Spotlight on CENDHEC Brazil:
Young people demand increased monitoring and implementation of public policies
 Photo 1
Municipal Meeting of Children and Adolescent Domestic Laborers
Photo: Centro Dom Helder Câmara de Estudos e Ações Sociais
The 2005 National Household Research (Pnad), by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) reveals that child labor has increased in Brazil. Between 2004 and 2005, the number of child and adolescent laborers went from 5.3 to 5.45 million.

IBGE research also indicates the growth of domestic child labor: from 403 thousand in 2004 to 404 thousand in 2005. Because children and adolescents engaged in domestic labor are subject to excessive work hours, small or no remuneration, humiliations and even moral and sexual violations, this is considered one of the worst forms of child labor.

CIRCLE’s partner Centro Dom Helder Câmara de Estudos e Ação Social (CENDHEC), has been fighting child labor in the State of Pernambuco, Brazil, through the participation in the State Fórum to Prevent and Eradicate Child Labor. CENDHEC has also been carrying out studies and programs that have helped to uncover the invisibility of the issue and to address the domestic child labor phenomena in the city of Recife.

With the support of CIRCLE, CENDHEC has mobilized civil society and public entities of Recife to develop the Municipal Plan to Eradicate Child Labor. The plan was approved within the Municipal Council of Childrens’ Rights, and has become a public policy.

In December 2006, the Plan was presented to 120 children, adolescents and youths, in the city of Recife, Pernambuco, during the II Municipal Meeting of Children and Adolescent Domestic Laborers. The participants discussed how to demand from the government the implementation of the actions stated by the Plan. Besides, they participated in thematic workshops on Communication, Violence, Reproductive Health, Sexual Rights, Youth and Labor, Gender, Family and Community. The adolescents engaged in the organization of the Meeting and in facilitation of the workshops.

As a result of the Meeting, a Commission of youths wrote an open letter to society (see full text below), demanding from the authorities the implementation of the Municipal Plan and its use to defend the rights of children and adolescents in Recife.

Some of the statements in the letter include, the condemnation of all forms of child labor, the demand for greater monitoring of social programs such as the Program for Child Labor Eradication (PETI), in order to identify families that are receiving the social benefits inappropriately, and improvements of the Program in the areas of infrastructure and diversification of activities developed during the extra curriculum activities.

For more information, please visit or talk to CENDHEC through the email

Carta abierta a la sociedad

Nosotros, niños, adolescentes y jovenes, reunidos en la II Reunión Municipal para Niños y Adolescentes Trabajores Domésticos, quisiéramos decir que todos los niños y adolescentes tienen las derechas y los deberes, así como adultos, y también algunas derechas especiales, como el derecha a un hogar decente, derecho de estudiar, de atender a entrenamientos técnicos y de ir a la universidad. Deseamos que estas derechas sean asegurados para todos.

Creemos que todas las familias tienen el derecho de no exponer a los sus niños a cualquier forma de trabajo infantil, ya que este es dañino para sus estudios, desarrollo psicologico y potencial por un futuro mejor.

Entendemos la importancia de programas sociales, pero deseamos mayor supervisión a fin de evitar que las familias que no necesitan beneficios tengan acceso a ellos, en vez de que estas otras familias que realmente necesitan esta ayuda.

Deseamos una mejor estructura para las actividades de PETI, juegos y variadas actividades para no desalentar a niños y adolescentes beneficiarios a atender.

Impulsamos el derecho de participar y de seguir las acciones que estamos recomendando y quisiéramos que todos fueran satisfechos para que nuestras derechas sean garantizados.

Entendemos que el plan municipal para prevenir y erradicar el trabajo infantil y para proteger al adolescente trabajador en la ciudad de Recife, contribuye a mejorar la vida de los niños trabajadores y exigimos que estos sean satisfechos.

Quisiéramos decir que estaremos siempre atentos a que estos derechos sean satisfechos. Así, exigimos que las autoridades competentes tomen las acciones del presente y las apliquen para mejorar nuestras vidas.

Recife, 16 de Diciembre de 2006.
Open letter to society

We, children, adolescents and young people, gathered at the II Municipal Meeting for Domestic Child and Adolescent Workers, would like to say that all children and adolescents have rights and duties, as well as adults, and also some special rights, as the right to a decent housing, to study, to leisure, to attend technical trainings and to go to University. We want these rights to be assured for all.

We believe all families have the right not to expose their children to any sort of child labor, as this is harmful for their studies, psychological development and potential for a better future.

We understand the importance of social programs, but we want greater monitoring to avoid that families who do not need the benefits have access to them, instead of other families who need this assistance.

We want a better structure for PETI´s activities, playful and varied activities, so that children and adolescents beneficiaries are not discouraged to attend.

We urge the right to participate and follow up the actions we are recommending and we want all of them to be fulfilled for our rights to be guaranteed.

We understand that the Municipal Plan to Prevent and Eradicate Child Labor and Protect the Adolescent Worker in the City of Recife contributes to improve the life of child laborers and we demand that it is fulfilled.

We would like to say that we will always be aware that these rights are fulfilled. Thus, we demand that competent authorities take the actions off the paper and apply them to improve our lives.

Recife, December 16th, 2006.