7.5 million children and adolescents were withdrawn from labour between 2000 and 2012. Despite the significant progress, ILO's global estimates from 2013 showed a stagnation in child labour reduction and a high risk of relapse in a regional context of economic crisis, reinforced by inequality persistence, a high degree of informality and lack of quality employment.
The Regional Initiative Latin America and the Caribbean free of child labour (RI) was launched in 2014 as an intergovernmental cooperation platform 2014 as a response to this situation. It is composed by 27 countries of the region and has active participation of employers’ and workers’ organizations. The RI aims to leverage knowledge and best practices, and promotes South – South cooperation in order to accelerate child labour reduction.
The adoption of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015 reinforced the work of the RI, as it includes target 8.7 on “…secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms”. This global commitment transformed a regional concern into a global aspiration.
The RI proposes an intervention model that aims at bringing about the first generation free of child labour, based on a combination of three types of interventions:
Interventions aimed at prevention: Aimed at children aged 5-17 years, using a life-cycle approach to accompany children through their development and fulfil their specific needs, in order to break the pattern of child labour.
Interventions aimed at restoration of rights: Focusing on children and adolescents who are already in child labour (including its worst forms) and should be removed withdrawn from hazardous activities and forms of economic exploitation that constitute a crime.
Interventions aimed at sustainability: For ensuring that State policies aimed at preventing and reducing child labour, protecting work permitted for adolescents and promoting coordination between public and private programmes and services are institutionalised.
Progress made on the eradication of child labour in Latin America and the Caribbean According to the Report Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor 2015, published by the US Department of Labor, which categorizes countries by the degree of progress on eradicating the worst forms of child labour, of the 26 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean analyzed; 8 countries have shown significant advances, 9 moderate progress, and 9 minimal progress on issues such as strengthening national regulatory frameworks, combating domestic work, and expanding programs and social services (combating poverty and education).
Of the 16 countries in the world that recorded significant progress, 8 correspond to Latin America and the Caribbean (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama, Paraguay and Peru). However, challenges remain such as the involvement of children and adolescents in illicit activities and hazardous child labour, and law enforcement.