Mexico City – Mexico's National Human Rights Commission, or CNDH, said 3 million minors between the ages of five and 17 work nationwide, nearly half of whom either receive no compensation or are paid in kind.
Most of these youths work to cover their basic needs and contribute to household income, are forced to abandon their studies, work excessively long hours and are at constant risk of injury or illness due to poor labor conditions, the country's equivalent of an ombud's office said in a statement Thursday, citing official figures.
The minors frequently are victims of violence and physical and psychological abuse and mistreatment while working on farms, in commerce and industry, the handicrafts sector and as domestic laborers, the commission added.
The statement, released ahead of the April 30 commemoration of Children's Day in Mexico, said a national CNDH campaign is seeking to pressure government officials to eliminate the problem.
The commission said in 2011 it distributed more than 100,000 brochures and posters alerting children to their rights and responsibilities and held training workshops and courses at several institutions "to protect children in vulnerable situations and promote respect for their rights."
"The only way to stamp out child labor, which violates minors' rights and physical well-being, is through coordinated actions between authorities and society," the statement said.