Brown Sugar Project Fights Child Labor

August 4, 2006

Consumers in Italy, France and Germany will soon be able to buy Costa Rican organic brown sugar guaranteed to be produced without child labor as part of a project under way by the Production Ministry (MIPRO), in coordination with the Labor Ministry, the Public Education Ministry, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Canadian Embassy, according to a statement from MIPRO.

The first containers of this product will be exported next month with the idea of creating consciousness about the negative effects of agricultural child labor, the statement said.

As part of the project, families in the sugar-producing community of Puriscal, a mountain town southwest of San José, and surrounding areas have received training on eradicating child labor. Also, a new high school has been built by the Public Education Ministry and 80 children and adolescents who were working at sugar mills in the area have returned to school.

In Costa Rica, an estimated 113,200 children work, mostly in agricultural jobs, according to the statement.

Child labor is a multi-faceted problem that often results from poor families and communities having “weak socioeconomic policies to prevent the problem … and a lack of knowledge about the risks and dangers,” such as children abandoning school or getting injured, the statement said.

 

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