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2012 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

In 2012, Cape Verde made a moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. During the reporting period, the Government established a national committee to coordinate efforts to eliminate child labor; created a specialized unit for the prevention and elimination of child labor within the Ministry of Youth, Employment, and Human Resource Development; and adopted a Regional Action Plan to Combat Child Labor. Cape Verde also adopted a Poverty Reduction and Growth Plan that targets the elimination of child labor through development and education initiatives. In late 2012, Cape Verde’s National Statistical Institute collaborated with the ILO to carry out a national child labor survey. Additionally, the Government continued to participate in a number of national and regional projects to combat child labor and enhance services to victims. Despite these efforts, Cape Verde continues to face legislative gaps, including a low compulsory education age and no protections against commercial sexual exploitation of older youth. Children in Cape Verde continue to engage in the worst forms of child labor, including in commercial sexual exploitation.

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Learn More: ILAB in Cape Verde | Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor | Previous Reports:



Prevalence and Sectoral Distribution of the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Children in Cape Verde are engaged in the worst forms of child labor, including in commercial sexual exploitation.(3, 4) Children in Cape Verde also work in domestic service.(3, 5-8) Children employed as domestics may be required to work long hours, performing strenuous tasks without sufficient food or shelter. They may be isolated in private homes and are susceptible to physical and sexual abuse.(9, 10)

In rural areas, children work in dangerous activities in agriculture and animal husbandry. Although the scope of the problem is limited, children also engage in fishing.(3-5, 8, 11, 12) Limited evidence suggests that children work cutting sugarcane.(3) Children cutting sugarcane typically use sharp tools, including knives and machetes. Children working in other areas of agriculture may use dangerous tools, carry heavy loads, and apply harmful pesticides.(12, 13) Children herding livestock may suffer injuries such as being bitten, butted, gored, or trampled by animals.(14) In fishing, children may work long hours, perform physically demanding tasks, and face dangers such as drowning.(15, 16)

Children also work as trash pickers in dumps and transport garbage and human waste.(3-5, 8) Some children are known to work as assistants on construction sites and in mechanics and carpentry workshops.(3, 5)

The commercial sexual exploitation of children is a problem in Cape Verde, including in the form of sex tourism.(3, 7, 8, 17) Children have reported engaging in sexual activity with adults in exchange for money and, less frequently, clothing. Some children also work as escorts, receiving monetary compensation for going on dates with adults, which may make children vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse.(3, 18)

Some Cape Verdean children also work peddling and transporting drugs—including marijuana—for adults.(3, 7, 8, 19) Children from Cape Verde are at risk of being trafficked to Brazil and Portugal, and may be forced to transport drugs.(7)

Children typically engage in street work in Cape Verde’s urban centers, but specific information on hazards is unknown.(3-5, 8, 19) The majority of children working on the streets begin to do so when they are under age 15.(20)



Laws and Regulations on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

The Labor Code sets the minimum age for work at 15, but allows children to work for artistic and musical purposes at 14. Such work must not compromise their school attendance, health, or development, and their employer must receive approval from the Ministry of Labor.(21) The Labor Code prohibits hazardous work for children under age 18.(21) Section two of the Labor Code, however, specifies that the law only applies to employment relationships with private, cooperative, and mixed enterprises and, in certain instances, public entities. Therefore, the Labor Code does not provide protection to children who engage in work outside of an employment contract.(20)

Cape Verde has not yet finalized or adopted a hazardous list.(4, 20, 21) However,during the reporting period, the Government developed an agreement with the Government of Brazil to receive technical assistance to develop a list of hazardous occupations prohibited for children under age 18.(22)

The Labor Code also prohibits forced or compulsory labor.(21) The compulsory recruitment age for the armed forces begins at 18; however, children may voluntarily join at 17 with parental consent.(23, 24) Children age 17 can also be conscripted into the military during times of conflict.(25, 26) This provision conflicts with ILO Convention 182, which considers compulsory recruitment of children into armed conflict a worst form of child labor.

