn the poor and accept what the wealthier do – that’s one interesting way to look at it. I am completely uncertain as to the future of child labour but two years is a lot for a country so politically active, so we’ll see.
Agustín Zoffolí, 21, yoga instructor, Palermo
Children need a place to play, to grow, to learn, they shouldn’t be working. They’re often selling things, helping their parents here. I don’t agree with it here or anywhere else in the world. To eliminate it is a big problem. It’s not just the law which can eliminate it but education, the economic and political situation – the issue goes very deep. In this country, we come up with a lot of social plans – giving people money. However I think it would be better to focus on generating more education for free, like creative workshops. I don’t think the government could do anything by 2016, which is a huge shame.
Martín Castagnino, 21, student, Palermo
It’s a problem because I think that everything should be a choice, for each individual. Here you have kids coming from far and wide to work here begging or collecting recyclable materials as cartoneros, being put in the adult world at such a young age. They have to learn, play, study, and interact with other kids. The problem is also how they’re viewed; people see them and don’t want to help them. I don’t think things will change by 2016 judging by the history of this country. The solution is about more than just government reform, it’s about a huge social shift, and that takes time.