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Mozambique

2013 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Minimal Advancement

In 2013, Mozambique made a minimal advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The Ministry of Labor completed a draft of the country's National Action Plan on Child Labor (2013-2019) presented jointly with the members of the Community of Lusophone Countries at the Global Conference on Child Labor in 2013. Police officers continue to receive training in child and trafficking in persons (TIP) protection and prevention and other social programs. However, children in Mozambique continue to engage in child labor in agriculture and domestic service. Mozambique's legal framework leaves gaps in preventing child labor and its worst forms. There is no list of hazardous activities prohibited to children, and education is only compulsory until age 13. Current programs focus on raising awareness about child labor, including street work, but do not address other sectors in which children, especially migrants, engage in dangerous work.

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I. Prevalence and Sectoral Distribution of Child Labor

Children in Mozambique continue to engage in child labor in agriculture and domestic service.(1-3) Table 1 provides key indicators on children's work and education in Mozambique.

Table 1. Statistics on Children's Work and Education
Working children, ages 5 to 14 (% and population): 22.5 (1,526,560)
School attendance, ages 5 to 14 (%): 69.5
Children combining work and school, ages 7 to 14 (%): 22.4
Primary completion rate (%): 52.2

Source for primary completion rate: Data from 2012, published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2014. (4)
Source for all other data: Understanding Children's Work Project's analysis of statistics from Multiple Indicator Clustery Survey 3, 2008. (5)

Based on a review of available information, Table 2 provides an overview of children's work by sector and activity.

Table 2. Overview of Children's Work by Sector and Activity
Sector/Industry Activity
Agriculture Work on farms and small plots (1, 3, 6, 7)
Production of cotton,* sesame,* seaweed,* and tea* (1, 3, 6, 7)
Fishing, activities unknown* (1, 3, 6, 7)
Forestry* (1, 3, 6, 7)
Production of tobacco (6, 8-10)
Mining* (11)
Services Domestic service (6, 12-15)
Construction, activities unknown* (11)
Street work, including begging (2, 13, 16-21)
Categorical Worst Forms of Child Labor‡ Commercial sexual exploitation sometimes as a result of human trafficking (2, 11, 13, 16, 17, 22-26)
Work in mines, agriculture, and domestic service as a result of human trafficking* (2)
Debt bondage in agriculture* (2, 11, 27, 28)

*Evidence of this activity is limited and/or the extent of the problem is unknown.
‡Child labor understood as the worst forms of child labor per se under Article 3(a) - (c) of ILO C. 182.

Mozambique lacks recent data on the industries and sectors in which child labor occurs.(28)

Child labor is often found in border towns among migrant children from neighboring countries. A 2013 UNICEF study found that children who migrated to the border town of Ressano Garcia work 10 to 12 hours a day for low or no pay, without access to education.(21) These children work as street vendors and as sellers of alcohol.(21)

Within Mozambique, commercial sexual exploitation is especially prevalent in rural areas, border towns, and in the regions of Beira, Maputo, Nacala, Nampula, and Tete.(2, 13, 16, 17, 22-26) During the reporting period, there was an increase of girls found in commercial sexual exploitation, especially in Beira, Chimoio, Maputo, Nacala, and Pemba. Commercial sexual exploitation of girls occurs in bars, clubs, restaurants, and at overnight stopping points in the southern transport corridor.(2)

Girls from Malawi, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe are trafficked to Mozambique for commercial sexual exploitation and forced domestic service.(2, 11, 16, 27, 29-34) Children are trafficked internally and to South Africa for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor in agriculture, mines, and domestic service.(11, 23, 35-39)

Access to education in Mozambique is limited because of the lack of schools and teachers. Although primary education is free, the cost of school supplies is prohibitive for many families.(16, 18, 24, 40-43) The Government of Mozambique estimated in 2011 that nearly 200,000 school-age children were out of the school system.(44) Despite government efforts to provide birth registration to children, some children may not attend school because they do not have the birth records needed for enrollment.(25,45, 46) In Mozambique, 7 percent of girls and 8 percent of boys attend secondary school.(2) Even though the National Organization of Professors establishes a code of conduct, verbal, physical, and sexual abuse is common in schools. Teachers often demand sex from students as a condition for advancement to the next grade.(13, 47) For many children, this type of abuse leads to withdrawal from school.( 2, 13, 16, 40, 45, 47)

Additionally, there are an estimated 350,000 to 870,000 orphaned children, many of whom lost their parents to HIV/AIDS.(28, 44, 48, 49) The Government estimates that nearly 20,000 children are heads of households and are responsible for their younger siblings.(44, 50) As a result, they are likely to suffer poor school attendance and are at risk of entering the worst forms of child labor.(13, 16, 48)



II. Legal Framework for the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Mozambique has ratified all key international conventions concerning child labor (Table 3).

