A study by the International Labor Organization (ILO) reveals that one million children and adolescents currently work in mines and quarries in the whole world. And that Brazil is responsible for 15% of them – 146,000.
According to the 2004 Brazil’s National Household Survey (PNAD), released November 25th by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), the country has approximately 5.3 million working children. According to ILO, there are 246 million children and adolescents working in the world.
The Mineral Technology Center (CETEM), of the Ministry of Science and Technology, is currently studying the situation of children who work in Brazilian mines.
Their conclusions are being presented at the second phase of the series of conferences called "The Gender Issue and Child Labor in South American Small Scale Mining."
The event happening in Brazil is part of the South American Program of Support for Cooperation Activities in Science and Technology (Prosul), of the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq).
CETEM affirms that in addition to being subject to working long hours, without proper protection equipment, these children carry loads heavier than their physical capacity, and are exposed to extreme temperatures, loud noises, and toxic gases and vapors.
CETEM’s Prosul Coordinator, Zuleica Castilhos, said that the problem also occurs in other South American countries. Representatives of Argentina, Bolivia and Peru are participating on the event.
ILO chose the combat to child labor in mining and quarrying as the main focus of its 2005 world campaign.