Child Labor in Costa Rica Down 8.7%

November 30, 2007

The percentage of children working in Costa Rica has dropped to 8.7% this year compared to last year’s 10.9%, according to a statement released Nov. 22 by the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

These statistics were released during an international meeting in San José called “Programs of Conditional Monetary Transfers and their Impact on the Prevention and Elimination of Child Labor from a Rights Perspective.”

According to several studies, payments made to families under the condition that they keep their children in the education system help reduce the number of children and young people who enter the workforce every year.

In Costa Rica, the program “Avancemos” (“Let’s Get Ahead”), which started one year ago, gives about $100 to poor families under the condition that they keep their kids in school.

UNICEF regional representative Marcela Massnatta said one of the objectives of this program is to respect children’s rights.

“It’s important that projects recognize … the rights of children and adolescents, recognizing them as deserving of rights and not just passive receivers of benefits and assistance,” she said.

Present at the event were Hamid Tabatabai, representative of the International Program for the Eradication of Child Labor in Switzerland and experts from countries including Chile, Colombia, Argentina, Bolivia, Panama, El Salvador, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Paraguay, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil and Mexico.

 

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