Last month, Costa Rica announced an initiative that aims to eradicate child labor by 2020. In an email interview, Noortje Denkers, a program official for the International Labour Organization’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour, discussed the fight against child labor in Central America.
WPR: How widespread is child labor in Central America, and in what sectors is child labor most common?
Noortje Denkers: According to global estimates on child labor from 2012, the broader regional figures show that Latin America and the Caribbean, including Central America, has shown the greatest progress in the fight against child labor in the world, achieving a reduction of 7.5 million working children and adolescents. According to the same estimates, there are still 12.5 million children and adolescents aged 5 to 17 engaged in child labor in Latin America and the Caribbean. This constitutes 8.8 percent of the total population of the region in that age range. An estimated 2 million of these children can be found in Central America.