Informal Workers in the Streets: An Integral View

César A. Bernal-Torres, María Claudia Peralta-Gómez, Anne Marie Zwerg-Villegas, Raúl Cabrejos-Burga

Abstract


This article analyzes the profile of people working informally in the streets according to the following categories: sociodemographic traits, precursors to dedication to informal work, benefits and difficulties in conditions of informal labor, practices of income and expenses, and self-concept. This study consists of 284 interviews of people dedicated to labor activities in different public zones in the city of Bogotá, Colombia. The results indicate that informal workers include individuals of different ages, with the majority being adults; and there is an increasing trend in participation from individuals with high levels of education, showing that low educational levels are not sufficient to explain informal street work, especially in situations of displacement such as that caused by violence in Colombia in recent years. Instead, the main reasons for engagement in informal work are limited opportunities and low wages in the formal labor market, as well as the desire for work autonomy. While informal workers recognize the arduosity of informal street labor, they maintain positive concepts of themselves and their work, as these activities allow them to support their family while serving others in their communities. This article provides reflection on the conditions of informal street workers and provides understanding of the problem in order to better design strategies to overcome discrimination and exclusion.

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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