Both the Penal and Labor Codes prohibit child trafficking.(6, 27) The Penal Code criminalizes advancing, supporting, or facilitating minors under 14 for prostitution domestically and minors under 16 for prostitution abroad. The Penal Code also bans the use of minors under 14 for pornographic purposes.(28) However, the Penal Code does not extend these protections to all children under 18, leaving children ages 14 to 17 vulnerable to exploitation in commercial sexual exploitation.

Act No. 78/IV/93 of 1993 establishes more severe penalties for the production, trade, and trafficking of drugs when the offense was committed using minors.(4, 20)

By law, children are required to attend school until age 11.(8, 24) This standard makes children ages 11 to 15 particularly vulnerable to the worst forms of child labor, as they are not required to be in school and are not legally permitted to work.



Institutional Mechanisms for Coordination and Enforcement

In February 2013, the Government established a National Committee to Combat and Eradicate Child Labor in Cape Verde (CDNPETI).(4, 22, 29, 30) CDNPETI is headed by the Cape Verde Institute for the Child and Adolescent (ICCA), under the Ministry of Youth, Employment, and Human Resource Development; it includes members from various governmental and nongovernmental bodies. For example, the committee has representatives from the Ministries of Finance and Education, the National Police, the Judiciary Police, the Labor Inspectorate, and civil society groups. The Committee will meet four times per year to oversee implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of its core objectives. CDNPETI’s key task will include coordinating the execution of the National Plan of Action for the Elimination of Child Labor (NPAECL), ensuring that national laws comply with international conventions on child labor, and producing yearly reports on child labor issues for the National Assembly.(4, 30)

In June 2012, ICCA established a specialized National Unit for the Prevention and Elimination of Child Labor (NUPECL).(4, 22, 30) NUPECL coordinates and monitors the implementation of all national programs and activities to prevent and eradicate child labor. NUPECL will participate in CDNPETI meetings to coordinate collective efforts to address child labor. The Unit also provides direct services to those impacted by child labor.(4)

The General Inspector for Labor (IGT) is the principal agency responsible for enforcing child labor laws.(4, 29) In 2012, IGT employed 15 labor inspectors and performed approximately 2,050 labor inspections across sectors, an increase of about 600, over 2011.(4, 29) No cases of child labor were found during the reporting period.(4, 29) The labor inspectorate works closely with the police, Office of the Attorney General, and ICCA on enforcement issues related to child labor.(4, 20)

The Ministry of Justice leads several other agencies, including the Ministry of Internal Administration, the Judicial Police (PJ), and the National Police (PN), in the efforts to combat human trafficking and prosecute criminal violations of child labor laws.(31) According to the most recently available information, the PJ employs approximately 150 officers, and the PN employs about 1,500 officers.(24) However, research has not revealed whether any investigations of criminal violations related to the worst forms of child labor were conducted during the reporting period, and data on prosecutions were not available.(29)



Government Policies on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

The NPAECL prioritizes the eradication of the worst forms of child labor.(32) The Plan outlines specific objectives, including data collection, institutional capacity building, and enhancement of measures to prevent, protect, and remove children from involvement in labor. It aims to engage multiple stakeholders, such as government agencies, workers’ organizations, and child workers and their families, in the efforts to achieve these goals.(32) The Government is currently working to update the NPAECL.(30)

In December 2012, labor ministers from the 15 ECOWAS countries, including Cape Verde, adopted a regional action plan for the elimination of child labor. The objective of the plan is to eliminate the worst forms of child labor in West Africa by 2015.(33, 34) The Government is also implementing the Strategic Education Plan (SEP) for 2003-2013. The SEP and the NPAECL each outline educational priorities to prevent and reduce child labor. Objectives include strengthening mechanisms to monitor school dropouts, promoting non-formal and vocational training, and increasing financial assistance for low-income families to increase their access to education.(20)

In January 2012, ICCA released a Strategic Plan for the implementation of the National Policy for Children and Adolescents.(35, 36) The plan aims to increase coordination among the agencies serving children and youth, including the abandoned and vulnerable. As part of the strategy, the Government plans to establish a standing committee to oversee its implementation and foster collaboration between public bodies.(36) The question of whether the Strategic Plan has an impact on child labor does not appear to have been addressed.