Table 3. Ratification of International Conventions on Child Labor
Convention Ratification
ILO C. 138, Minimum Age
ILO C. 182, Worst Forms of Child Labor
UN CRC
UN CRC Optional Protocol on Armed Conflict
UN CRC Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
Palermo Protocol on Trafficking in Persons

The Government has established relevant laws and regulations related to child labor, including its worst forms (Table 4).

Table 4. Laws and Regulations Related to Child Labor
Standard Yes/No Age Related Legislation
Minimum Age for Work Yes 15 Labor Law (51)
Minimum Age for Hazardous Work Yes 18 Labor Law (51)
List of Hazardous Occupations Prohibited for Children No    
Prohibition of Forced Labor Yes   Constitution; TIP Law; Child Protection Act (52-55)
Prohibition of Child Trafficking Yes   TIP Law; Penal Code; Law 6/2008 (3, 52-54)
Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Yes   Article 405 of the Penal Code; Article 64 of the Children's Code; TIP Law (2, 13, 56, 57)
Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities Yes   Act 3/97; TIP Law (3, 28)
Minimum Age for Compulsory Military Recruitment Yes 19 Law on Military Service (58)
Minimum Age for Voluntary Military Service Yes 18 Law on Military Service (58)
Compulsory Education Age Yes 13 Child Protection Act (12, 41, 59)
Free Public Education Yes   Child Protection Act (12, 41, 59)

The Labor Code does not specifically identify hazardous activities from which children are prohibited.(12, 13, 16, 28, 60) While children age 18 and younger are prohibited from military conscription, the age limit may be lowered during times of war, therefore making children vulnerable to the worst forms of child labor.(3)

Children working in the informal sector do not have the same legal protections as children working in the formal sector.(61)

The Government does not have a general law against child labor; children will remain vulnerable until a law is enacted that imposes sufficient penalties on child labor violators. The Office of Planning and Studies in the Ministry of Labor (MOL) reported that it plans to outline a child labor law, which would create sufficient penalties to prosecute those who violate child labor laws.(3)

The Government is revising the Penal Code; provisions to protect children from all forms of trafficking are expected to be included in the revised Code.(14, 16, 28, 62)

The Child Protection Act provides for free and compulsory education through primary school.(56) However, primary school covers 7 years and begins at age 6, making education compulsory until age 13 and leaving children ages 13-14 vulnerable to child labor, including its worst forms, because 15 is the minimum age to work.(12)



III. Enforcement of Laws on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

The Government has established institutional mechanisms for the enforcement of laws and regulations on child labor, including its worst forms (Table 5).

Table 5. Agencies Responsible for Child Labor Law Enforcement
Organization/Agency Role
Ministry of Labor (MITRAB) Enforce child labor laws in a society that, in practice, permits child labor as a means to reduce poverty, especially when a child's parent has died from HIV/AIDS.(63-67)
Ministry of Justice Operate recovery centers called "Prisões Escola," which provide study opportunities for children who have been in trouble with the law.(7)
The National Police Force Enforce all criminal laws, including forced child labor, child trafficking, the commercial sexual exploitation of children, and the use of children for illicit activities. Includes special gender-sensitive police units.(63) Assigned a specialist in each of 215 police stations to help women and children who were victims of trafficking, sexual abuse, domestic violence, and sexual assault. Through February 2014, 490 specialists have received this training.(68)
Criminal Investigation Branch (PIC) Investigate and refer cases to the Attorney General's Office (PGR). Has a seven-person unit devoted to anti-trafficking and violence against women and children.(70)
PGR Receive cases from the PIC, which have been prepared for prosecution. During the reporting period, continued to organize TIP law seminars for the police.(3, 68)
Labor Inspectorate General Enforce criminal laws on trafficking, along with the police and PIC.(3)

The extent to which law enforcement agencies in Mozambique took actions to combat child labor, including its worst forms, is unclear.

