Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

Panama

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Panama
2021 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

Moderate Advancement

In 2021, Panama made moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The government launched a new digital platform for reporting child abuse complaints, including cases of children subjected to commercial sexual exploitation, begging, and forced labor. The Ministry of Labor also signed an agreement with the National Council of Private Enterprises that promotes a public-private partnership for the creation of a network of companies that work on the prevention and eradication of child labor. In addition, the government increased the number of labor inspectors from 93 in 2020 to 105 in 2021, as well as provided social services to 800 child survivors and children at risk of child labor. However, children in Panama are subjected to the worst forms of child labor, including in commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking. Children also perform dangerous tasks in agriculture. Panamanian law allows minors under age 16 to engage in hazardous work within training facilities in violation of international standards. Moreover, labor law enforcement agencies lack the financial and human resources necessary to fulfill their mandate. Finally, existing social programs are insufficient to address the full scope of the child labor problem in the country, in particular for children living in rural areas and from indigenous and Afro-Panamanian communities.

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