[Documents menu] Documents menu

Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 23:54:12 -0600 (CST)
From: Grassroots Media Network <gnn@grassrootsnews.org>
Article: 81842
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <bulk.2941.19991113181522@chumbly.math.missouri.edu>

Some 20 million children have dropped out of school to work

EFE S.A., Friday 12 November 1999

San Jose, Nov 12 (EFE).- Nearly 20 million Latin American children under the age of 15 have dropped out of school to go to work, 90 percent of them in informal jobs, the International Labor Organization (ILO) reported here Thursday.

Of this figure, 3.5 million children are Central American, nearly one million of them Guatemalan, where the problem is more serious. It is less pressing in Panama and Costa Rica, where investment in education has been high for several decades.

Spanish expert Carmen Moreno, coordinator for the ILO's International Program for the Eradication of Child Labor, presented the information at the opening of the Central American and Dominican Labor ministers' meeting in San Jose.

Moreno said that although these data were not exact, most of these children, who leave school and their childhoods behind, work at high-risk jobs, such as gunpowder manufacturing, stone-cutting, trash collection and agricultural work or are sexually exploited.

Moreno added that in Latin America, the problem is most serious in Brazil, Peru and Colombia. The information will be conveyed to UNICEF and other international organizations and agencies which work to prevent child exploitation.

The ILO has arranged for regional governments to ratify Convention 182, approved in June by the ILO, which punishes child exploitation.

Moreno said that the governments had agreed to ratify the instrument. The Costa Rican government sent it for congressional approval on May 9, the date on which Children's Day is celebrated in the country.

Agencia EFE S.A.