In the News

El Salvador Scarred by Child Labor

El Caribe (Dominican Republic)

Subsistence Work in Sugar Cane Fields Leads to Injuries, Continuing Poverty

By Kevin Sullivan

EL CHAPARRAL, El Salvador -- Jesus Franco, 14, has scars crisscrossing his legs from his ankles to his thighs, and more on his small hands. For more than half of his young life, he's spent long days cutting sugar cane. He has the machete scars to prove it, and so do his four brothers and sisters, age 9 to 19, all of whom work in the sweltering cane fields.

The nation is sentenced to pay 2000 million pesos to the victims of the attack on Santo Domingo

El Tiempo

The ruling of the Administrative Tribunal of Arauca favors the families of those who died in the explosion of a bomb dropped by the Armed Forces. On December 13 of 1998, in an operation targeting FARC guerrillas in Arauca, the Air Force bombed a section of Santo Domingo, resulting in the deaths of 18 civilians, 7 of them minors, and wounding 23 others. As a result of this case, the US State Department suspended aid to the Colombian Air Force base in Palanquero.

Children's World Congress: Child labour far from being eradicated - education is the key

International Confederation of Free Trade Unions

ICFTU Online, Florence

According to participants at the Children's World Congress on Child Labour, achieving universal free primary education worldwide is an essential part of the solution to ending the continuing scourge of child labour worldwide. The three-day congress convened 10-13 May, in Florence, the capital of Tuscany, Italy.

Labor supporters wary of trade pact

Houston Chronicle


Factory worker Norma Escobar suspected financial troubles at the Carolina Apparel plant in La Libertad, El Salvador, when her $30-a-week paychecks started arriving late.

Soon, the factory where pants, overalls and jeans were hastily fashioned by the nimble fingers of mostly female stitchers for U.S. retailers closed. It left 350 unemployed workers for the North Carolina company short nearly $80,000 in back wages and severance pay, according to Women's Edge Coalition, a human rights group.

Chiquita paid alleged terror groups


Banana producer says Colombian unit made protection payments to groups U.S. regards as terrorists.

(Reuters) - The U.S. government is investigating Chiquita Brands International Inc. for making "protection" payments to certain Colombian groups which the U.S. says are terrorist organizations, the company said Monday.

The announcement came on the same day the Cincinnati-based distributor of bananas and other fresh fruits reported first-quarter net income falling to $20 million, or 46 cents per share, from $25 million, or 62 cents, a year ago.

World's child workers speak out


By Frances Kennedy

In Rome

The first Children's World Congress on child labour opens in Florence on Monday. Some 246m children are estimated to be in full-time work worldwide

The conference - organised by trade unions and NGOs - intends to bring together current or former child workers and child activists to exchange ideas and put pressure on governments to combat child labour.

Flower workers deserve better

Chicago Sun Times


Roses are red, violets are blue;

The flowers you're getting on Mother's Day,

Are not just about you.

Those flowers are also about the thousands of mothers and young women in South America who are forced to work in horrendous conditions so we can have that bouquet of flowers on Mother's Day.

In the lead-up to Mother's Day when U.S. demand for fresh-cut flowers increases exponentially, women in South America are working as many as 60 hours per week, but are often denied overtime wages.

May Day: Trade Unions Around the World Call For Respect for Workers' Rights


Brussels, 30th April 2004

"In an era of prosperity for the few, the battle for full workers' rights for the majority is far from over. On the occasion of May Day (1st May), the international labour movement is calling for global solidarity which is ever more necessary against a backdrop of worldwide exploitation and abuse of workers" said Guy Ryder of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU).