06/06/11 – The International Labor Organization (Organización Internacional del Trabajo, ILO) launched its newest campaign against child labor in Mexico today. Various artists attended the event, many of which were vocal about their stances against child labor as it interferes with important activities, such as education and recreation. ILO member Victoria Cruz reported that 59.2% of minors employed throughout the world work in agriculture, 30% in the services sector and 11% in industry. In Mexico, there are approximately 3 million minors who are employed and about 700,000 of those minors engage in “high risk” labor, which includes mining, agriculture, and construction. Mexico is also one of the only countries to date that has not ratified the ILO’s Convention 182, otherwise known as the “Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention.”
The ILO addressed other negative effects of child labor, such as physical injuries and illness that in some cases cannot be cured. Particularly in Mexico, it is easy for minors to become involved in more dangerous work, such as narco-trafficking, due to high poverty levels in many areas and lack of better opportunities. In response to this problem, the ILO urged that the laws in Mexico should be amended to include harsher punishments for those who employ minors. According to El Universal, the assistant ILO director of Mexico and Cuba, Thomas Wissing, stated that these laws should be changed with the purpose of reducing child labor and to generate more jobs and more rewarding salaries for parents.
The organization also made sure to note that National Day Against Child Labor will be celebrated this Sunday, June 12.