Primary Source

Peruvian Youth Center for Child Laborers [Video Stills]

Annotation

The photographs of a twelve-year-old Peruvian fruit market porter named Jonathan are from a video produced by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), a trade union organization affiliated with the International Labour Organization (ILO). The documentary describes Jonathan, who is one of a large group of similarly employed boys, who rise before dawn and spend their days pushing carts and carrying crates of fruit. Their pay is meager and not all clients are dependable. Jonathan is quite articulate in expressing his acceptance of the need to work and his willingness to contribute to his own support and to help his family. His wages are his own income, and also pay his school expenses. The trade union organizations in Peru, as in other countries, support efforts to end or ameliorate child labor that depresses wages and degrades working conditions by providing a weak and pliant alternative labor force of minors. According to ILO statistics, nearly one-third of Peruvian children engage in paid work, some of it dangerous, and much of it detrimental to their physical development and education. The documentary describes an association of four main Peruvian trade unions called "Warma Tarinakuy," which established a youth center where child laborers can get cheap meals, counseling and remedial classes if they have fallen behind in school. Anyone who wishes to participate must commit to staying in school. The math teacher featured in the documentary was a child worker himself. Association counselors work with children and their parents to maximize their chances of finishing school and limiting the damage to the development of youth by trying to reduce the families’ reliance on their labor. Jonathan’s progress as a student is discussed, including his award of a grant to study computer science. This effort by a combination of international and local organizations may be compared with other efforts in Asia and Africa to end child labor by bringing services to the places where children work and live.

Source

International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), Camera: Ivan Castañeda, Director: Laurent Duvillier, http://www.icftu.org/www/video/perou_infantile_en.wvx; ICFTU article at http://www.icftu.org/displaydocument.asp?Index=991224579&Language=EN (accessed February 22, 2010). Annotated by Susan Douglass.

How to Cite This Source

"Peruvian Youth Center for Child Laborers [Video Stills]," in Children and Youth in History, Item #431, http://chnm.gmu.edu/cyh/primary-sources/431 (accessed July 29, 2014).