Child work: empowerment or violation of rights? : Stories from former Child Workers in Cochabamba, Bolivia

University essay from Jönköping University/HLK, Globala studier

Abstract: Many international conventions concern child labour and child work and this practice tend to often be viewed as a violation of child rights. However, the discourse has changed and a tension among universalistic and relativistic scholars risen. The former tends to condemn child work under the age of 14 and the latter claims that culture needs to be taken into account arguing that child work, is not necessarily a violation of rights.  This study analyses narratives from former child workers in Cochabamba, Bolivia. It aims to increase the understanding of experiences from child workers and how it relates to Child Rights from a universalistic and relativistic perspective and to identify reasons for child work.  The findings demonstrate that the experiences vary a lot and that there is a complexity in the practice of child work. The respondents have experienced violation of rights at their work, but on the other hand, has the income enabled them to fulfil other rights. The relativistic and universalistic perspective both serve to gain a deeper understanding of child work and its complex relationship of Child Rights. This argue for that one should strive to use both perspectives rather than embrace one and condemn the other. Economic need was identified as the main reason to why children were working. 

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