Nearly 1 million children work full time in Bolivia’s tin mines, in cemeteries, on buses, or in the markets.

BY HELEN COSTER (International Reporting Project & Foreign Policy | NOVEMBER 18, 2010

POTOSÍ, Bolivia—Edwin Choquevilla is the primary breadwinner in his family, earning $7 a day pushing a wheelbarrow inside Bolivia’s Cerro Rico mine. He spends his money on food and clothing for his mother and three siblings, who live in a 600-square-foot cement hut that doubles as a storage shack for wheelbarrows, canisters of gasoline, and clusters of dynamite. But unlike most of the other 15,000 miners who work in the Cerro Rico mine, Choquevilla wants to be a soccer star when he grows up. He is, after all, only 14 years old. “I need to help my family,” Choquevilla says. “Hopefully next year, I can go back to school.”

Choquevilla is one of an estimated 1,000 children who work in Cerro Rico — “the hill of wealth” — Bolivia’s most famous and fertile mine. In the 16th century, silver from Cerro Rico bankrolled the Spanish empire, and at one point, Potosí was one of the wealthiest towns in the world. But production peaked in 1650 and then went into a century-long decline when Mexico entered the market. Over the next 200 years, demand for silver and other minerals ebbed and flowed — and with it, miners’ fortunes. The Bolivian government nationalized the mining industry after the 1952 revolution. The state mining company, Corporacíon Minera Boliviana (Comibol), controlled the mines until the government privatized the industry in the 1980s. Today 36 private cooperatives control Cerro Rico, where miners risk their lives to extract silver, zinc, tin, and lead. But child miners aren’t just doing their boss’s bidding: They’re also organizing to defend their rights.

Across Bolivia, 10,000 working children — employed by the mines, but also cemeteries, markets, and buses — are unionizing and working with the government to rewrite labor laws. “We’re asking the government to come up with laws not because they sound good, but because they’re realistic,” says Ernesto Copa, the 17 year-old president of UNATSBO, Bolivia’s largest union of child workers. “We’re in a state of mobilization.”

Bolivian children entered the workforce en masse in the 1980s, when the privatization of national industries forced more than 100,000 adults out of work. Today child labor is ubiquitous; an estimated 800,000 children in Bolivia work full time jobs. In the capital city of La Paz, children shine shoes while wearing ski masks — to protect their lungs from pollution, or their identities out of shame, depending on whom you ask. In Cochabamba, they collect money on minibuses. In Uyuni, on the edge of the spectacular Salar de Uyuni salt flats, they work in the market selling bottled water to tourists. In the jungle outside Riberalta, they harvest Brazil nuts for several months of the year, risking malaria, snake bites, and wounds from machetes.

In 1995, NGOs like Caritas and CARE started offering education and other services for working children, who soon began organizing on their own. Children who work in cemeteries unionized in 1999, and children who work in the markets and bus terminals soon followed. Today UNATSBO — which includes children from many different sectors — has chapters in seven of Bolivia’s nine states and 600 members in Potosí alone. While some children in Bolivia begin working as early as age 5, most who join unions do so when they’re 11 or 12, often at the encouragement of older friends. “That’s when they understand what’s going on around them and that their human rights are being violated,” says Luz Rivera Daza, an educator with Caritas, an NGO that works with unionized children.

The Bolivian labor force is organized, to a point. Some groups — like coca farmers, truck drivers, and miners — began unionizing in the 1970s in response to military and political repression. They experienced pushback from the government, and occasional violence. When the government privatized industries in the 1980s, the mining union in particular grew in influence and exerted its power over the cooperatives.

Now is a particularly opportune moment for the unions to pursue new legal protections. Encouraged by President Evo Morales, a coca farmer and the country’s first indigenous president, Bolivians approved a new constitution last year, and legislators are currently in the process of rewriting existing laws to conform to the new legal code. The children’s unions are pushing lawmakers to reform the Code of Children and Adolescents, which governs child labor. In its current form, the code sets the legal working age at 14, and it doesn’t distinguish between labor and exploitation.

