What are the living conditions in Colombia
3.9 percent of people in Colombia live in extreme poverty and have less than $ 1.90 to live on a day. As many as 28 percent of all households are classified as poor. Of course, this also creates major problems for the children of these families. They don't eat enough or they don't go to school. Large slums have emerged on the outskirts of large cities such as Bogotá or Medellín. Here people have neither electricity nor running water.
Violence, drugs and gangs
Because violence and drug crime are part of everyday life in Colombia, many boys and girls grow up with them. It often leads to them becoming criminals or drug addicts themselves. Or they join criminal gangs. Those who grow up with violence resort to violence more quickly than means. And without education and without any prospect of work, the young people have no prospects. After all, the situation has improved in recent years. The state is fighting violence and drug traffickers harder than before.
Child labor is also a major problem. According to the law, children in Colombia are only allowed to work from the age of 15, and certain work is only allowed from the age of 18. However, 4 percent of children between the ages of 5 and 14 still work in Colombia. Slightly more boys (4 percent) than girls (3 percent) are affected.
Some of them are forcibly recruited and forced to work. The FARC, a guerrilla group, has also recruited children and young people to fight for them or to work in the drug trade. Girls were used as couriers to collect protection money. In the meantime, the FARC is being dissolved and so it is to be hoped that the situation will improve for the young Colombians as well.
Most of the working children work in agriculture - on plantations for coffee, sugar cane or cotton - and on the streets, selling goods or begging. Others collect recyclable rubbish at the rubbish dumps. Girls often work as domestic servants. They often have to work 60 hours a week and sometimes they don't even get paid for it. Working in the coal mines is particularly dangerous for health. Because the mining of coal, but also gold and emerald, often takes place in illegal mines, children can also be used here.
Children on the street
Many of these children are street children. So you no longer have a home, but live on the street. In the city of Medellín alone, there are 25,000 children working and 11,000 children homeless. Most of them take drugs, many beg or steal. You sleep in the open air, for example in parks or under bridges. When they get sick, they have no money for a doctor or for medicine.
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