In the last few years the very frail economy in Latin America has left large groups of the population and entire areas of the continent socially and economically backward. The youngsters are those suffering the most from this serious social crisis. News reports about sexual tourism, exploitation and abuse of minors are making clear that children need more protections from society. The poorest children, such as orphans and children from ubrupt families, are the the most vulnerable one as they easily fall prey to the most violent crimes - child prostitution, slavery, and organ trafficking.
In El Salvador, Argentina, Bolivia, Guatemala, Mexico and elsewhere, the "escuelitas" are welcoming children in need of protection and support. The "escuelitas" are working against the high dropout rate and provide active support to the most disadvantaged children at the side of society. The very existence of the Schools of Peace represents a real protection for young people: they offer ways to avoid early child labor and the strenght to determine their own future.