During the reporting period, the Government established a Poverty Reduction and Growth Plan (2012-2016) that targets the elimination of child labor through strategies to reduce poverty, foster economic development, and bolster education.(4, 29) The National Action Plan for Human and Citizenship Rights targets human rights violations, including those impacting children and adolescents. For example, the policy explicitly proposes the development of mechanisms to identify cases of forced labor involving children under age 14, and programs to remove children from those situations.(5) However, it is unclear whether any existing policies address mechanisms to identify forced labor cases involving children ages 14 through 17.

The Government maintains a policy of tuition-free, universal primary education for children ages 6 to 12. In addition, it provides free secondary education for children whose families earn less than $1,778 annually.(8)



Social Programs to Eliminate or Prevent the Worst Forms of Child Labor

The Government continued efforts to raise awareness about child labor and enhance services to victims. During the reporting period, the Government provided trainings on child labor to government officials, including labor inspectors and local government staff. (4, 8, 22, 29) The Government also consulted with local businesses on the topic and ran a nationwide awareness-raising campaign that targeted families and education professionals.(4, 8, 22, 29) ICCA operates several emergency and reception centers for children, as well as a hotline to receive calls about child abuse. The Government has also established emergency centers to assist child victims of sexual and economic exploitation.(7, 20, 29) In 2012, the Government contracted four clinical psychologists to attend to victims of the worst forms of child labor in the country’s centers.(29) ICCA’s new child labor unit, NUPECL, provides psychological support to children and families who are victims of child labor. It also collects data, conducts research, and publicizes information related to child labor.(30)

The Government continued to run initiatives that specifically target street children. ICCA operated reception centers that connect street children with educational and training opportunities. (20) It also helps these children access necessary social, psychological, and medical services.(20) ICCA also implements Nôs Kaza-Criança fora da rua, dentro da escola, a program to serve children vulnerable to sexual and labor abuse, including by reintegrating those who have been living and working on the streets into their families and schools.(7, 20, 29)

Cape Verde is participating in a four-country, regional project focused on the development and implementation of national action plans to combat the worst forms of child labor.(37) The project seeks to enhance sustainable action from national government institutions, private-sector actors, and civil society organizations. The 4-year project is funded by a $5.2 million grant from the Government of Spain and will run through 2012.(33) In late 2012, the National Statistical Institute collaborated with the ILO under this project to conduct a national child labor survey, the results of which are expected to be released in 2013.(4, 22, 29, 30)

The Government continues to engage in three USDOL-funded regional projects. The first aims to combat the worst forms of child labor in five Lusophone countries in Africa. The 2-year, $500,000 project aims to foster information sharing between Brazil and to target Lusophone countries about the best practices for eliminating the worst forms of child labor.(38) Additionally, the project will provide technical assistance and guidance for countries to develop or refine national action plans on child labor.(38)

The second project is a 3-year, $7.9 million project to strengthen ECOWAS’s Child Policy and Strategic Plan of Action and to develop programs focusing on child trafficking as it pertains to the Strategic Plan.(39) The third project is a $5 million, 3-year program meant to expand and extend the work of the above ECOWAS project.(40)

Through the Cape Verde Social and Educational Action Institute, the Government implements various initiatives to increase access to education among the poor. For children who may still be subject to school fees, efforts include the provision of school fees, school materials, and free meals to low-income families.(20, 29) The question of whether these educational programs have an impact on child labor does not appear to have been addressed.

Despite these efforts, the Government does not currently have programs specifically targeting children working in domestic service, agriculture, or drug peddling.



Based on the reporting above, the following actions would advance the elimination of the worst forms of child labor in Cape Verde:

Area

Suggested Actions

Year(s) Action Recommended

Laws and Regulations

Amend the Labor Code to protect all children under age 18, regardless of whether they are working under an employment contract.

2011, 2012

Adopt a list of hazardous occupations prohibited to children.

2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

Raise the minimum age for compulsory recruitment in armed conflict to age 18.

2011, 2012

Amend the Penal Code to protect all children younger than age 18 from commercial sexual exploitation.

2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

Raise the age of compulsory education to be equal to or higher than the minimum age for employment.