Labor Law Enforcement

During the reporting period, the Ministry of Labor (MITRAB) had 130 labor inspectors. In 2013, MITRAB had a budget of $33,333 for child labor-related issues.(69) Inspectors are rarely able to carry out their work, as they are poorly trained; most are underpaid, making them susceptible to bribes. There are not enough inspectors to cover the entire population, especially when most of the population works in remote areas in agriculture.(3)

The MOL does not provide data on the number of inspections carried out for different labor law violations. Therefore, there is no information available on the number of inspections of child labor violations.(3) There is no mechanism in place for the public to report labor law violations.(3, 63)

Research found that children working in the informal sector do not have the same protections under chlid labor laws and regulations as children working in the formal sector. Moreover, the ILO Committee of Experts has encouraged the Government to expand its investigative efforts, including increasing the capacity of the labor inspectorate to monitor child labor in the informal sector.(70)

Criminal Law Enforcement

The Ministry of Justice did not release the number of cases initiated in 2013 or carried forward to 2014. During 2013, there were 26 cases of defendants brought to trial for TIP), with two acquitted and 24 convicted. All 24 convictions carried prison sentences, ranging from 10 months to 19 years.(71)

In January 2013, Mozambican authorities worked with South African authorities who found five Mozambican girls in forced prostitution in South Africa. The PGR has been following this case in South Africa.(68)

There is no information available on violations of the worst forms of child labor.(3) Evidence suggests that the Government lacks the procedures to identify victims of child trafficking and to provide significant assistance to child victims of commercial sexual exploitation.(16, 24, 72) The Ministries of Justice and Interior, including the police and the Labor Inspectorate General, have insufficient financial and human resources to enforce laws pertaining to children effectively.(3, 12, 45, 69, 73, 74)The Attorney General's Office states that police reports submitted for prosecution are of very low quality, and lack appropriate evidence for prosecution.(3)

During the reporting period, trainings on TIP prevention and protection and children's rights continued for police officers.(68, 74) Mozambique's Center for Judicial Training included a session on trafficking that was conducted for 50 judges.(3, 73, 74) Furthermore, 20 Mozambican judges were trained in Brazil and produced an electronic manual on TIP.(74) During the reporting period, the Attorney General's Office worked with provincial governments to create interministerial "reference groups" for TIP and vulnerable children; they consist of officials from the provincial administrative office, the Attorney General's Office, the police, border guards, social workers, and NGOs.(68)

Despite these efforts, the Government of Mozambique lacks sufficient resources to assist trafficking victims; for example, it lacks safe houses and any formal referral system for victims.(16, 27, 73-75)



IV. Coordination of Government Efforts on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

The Government has established an institutional mechanism for the coordination of child welfare issues; however, there are no mechanisms to coordinate its efforts to address child labor, including its worst forms (Table 6).

Table 6. Mechanisms to Coordinate Government Efforts on Child Labor
Coordinating Body Role & Description
National Council on the Rights of the Child (CNAC), an interagency commission led by the Ministry of Women and Social Action (MIMAS) Coordinate efforts to promote the welfare of children. Composed of civil society representatives and the Ministries of Justice, Education, Health, and Youth and Sports.(7)
National Commission on Children's Rights Interministerial body created in 2010; includes representatives from the Ministries of Education, Health, Interior, Women and Social Action, and Justice. Lacks resources to carry out child protection plans.(3)


V. Government Policies on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

The Government of Mozambique has established policies related to child labor, including its worst forms (Table 7).

