“Child Labor” is a phrase that is used to cover very different situations that vary considerably from one cultural area to another. This article focuses on the case of Peru. The country is particularly interesting in that 29.8% of Peruvian children aged between 6 and 17 work (often unpaid) within the informal economy. This is a consequence of the need to ensure decent living conditions for a large number of families, and needs to be interpreted as such. The fact that the work of these children takes place chiefly in a familial setting makes it all the more difficult for public services to quantify and control. Any activity, whether legal or not, that ensures an additional income for the family and helps its members survive can therefore be considered as a form of labor. Activities range from those connected to the education of children to those that harm the health and integrity of teenagers. All stem, however, from a certain poverty and the job insecurity of most parents. Concerns about the risk of falling beneath the poverty line are a common feature of the families whose children work. The relationship between children’s work and their education is ambiguous. Whereas some jobs might help the teenager finance the necessary expenses that come with schooling, others prevent the child from attending school at all.
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