Unionized child workers and their advocates argue that because child labor is a necessity born of poverty, it can’t and shouldn’t be eradicated. But they want the government and NGOs to differentiate between child labor — which they see as an economic necessity — and exploitation, which is how they characterize children working in dangerous jobs, like mining, and harvesting Brazil nuts and sugar cane. “We need to focus on eradicating abusive work,” says Jorge Domic, a child psychologist and director of social education at Fundación La Paz, a Bolivian NGO. “If we propose to end all forms of child labor, we’re not going to do it. We’ll just have more clandestine labor in an even worse form than it currently exists.”

Instead, child-workers unions want to ensure that children earn the same wages and have the same financial tools as their adult counterparts. In some sectors, they earn less than half the salary of their adult colleagues. Moreover, children don’t have access to savings accounts and often give their earnings directly to their parents.

Union members also lobby for safe work environments. The mines, in particular, are notoriously dangerous. Sixty adolescents died in Bolivia’s mines in 2008 alone, according to Roberto Fernandez, coordinator of NGO Yachaj Mosoj (“New Knowledge” in Quechua), which runs education programs for children in Potosí. “One of our fears is that Cerro Rico is going to crumble like the Twin Towers, floor by floor,” says Fernandez.

The unions are also pushing for better medical care, especially for children whose jobs present a health risk. Most miners eventually develop silicosis, a lung disease caused by inhaling large quantities of silica dust. According to Gualberto Astorga Quiróz, a pulmonologist at the state-run lung clinic in Potosí, many workers show symptoms of silicosis after only eight to ten years of working underground. Miners tend to work for an average of 15 or 20 years. A child who starts working in the mines when he’s 8 or 10 years old would likely need supplemental oxygen to breathe by the time he’s 20. There’s psychological damage, too. “The problem is that in the long term every miner adult or child knows that when they go to work, they may not come home that day,” says Astorga. “Every day you say goodbye to your family. Psychologically, this creates an acceptance of death, both for the workers and their families.”

But just as important as the unions’ political goals are the tangible social benefits they offer their members: the opportunity for the children to develop confidence, a sense of community, and the chance to joke around with kids their own age. At a recent evening meeting of a regional union of child workers in Potosí, eight young attendees — who work in the markets, cemeteries, and mines — showed up. The majority live with their parents, most of whom don’t belong to unions. All the children attend school. They were tired, more interested in teasing their adult supervisor than in focusing on the night’s agenda: selecting a member of their union to represent the group at an upcoming meeting with the Ministry of Health. They listened to music and played computer games while they waited for the supervisor to call the meeting to order. But in only a few hours, they will have to report to work.

Tomorrow, a couple of them will rejoin Thomas Delgado, who is 11 years old. He earns $21 a day pushing a wheelbarrow inside Cerro Rico, working from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. He attends school from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. His father, a miner, died when he was 2, and Delgado uses his earnings to buy food for his mother and six siblings. Every morning he chews coca for energy, sharing a bag of leaves with colleagues who tower over him. Then he enters the mine. “I realize it’s dangerous,” he says. “It’s very dark. There’s no light except for the head lamps. I’m not scared now, but the first time I went in, I was scared. It’s better to work outside, sweeping the entrance to the mines, because inside people die.”


Child Labor in Brazil, an Overview Article

Press Release: Council on Hemispheric Affairs
Made in Brazil: Confronting Child Labor

by COHA Research Associate Sonja Salzburger

“To force a child to work is to steal the future of that child” – Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva1

While Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has made significant efforts to reduce child labor, at the end of his tenure the issue still remains urgent. Forging a successful strategy to reduce child labor is not a simple task, since the reasons behind it are deeply embedded in the country’s economic and social structure.

