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Cablegate: Nomination for Iqbal Masih Award for Elimination

VZCZCXYZ0019
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #3826 2951912
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 211912Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5123
INFO RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 1211
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ OCT LIMA 6669
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 7359
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL 4650
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

UNCLAS BOGOTA 003826

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB EIND ETRD PHUM SOCI KTIP CO
SUBJECT: NOMINATION FOR IQBAL MASIH AWARD FOR ELIMINATION
OF CHILD LABOR

REF: STATE 99123

1. Embassy Bogota would like to nominate the Cartagena
Drivers Association (ASOCHOFECAR) for the Department of
Labor's Iqbal Masih Award for the Elimination of Child Labor.
Information requested in reftel is listed below.

2. Nomination information:

a) Cartagena Drivers Association (ASOCHOFECAR)

b) President: Juvencio Raul Castillo Quinonez, phone:
(57)311-404-7563, address: Urbanizacion Las Palmeras, Manzana
19, Lote #3, Cartagena, Colombia.

c) The Cartagena Drivers Association initiated and funded a
public campaign since August 2007 to combat child labor on
busses, working with other transportation associations and
labor leaders, including Coointrarcar and the Central
Unitaria de Trabajadores (CUT), to formulate an agreement
among the public transportation sector called "Improvement
and Compliance in the Public Transportation Sector." The
agreement was signed in October 2007. Children working on
busses and mini buses must call out routes, monitor travel
times, and collect bus fares. These children (called
"sparrings" derived from boxing figures) are paid solely on
commissions, often earning as little as 0.50 dollars a day.
They must hold onto bus rails while hanging out of a moving
vehicle, calling to pedestrians. The job is high-risk,
involves long hours, lacks any formal contract, and clearly
violates child labor laws and childrens' rights.

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As a result of the public campaign and agreement,
ASOCHOFECAR, reported that as of June 2008, 85% of the
transportation sector in Cartagena had stopped hiring
under-age children (ASOCHOFECAR has 100% eradication of child
labor on their buses and cars). Out of the estimated 2,000
buses and micro-buses in Cartagena, approximately 1,700 had
replaced what they call the "sparring" (usually a minor in
charge of recording bus times and/or collecting bus fares)
with an adult suitable for the job.

Beyond this initiative, ASOCHOFECAR has worked with the
Ministry of Social Protection (MSP) on labor law compliance
for over a decade. When the Ministry of Social Protection
sought follow-up implementation on voluntary agreements made
by the transportation sector on child labor since the
agreement was signed, they discovered ASOCHOFECAR had
unilaterally eradicated child labor, while other firms were
continuing child labor practices. ASOCHOFECAR helped MSP
identify the non-compliant companies to further enforce the
agreements.
BROWNFIELD

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