2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

Coordination and Enforcement

Ensure investigations of crimes related to the worst forms of child labor are being conducted and make data on investigations and prosecutions publicly available.

2011, 2012

Policies

Assess the impact that the Strategic Plan for the implementation of the National Policy for Children and Adolescents may have on child labor.

2011, 2012

Ensure that relevant policies target all children in forced labor.

2010, 2011, 2012

Social Programs

Assess the impact that existing education programs may have on child labor.

2011, 2012

Develop new and expand existing programs to reach more children involved in the worst forms of child labor, including those engaged in domestic service, agriculture, and drug peddling.

2010, 2011, 2012

 



1. UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary.Total.; February 4, 2013; http://www.uis.unesco.org/Pages/default.aspx?SPSLanguage=EN. Data provided is the gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary school. This measure is a proxy measure for primary completion. For more information, please see the “Children's Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions” section of this report.

2. UCW. Analysis of Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Statistics from National Household or Child Labor Surveys. February 5, 2013. Reliable statistical data on the worst forms of child labor are especially difficult to collect given the often hidden or illegal nature of the worst forms. As a result, statistics on children’s work in general are reported in this chart, which may or may not include the worst forms of child labor. For more information on sources used, the definition of working children and other indicators used in this report, please see the “Children's Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions” section of this report.

3. Fernandes, G, et. al. A Crianca E O Trabalho: Um estudo juridico-sociologico. Praia, Ministerio do Trabalho, Familia e Solidariedade and Instituto Cabo-Verdiano da Crianca e do Adolescente; June 2007.

4. U.S. Embassy- Praia. reporting, February 15, 2013.

5. Government of Cape Verde official. Letter to USDOL official. March 11, 2010.

6. U.S. Embassy- Praia. reporting, January 27, 2011.

7. U.S. Department of State. Cape Verde. In: Trafficking in Persons Reports- 2012. Washington, DC; June 19, 2012; http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/164453.pdf.

8. U.S. Department of State. Cape Verde. In: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2012. Washington, DC; April 19, 2013; http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm#wrapper.

9. International Labour Office. Domestic Labour, International Labour Organization, [online] January 31, 2012 [cited November 2, 2012]; http://www.ilo.org/ipec/areas/Childdomesticlabour/lang--en/index.htm.

10. International Labour Office. Children in hazardous work: What we know, What we need to do. Geneva, International Labour Organization; 2011. While country-specific information on the dangers children face in domestic work is not available, research studies and other reports have documented the dangerous nature of tasks in domestic work and their accompanying occupational exposures, injuries and potential health consequences to children working in the sector.

11. Portal da Ilha do Fogo. "Trabalho Infantil em Cabo Verde acontece mais no seio da familia." fogo.cv [online] June 14, 2010 [cited March 4, 2013]; http://www.fogo.cv/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2724&Itemid=50.

12. International Labour Office. Children in hazardous work: What we know, What we need to do. Geneva, International Labour Organization; 2011. http://ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---dcomm/---publ/documents/publication/wcms_155428.pdf While country-specific information on the dangers children face in agriculture is not available, research studies and other reports have documented the dangerous nature of tasks in agriculture and their accompanying occupational exposures, injuries and potential health consequences to children working in the sector.

13. International Labour Office. Farming, International Labour Organization, [online] January 31, 2012 [cited November 2, 2012]; http://www.ilo.org/ipec/areas/Agriculture/WCMS_172416/lang--en/index.htm.

14. International Labour Office. Livestock Production, International Labour Organization, [online] January 31, 2012 [cited November 2, 2012]; http://www.ilo.org/ipec/areas/Agriculture/WCMS_172431/lang--en/index.htm.

15. International Labour Office. Children in hazardous work: What we know, What we need to do. Geneva, International Labour Organization; 2011. http://ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---dcomm/---publ/documents/publication/wcms_155428.pdf While country-specific information on the dangers children face in fishing is not available, research studies and other reports have documented the dangerous nature of tasks in fishing and their accompanying occupational exposures, injuries and potential health consequences to children working in the sector.

