Combating the Worst Forms of Child Labor Through Horizontal Cooperation in South America

Project Duration
September 2009
September 2013
Funding and Year

To contribute to the elimination of the worst forms of child labor among racially and socially excluded populations — primarily Afro-descendants and indigenous— through horizontal cooperation.

The Problem

Although Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Paraguay have made efforts during the last decade to combat child labor, millions of children remain engaged in the worst forms of child labor, particularly in agriculture, domestic labor, cattle-raising, and informal urban labor. These are often Afro-descendant and indigenous children who suffer from racial discrimination and social exclusion. Labor inspections and enforcement of labor laws are not fully carried out due to lack of human and financial resources. The quality of services offered to children who are withdrawn from working is inadequate and does not fully encourage them to stay in school or their families to pursue sustainable economic alternatives.

Our Strategy


This project targets 3,600 children for withdrawal and 3,000 children for prevention from the worst forms of child labor, including agriculture, domestic labor, cattle-raising, fishing, informal urban labor, and ceramics. Project interventions will focus on: Brazil: State of Mato Grosso; Bolivia: Parts of Chaco, Northern Amazonia, and El Alto; Ecuador: Provinces of Chimborazo, Tungurahua, Cotopaxi, Carchi, and Esmeraldas and the city of Guayaquil; and Paraguay: States of Canindeyú and Caaguazú as well as the Chaco region and the Tobati district. 

Intermediate Objectives:

  • Provide relevant information about child labor to be used by key institutional actors;
  • Increase capacity of target countries to implement sustainable policies to combat child labor and develop mechanisms to exchange best practices and lessons learned;
  • Raise awareness of child labor among public and private institutions, employers, labor organizations, and civil society organizations;
  • Identify, document, and mainstream successful intervention models to combat child labor.

Summary of Activities:

  • Conduct studies on the worst forms of child labor, including an assessment of the risks and impact on education, health, and safety and the link between adult forced labor and child labor;
  • Develop a framework to promote horizontal cooperation among target countries;
  • Provide technical support for Ministries of Labor to develop protocols, indicators, and procedures to strengthen labor inspections;
  • Support Ministries of Education in identifying and eliminating obstacles to basic education for working children;
  • Assist Ministries of Labor, labor organizations, and employers to develop a set of indicators on child labor and forced labor for supply-chain production;
  • Conduct awareness-raising activities among legislative and judicial institutions at the national, state, and local levels;
  • Support local committees in developing models of communities that are free of child labor; and
  • Select intervention models and provide direct services to working children or children at-risk and their families.


As of March 31, 2013, the project has withdrawn 1,736 children from child labor and prevented 3,534 children from entering child labor. 

International Labor Organization (ILO)
Implementing Partners:
and think tanks; nongovernmental organizations; UN agencies; labor organizations and employers; and community-based organizations, and state levels; universities, Government agencies at national, including Afro-descendant and indigenous organizations, local, public schools
Contact Information:
(202) 693-4843 / Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking (OCFT)
Child Labor
Domestic Work