More than 1 in 10 Minors Work Here

December 24, 2004

WHETHER it’s selling fruits on thestreet, harvesting crops in rural areas,offering flowers in bars, or other labor,11.4% of minors ages 5-17 work inCosta Rica, representing 7% of thecountry’s work force, the daily LaNación reported.This number of young workers – 75%of whom work to cover expenses at home– has decreased from 147,000 in 1998 to127,000 last year.Many of these children are exploited,not paid minimum wage, and work indangerous conditions, according to thereport, which is based on a five-yearstudy on children’s rights performed by15 non-governmental organizations.Forty percent of minors working areunder age 15, the legal working age inCosta Rica, and none of those (underage 15) earn minimum wage, accordingto the report.Most working boys labor in agriculture,while the most common job forworking girls is in domestic labor. Somechildren work up to 10 hours a day, thedaily reports. Among those ages 10-14who are paid, the average monthlyincome is ¢25,100 ($55).Child advocates say Costa Rica hasnot been successful in creating programsthat encourage poor, working children tostay in school.

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