Brazil Lauded for Curbing Child Labor by 61%

For being "an example of good practices," Brazil was selected to participate in Monday’s (June 12) roundtable in Geneva, Switzerland, to mark the passage of World Day to Combat Child Labor

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), Brazil succeeded in reducing child labor in the 5-9 age bracket by 60.9% between 1992 and 2004.

During the same period the index of working youth in the 10-17 bracket fell 38.4%. These data appear in the report, "The End of Child Labor: A Goal Within Our Reach," published by the ILO in May.

As is the case with China, Brazil’s performance qualifies it as an example that the elimination of child labor is possible. "If Brazil and China were able to make this historical transition, other countries can do so as well," the study affirms.

In 2006 alone, through the month of April, inspections led to the registration of 11,898 youthful apprentices, the hiring of 966 adolescents between the ages of 16 and 18, and the exposure of 481 working children under the age of 16.

The report identifies three policies that contributed to Brazil’s progress. The first was the creation, in 1994, of the National Forum for the Prevention and Eradication of Child Labor, which helped establish a permanent foundation of social participation to discuss policies related to child labor and youth employment.

The second was the Program for the Elimination of Child Labor (PETI). The PETI, which was created in 1996, currently serves 1 million children and adolescents between the ages of 9 and 15 and promotes educational inclusion.

The expansion of school access is seen as the third factor behind the country’s positive results. In 2004, 97.1% of youth between the ages of 7 and 14 were enrolled in fundamental education.

High school enrollments have grown around 10% annually since 1995. According to the report, this rate is probably unparalleled around the world. "The pace of eliminating child labor increases when strategies open ‘windows of opportunity’ to the poor," the report contends.

According to Article 434 of the Consolidated Labor Laws (CLT), companies that exploit child labor are subject to a minimum fine of US$ 177.27 (R$ 402.53) per child. The value of the fine can be doubled if the company has a prior history of exploiting child labor.

Agência Brasil

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