BUENOS AIRES – The speaker of the parliament of the Mercosur trade bloc expressed regret on Wednesday that the International Labor Organization’s goal of eliminating the worst forms of child exploitation by 2016 has not been met.
At the same time, Parlasur head Jorge Taiana applauded Latin America’s achievements over the past decade in reducing the number of children in the workforce.
“Child labor has declined everywhere and in Latin America, it went from 20 million people in 2000 to 12 million in 2012,” he said during the inauguration in Buenos Aires of the first Forum for the Eradication of Child Labor.
Taiana talked about the need for countries in the region to come together around common standards to form the basis of national legislation to address the problem.
He highlighted the importance of education and of changing the “culture” in rural areas, where parents are accustomed to viewing their children as integral to production.
Ensuring that a child “is in school and receives food is one of the most effective ways to reduce child exploitation,” Taiana said.
Two legislative initiatives were presented at the forum: a protocol for the prevention and eradication of child labor and a project for the certification of products as free of child labor.