This week, Peru’s government launched a nationwide project to reduce the rate of child labor throughout the country. Peru is known for its rich mining resources, such as gold and copper. Children often help their families out financially by working in the mines. BBC News reports that about 28 percent of children in Peru need to work in order to keep their families afloat.
Here’s a video to illustrate some of the working conditions that mining involves in the country. This clip was produced by the International Labour Organization:
While groups such as the International Labour Organization have attempted to ameliorate working conditions for minors, this will be a large-scale program launched by the government itself.
The $13 million used to launch the project was donated by the United States and the program aims to encourage education for young children. Some of the goals of the program include a plan to oversee how adolescents work and make amendments to those conditions. The BBC quotes project director Maro Guerrero:
We believe that we need to look at the conditions under which adolescents work, making sure they do so with proper training, without exceeding working hours and never in dangerous activities.
All of the people working on implementing the new project hope that education will stop a cycle of poverty that keep successive generations in difficult working conditions.
Peru has faced many uphill battles in recent months concerning mining conditions in the country. Workers and residents alike have protested against the invasive tactics of foreign mining companies who want to develop rural areas for the rich resources. Many people worry that the company will degrade the land and pollute local resources.
Over the last few months, groups of protesters have regularly demonstrated against the Conga gold mining project, lashing out at police in order to make their voices heard. Unfortunately, security forces have responded with brutality, firing live rounds into the crowds, endangering many. In May, Peruvian president, Ollanta Humala, called a state of emergency, which suspended all civil liberties for citizens.
The Associated Press reports that at least 80 people have been killed by bullets fired by Peruvian security forces since 2006. It is interesting to note that the Conga gold mine project is mostly owned by an American company. The United States is also the main financial donor of resources attempting to change mining labor practices in the country.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons