TEGUCIGALPA – Some 12 percent of Honduran children and teens between ages 5-17 are laborers, chiefly in agriculture, the World Vision organization announced on Tuesday on World Day Against Child Labor.
The organization said children and adolescents are forced into domestic labor, working on farms or in businesses, and most of them never go to school.
The director of World Vision in Honduras, Jorge Galeano, told EFE that at least 400,000 minors must work in the country due to the poverty they live in, and asked that society and the authorities pay more attention to what is happening to them.
“When a girl or a boy doesn’t have the chance to get an education and instead of that, starts working at an early age, it means these kids will perpetuate the cycle of poverty,” he said.
Galeano noted the need to raise awareness in society about child labor and create “opportunities for families” to eradicate that scourge.
He added that cultural practices consolidate child labor in Honduras, where the minimum working age under the law is 16, after which a teenager can only work outside school hours and no more than six hours a day.
According to World Vision statistics, 196,924 girls under age 17 do unpaid domestic labor here, such as caring for younger brothers and sisters, cooking meals and doing housework in general.
Some 57.9 percent of working minors live in extreme poverty and 56 percent live with their parents, according to figures of the humanitarian organization.
Jorge Valladares, director of World Vision’s Brilliant Futures project, told EFE that child labor in Honduras has been increasing in recent years.
He said that approximately 600,000 minors work in Honduras, including around 200,000 girls who perform domestic labor.
Around 60 percent of children and teenagers work in rural areas, while some 600,000 neither study nor work, Valladares said, adding that one possibility for eradicating child labor could be a helping hand among different sectors of society.
For his part, Honduran Labor Minister Carlos Madero said the best way the government can help end child labor is to make sure all youngsters have access to education.