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News Release

Department of Labor, Government of Paraguay commit to support new $6 million program to combat child labor

WASHINGTON — When the government of Paraguay established its Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security in 2014, it demonstrated a commitment to tackling important challenges, including combating child labor and strengthening enforcement of its labor laws. To help achieve this goal, it reached out to the U.S. Department of Labor to help build the capacity of its new ministry.

Qusai, 13, scavenges through trash in 'Jordan: Living on Scrap,' a Promising Futures documentary, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor Christopher P. Lu (left) and Paraguay's Minister of Labor Guillermo Sosa after signing a letter of agreement to combat child labor in Washington, D.C., Nov. 6, 2015

Today, Deputy Secretary of Labor Christopher P. Lu and Paraguay's Minister of Labor Guillermo Sosa signed a letter of agreement affirming the shared commitment of the U.S. and Paraguayan governments to support a new, four-year project to combat child labor, improve labor law enforcement, and improve working conditions in Paraguay, with a focus on the department of Guairá. The Bureau of International Labor Affairs also announced a $6 million award to Partners of the Americas, a non-profit organization, to implement this project.

"Paraguay Okakuaa," which means Paraguay Progresses in the Guaraní language, will provide specialized training and support to the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security to strengthen the effectiveness of the labor inspectorate, improve the ministry's data systems on labor law enforcement, and increase interagency collaboration on combating child labor. It will also implement innovative education and training programs in the region of Guairá with the aim of keeping children in school and youth out of hazardous jobs, in part by working with Paraguay's National Training Institute to develop programs that provide market-relevant skills that lead to sustained employment.

In collaboration with business leaders in the department of Guairá, Paraguay Okakuaawill also build on previous efforts to combat child labor, with a particular emphasis on providing opportunities to adolescent girls. Approximately 1,650 children and 1,350 families are expected to benefit from the program.

These efforts address specific recommendations in the Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor report, which in 2014 recognized Paraguay's significant advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. Through its programming, ILAB has been supporting the Paraguayan government's efforts to fight child labor for more than a decade.

ILAB leads the U.S. government's efforts to ensure that workers around the world are treated fairly and are able to share in the benefits of the global economy. To these ends, ILAB has provided funding for 295 projects in more than 90 countries to combat the worst forms of child labor by providing assistance to vulnerable children and their families.

ILAB News Release: [11/06/2015]
Contact Name: Egan Reich
Phone Number: (202) 693-4960
Release Number: 15-2177-NAT