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Colombian App Uses Crowdsourcing to Crack Down on Child Labor

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, January 31 2013

Screengrab from Yo digo: Aquí Estoy website.

In spite of widespread regulations condemning the practice, child labor remains a grim reality for millions of children throughout the world. In Latin America, UNICEF estimates that one out of ten children between the ages of 5 and 17 are engaged in some kind of unregulated labor. Colombia in particular has seen rising rates of child labor over the economic crises over the past several years; current estimates say that over a million and a half children are currently working more than the 15 hours a week allotted by the law.

Now a smartphone app that enables crowdsourced reporting of incidents is collaborating with social service agencies to crack down on unregulated child labor in Colombia. Yo digo: Aquí Estoy [I say: I’m here], which launched last winter, has so far registered 3,800 reports from users in the country; information about child labor incidents is forwarded to the Colombia Family Welfare Institute, and social workers are sent back to check on families and assure that the children are attending school. As of 2010, Colombia provides five years of free and compulsory elementary education to all children; economic disparity had long prevented children of poor families from attending schools that charged fees.

Though only reports from within Colombia are currently actionable, the app is available for download across the world; citations of child labor throughout Asia and Africa have cropped up on the map tracking all Yo digo: Aquí Estoy activity.

Personal Democracy Media is grateful to the Omidyar Network for its generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.

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