Child labor is concentrated in coastal and vulnerable areas of Costa Rica

Child labor is concentrated in coastal and vulnerable areas of Costa Rica, where inequality persists especially towards the black, migrant and indigenous population, with low educational levels and high levels of poverty, an official source said Friday.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Costa Rican Ministry of Labor presented the main results of the application of the Child Labor Risk Indicators Model.

The study indicates that Costa Rica has a vulnerability to child labor nationwide of 27 points on average, out of a total of 100, and the scores vary between 15 and 57 points in the 81 cantons of the country.

"The indicators show a greater incidence in certain areas and with certain characteristics. In all cases we can see that these are populations linked to the agricultural sector, and also of indigenous or Afro-descendant populations, this is an important alert of the attention we have to provide, "Labor Minister Geannina Dinarte told EFE Agency.

Official data cite that in the country there are 30,369 children between 5 and 17 years of age working, which represents 3.1% of the total population in that age range.

The main activities carried out by these minors are agricultural (33.2%), followed by commercial (26.7%).

The report highlights that the provinces with the highest degrees of vulnerability are Limón (Caribbean) with 40.8 points in the index, Puntarenas (Central and South Pacific) with 33 and Guanacaste (North Pacific) which added 29.4 points.

All of them showed risk factors such as low schooling, economic dependence, people in unpaid jobs, as well as high inequalities especially towards the Afro-descendant, migrant and indigenous population.

On the other hand, the provinces of San José (24.3 points), Alajuela (23.6 points), Heredia (22.8) and Cartago (18.2), have better averages in the vulnerability index, although challenges persist in some specific cantons that must be taken care of in an integral way.

"These vulnerabilities are always concentrated in the same areas and what this tool does is identify those cantons with the highest index so that all this problem of inequality, unemployment, lack of schooling, and the situation of poverty and vulnerability that can be addressed repeat if the circle is not broken, "the ILO director for Central America, Haiti, Panama and the Dominican Republic, Carmen Moreno, told Efe.

The authorities said that although Costa Rica has the possibility of becoming the first country in Latin America and the Caribbean to eradicate child labor, it is urgent that it study the panorama that reflects the study and through georeferencing execute a social policy to who need it

"We are in the margin of error of the statistics, so what we need is to go with greater precision because it is a small population (the 30,369 minors) but that deserves an integral attention to arrive at those areas and to attend them focused", said Dinarte.

The next phase of the initiative is to carry out a mapping of social and institutional programs, identify community live forces and meet with local authorities and leaders to apply a strategy that will accelerate the reduction of child labor and dangerous adolescent work.

The Child Labor Risk Indicators Model has been jointly developed by the ILO and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, in coordination with the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, and the economic support of the Government of Spain.


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