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How Child Labor Spans The Globe, In Mexico +7 Other Places


El Financiero reported this week that child labor abuses affect at least three million kids in Mexico: long workdays, minimal or no payment, informal jobs, and more blatent abuse are constant factors in their daily lives.

The last official numbers on underage workers were released in 2011 and indicated that about 870,000 boys and girls between 6 and 13 years-old -- about 5% of Mexican kids in this age group -- participated in some sort of labor activity.

By law, the minimum working age in Mexico is 14. Child labor in Mexico increases with age as school attendance decreases. Two out of every three children in the above age group in 2011 worked in unpaid jobs, both within a family setting and outside. Children who were 12 to 13 years-old worked for an average 19 hours per week.

The children who worked and didn't attend school spent on average 33 hours each week laboring. Kids between 14 and 17 years-old worked an average 40 hours per week, similar to the hours of most adults, often under illegal labor conditions.

Child labor isn't just going on in Mexico. The International Labor Organization has estimated that as many as 120 million underage workers between the ages of five and 14 are exploited.

Explore our Mondo Map to learn more about child labor around the world.

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How I Made Homeschooling Work For My Mexican Family

Educating children at home is rarely accepted in Mexico, but Global Press Journal reporter Aline Suárez del Real's family has committed to daily experiential learning.

How I Made Homeschooling Work For My Mexican Family

Cosme Damián Peña Suárez del Real and his grandmother, Beatriz Islas, make necklaces and bracelets at their home in Tecámac, Mexico.

Aline Suárez del Real

TECÁMAC, MEXICO — Fifteen years ago, before I became a mother, I first heard about someone who did not send her child to school and instead educated him herself at home. It seemed extreme. How could anyone deny their child the development that school provides and the companionship of other students? I wrote it off as absurd and thought nothing more of it.

Today, my 7-year-old son does not attend school. Since August of last year, he has received his education at home, a practice known as home-schooling.

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