Mexico City, Oct 5 (EFE).- Some 3.7 million Mexicans between 5 and 17 years old worked in 2022, 13.1% of the total child population, 1.7% more than in 2019, 2 million of them are in hazardous labor, revealed Thursday the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi).
“That is, one in 10 children between five and 17 years old worked in occupations not allowed, in unsuitable household chores, or both,” declared Inegi’s president, Graciela Márquez, when presenting the National Survey of Child Labor (ENTI).
The study revealed that 10.7% of girls are employed and 15.5% of boys in Mexico, where the minimum legal working age is 15 years old in general and 17 years old for hazardous occupations.
By age, Inegi specified that 1.9 million children between 5 and 14 years old work, above the 1.8 million adolescents between 15 and 17 who work at the permitted age.
Of the total number of minors in employment, 1.1 million do not attend school.
Likewise, the study found that 1.9 million minors, 6.7% of the total, perform household chores in unsuitable conditions during extended hours and are exposed to risks, which meant 409,000 more than in 2019.
The autonomous institute recorded 2.1 million children and adolescents, 7.5 % of the total, working in “non-permitted” economic activities, which contemplates the production of goods and services intended for the market, hazardous occupations, and household chores “in unsuitable conditions.”
Of this group, there are 2 million minors in hazardous activities, including 1.1 million in agriculture, construction, mining, and chemical industry, among others.
Similarly, in non-exclusive categories, there are 1.1 million who “perform activities that affected their health and development, such as carrying heavy things, or that caused them physical problems.”
Meanwhile, 437,000 have long working hours, and 846,000 carry out activities with risk exposure.
Finally, 210,000 work “inappropriate working hours,” such as those with mixed or night shifts.
14.7% of working children worked more than 48 hours per week, considered the maximum legal working day.
Sectors with more child workers The sectors with the highest concentration of children in non-permitted occupations were agriculture (33 %), services (23.2 %) and commerce (21.5 %).
They were followed by manufacturing, extractive industry, electricity, gas, and water (12.5 %), and construction (7 %), while the remaining 2.9 % appeared as “unspecified.”
The main activities in non-permitted occupations were support work in agricultural, livestock, forestry, hunting, and fishing activities (33.3 %), occupations related to mining, construction, and industry (25.7 %), and traders or sales clerks (15.3 %).
Boys had higher participation in agricultural, livestock, forestry, hunting, and fishing activities (39.2 %), and girls in the occupations of merchants and sales clerks (24.7 %).
Child labor has drawn international scrutiny from the Mexico-United States-Canada Agreement (T-MEC) trade partners. EFE