Bolivia has become the first country to legalise child labour after a law was signed by Vice- President Alvaro Garcia Linera on Thursday.

The new legislation was first approved by Congress earlier this month, and now the signature from Linera means the age that children can legally work is to be lowered from 14 to 10.

Under the new legislation, children above the age of 10 will be allowed to become self-employed workers as long as they have enrolled in school and have the permission of their parents.

Children over the age of 12 will be permitted to take on contract work, again with parental consent and compulsory school attendance.

The law to lower the age in which children can legally work, is all part of the Bolivian government’s plan to help Bolivians living in poverty.

It is hoped that adding another wage to a family’s income could alleviate the financial burdens that a large proportion of Bolivians face.

Senator Adolfo Mendoza, one of the bill’s sponsors told the Associated Press: “Child labour already exists in Bolivia and it’s difficult to fight it. Rather than persecute it, we want to protect the rights and guarantee the labour security of children.”

Child labour is something that is engrained in Bolivian culture, with a large percentage of the adolescent population having to work.

It is estimated that a total of 1 million of Bolivia’s children between the ages of five and 17 currently work, making up 15 per cent of the country’s workforce.

Even the President, Evo Morales, worked as a 14-year-old herding Llama in his hometown of Isallawi… see more

source: Independent UK