In 2004, President Lula, who himself began to work at the age of eleven, declared fighting child labor a high priority.2 Although Brazil is often regarded as a positive example for other Latin American countries for its progress in the fight against child labor, more than four million Brazilian children between the ages of 5 and 17 are still working.3 Especially in the poorer northeastern part of the country, many children have no choice but to become integrated into the illegal job market.

In 1989, the Brazilian constitution enshrined certain fundamental rights for children. The constitution now states that the state has to approve every decision made by the federal government that affects children in order to demonstrate that it is beneficial to children’s interest.4 Moreover, the constitution states that no child or adolescent should be a victim of neglect, discrimination, exploitation, violence, cruelty, or repression.5 Nearly every district throughout the country has a council whose job it is to ensure that children’s rights are observed. In practice, however, these bodies are often criticized for undertaking inadequate efforts to improve the lives of children in Brazil.6

Why Do Children Work?

Child labor in Brazil remains chiefly fueled by extreme poverty. Claire Salmon, assistant professor in the Department of Economics of the University of Savoie, points out, “Children are much more likely to work when they live in a household where the potential of income generation is low and where this potential has already been used up.”7 In many low-income Brazilian communities, children constitute a reserve army of labor. When the adult members in the household do not generate sufficient income, children are usually expected to work. Brazilian children are often employed in places where they can work with their hands, such as in sugar, orange, coffee, or cocoa plantations. Since field workers are often paid according to their output rather than an hourly rate, parents are often tempted to make their children work with them to increase the family’s earnings.8 As a result, an important indicator for child labor is whether a mother has a paid job or not, as children are likely to work with their mothers. This is particularly the case for young children, especially girls, and children living in rural areas. According to Levison, Degraff, and Robinson, “There are strong connections between mothers’ and children’s employment characteristics, including industry and sector, location, commute times and whether paid.”9 This distinctiveness has to be taken into consideration when the government wants to address child labor in its policy.

In addition to poverty, cultural habits in Brazil also play a significant role in child labor. In the impoverished northern areas of Brazil, most of the people who are parents today started working before they were eight years old.10 Since child labor was very familiar to them as they were growing up, these Brazilians often fail to view child labor as a serious problem, in contrast to their wealthier western counterparts. The problem of child labor thus becomes trapped in a generational cycle.

A third reason for parents to send children to work relates to the condition of Brazilian public schools. In sparsely populated rural areas, primary schools are located far away from each other, and secondary schools only exist in bigger cities. These schools are generally underequipped and in bad structural shape due to lack of funding. Officially, education is compulsory for all children in Brazil aged 7 to 14, but the requirement is only loosely enforced.11 There are many poor families living in favelas and rural areas who cannot afford to buy the required school uniforms, books, and bus tickets. Ninety percent of children working in rural areas attend school for less than four years, and only one out of every eight children living in a favela goes to school.12

Between School and Work

It is important to note, however, that child labor and school attendance are not necessarily mutually exclusive. The 1998 Brazilian Household Survey showed that almost 18 percent of boys between the ages of 7 and 16 hold at least a part-time job. Nevertheless, school attendance is quite high; 93 percent of boys and 94 percent of girls between 7 and 16 attend school at least part-time.13 Scholars have reached different conclusions on the effect of labor on children. Whereas many studies reveal the negative effects of child labor on school attendance and learning, some studies found no relationship between work and education, and others showed that paid work actually enables some children to pay tuition, when they would otherwise be forced to drop out completely.14 A 2006 study investigated factors that deter children from school attendance, concluding that child labor decreases the probability of continuous schooling.15 In contrast, Professor Kaushik Basu, C. Marks Professor of International Studies and Economics at Cornell University, referred to field workers in India who argued that, in poor areas it is best policy to allow children to combine schooling with some work. “Doing some work and earning some money may be the only way that children can afford to attend school”, he said.16 Indeed, the relationship between child labor and education may be more complex than previously thought—any solution Brazilians devise will have to take such complexity into account.

