Brazil Drafts National Health System to Help Fight Child Labor

Starting today, the fight against child labor will count on the assistance of workers in the Brazilian public health system, known as the Unified Health System (SUS, Sistema Àšnico de Saúde).

Brazil’s Ministry of Health presented SUS workers in Brasí­lia today with the Child Labor Routine Manual, which will be launched officially on a nationwide basis on June 9.

The act is one of the events scheduled to take place around the country through June 12, when World Day Against Child Labor is commemorated.

Maria da Graça Hoefel, a workers’ health technician in the Ministry of Health, explains that one of the forms of child labor that is most common and most difficult to combat is domestic labor.

“A large number of girls in urban areas work as domestics, and since the work is invisible, its dimensions are unknown.”

Brazilian legislation prohibits boys and girls under the age of 14 from working. Between 14 and 15, they are only allowed to work as apprentices, provided that the work is not dangerous, unhealthy, strenuous, or at night.

From the age of 16 on, young people can work as apprentices or formal employees with the assurance of all labor and social security rights.

Brazil is considered an international example in the battle against exploitation of children.

Through the Program for the Erradication of Child Labor (Peti), the government grants a monthly stipend that ranges from US$ 10.40 (25 reais) in rural areas to US$ 16.65 (40 reais) in urban areas to boys and girls removed from child labor.

The program also offers cultural and athletic activities during the period when they are not attending school.

At present, 930,824 children and adolescents between the ages of seven and 15 are being benefitted.

The government intends to reach a million boys and girls by the end of the year.

Agência Brasil


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