PADF has a long history of strong support of human rights. For decades, the Foundation has carried out programs to support victims of violence, combat human rights abuses, fight against human trafficking and child labor, and provide opportunities for greater equality to Afro-descendants, indigenous people, internally displaced persons, and other vulnerable groups. As a result of our work, PADF has greatly impacted women, children and youth’s rights, violence reduction and monitoring, social rights, access to justice, rights of free association and the rights of historically excluded minorities.
Child Labor and Exploitation
Even though the prevalence of child labor has been falling in recent years in Latin America and the Caribbean, exploitation and child labor still represent a significant problem in many parts of the Americas. In the region, 1 in 10 children between the ages of 5 and 14 years work. In Mexico alone, it is estimated that approximately 8 to 11 million children under the age of 15 work.
These practices continue to harm the physical and mental development of children and adolescents. They also interfere with their education. In addition, child labor reinforces intergenerational cycles of poverty, undermines national economies and impedes achieving progress toward development goals. It is not only a cause, but also a consequence of social inequities reinforced by discrimination.
To help tackle this issue, PADF works with governments, multilateral organizations, corporate partners, and civil society organizations to raise public awareness and change perceptions about child labor issues and behavior through campaigns that target communities in vulnerable areas, in particular families, youth and children, and to sensitize citizens about the negative impact of such practices and their dangers to vulnerable children.
Rights of Children and Adolescents
PADF is committed to protecting the rights of children and adolescents and ensuring they have the option to grow-up and live in areas that are safe from environments where violence and exploitation are prevalent. We also seek to prevent all forms of violence against children and adolescents by promoting greater awareness, responsibility, and commitment about the protection of their rights.
To this end, we work with governments from the region to support their priorities in this area. We engage parents, local residents, teachers, community leaders, public officials, and representatives from the private sector so that they are aware of the rights of children and adolescents, that they recognize them as individuals who deserve to have rights, and use the different mechanism available under the law to give them greater access to the justice system.
Combating Human Trafficking and Community-based Violence
PADF works to strengthen networks among civil society groups to improve their ability to combat human rights abuses and trafficking in persons as well as violence on the community level, including domestic servitude of children, violence and torture, rape and abuse of women, gender-based violence and labor exploitation of youth. This support enables civil society organizations that lead national networks to train smaller organizations, improve violence data collection systems, and systematize and disseminate this information at the community level and for public policy design. It also helps to link organizations with government entities that are responsible for assuring adherence to laws so that citizens have the confidence in the judicial system to report crimes and seek assistance.