Fighting Child Labor

Finding the appropriate way to help working children is challenging because simply prohibiting child labor may in fact worsen conditions for Brazil’s poorest citizens. It would be mistaken to assume that parents would ensure that their children attend school regularly if they expected harsh legal consequences for allowing them to carry a paid job. Were the government outlaw child labor, parents would likely force their children to work in even less regulated and less visible jobs. Certain areas of work, such as jobs in private households, cannot be effectively regulated by the Brazilian state, and if children work in the home, it is nearly impossible to protect them from abuses. Indeed, Professor Larry French of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University suggests that domestic work can be even more harmful for children than labor market jobs. Furthermore, domestic jobs are often not captured in child labor statistics.

Brazilian girls are particularly likely to be forced to work in their parents’ households, where no one can monitor their welfare. French’s survey shows that both housework and childcare in Brazil have a negative impact on girls’ health, as well as on their school grades and overall quality of life. In contrast to jobs in the labor market, which are usually structured and overseen by a single individual, housework includes different tasks which are often supervised by different family members throughout the day. Furthermore, housework is often underpaid and is considered less valued than other types of work.17

Programs Against Child Labor

One policy President Lula implemented in order to reduce child labor was Bolsa Família, a financial assistance program for needy families. The program goes beyond simply prohibiting child labor by also providing financial incentives to poor families that ensure that their children attend school regularly and receive vaccinations. Bolsa Família provides a monthly stipend of 22 reals, about USD 12, for school attendance for up to three children per family. It is available for all families that have an income below the poverty line of 140 reals per month. Families who otherwise would have to live in extreme poverty (with an income less than seventy reals per month), now can receive an additional flat sum of 68 reals per month.18 The program has generated high praise from various domestic and international sources. According to the World Bank, Bolsa Família is “one of the key factors behind the positive social outcomes achieved by Brazil in recent years.”19 The Economist describes it as an anti-poverty program that “is winning converts worldwide.”20 The money is usually given to the female head of a household through “Citizen Cards”, which are similar to debit cards. Ninety-four percent of the funds go to the poorest 40 percent of the population. Numerous surveys highlight the success of the program, showing that most of the money is spent on food, school supplies, and clothes for the children.21

Nevertheless, some critics find that Bolsa Família is part of a strategy to minimize any increase in the legal minimum wage; a move that they say would more effectively benefit a larger number of families.22 Raymundo Mesquita, a Salesian brother who has worked with children of the slums of Bello Horizonte and other large cities for 37 years, also criticized the program. According to Mesquita, many families become dependent on the money sent by the government, which he claims leads a number of aid recipients to lose interest in working towards a professional career that would provide them with enough income to live without money from the Bolsa Família program. Political paternalism and corruption are also big problems, especially in northern Brazil. In Mesquita’s opinion, Brazil’s future should depend heavily on education reform, an issue that the Lula administration did not adequately address. He points out that there are several free employment opportunities in Brazil that remain vacant due to a lack of well-educated workers.23 Of special concern is the poor reading and writing abilities of many Brazilians. For example, in Caetés, a town with about 25,000 inhabitants in traditionally poor northeast Brazil, about 30 percent of the population is illiterate. According to a government report in March, more than 22 percent of the approximately 25 million workers available to join Brazil’s work force in 2010 do not meet the education requirements of the labor market. Former estimates showed that tens of thousands of jobs in Brazil were unclaimed due to a lack of qualified workers.24

A Right to Work? Differing Opinions on Child Labor

Views differ widely concerning the question how to evaluate child labor. The International Labor Organization (ILO) strongly condemns child labor, which they describe as “unacceptable because the children involved are too young and should be in school, or because even though they have attained the minimum age for admission to employment, the work that they do is unsuitable for a person below the age of 18.”25 However, the ILO does attempt to distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable work for children.26 According to the ILO, acceptable labor is defined as relatively easy work that does not harm the children’s well being or adversely affect school attendance. Unacceptable work refers to every form of compulsory labor, bonded child labor, slavery, and abuse, all of which negatively affects the children’s health, morale, and security.27

