Eliminating Child Labour in El Salvador Through Economic Empowerment and Social Inclusion

Project Duration
December 2010
March 2016
Funding and Year

Project Objective: Contribute to the elimination of child labor in El Salvador, in particular the worst forms.

The Problem

Despite El Salvador’s efforts to combat child labor, more than 188,000 children work; most of them are boys, live in rural areas, and work alongside their families without receiving payment. It is estimated that 68 percent of these children come from female-headed households.

Children are engaged in the worst form of child labor in agriculture, fishing, firework production, garbage recycling, and domestic service, where they are exposed to the elements, long hours, and physical injuries. They are also used by gangs for illicit activities.

Factors such as poverty, lack of quality education, social acceptance of child labor, insufficient resources and capacity to address child labor, limited enforcement of child labor laws and interagency coordination, and weak child labor monitoring contribute to the existence of child labor in El Salvador.

In 2009, El Salvador approved the Law for the Protection of Children and Adolescents (LEPINA) and Roadmap to Make El Salvador Free of Child Labor and of its Worst Forms (Roadmap). LEPINA establishes the legal framework for the protection of children’s rights while the Roadmap is the policy blueprint to eliminate the worst forms of child labor by 2015 and child labor in general by 2020.  

Our Strategy

Targets: This project will provide educational services to 13,000 children and livelihood opportunities to 5,100 households. 

Intermediate Objectives:

  • Help government agencies, which implement poverty reduction, decent work, and social protection programs for the rural and urban poor, to adopt strategies to eliminate child labor;
  • Develop and fully operationalize child labor law enforcement and protection mechanisms, particularly for the worst forms of child labor;
  • Enhance national capacity to conduct child labor research, monitoring, and impact evaluations; 
  • Strengthen municipal capacity to prevent and eliminate child labor, in particular the worst forms;
  • Provide livelihood alternatives to households that rely on child labor to meet basic needs; and
  • Implement education models to combat child labor and improve quality education.  

Summary of Activities:

  • Provide technical assistance to mainstream child labor concerns into national poverty reduction and social protection frameworks;
  • Promote the adoption of a hazardous child labor list and its dissemination;
  • Provide technical support to policy coordination bodies for the implementation of the Roadmap;
  • Adapt training materials and train labor inspectors in child labor, particularly in the informal and agricultural sectors;
  • Provide technical assistance to the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare to design an inter-agency protocol to coordinate activities to combat child labor;
  • Support the establishment of Municipal Committees for the Protection of Childhood and Adolescence in target municipalities;
  • Increase household income by improving productivity and providing job-training services; and
  • Support the implementation of inclusive education models to reduce child labor 


As of October 2015, the project had provided education services to 13,054 children engaged in or at high risk of entering child labor, and livelihood services to 5,100 families of child laborers or children at high risk of entering child labor.

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