Lowering Child Labour

The International Labor Organization (ILO) recognizes the efforts made by Panama during the last decade to reduce child labor, it claims that there are still challenges to be overcome.

The pending challenges are to give priority to the population between 5 and 14 years of age, as well as to attend the indigenous and rural areas in a more integral way, to eradicate child labor by year 2020.

José Roberto Morales , technical adviser to the ILO for Ecuador and Panama, explained that in recent years the country has made more progress in reducing child labor among the population between 15 and 17 years of age, than among children of between 5 and 14 years old. This phenomenon occurred because the majority of younger children combine education and work, while adolescents chose to abandon the education system  choose to exclusively work.

The statistical reduction focuses on urban areas, where there is greater coverage, basic services are available and there is a social protection network.

Morales pointed out that, as a country, the challenge lies in reaching the county areas and rural areas, where 75% of the population is concentrated.

In  2008 the figures for child labor accounted for 80,000 children; in 2012, the number was 50,000 and in 2016, the figure was about 26,855 minors.

"I believe that the effort is commendable and we have advanced a lot as a country, however, there are more than 23 thousand reasons to continue working" and try to lower the figure.

 Nohely Nieto, head of the Directorate against Child Labor and Protection of Adolescent Worker, of the Ministry of Labor and Labor Development, indicated that by 2019 new figures on child labor should be available, as the figures are due every two years.

June 12, the date where World Day Against Child Labor is celebrated, there has been  national campaign devised that seeks to raise awareness on the issue. The motto for this year is "There are passions that move the world and actions that can change it. No more child labor."

Nieto said that the central government, together with the assistance of international and local agencies, Panama will continue the task to bring the figure to zero in the shortest possible time with the aim of ensuring a better future for children and the country .