News Release

US Department of Labor awards $8.4M grant to address child labor, forced labor, unacceptable work conditions in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the award of an $8.4 million cooperative agreement to the Pan American Development Foundation to empower civil society organizations and workers’ organizations to address child labor, forced labor and other unacceptable working conditions in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The project will promote gender and racial equity and prioritize people of African descent, Garifuna and indigenous communities.

Administered by the department’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs, the project will work with civil society and workers’ organizations in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to 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 is part of a more than $20 million commitment by the department to promote respect for and compliance with labor rights in the region. This funding is part of the Biden-Harris administration’s Root Causes of Migration Strategy, which seeks to address underlying factors contributing to increased levels of migration among vulnerable populations in northern Central America.

In Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, more than 1.4 million children are engaged in child labor. Many of these children are indigenous, Afro-descendants and Garifuna. These populations are often 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. 

The project will provide direct training, mentorship and small grants funding to at least 45 civil society and workers’ organizations from across six departments in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras where people of African descent and Garifuna or indigenous populations reside. The project will also train 1,200 individuals, representing civil society, government and the private sector, on labor rights and inclusion. These individuals will apply their knowledge and build national and multi-country coalitions to increase collective actions to protect workers, reduce child labor and improve working conditions. These coalitions will include children, youth, civil society and workers organizations, governments and the private sector. 

The Pan American Development Foundation works across Latin America and the Caribbean to make the region stronger. For nearly 60 years, PADF has served the most vulnerable communities, investing resources throughout the hemisphere. The organization partners with and enables civil society, governments, and the private sector for the greater good of the region.

Learn more about the department’s international work.

Bureau of International Labor Affairs
December 29, 2021
Release Number
Media Contact: Christine Feroli
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