Brazil Gives the Formula for Eliminating Child Labor

The director general of the International Labor Organization, Juan Somavia, declared that Brazil was doing the right thing in its efforts to eliminate child labor: helping mothers and fathers find work.

"One of the best ways to reduce child labor is by giving parents the chance to have a decent job. When mothers and fathers work, the children do not have to and can go to school," he declared.

Somaivia added that President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s statement that the elimination of child labor did not depend on whether or not a government was leftist or rightist, but if it had humanistic sensibility, was going to be Lula’s legacy.

Brazil joined the International Program for the Elimination of Child Labor in 1992 and has made significant progress since then. A report by the ILO, based on data from the period 2000-2004, and just released this week, shows that for the first time there has been a worldwide reduction in child labor.

"Fifteen years ago there were a lot of countries that refused to admit that child labor existed. Today child labor is recognized by all as a global problem. We are making progress and must continue to move ahead," said the ILO directo general.

How to Do It

Economic growth with equitable income distribution, quality education and a safety net for children. That, says the secretary for Social Assistance at the Ministry of Developmento and Hunger Combat, Osvaldo Russo, is the formula for eliminating child labor.

And, he added, the government is working on all three fronts. It is creating the Basic Education Fund (Fundeb) and has set up 2,000 social assistance centers around the country over the last three years, Russo pointed out.

Russo made his comments at a ceremony for the release of a global report by the International Labor Organization on child labor. The report shows that for the first time ever, child labor has been reduced worldwide and that Brazil has made significant progress in the area.

Agência Brasil

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