Target: President of Bolivia Evo Morales
Goal: Stop the legalization of child labor in Bolivia
As the rest of the world works to permanently ban child labor, Bolivia is on the verge of legalizing it. Congress has already approved the proposal, and it is up to President Evo Morales to sign it into law. This inhumane and unethical legislation should not come to pass, as children should be in school preparing themselves for the future instead of being forced to work.
Those who sponsor the bill say that they are lowering the work age from 14 to 10 because many poor families have their children working, and enacting this law will provide the children with safeguards. One of the sponsors of the bill claims that instead of fighting against child labor, they are going to work with it. The provision allows 10-year-olds to work so long as they are under parent supervision and are allowed to go to school. A child has to be 12 years old for them to work under contract, and even then, they must be enrolled in school.
The president is in support of the bill, stating that he worked as a child, and his work involved herding llamas. He believes that there is little to be done about the problem since more than half of the country is impoverished. Human rights organizations are calling foul, saying that the country is moving backwards. By allowing children to work instead of going to school, Bolivia is simply exacerbating the poverty problem. As a grown up, the child will be more inclined to sell their children in an effort to make ends meet. The country should instead provide incentives for families to take and keep their children in schools, such as the subsidy program currently in place that pays families who keep their children enrolled in school.
The government should not legalize this practice, as children should be in school full time. By encouraging kids to work, especially at such a young age, the government is doing nothing to combat poverty. Urge President Morales not to sign this bill into law, and keep children educated and away from the work force.
Dear President Morales,
Congress has approved the legislation that will lower the legal working age from 14 to 10 in Bolivia. This is a drastic step, and unlike many other countries that are outlawing child labor, you are embracing it. However, I believe that children belong in schools, where they can learn and better themselves instead of being forced to work. I understand that your country is poor and impoverished, but embracing child labor will not save the problem.
I urge you not to sign this law, and instead encourage child education. This is one of the many solutions your country can pursue to lift itself out of poverty. By legalizing child labor, you are only perpetuating the cycle of poverty amongst your citizens and prolonging their struggles.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jerry Daykin via Flickr