The June 10 front-page story "El Salvador Scarred by Child Labor" contained no information about El Salvador's progress in eradicating child labor.
Since 1992 El Salvador has undergone a dramatic transformation from poverty, oppression and civil war to economic growth, democracy and political stability. The government has rebuilt the industrial labor relations system and improved implementation and enforcement of labor laws, including those banning child labor.
El Salvador was among the first countries in the hemisphere to ratify the International Labor Organization's Convention 182 on the worst forms of child labor and the first to commit to eliminate child labor under a new ILO initiative. With the support of the Spanish and U.S. governments, some 10,000 children and parents have been assisted and removed from dangerous jobs. We expect that 35,000 more will receive help through 2005.
The Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) will broaden labor protections. It will be a powerful catalyst for strengthening institutional reforms and El Salvador's ability to ensure implementation of core labor standards.
El Salvador is working hard to eradicate child labor and create an environment in which all children complete their education.
RENE A. LEON
Embassy of El Salvador