Senderos: Sembrando Derechos, Cosechando Mejores Futuros
Senderos is a project in Mexico that involves multiple stakeholders in government, the private sector, and civil society working together to improve adherence to international standards on child labor, forced labor, occupational safety and health (OSH), and other acceptable conditions of work in the sugarcane and tobacco sectors in Jalisco and Nayarit. The project will increase government capacity to enforce labor laws in agricultural supply chains, improve private sector awareness and compliance with labor laws, and increase farmworkers’ awareness of labor rights and grievances mechanisms.
Although children under the age of 18 are legally prohibited from working in agriculture, child labor is prevalent in Mexico’s agricultural sector, where children perform dangerous tasks. Agricultural workers, many of whom are migrant workers, are regularly exposed to abuse such as discrimination, sexual harassment, labor exploitation, unsafe and precarious conditions of work, and physical violence. They often face labor rights violations such as salary withholding, restriction of movement, and OSH infractions. Existing labor law is inconsistently applied or infrequently employed to protect farmworkers in Mexico.
ILAB has supported efforts in Mexico to address child labor and improve acceptable conditions of work in agriculture since 2009. This project builds off the experience of working in agricultural communities across different sectors. In the states of Jalisco and Nayarit, where sugarcane and tobacco are produced, Senderos will provide stakeholders with tools to address labor violations in the agriculture sector.
To foster the positive change that will benefit workers, the project involves different actors such as government agencies, employers, and workers to implement improved tools to monitor and enforce laws related to child labor, OSH and other acceptable conditions of work in the agricultural sector. One component of the project will focus on the employers to increase implementation of due diligence activities and facilitate access to grievance mechanisms for workers to remediate unacceptable conditions of work in their workplaces.
The project’s approach also involves raising awareness among farm workers to make them aware of their rights under the law through worker-to-worker education, facilitation of health and safety committees, and worker self-advocacy groups.