Though rich in mineral and energy resources, Bolivia is one of South America's poorest countries. Wealthy urban elites have traditionally dominated political and economic life, while most Bolivians are low-income subsistence farmers, miners, small traders or artisans.
Inequality and poverty strongly affects indigenous people groups, who comprise almost 60% of the population. Indigenous communities are less likely to have access to education, health, and water for household or livelihood use.
Indigenous women and children are particularly vulnerable, with women at risk of maternal or infant mortality. Around 50 per cent of women from many different circumstances have admitted to being subject to physical abuse or intimidation. According to Unicef and the International Labour Organisation more than half of Bolivia’s children are employed or forced into work, often in dangerous conditions. These children are also at risk of trafficking for sexual exploitation, domestic work and mining.