Table 7. Policies Related to Child Labor
Policy Description
National Plan of Action for Children II (2013-2019)* Establishes 13 goals, which include an increase in birth registrations, access to education, decrease in child marriage, and an increase in participation of children in social protection programs. Establishes four priority areas: child survival, child development, child protection, and child participation.(69, 76)
Poverty Reduction Action Plan (2011-2014)* Aims to increase production and productivity in farming and fishing. For children, focuses on basic education, special needs, nutrition, civil registration, judicial assistance, and other social protection programs.(7) Runs the Five-Year Government Program (2010-2014), which focuses on combating poverty and work culture as a way to reach economic growth and poverty reduction.(7)
The National Action Plan on Birth Registration* Aims to clear away a backlog of birth registrations and to strengthen and decentralize the birth registration system.(40, 48)
The Strategic Plan for Education and Culture (2006-2010/2011)* Aims to ensure primary education is free and compulsory through higher primary school (grades six and seven) and to improve post-primary education.(77) Proposes to increase access to education for female students, support the construction of new schools, and encourage the training and recruitment of teachers.(77)
Employment and Professional Training Strategy (2006-2015) Aims to raise awareness and disseminate information about labor laws, including the laws pertaining to the worst forms of child labor.(42, 78)
Strategic Plan of Action on Combating Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children in the Southern African Development Community Adopted in 2009. Research did not uncover any updates or additional information on this Plan of Action.(40, 78)
Southern African Regional Network against Trafficking and Abuse of Children Provides advocacy and services for victims; composed of government and civil society representatives. Works to prevent child abuse, commercial sexual exploitation, child labor, and trafficking.(33)
National Strategy for Basic Social Insurance* Organizes support for the most vulnerable and improves their capacities to manage and mitigate sudden and cyclical shocks.(71) Defines the guidelines and actions for social basic protection for 2010-2014, which is ensured by the Ministry of Women and Social Action and other institutions such as the Ministry of Health, Education, and Justice.(71) Includes the Direct Social Support Program (PASD), Programa de Apoio Social Directo, which aims to provide access and maintenance of children in school through food assistance, school supplies, and medical.(7)
Five-Year Government Program (2010-2014)‡* Ensures access to basic education for the most vulnerable children.(7) Significant component of this program is the Direct Support to Schools (ADE) program, with a budget of USD $18 million for primary schools and $1.5 million for secondary schools in both 2013 and 2014.(71) Provides funds to school councils and parent associations to use in improving access and quality.(71)
Employment and Professional Training Strategy (2006-2015) Reduces poverty and unemployment by working with employers, workers, and members of civil society. Conducts child labor research on different topics and sectors to help design and implement government interventions. Establishes support for participating institutions; implementing polices and legislation on child labor; and providing training in child labor subjects for institutions, stakeholders, and civil society.(7)

*The impact of this policy on child labor does not appear to have been studied.

In 2013, the Ministry of Labor completed a first draft of the country's National Action Plan on Child Labor and the Ministry of Justice drafted the Action Plan for the Central Office for the Protection of Trafficking Victims.(3, 68)



VI. Social Programs to Address the Worst Forms of Child Labor

In 2013, the Government of Mozambique participated and funded programs that include the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor, including its worst forms (Table 8).

