Increasing Collective Action to Address Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Other Unacceptable Conditions of Work in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras

Project Duration
December 2021
June 2026
Funding and Year

The project will work with civil society and workers' organizations in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to strengthen their capacity and bolster their collaboration with government agencies, the private sector and other stakeholders to protect labor rights and reduce child labor and forced labor. The project will focus on organizations that represent indigenous, Afro-descendant, and Garifuna populations, while promoting gender and racial equity.

The Problem

Workers and their families who are vulnerable to labor exploitation in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, are often from indigenous, Afro-descendant, or Garifuna communities. They are frequently among the poorest and most marginalized groups, with limited access to education, health services, and housing. They are also more likely to work in informal jobs without social security, health benefits, or other employment protections. 

Civil society and workers' organizations could help to address child labor, forced labor, and other unacceptable working conditions, but their role has been restricted by government controls and violence against trade union leaders. 

These organizations often face challenges in complying with burdensome legal requirements for registration with their respective governments. They also have difficulty mobilizing resources to carry out their missions and harnessing data and technology to increase the impact of their work. 

Our Strategy

The project seeks to increase the organizational resilience and technical capacity of more than 45 civil society and workers organizations across 6 Departments in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras where people of African descent, Garifuna and indigenous populations reside. These organizations will receive direct training, mentorship and small grants funding to strengthen their ability to address child labor and forced labor, and promote inclusive, safe, and healthy working conditions in their communities.  

The project will also create opportunities for greater collaboration among civil society and workers’ organizations, government agencies, the private sector, and other actors to advance labor rights at the local, national and regional levels. For example, 1,200 individuals representing civil society, government and the private sector will be trained on labor rights and inclusion in order to strengthen national and multi-country coalitions to increase collective actions to protect workers, reduce child labor and forced labor, and improve working conditions.

Local leaders, children and youth, women, and other workers will be at the core of the project. Their needs and expectations will inform project activities.


  • The project held 5 public launches across the three targeted countries and reached over 500 individuals between December 2023 and February 2023.
  • The project carried out organizational capacity assessments of 66 organizations in the region and signed 63 letters of commitments for CSOs and WOs to participate in project activities.
  • The project kicked off its training bootcamp program with over 52 civil society and worker organizations participating. Topics covered in the first session introduced the fundamentals of human rights and labor rights which included forced labor, child labor, discrimination and workplace violence, sexual harassment and assault in the workplace, unacceptable conditions of work and atypical labor arrangements. Overall, participants in all three countries demonstrated increased knowledge on labor rights, labor laws in their own countries, and some expressed the desire to replicate this type of workshop in their own communities.
Pan American Development Foundation
Implementing Partners:
El Salvador: GMIES (Grupo de Monitoreo Independiente de El Salvador), Guatemala: Tz’ununija’ (Movimiento de Mujeres Indígenas Tz’ununija’), Honduras: COIPRODEN (Coordinadora de Instituciones Privadas Pro las Niñas, Niños, Adolescentes, Jóvenes y sus Derechos)
Contact Information: / Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking (OCFT)
Child Labor
Awareness Raising
Capacity Building
Central America
Civil Society Organizations
El Salvador
Forced Labor
Gender and Racial Equity
Northern Central America
Worker Voice
Workers Organizations