Basu takes a different perspective, pointing out that sometimes, “there are worse things that could happen to a child than working.”28 The alternative could be suffering, hunger, or starvation. Additionally, holding a job sometimes helps children to attend school by providing money for school fees and other daily costs. The discussion of whether children have a right to work is two-sided. According to Professor Manfred Liebel, director of the International Academy for Innovative Pedagogy, Psychology, and Economics (INA) at the Free University of Berlin, the right to work can be understood as “an individual child’s right to freely decide whether, where, how, and for how long they would like to work, and it goes beyond employment under the regime and dependency of an employer within a capitalist economy.” According to this school of thought, the right to work is supposed to broaden children’s capacity to make decisions and help them integrate into society. As Liebel points out, since the late 1970s there have been several small, informal mutual aid groups for children as well as initiatives among young people and adults in Latin America who urge children to claim their rights independently. These movements do not oppose child labor, but rather want children to work without exploitation under fair and safe conditions. Most participants in these mutual aid groups are between the ages of 12 and 18 years old and are employed in the informal economy. According to Liebel, these groups structure themselves so that children effectively have most of the power, allowing them to make decisions and have the final say. “This is where children find and develop their own social spaces and age specific forms of communication,” Liebel asserts, “by which they can assure themselves of their situation, search for solutions to their problems and develop their identity.” According to him, organizations of working children have already succeeded, at least in some Latin American countries including Peru and Bolivia, in influencing the legislation with their views.29 Nevertheless, as Liebel points out, these organizations provide a strong complement to international labor law and national action programs, which try to achieve a complete abolition of child labor. It is hard to tell yet which approach will become prevalent.

The Effects of Brazil’s Economic Growth

Brazil has the strongest economy in Latin America, with large agricultural, mining, manufacturing, and service sectors, and it is fast expanding its presence on the world stage. Despite seeing record growth in 2007 and 2008, Brazil was not entirely spared by the financial crisis. Since September 2008, the country has experienced two quarters of recession in which global demand for Brazil’s commodity-based exports diminished, while external credit soared. Nevertheless, Brazil recovered faster than most other emerging markets, and its GDP grew in the second quarter of 2009. For 2010, Brazil’s Central Bank expects an economic growth rate of 5 percent.30

Liebel explains why a reduction in poverty is so important in the battle against child labor: “Economic growth does not automatically reduce the demand for working children, but a reduction of poverty reduces the pressure for children and their families to accept exploitation.”31 Consequently, Brazil’s growing economy has the potential to reduce child labor.

According to Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC, “there has been some significant progress during Lula’s presidency, with cumulative per capita GDP growth of 23 percent, as compared to just 3.5 percent during the Cardoso years.”32 Moreover, during Lula’s tenure, unemployment declined significantly from over 11 percent in 2003 to 6.9 percent in 2010. Furthermore, according to the UN Economic Commission on Latin America, from 2003 to 2008, the poverty rate decreased from 38.7 percent to 25.8 percent.33

Brazil has become an important trade partner for a number of developed countries, receiving much media attention in the process. Brazil’s increasingly high profile certainly has the potential to place pressure on it to improve its record on child labor. Highly developed countries, such as the United States, are now closely linked to Brazil. For example, the U.S. is Brazil’s second largest trade partner after China, with a trade relationship valued at more than USD 46 billion. 34 Brazil’s trading partners have an important responsibility to demand children’s rights and avoid buying products which are produced under exploitive working conditions.


