Latin America and the Caribbean

24 April 1998

Honduras Vows to Combat Child Labor

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras - Honduras on Thursday launched a plan to take an estimated 240,000 children out of building sites and factories and put them back in school, an official said.

"Eliminating child labor in the long term is not impossible, although we may be unable to achieve it in the short term," Special Prosecutor Rigoberto Portillo told journalists.

Portillo said the plan will target jobs threatening the lives and health of working children by offering subsidies to their families, but added that impoverished Honduras will need international aid to do this.

In Honduras, children push overloaded wheelbarrows on building sites, work in dairy plant refrigerators, operate power saws, industrial knives and slicing machines in food processing factories.

Portillo spoke the day after a Global March Against Child Labor arrived in Honduras, having set off from Brazil two months ago.

According to the International Labor Organization's "International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor," some 241,000 Honduran children between 11-17 years old are working, mainly because they come from poor families.

Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited.

Return to PANGAEA HomePage