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Cablegate: Nomination for Iqbal Masih Award ) Mexico

VZCZCXYZ0003
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHME #3385/01 3191727
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 141727Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3986
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS MEXICO 003385

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR DRL/AWH AND ILSCR, WHA/MEX, USDOL FOR ILAB/OCFT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB EIND ETRD PHUM SOCI KTIP MX
SUBJECT: NOMINATION FOR IQBAL MASIH AWARD ) MEXICO

REF: STATE 120132

Embassy Mexico City hereby nominates the CROC (Revolutionary
Confederation of Workers and Farmers), Mexican labor
federation for the Iqbal Masih award in recognition of its
efforts to reduce the worst forms of child labor. The
following information is keyed to paragraph 9 of Reftel:


A) Name: CROC -- Revolutionary Confederation of Workers and
Farmers

B) Address: Hamburgo No. 250
Esq. Con Sevilla
Mexico, DF 06600
Tel: 52-55-5208-5444
Email: crocmodel@hotmail.com

C) Executive Summary: The CROC is the third largest private
sector labor federation in Mexico. It has affiliate unions
across the full spectrum of Mexico,s private sector but it
is best known for its strong presence in the businesses that
make up the country,s tourist industry. The most important
of these elements, with respect to this nomination, are in
the areas of hotels, restaurants and ground transportation
(specifically taxi cab companies). CROC affiliated unions are
the dominate labor organizations in Mexico,s Yucatan
peninsula often referred to as the &Rivera Maya8. This
region contains the internationally renowned tourist areas of
Cancun, Playa del Carmen and the Island of Cozumel. The CROC
is also very strong in many of Mexico,s other tourist
locations such as Cabo San Lucas and other places along the
country,s pacific coast.

As a labor organization the CROC prides itself on having
adopted a philosophy it calls &social unionism8. This
philosophy recognizes that workers are only on their jobs
eight hours a day and that during the remaining 16 hours they
were ordinary citizens concerned for the welfare of Mexico.
The CROC,s idea of &social unionism8 has many components
but one of its main elements is an ongoing initiative to
combat the worst forms of child labor in Mexico,s tourist
industry.

According to the &Infantia Foundation8 a Mexican NGO that
focuses on children,s issues, in the last five years a half
million children and adolescents have formally been reported
as missing in Mexico and that only 20 per cent of these
children have ever been found. Partly as a result of this, an
NGO spokesperson said, an internet search for the phrase
&sexual paradise8 would show that Mexico is now rated
number three worldwide in terms of this form of abusive child
labor.

Because of its philosophy of social unionism the CROC is very
aware of the problem of sexual tourism in Mexico and long ago
decided to do something about this situation. Since the
CROC,s membership is heavily represented in Mexico,s hotel
and restaurants industries the union realized that they have
an excellent vantage point from which to fight against this
form of child labor. Consequently, the CROC undertook the
responsibility of training its members so that they could
begin to do something about the problem of children in the
commercial sex trade.

What the CROC is doing is holding an ongoing series of
seminars to education volunteer union members about the
extent of this form of child labor and what they can do to
combat it. These volunteers ultimately serve as trainers for
their co-workers in their respective places of employment.
The volunteers are taught how to spot and how to report
suspected incidents of child exploitation to the proper
authorities in such a way as to ensure an appropriate
response from local law enforcement authorities since Mexican
law is very specific as to who can report these types of
incidents and under what circumstances before the police are
allowed/obligated to investigate the suspected crime.

In organizing these seminars the CROC has obtained assistance
from the GOM,s Secretariat of Labor, the International Labor
Organization (ILO), the Inter-American Regional Labor
Organization (ORIT), the DIF (the national family/child
welfare agency), UNICEF and COPARMEX (a national private
sector employers association roughly comparable to the US
Chamber of Commerce). Since 2006, and with the cooperation of
these national and international organizations, the CROC has
trained approximately 500 volunteers capable of training
other union members in the procedures on how to stop and how
properly report suspected incidents of the worst forms of
child labor in Mexico,s tourism industry.

Taking on the task of combating this form of child labor is
not something that the CROC was in any way compelled to do.
Nevertheless it has fully committed itself to this
undertaking and has obtained important assistance in this
endeavor from both national and international organizations.
An initiative of this type can and is making a difference
here in Mexico. Winning the recognition that the Iqbal Masih
award represents would do a great deal to help the CROC gain
the support of other organizations and perhaps even
governmental agencies in the ongoing challenge to one day
eliminate this form of child labor.


Visit Mexico City's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/wha/mexicocity and the North American
Partnership Blog at http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/nap /
GARZA

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