The number of working children in Brazil has been declining in recent years, due in part to Lula’s commendable efforts to reduce extreme poverty, which is demonstrably the main cause of child labor. Nevertheless, 25.8 percent of families are still classified as very poor in Brazil35 and are likely to continue to depend on child labor. Even though the Bolsa Família program provides an income supplement for a major portion of the country’s poor, critics remain skeptical about the long-term effects of the program. Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s new president-elect still has much work to do to improve the situation of poor children in Brazil and protect them from exploitation. If the country wants to continue to compete with other nations as a major modern power, it needs a drastically improved education system, as well as highly qualified workers. Consequently, ensuring that children are attending good schools on a regular basis and do not fall into a cycle of child labor must remain as an issue of highest priority in the hearts and minds of Brazilians across the country.

References for this article are available here

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This analysis was prepared by COHA Research Associate Sonja Salzburger
Posted 16 Nov 2010
Word Count: 2900


The US Blinks, and Children Will Suffer

[Blog, originally from the Huffington Post]

Jo Becker
Children’s Rights Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch
Posted: November 9, 2010 10:07 AM

Until recently, the United States might have been considered a world leader in combating the use of child soldiers. But after events last month, children victimized in war may need to look elsewhere for help.
The United States has spent millions of dollars supporting the rehabilitation of former child soldiers in countries like Afghanistan, Colombia, and Sierra Leone. It enacted groundbreaking legislation enabling the United States to prosecute child soldier recruiters entering the United States, and to withhold US military assistance from governments that use child soldiers. In 2002, it joined an important international treaty that prohibits the use of children under 18 as combatants. It even changed its military deployment practices to set a good example. These actions put it on the forefront of international efforts to end one of the most heinous aspects of modern warfare.
But last month President Obama issued an order allowing US military assistance to governments that use child soldiers, undermining a law he voted for as a Senator just two years ago. Also last month, the US became the first Western nation since World War II to convict a former child soldier of war crimes.

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Harvard Crimson Editorial Board: Reject Those Who Exploit Children (op-ed)

[A recent editorial regarding the Obama Administration’s military aid policies]
Reject those who exploit children
By: Harvard Editorial Board
Posted: 11/11/10
Despite its early remonstrance of perceived human-rights violations such as Guantanamo Bay, the Obama administration took a step backward last week by issuing a waiver that will allow the continuation of military aid to four countries that openly employ child soldiers.

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Romeo Dallaire was in Vancouver on Remembrance Day to call Canadian youth to duty in the fight to eradicate child soldiers.

[Dallaire is a former Canadian senator and a a retired general, who tried to stop the Rwandan genocide. This article is from the Vancouver Sun and you can read the piece at their site by clicking here.]

Dallaire calls on youth to mobilize, eradicate use of child soldiers

Romeo Dallaire was in Vancouver on Remembrance Day to call Canadian youth to duty in the fight to eradicate child soldiers.

By Vancouver SunNovember 12, 2010

Romeo Dallaire was in Vancouver on Remembrance Day to call Canadian youth to duty in the fight to eradicate child soldiers.

“Go and get your boots dirty,” he said. “Be part of the solution.”

It is young people, he believes, who can mobilize through social networks to save children who are being forced into combat in developing countries.

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US Labor Department cites Nickerson Farms for child labor violations

More than $48,000 in penalties assessed after investigators find 7 children working in fields

Wage & Hour Press Release

PHOENIX — The U.S. Department of Labor has fined Robert Nickerson Farms of Wellton, Ariz., $48,000 in civil money penalties after finding seven children between the ages of nine and 13 working during this past summer’s okra harvest.

An investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division determined that Robert Nickerson Farms employed six children – three 13-year-olds, one 12-year-old, one 11-year-old and one 9-year-old – to weed okra fields between June and August of this year. Another 11-year-old was hired to set gopher traps and dispose of the dead animals. Investigators confirmed that the children over 11 years of age were all employed without written parental consent, which is required by the Fair Labor Standards Act’s child labor provisions. Children under the age of 12 cannot legally be employed by Robert Nickerson Farms.

“Having children under the legal age of employment work in agriculture, and without written parental consent, is not only wrong but against the law,” said George Friday Jr., regional administrator of the Wage and Hour Division’s Western Regional Office. “We must do everything that we can to protect the most vulnerable workers among us.”

