Child Labor in Paraguay: How to Eradicate Criadazgo

June 22, 2021

TACOMA, Washington — The abominable practice of criadazgo (roughly translated to serfdom in the context of child labor) is the practice of taking in a child from a less privileged family to work at a household without receiving any pay or education. In other words, it is a form of slavery that affects youths ranging from ages five to seventeen. Not only does it deprive them of their right to education, but minors often work long hours and experience sexual and physical abuse.

Criadazgo in Paraguay

Like in many other Latin American countries, criadazgo has existed in Paraguay practically since the country gained independence from Spain more than 200 years ago. Over the centuries, it has consolidated itself into Paraguayan society and was only declared illegal in 2001.

Yet, in 2016, 18% of domestic workers in Paraguay were between 10 to 19 years old. Children often have to work as part of debt bondage, in the cattle-raising sector, as street vendors and in households doing domestic work.

Low-income families often cannot afford to raise their offspring. In many instances, middle and upper-class households buy children to work for an indefinite number of years, often continuing to do domestic work even after 18 years of age. In the worst cases, this type of child labor introduces youths to trafficking and forced prostitution.

Read the full article by Araí Yegros on Borgen Magazine

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