On the International Labor Organization’s 11thannual World Day Against Child Labor, among representatives of the Costa Rican Civil Society and with President Laura Chinchilla present, president of the Commission of Social Matters, Deputy Elibeth Venegas called upon the three political powers of Costa Rica (legislative, judicial and executive) to unite against unhealthy child labor.
According to the International Labor Organization, not all work done by children is Child Labor. “The term child labor is often defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity and that is harmful to physical, mental and educative development.”
Child Labor refers to work that is:
- mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children
- interferes with their schooling
- deprives them of the opportunity to attend school
- obliges them to leave school prematurely
- requires them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work
Costa Rica President Laura Chinchilla signed a public commitment to the continued and increased fight against Child Labor. Many minds have successfully come together to make this advancement possible. The Commission of Social Matters, Ministry of Work and Social Security and the Costa Rican Civil Society all contributed. Even the Costa Rican Institute of electricity (ICE) declared that they would do their part to ensure public awareness on the matter.
In Deputy Venegas’ address on World Day Against Child Labor she stated, “Costa Rica is a country that has advanced a lot in regards to the eradication of Child Labor, unhealthy labor and adolescent dangers. According to household surveys, we had 115,000 minors working in the year 2002, down to 47,400 in 2011. However, we should achieve having these numbers be zero as soon as possible, because children should enjoy their rights fully.” This new census showed that 4.6% (47,400) of children between the ages of 5 and 17 are preoccupied in economic activities within Costa Rica. The survey program is the first of its kind in over 10 years.
“With satisfaction we can finally say that the government has a technological instrument that will allow us to be more effective and adequately focus our actions on such economic activities and geographic location where the problem presents itself with the most intensity.” - Sandra Piszk of the Ministry of Work and Social Security on the new home census that is helping to identify Child Labor issues.