Individuals under the age of 12 may be employed in agricultural jobs with parental consent, but only on very small farms that are not subject to the federal minimum wage requirements. The Robert Nickerson farm is categorized as a large farm, employing more than 80 workers. Twelve- and 13-year-olds may be employed in agricultural settings if they are working on the same farm as a parent or with a parent’s written consent. Generally, no hired farmworker under the age of 16 may be employed during school hours or perform hazardous work. Employers must maintain records of hours worked, pay and dates of birth for all individuals under age 19. Most farm workers, even the youngest, must receive at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for every hour worked.

The Labor Department recently initiated a new, tougher child labor civil money penalty structure to address employers who employ individuals who are too young to work. Employers who illegally employ individuals ages 12 or 13 will face a penalty of at least $6,000 per violation. If a worker is under 12 years of age and illegally employed, the penalty will be at least $8,000. The penalty assessed Robert Nickerson Farms is part of this penalty structure. For more information about the FLSA, youth employment, the jobs younger workers may perform and the hours they may work, call the division’s Phoenix office at 602-514-7100 or its national toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available on the Internet at



Friendship week urges vendors to give up child labour

Reprinted from The Times of India

Kalyani Sardesai, TNN, Nov 11, 2010, 04.48am IST
PUNE: Volunteers from the city’s Bal Sena, the childrens’ army backed by Dnyanadevi-Childline, and gammat shalas, the informal schools, are all set to celebrate Childline Maitri ( friendship week) with a sensitisation programme aimed at reaching out to food vendors and urge them not to employ child labour and to call Childline in case they spot a child in trouble.

Childline is a 24 x 7 toll free helpline for children in distress. An initiative of the Ministry for Woman and Child Development, Childline (1098) has a pan-India presence, and is partnered by local NGOs in various cities. All India Childline Maitri week is being celebrated in different cities between November 8 and 14 to coincide with the impending Childrens’ Day.

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Longoria and Colbert Highlight the Plight of Farmworker Adults and Children

America’s farmworkers are mostly invisible these days. The men, women, and children who pick our fruit and vegetables go largely ignored by the public and Congress, which has failed to update the Fair Labor Standards Act leaving farmworkers mostly unprotected from workplace abuses.  This September, however, two celebrities—Eva Longoria and Stephen Colbert—traveled to Capitol Hill in an effort to shine a much-needed spotlight on the plight of farmworkers.

Eva Longoria is producing "The Harvest." Rep. Lucille-Roybal Allard looks on. (Photo by Meriel Shire, AFOP)

On September 15, Longoria, a cast member from the television hit Desperate Housewives, appeared at an informal briefing in the Rayburn House Office Building to promote “The Harvest”,  a documentary she is producing about child labor in agriculture.  Longoria and filmmaker Robin Romano showed clips of child workers featured in the film, which will premier at the Sundance Film Festival. The Harvest follows kids as they migrate and perform back-breaking work that many adults will not do because it is too hard and the pay is too low.

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The US Blinks, and Children Will Suffer (Blog by Jo Becker from Human Rights Watch)

Check out this blog from Jo Becker, the Children’s Rights Advocacy Director at Human Rights Watch, on U.S. policy regarding child soldiers, here in The Huffington Post. Human Rights Watch is a member of the Child Labor Coalition.


Clinton: U.S. to Do More to End Sexual Slavery

To read this article at the, please click here.

SIEM REAP, Cambodia (AP) — Pledging to do more to help end the scourge of sexual slavery, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited a rescue and rehabilitation center for child prostitutes in northern Cambodia on Sunday.

Before touring the famed 12th century Angkor Wat temple complex, Clinton met with a group of about 50 victims of human trafficking at the U.S.-funded facility in Siem Reap and promised them continued American support.

“I am so proud of you,” she told the girls and young women, most of whom are between 17 and 23. They receive an education and vocational training that includes weaving and sewing lessons.

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