Child labor in Latin America is a big problem. There are an estimated 250 million child workers between the ages of 5 and 14 years old. Eighteen million of those child laborers are between the ages of 10 and 14. Out of all of the children in Latin America, an estimated 26% are forced to work. Children there often work long hours. Many work in agriculture. They often harvest and cultivate coffee. Some harvest bananas, sugar cane, sisal, tobacco, oranges, and other fruits and vegetables. Child labor is problem that continues to grow.
In Colombia, an estimated 2.5 million children are forced to work to support their families. Only 60% of all the children in Colombia leave school with a primary school diploma. On average, child laborers work six to seven hours a day. Each day, they work about nine hours. Their wages are pitifully low and most of them receive no health or unemployment benefits.
Five thousand children between the ages of 6 and 14 were found in secret and illegal workshops in the capital region of Guatemala. They were making fireworks and other explosives. Their work was exposing them to toxic, flammable, and explosive materials. The workshop was also lacking hygiene and safety measures. Nine children have died from being injured while working in the industry. Four children survived their injuries. It is suspected that there are hundreds of sweatshops in the capital region of Guatemala.
This is a photo of a boy harvesting sugar. Learn more about what child laborers do at this page.