Building Effective Policies Against Child Labor in Ecuador and Panama

Project Duration
December 2012
December 2018
Funding and Year

The Project will use a research and knowledge enhancement strategy to identify and asses the existing gaps in current policies to combat child labor. It will also focus on the social protection programs in the two countries, especially those that relate to indigenous peoples, Afro-descendants, migrants and persons with disabilities.

The Problem

The countries of Ecuador and Panama have implemented policies and enforcement actions that have contributed to a significant decline of child labor. Yet in each country, policy and enforcement gaps remain, and each needs to maintain momentum and expand efforts to reach children most vulnerable to child labor, particularly those from indigenous, Afro-descendant, migrant populations, and those affected by disabilities. 

Our Strategy

Intermediate Objectives:

  • Develop policy proposals that allow each country to make the necessary adjustments for a more comprehensive and effective response to the problem of child labor.
  • Develop an advocacy and awareness raising strategy with non-traditional audiences to push for the eradication of child labor as a priority in the social and economic policies of both countries. 
  • Empower key national and local stakeholders (indigenous, Afro-descendants and disabilities organizations and leaders, employers, trade unions, journalists, academics, youth, parents and children) to increase the social demand on Government at all levels for the effective elimination of child labor.

Summary of Activities:

  • Develop multi-sectoral protocols for the identification and referral of child labor cases.
  • Develop training program and provide diploma on child labor for public officials, workers’ and employers’ representatives, local authorities and other leaders.
  • Implement training of trainers program on strategies for the prevention and eradication of child labor.
  • Carry out advocacy campaigns destined for key productive sector ministries, based on assessments of the negative impact of child labor on productivity and economic growth.
  • Implement training program for labor inspectors on:
    • Processing and analyzing child labor information.
    • Detection of hazardous work and violations of legislation on maximum working hours for adolescents.
  • Conduct assessment of the impact of national campaigns against child labor and proposals for new strategies.
  • Carry out local radio campaigns in target areas.
  • Implement multi-country information exchanges to share successful experiences (in Panama, Ecuador, Argentina, Colombia, Peru and Brazil) on labor inspectorate and the creation of adolescent employment registries and the creation of adolescent of adolescent employment registries.
  • Host event on successful policy strategies to combat child labor in households affected by disabilities 


The Project will work with the Government of Ecuador and the Government of Panama to strengthen policies to combat child labor and capacity to enforce such policies and related laws.  The project will strengthen the capacity of national, provincial and municipal governments to coordinate and implement policy and enforcement efforts to combat child labor among vulnerable children in target sectors and in geographical areas of intervention. In Ecuador the project will work in Quito, Chimborazo and Esmeraldas. In Panama, the project will work in Panama City, Pinogana and Comarca Ngäbe Buglé.