Last updateFri, 14 Mar 2014 12pm

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Mexican Congress raises legal working age to 15

Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies this week voted to amend the Constitution and raise the minimum working age in the country from 14 to 15.

Legislators said the move represents a significant advance for Mexico’s child labor laws and is likely to reduce the numbers of young people dropping out of school.

The measure passed comfortably with 426 votes in favor, none against and seven abstentions.
“In an ideal world, no child should ever work,” said Abel Salgado Peña, coordinator of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) majority in the lower house.

The measure also obliges authorities to provides incentives for children to stay in school.

A World Bank-sponsored study in 2013 estimated that 870.000 minors under the age of 13 are actively employed in Mexico.  The research showed that children and youth who worked had a lower school performance, and were more likely to drop out of school and have a difficult future.  

Almost twice as many children work in the countryside than in urban areas, according to the World Bank. Far more work in southern states such as Guerrero (where 12 percent of six-to-13-year-olds work), than in Chihuahua in the north (where only 1.4 percent of children work).

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