San Cristóbal de Las Casas (Mexico), – In the Mexican state of Chiapas, in the southeast of the country, poverty and marginalization force minors to work to seek better living conditions, but that situation makes them vulnerable to suffer child exploitation.
This entity has deep and marked social lags because the majority of its population, including minors, have limited access to minimum welfare conditions.
According to the Child Labor module of the National Survey of Occupation and Employment 2017 of the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi) in Mexico, there are 3.24 million children and adolescents, between 5 and 17 years old, who declare themselves to be employed.
Until 2017, the state had 164,678 minors incorporated into child labor.
In the state, minors suffer discrimination by class, gender and ethnicity, a situation that leads to deepening their social vulnerability, expressed various civil associations, including Melel Xojobal, who has been promoting the rights of children and adolescents for several years.
The director of the organization Combat against Child Exploitation, Jennifer Haza Gutiérrez, told Efe that “the fight against child exploitation is somewhat uncertain” since the State Child Labor Observatory since 2014 does not work, and it does not presents information and does not have the resources to operate.
“In reality, there are no clear figures, the Child Labor module of 2017 says that there are more than 160,000 adolescent girls and boys between 5 and 17 years of age, of whom 70% are engaged in agriculture, 20% at trade and services and the remaining 10% to the construction industry “, explained
Haza described the situation as “worrisome” so it is necessary that institutions from the three levels of government, federal, state and municipal, work to carry out protection mechanisms.
This with the aim of reversing the conditions of impoverishment and social exclusion of thousands of children and adolescents in the state, pointed out
“There are no concrete actions, not only to address situations where there is child exploitation, but in general to protect the rights of children,” said Haza.
“It is necessary to guarantee that 83% of minors in Chiapas who live in poverty access their rights, that they can go to school, in addition to having adequate housing, food, access to health services and conditions. those are the situations that concern us, “he said.
The representative added that among the challenges in the terms that violate the rights of children is child poverty after 8 out of 10 children in the state live in poverty.
The state also has the third highest rate in the country in pregnancy in adolescent girls from 10 to 14 years old, while 4 of 10 adolescents do not have finished secondary education and the humanitarian crisis that exists at the border with the passage of families, unaccompanied migrant children and adolescent girls “must be taken care of by this system and by the child protection agencies”.
He emphasized that development or a developed democratic state can not be achieved if 40% of the population of Chiapas is not taken into account, which, in this case, are minors.
In the cities of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Tapachula and Palenque, children and adolescents stand out in their streets, who self-employed in the sale of sweets, fruits and handicrafts.
In these cities it is estimated that there are approximately 2,000 children in working conditions, from clean windshields on cruises, street vendors, bricklayer assistants, in markets and informal businesses to collectors, among other activities (EFE).