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Inequality is the source of child labor, claims ECLAC

Santiago de Chile, Jun 28 (Prensa Latina) Child labor is the result of inequality in the region, but it is also a reproducer of this scourge, according to participants at the 3rd Seminar on Social Integration held in Chile.

The Seminar was called by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and attended by government officials, academics and representatives of global entities.

Pilar Rodríguez, member of the International Labor Organization (ILO), recalled that inequality is a historical and structural characteristic in the region, which is sustained and reproduced even in periods of economic growth and progress.

This, she said, calls into question that inequalities can be solved naturally only by generating greater wealth, as it encompasses other aspects including the application of rights, creation of opportunities, means and capabilities.

Regarding the compliance with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8.7 on eliminating child labor exploitation by 2025, Pilar Rodriguez recalled that in 12 years, between 2008 and 2020, Latin America and the Caribbean only managed to reduce child labor from 14.8 to 8.2 million child workers.

If they continue at this rate, it would take 15 more years, i.e. until 2038, to meet this goal.

Andrés Espejo, ECLAC’s Social Development Division, said there is an intergenerational transmission of inequalities, because parents of children now in the labor market faced such a situation during their childhood.

This is a kind of vicious circle because children who work 20 or 30 hours a week cannot go to school, so they will grow up poor and their descendants are condemned to repeat the same cycle, unless they manage to break it.

We are not going to reach 2025 with this SDG fulfilled, Espejo explained, but there is a roadmap to achieve it and a serious commitment by governments to roll out policies in education, health, services and comprehensive care for children is needed.