International Development Planning Review

Identifying the role of children in informal trade: Evidence for urban policy

International Development Planning Review (2008), 30, (2), 113–131.

Abstract

Research on child traders in the Peruvian city of Cusco highlights the roles that children play, revealing that children work as traders, either alone or alongside an adult, in 13 per cent of all observed informal trading units in the city centre. More specifically, on the streets, children comprise an even higher proportion: 21 per cent of traders. Interviews with the child street traders reveal the children's agency, with children setting their own prices, occupying different sites to maximise the efficiency of their trading activities, and with those of different ages and gender adopting different roles within an apparent trader hierarchy. Given their considerable resilience to a large police presence, the child traders are entrenched in the city centre, and achieving the policy goal of removing them from the central streets is likely to require consumer education against buying from children, as well as cooperation from the parents and children themselves.

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Bromley, Rosemary

Mackie, Peter