16. International Labour Office. Fishing and Aquaculture, International Labour Organization, [online] January 31, 2012 [cited November 2, 2012]; http://www.ilo.org/ipec/areas/Agriculture/WCMS_172419/lang--en/index.htm.

17. Childs Rights Information Network. Cape Verde- Children's Rights References in the Universal Periodic Review. London; October 12, 2008. http://www.crin.org/resources/infodetail.asp?id=19584.

18. IOL Diario. "Cape Verde: criancas abusadas e correios de droga." diario.iol.pt [online] Novermber 28, 2007 [cited March 14, 2013]; http://diario.iol.pt/noticia.html?id=885713&div_id=4071.

19. Bordonaro, LI. From Home to the Street: Children's Street-Ward Migration in Cape Verde. Lisbon, Centro em Rede de Investigacao em Antropologia; 2010. http://www.cria.org.pt/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=4&Itemid=92&lang=pt.

20. ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Direct Request concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Cape Verde (ratification: 2001) Published: 2011; November 9, 2011; http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:20010:0::NO:::.

21. Government of Cape Verde. Boletim Oficial Suplemento, 5/2007, (October 16, 2007); hard copy on file.

22. ILO-IPEC. Supporting Actions to Meet the 2015 Targets to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor in Lusophone Countries in Africa. Technical Progress Report. Geneva; October 2012.

23. Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers. Republic of Cape Verde. In: Child Soldiers Global Report 2008. London; 2008; http://www.childsoldiersglobalreport.org/files/country_pdfs/FINAL_2008_Global_Report.pdf.

24. U.S. Embassy- Praia. reporting, January 30, 2012.

25. United Nations Treaty Collection Database. United Nations Treaty Collection: Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict August 10, 2012; http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-11-b&chapter=4&lang=en.

26. Child Soldiers International. Appendix II: Data Summary on Recruitment Ages of National Armies. In: Louder Than Words: An Agenda for Action to End State Use of Child Soldiers. London; 2012; http://www.child-soldiers.org/global_report_reader.php?id=562.

27. U.S. Embassy- Praia. reporting, January 21, 2009.

28. Government of Cape Verde. Código Penal de Cabo Verde, 4/2003, (2004); http://www.mj.gov.cv/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=59&Itemid=66.

29. Government of Cape Verde official. Letter to USDOL official. January 16, 2013.

30. U.S. Embassy- Praia official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. March 20, 2013.

31. U.S. Embassy- Praia. reporting, March 26, 2010.

32. Fernandes, G, et. al. Plano de accao para a eliminacao do trabalho infantil. Praia, Ministerio do Trabalho, Familia e Solidariedade and Instituto Cabo-Verdiano da Crianca e do Adolescente; June 2007.

33. ILO-IPEC official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. April 11, 2012.

34. ILO. ECOWAS Ministers of Labour and Social Welfare Adopt a Regional Action Plan on Child Labour, Specially its Worst Forms. Press Release. Geneva; December 12, 2012. http://www.ilo.org/ipec/Events/WCMS_195519/lang--en/index.htm.

35. ILO-IPEC. Supporting Actions to Meet the 2015 Targets to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor in Lusophone Countries in Africa. Technical Progress Report. Geneva; October 2011.

36. Radiotelevisao e Novas Tecnologias Educativas. "Governo apresenta Plano Estategico da Politica da Proteccao da Crianca e do Adolescente." radioeducativa.cv [online] January 16, 2012 [cited March 14, 2013]; http://www.radioeducativa.cv/index.php?paginas=21&id_cod=207.

37. ILO-IPEC official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. April 20, 2011.

38. ILO-IPEC. Supporting Actions to Meet the 2015 Targets to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor in Lusophone Countries in Africa. Technical Cooperation Project Summary. Geneva; December 2010.

39. ILO-IPEC. Eliminating the Worst Forms of Child Labour in West Africa and Strengthening Sub-Regional Cooperation through ECOWAS. Project Document. Geneva; September 3, 2010.

40. ILO-IPEC. Eliminating the Worst Forms of Child Labour in West Africa and Strengthening Sub-Regional Cooperation through ECOWAS-II. Project Document. Geneva; December 20, 2010.