Table 8. Social Programs to Address Child Labor
Program Description
USDOL-funded project USDOL-funded project to assist countries in developing a National Plan for Eradication of Child Labor. Promotes South-South cooperation between Lusophone-speaking countries to eliminate the worst forms of child labor.(79, 80)
Global Action Program on Child Labor Issues Project USDOL-funded project implemented by the ILO in approximately 40 countries to support the priorities of the Roadmap for Achieving the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor by 2016 established by the Hague Global Child Labor Conference in 2010. Aims to improve research and the collection of data on child labor and forced labor.(81)
10-year UNESCO Literacy Initiative* Government participates in a 10-year UNESCO Literacy Initiative.(28)
Police training course on combating domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, and TIP* Government and UNICEF program, which is a two-week course covering prevention and protection of TIP victims, rights of children, domestic abuse, and child custody law. Participants receive handbooks and copies of laws. Course is now a permanent part of the police training curriculum.(3)
Cash transfer program for children head of households* Government cash transfer program approved in 2010 and largely funded by USAID. Allows orphans and vulnerable children ages 12-18 to receive benefits. Cash transfers to child-headed households are funded through the National Basic Social Security Strategy (ENSSB). (71) While no data are available on how many children benefit from this program, the Government of Mozambique has been steadily increasing funding to social protection mechanisms since 2011.(3, 71)
Government education funding‡†* Government received $1.2 million US ($33.7 million Meticais) in funding for education in 2013, representing a 18 percent increase from 2012.(82)
Street programs for children Programs organized by the Government and civil society organizations that provide shelters and schooling to prepare street children for reintegration into society. The Government is working with civil society to write regulations that would define minimum standards for assessing foster care providers and would more clearly define standards for the reintegration of street children into families.(16, 71)
UNICEF Training UNICEF training program for government officials on the use of radio broadcasts to communicate with the public about issues of child abuse, including child labor.( 63)
Hotline Speak Child-116‡* Government-run telephone hotline, Speak Child-116, established in 2009 to report cases of child abuse and exploitation.(83) Between January and March 2012, the hotline received 366 cases reports of these cases, of which 51 were referred to the police, 45 to the Women and Children Victim Assistance Unit (GAMC), and 33 to the Family Council.(84) In 2013, with the support of UNICEF, a text message system was set up to receive complaints.(85) It is unknown how many of the complaints were related to child labor.
Commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking protection mechanisms‡ Government protection mechanisms for victims of child trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. There is a system in place for reporting instances of the sexual exploitation of children.(16, 29, 63, 64, 74, 75) The Government also maintains approximately 184 help desks for trafficking victims. Victims are also referred to police stations to file complaints and receive assistance.(29, 52, 62, 69)
Victims of Violence Centers‡ Government program operated by the Women and Children Victim Assistance Unit that provides temporary shelter to child victims of trafficking.( 69) In 2013, the Government opened two new centers, for a total of 24 centers.(71)
Permanent shelter for vulnerable children‡ Permanent shelter, with two psychologists on staff run by the Government and Save the Children Fund for vulnerable children, including trafficking victims.( 68)

*The impact of this program on child labor does not appear to have been studied.
†Program was launched during the reporting period.
‡Program is funded by the Government of Mozambique.

There are no data on how much funding is provided to eliminate and prevent child labor and on progress made under the programs.(3)

Although Mozambique has programs that target child labor, the scope of these programs, especially in agriculture and domestic service, is insufficient to address the extent of the problem fully.



VII. Suggested Government Actions to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Based on the reporting above, suggested actions are identified that would advance the elimination of child labor, including its worst forms, in Mozambique (Table 9).

Table 9. Suggested Government Actions to Eliminate Child Labor, Including Its Worst Forms
Area Suggested Action Year(s) Suggested
Laws Amend the Labor Lawto identify hazardous activities from which children are prohibited. 2009 - 2013
Ensure that relevant child labor laws and regulations apply equally to children working in the formal and informal sectors. 2013
Raise the age of compulsory education to be consistent with the minimum age for employment. 2009 - 2013
Approve the draft TIP Action Plan. 2009 - 2013
Ensure children under age 18 are prohibited from military conscription in all circumstances. 2010 - 2013
Enforcement Allocate sufficient resources to MITRAB, and training for MITRAB officials to conduct inspections. 2009 - 2013
Train police in reporting techniques for sexual exploitation cases to ensure that violators of law are prosecuted. 2012 - 2013
Coordination Create a mechanism to coordinate policy and efforts on the worst forms of child labor. 2010 - 2013
Ensure the Labor Inspection Office targets sectors in which children are known to work, including agriculture. 2009 - 2013
Make information publicly available on the number of inspections and the sectors in which inspections were carried out and of sanctions imposed for child labor violations. 2009 - 2013
Create mechanisms to identify victims of child trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. 2011 - 2013
Government Policies Ensure the National Plan of Action for Children (2013-2019) has the financial resources necessary for implementation. 2012 - 2013
Take measures to ensure children, particularly girls, have access to good quality education and are safe in schools; also include prosecuting teachers who demand sex with students as a condition for advancement. 2010 - 2013
Assess the impact that existing educational and other policies may have on child labor. 2010 - 2013
Social Programs Develop social protection programs that assist children working in sectors such as agriculture, domestic service and for victims of trafficking. 2010 - 2013
Assess the impact of social programs on child labor. 2010 - 2013
Collect data on the prevalence of child labor in different sectors. 2013
Disaggregate the number of complaints made to the Hotline Speak Child-116 that relate to child labor. 2013



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