Politicians in Bolivia have approved child workers from the age of 10, under a new law that lays out specific conditions for their employment.
Congress passed the measure by consensus on yesterday, requiring employers to ensure the physical and mental health of employees, and prevent exploitation.
The new code however allows exceptions, ensuring specific legal criteria have been met, so that children may begin working for others from age 12, as allowed by international conventions, and self-employment from age 10.
The previous code, which allowed no exceptions to the 14-year-old minimum, had prompted protests from critics who said that, in Bolivia, children must work from an early age out of necessity.
The bill’s co-sponsor, Javier Zavaleta, said it would help eradicate extreme poverty from the South American country by 2025.
The measure also establishes policies for adopting children, care and education of children with physical disabilities, and a maximum penalty of 30 years in jail for violent infanticides.