Building a Comprehensive Government of Mexico Approach to Combating Child Labor and Forced Labor
This project will enhance the effectiveness of the Government of Mexico to combat child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking at the federal level, as well as in the southern states of Chiapas, Yucatán, and Quintana Roo.
According to the 2020 ILO report on the Global Estimates on Child Labor, global progress against child labor has stalled and the COVID-19 crisis has likely pushed many more children into child labor. This is likely the situation in Mexico where, despite a government program that broadcasted educational classes via internet, television, and radio, initial reports suggest that 2.5 million children did not continue their basic education and that the number of children engaging in child labor will increase by 5.5 percent. School disruption is one of the underlying causes of child labor; however, more data is needed to fully assess the impact the pandemic and other policy actions have had on the elimination of child labor and forced labor in Mexico.
Under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the Government of Mexico has committed to address labor rights violations, including child labor and forced labor. However, the Government of Mexico has limited resources dedicated to implementing a nationwide strategy for addressing child and forced labor and establishing strategic partnerships with other countries across the region. The Secretary of Labor and Social Provision (STPS, by its Spanish acronym), which is responsible for spearheading these efforts, lacks sufficient resources and expertise to update policies, strategic plans, and programming at the federal, state, and municipal levels to address child labor and forced labor effectively and sustainably.
In Chiapas, Yucatan, and Quintana Roo, child labor and other vulnerabilities to labor violations have likely increased as a result of the pandemic. All three states are in southern Mexico and receive many migrants from Central America. There is also a large indigenous population in this region. Both migrants and indigenous persons are among the most vulnerable groups at risk of child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking. Unfortunately, these states have limited resources and data and lack the strategic partnerships needed to appropriately address and prevent child labor and forced labor.
This project will build the capacities of the Government of Mexico to combat child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking at the federal and state levels in Chiapas, Quintana Roo, and Yucatán.
The project seeks to achieve its objective through accomplishing the following outcomes:
- Outcome 1: Increased use of data in developing laws, policies, and programs to prevent and combat child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking in Mexico.
- Outcome 2: Improved the development and the implementation of laws, policies, and programs on child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking in Mexico.
- Outcome 3: Improved regional cooperation to prevent and combat child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking related to migration across Mexico's southern border.
To achieve these outcomes, the project will strengthen the capacities of the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI in Spanish) and other relevant institutions to collect, record, process, and analyze data on child labor, forced labor, and trafficking in persons for the purposes of informing federal policies and programming. This includes the analysis and dissemination of data from the 2022 National Child Labor Survey, which the project has funded.
The project will also work to improve information flows across federal, state, and municipal governments, and civil society. It will help to ensure evidenced-based data is accessible and being used for the development of laws, policies, programs, and awareness raising campaigns related to preventing and addressing child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking.
The project will provide technical expertise to build the Government of Mexico’s ability to lead collaborative efforts with Central American countries to prevent migrant children in Mexico from becoming involved in child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking, fulfilling Mexico’s commitments to the USMCA, Alliance 8.7, and RILAC.
- The project has supported Mexico in completing the 2022 National Child Labor Survey, a key tool for the government to enact impactful policies to combat and prevent child labor.
- During its start-up phase, the project has supported the state of Yucatan to start-up its inter-agency committee to prevent and combat child labor; the committee serves as a key coordinating group in Yucatan to protect children from child labor.