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Brandeis University

Publication Date

Winter 2016

Program Name

Argentina: Public Health in Urban Environments

Abstract

Los bolivianos inmigran a Argentina para escapar de la falta de oportunidades laborales y de la pobreza. Sin embargo, una vez en Argentina, su inserción laboral es precaria e informal, principalmente, son contratados en los talleres textiles clandestinos. En éstos , donde la mayoría de ellos también vive, se ven reducidos a condiciones de servidumbre, explotación y son sometidos a condiciones de semi esclavitud, como lo demuestran las 14 a 18 horas de trabajo que realizan los siete días de la semana por sólo alrededor de $ 1300 a $ 3000 pesos argentinos por mes. Además, las condiciones laborales suponen un riesgo para la salud y hace que esta población sea más vulnerable a diversas enfermedades como problemas de postura y estrés crónico, males comunes debido a las largas horas de trabajo. Condiciones de hacinamiento, espacios cerrados sin ventilación y luz solar y la inhalación constante de polvo causan infecciones respiratorias como la tuberculosis, el problema más común. Las barreras, como la falta de cobertura de obra social y pre-paga, exacerban su vulnerabilidad impidiendo su acceso a los servicios de salud para el diagnóstico precoz y el tratamiento de estas enfermedades.

Este trabajo cualitativo usa una combinación de fuentes secundarias y trabajo de campo para analizar los riesgos sobre la salud y las condiciones laborales de los trabajadores inmigrantes bolivianos en los talleres textiles clandestinos de la Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires (CABA). A través de la perspectiva de la epidemiología sociocultural, éste destaca la particular vulnerabilidad social de los inmigrantes bolivianos en CABA, quienes se encuentran trabajando y, la mayor parte del tiempo, viviendo en los talleres textiles clandestinos. Como parte del trabajo de campo, fueron realizadas entrevistas en profundidad con ex-trabajadores de los talleres textiles clandestinos, que, actualmente, trabajan en la Cooperativa La Alameda. A través de las presentaciones de los resultados del trabajo de campo, esta investigación analiza las perspectivas y experiencias de ex-trabajadores con un foco sobre sus observaciones sobre los riesgos, los tipos de enfermedades asociados al trabajo y el acceso a los servicios salud.

Bolivians immigrate to Argentina to escape the lack of job opportunities and poverty. However, once in Argentina, they have to seek precarious and informal job opportunities, mainly in clandestine textile workshops. In these clandestine textile workshops, where most of them also live, they are reduced to servitude, exploitation and are subjected to conditions of semi-slavery. This is demonstrated by the 14 to 18 hours of work for seven days a week for only about 1300 to 3000 Argentine pesos per month.

The labor conditions of clandestine textile workshops pose a serious risk to health, making the workers vulnerable to various illnesses. Posture problems are common due to long hours of work in fixed position where they are hunched over sewing machines for hours. Chronic stress is common due to the long hours of work, constant supervision by the owners of the workshops and the stress of the inconsistency of their salary. The conditions of overcrowding in an enclosed space without ventilation and sunlight and constant inhalation of dust cause respiratory infections, among which tuberculosis is the most common. Furthermore, clandestine textile workshops are in the informal sector, which means the workers do not have access to health coverage through obra social or pre-paga. The lack of health coverage through obra social or pre-paga is a barrier to accessing health care services for early diagnosis and treatment of illnesses contracted at the workshop. Barriers to the access of health services further exacerbate the vulnerability of the Bolivian immigrant workers.

This qualitative research uses a combination of secondary sources and fieldwork to analyze the health risks of working conditions in clandestine textile workshops for Bolivian immigrants, in the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires (CABA). Through the perspective of socio-cultural epidemiology, this work highlights the particular social vulnerability of Bolivian immigrants in CABA. Most have immigrated to Argentina through criminal mechanisms and are working and living in semi-slavery conditions in the clandestine textile workshops. These conditions make them vulnerable to various diseases, which are exacerbated by barriers to access to health services. For the fieldwork, in-depth interviews were conducted with four Bolivian immigrants who are ex-workers of clandestine textile workshops, and who are currently working at La Alameda Cooperative. Through the presentation of the findings from the fieldwork, this paper analyzes the perspectives and experiences of former clandestine textile workers. The analysis of their perspective will focus on their observations on the health risks, types of diseases associated with work and access to health services.

Disciplines

Community-Based Learning | Community-Based Research | Community Health | Economics | Family, Life Course, and Society | Inequality and Stratification | Latin American Studies | Medicine and Health | Sociology | Work, Economy and Organizations

 

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