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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

ILAB News Release: [07/29/2010]
Contact Name: Sonia Melendez or Gloria Della
Phone Number: (202) 693-8666
Release Number: 10-1009-NAT

US Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis in El Salvador announces $10 million contribution by United States for child labor eradication efforts

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — In her first visit to El Salvador as U.S. Secretary of Labor, Hilda L. Solis announced a new United States government contribution of $10 million to support the Salvadoran government’s efforts to combat and eradicate child labor.

"The eradication of child labor is a necessary task that binds us all together and has global benefits for everyone," said Secretary Solis. "Economic development, the promotion of decent work, and a more inclusive society cannot be reached if working children and their parents do not have rights, access, and concrete opportunities allowing them to have a dignified life."

El Salvador has been at the forefront of global efforts to combat child labor. In 2000 it was one of the first countries in the world, and the first in Latin America, to commit itself to a time-bound program to combat the worst forms of child labor

For more than a decade the Labor Department, now led by Secretary Solis, has supported El Salvador’s programs against child labor. The department financed a series of efforts that benefited over 38,000 children working or at risk of working in sugar cane production, coffee harvesting, shellfish extraction, fireworks production, garbage collection, and commercial sexual exploitation. More than $12 million was dedicated to these initiatives, which were implemented by the International Labour Organization’s International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor and other organizations such as CARE International.

New assistance from the United States will support an ambitious $10 million project that will be implemented by ILO-IPEC starting this year. This new initiative involves working closely with the government of El Salvador at national and local levels to combat the root causes of child labor in Comunidades Solidarias, communities that the Salvadoran government has identified as the most disadvantaged. The project will address the issue of child labor in an integrated manner by focusing on the entire family, including both parents and children. It also will work in a coordinated fashion with other ILO programs such as the Global Jobs Pact and initiatives that promote decent work for adults so that they do not need to rely on their children for survival.

During her visit, Secretary Solís held meetings with President of the Republic Mauricio Funes, Minister of Labor Victoria Marina Velásquez de Avilés and other members of the Salvadoran cabinet. She also will be participating in discussions on how to eliminate child labor with local leaders of the Comunidades Solidarias, and with parents and children who previously benefited from Labor Department programs.