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Protecting the Rights of Children in the War on Drugs in Latin America and the Caribbean

  • When
  • November 7, 2019 6:00–7:30 p.m.
  • Where
  • Open Society Foundations–New York
    224 West 57th Street
    New York, NY 10019
    United States of America
  • Speakers
  • Luciano Cadoni, Corina Giacomello, Facundo Sessa, and Coletta Youngers
  • Programs
  • Global Drug Policy Program
  • In partnership with
  • Church World Service, the Washington Office on Latin America

How Can We Help the Children of Incarcerated Parents?


The “war on drugs” and regressive drug policies that rely on law enforcement have led to growing incarceration rates worldwide. The impact of this level of incarceration cannot be fully understood or addressed without considering its less visible victims: the families and, in particular, the children of men and women in prison.

A new report—Childhood that Matters or Niñez que Cuenta—by Church World Service sits at this rarely-examined crossroad between incarceration, drug policy, and children’s rights. Published in advance of the 30th anniversary of the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child, this regional report analyses the impact of parental incarceration on children, and examines exposure to violence, feelings of loss, stigma, increasing poverty levels, and the difficulty of maintaining a relationship with an incarcerated parent. The report presents a series of recommendations based on interviews with children who have relatives in prison for nonviolent drug offenses in countries across Latin America and the Caribbean. 

This event features a presentation and panel discussion with experts from Latin America and the Caribbean who were all an integral part of the report.


  • Luciano Cadoni


    Luciano Cadoni is a program officer for the protection of the rights of the child at Church World Service’s office for Latin America and the Caribbean.

  • Corina Giacomello


    Corina Giacomello is a researcher at the National Institute of Legal Research (Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas) of the Autonomous University of Chiapas, and the lead researcher on the Childhood that Matters report.

  • Facundo Sessa


    Facundo Sessa, a youth leader in Montevideo, Uruguay, participated in and shared his testimony with Childhood that Matters.

  • Coletta Youngers


    Coletta Youngers is a senior fellow with the Washington Office on Latin America’s drug policy program and senior fellow with the International Drug Policy Consortium.

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