Honduran children make up ten percent of the country’s workforce, Tegucigalpa’s World Vision director Jorge Galeano said Friday.
Every morning some 400,000 children aged 5 to 17 leave their school books behind in favor of their full-time job, dedicating the next nine hours to domestic labor, business, or agriculture.
TThe country’s extreme poverty affects over 60 percent of the population, particularly indigenous communities in rural sectors.
International Press Service (IPS) reports that in Latin America, 5.7 million children are forced to work below the legal minimum working age many in precarious, high-risk conditions or are unpaid.
Attorney Cecilia Gadea said in Paraguay, where only 2.5 percent of children are forced into labor, families burdened with financial difficulties often turn to relatives for help, entrusting their children’s education and upbringing to wealthier family members in a practice known as “criadazo.”
“But it is not for free or out of solidarity, but in exchange for the children carrying out domestic work,” Gadea said.
Although Honduras has made some progress in reducing child labor over the last decade, state officials should “focus resources” to gain better results, World Vision Director Galeano said. Impoverished families should receive federal aid so children will not be forced to leave the classroom.
Child labor is a "practice that we are trying to eradicate, but we also understand that the needs of the people sometimes force them, so we believe it is necessary to bring alternatives," Galeano said.
With this in mind, World Vision introduced a new program, “Bright Futures” which aims to open employment opportunities for young adults, while extracting the minors from the workforce. The initiative has already been incorporated into nine municipalities across Honduras.