Latin América

Unemployment, AIDS and Child Exploitation on the Increase

By Carlos Quintanilla

A recent report published by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) says that at least 48 percent of Salvadorans have substandard jobs and earn less than a minimum wage. According to the report, six percent of that figure constitutes people unable to find any job. The UNDP says that since 1960 there have been no government plans to cut underemployment or improve work quality.

UNDP calls for strategies to increase employment and education levels to improve the population’s income. In the budget approved November 19 by the Salvadoran Legislative Assembly, the government foresaw a salary hike for civil servants and an increase in minimum wages and pensions.

Another issue affecting Salvadorans is AIDS. A total of 2,000 Salvadoran citizens get sick each year, according to statistic data from the National Public Health Ministry.

According to Salvadoran National Sexual Infection Program reports that the incidence of AIDS has increased among females. Hospitals have reported 1,760 deaths between 2005 and the present, with 81.4 percent of the patients ranging in age between 15 to 49. The Program warns the government to strengthen education in the schools, universities and other places, so that adolescents and young adults can become aware of the illness.

A report by the Pan American Health Organization recently announced that El Salvador has no national prevention policy, and that the national public health authorities are limited by lack of resources. Data from the Salvadorian Public Health Ministry says that the first AIDS case was reported in the country in 1984, and since then, 24,000 people have suffered from AIDS, 16,075 of them male, and 8,122 women.

Meanwhile, child exploitation increases, particularly in México, where about 3.5 million Mexican children are exploited for labor, according to data released in November by the Law Faculty of México’s National University.

According to the source, some of those child workers suffer abuse and sometimes live in slavery, without respect for their rights or any guarantees to safeguard their welfare. Mexican child workers also face problems of malnutrition, as well as lack of education and medical attention.

The Mexican Constitution mandates the duty of the state to protect children and to provide for their food, education, and health, but the state seems to be doing the opposite.

Carlos Quinntanilla produces and hosts KPFK’s Spanish Language News Program “Noticiero Pacífica”, which is broadcast over 90.7FM on Wednesdays at 10:30 PM. Noticiero Pacífica is the only independent news program in the Los Angeles area focusing on Latin American issues. P. O. Box 761475, Los Angeles, CA 90076. E-mail:<>



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