Child Labor on the rise in Ecuador

World Day against Child Labor will be celebrated on June 12.

In discussing the plight of child labor, María de los Ángeles Páez, of the Protection component of DYA (Desarollo y Autogestion), an organization focused on child labor since 1997, points out that the problem that these children face is have is to play the role of “provider.” A role given to them by parents or care takers due to a lack of family finances.

Estimated projections recognized by the Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion (MIES), say that last year (2018) in Ecuador 201,634 children from ages 5 to 14 were forced into labor. The number has more than doubled from the number of 99,500 reported in 2014.Darío Terán, Director of the office in Prevention of Rights Vulnerability of MIES, blames child labor increase on the economic slowdown.

Based on the current economic results, it seems unlikely that the goal of reducing the child labor rate from 5.4% to 2.7%by 2021 will not be reached. Perhaps the saddest statistic in this is that on average, a child only earns between $17 and $20 a month; that is less than 5% of a unified basic salary ($394) in Eucador.

Several non-profit foundations offer children access to various recreational and educational activities in order to keep them out of child labor. Niños Cantores del Pueblo, promotes this through teaching art (in order for the children to learn a trade).

Another way to reduce child labor is to offer subsidies to families that depend on child labor to feed their families. A Human Development Bonus is a fund that helps families in this way with a subsidy of up to $150/month. This fund helps reduce child labor because one of its requirements is that the family’s minors cannot engage in labor—if a child in the family works, the subsidy is stopped. “The beneficiaries fulfill co-responsibilities and one is that the children do not work”. In Ecuador, 107,000 families access this subsidy program.