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This report was researched by Michael Bochenek and Zama Coursen-Neff, counsel to the Children’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch, and Marla González, an attorney with World Vision El Salvador, during a three-week field investigation in February 2003. Staff of the Los Manantiales Area Development Project accompanied them and guided them in their research in the Departments of Ahuachapán, Cabañas, Cuscatlán, La Libertad, Sonsonate, San Miguel, San Salvador, Santa Ana, and Usutlán.

Michael Bochenek wrote the report, which was edited by Zama Coursen-Neff; Lois Whitman, executive director of the Children’s Rights Division; Wilder Tayler, legal and policy director of Human Rights Watch; and Iain Levine, program director of Human Rights Watch. LaShawn R. Jefferson, executive director of the Women’s Rights Division; Joanne Mariner, deputy director of the Americas Division; and Carol Pier, labor rights researcher for the Business and Human Rights Program, also reviewed and commented on the manuscript. Mina Kumar designed the map. Fitzroy Hepkins, Andrea Holley, Veronica Matushaj, and Dana Sommers provided production assistance. Juan Luís Guillén translated the report from English into Spanish.

Human Rights Watch is indebted to the nongovernmental organizations and individuals who assisted us in the course of our field research, among them Yolanda Barrientos, Fundación Olof Palme; Roberto Burgos, Instituto de Derechos Humanos, Universidad Centroamericana; Comisión de Derechos Humanos; Matthew Eisen, Nueva Generación XXI; Jorge Escoto, coordinator, Programa Acción para la Niñez, Fundación Olof Palme; Fe y Alegría; Nora Hernández, Las Dignas; Delmy Iglesias, director, Fundación Olof Palme; Carlos Tito López, Fundación Olof Palme; Victorio Sánchez, CARE El Salvador; Alfredo Vargas, Enclace; and Georgina Villalta, coordinator, Red para la Infancia. We would also like to express our appreciation to the following governmental and intergovernmental officials and agencies: Zoila de Innocenti, Instituto Salvadoreño para el Desarrollo de la Mujer; Ministry of Education; Ministry of Labor; Procuradoría para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos; Benjamin Smith, International Labour Organization; and UNICEF. Finally, we would like to thank the domestic workers we interviewed. Their names have been changed to protect their privacy.

Human Rights Watch gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the
General Service Foundation for the research and writing of this report.

Previous Human Rights Watch reports on child labor

Small Change: Bonded Child Labor in India’s Silk Industry, 2003

Lasting Wounds: Consequences of Genocide and War on Rwanda’s Children, 2003

Borderline Slavery: Child Trafficking in Togo, 2003

Tainted Harvest: Child Labor and Obstacles to Organizing on Ecuador’s Banana Plantations, 2002

From the Household to the Factory: Sex Discrimination in the Guatemala Labor Force, 2002

Underage and Unprotected: Child Labor in Egypt’s Cotton Fields, 2001

Fingers to the Bone: United States’ Failure to Protect Child Farmworkers, 2000

The Small Hands of Slavery: Bonded Child Labor in India, 1996

Contemporary Forms of Slavery in Pakistan, 1995

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January 2003