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2012 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

In 2012, Peru made a significant advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The Government approved and began implementing its second National Strategy for the Prevention and Eradication of Child Labor for 2012-2021. As part of the strategy, the Government funded and launched two new pilot programs to reduce child labor in urban and rural areas. The Government also began collecting more detailed annual statistics on children’s work and initiated two impact evaluations on programs to combat child labor. Further, the Ministry of Labor hired additional inspectors and increased the number of employers sanctioned for child labor violations. The National Police released public information on the number of children rescued from situations of trafficking, as well as information on criminal prosecutions of traffickers. While these efforts demonstrate positive steps, child labor inspections remain underfunded and are insufficient in number, especially in regions with the highest rates of child labor. There is also a lack of coordination and information-sharing between Government agencies dealing with child labor issues. Children continue to engage in the worst forms of child labor, including in hazardous activities in agriculture and mining.

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Prevalence and Sectoral Distribution of the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Children in Peru are engaged in the worst forms of child labor, including in hazardous activities in agriculture and mining.(3, 4) According to the Government’s 2011 Household Survey, 68 percent of child laborers under the legal working age work in rural areas.(5) Though evidence is limited, in agriculture children reportedly produce cotton, rice, barley, coffee, broccoli, cacao, avocado, and sugarcane, which often exposes them to harmful pesticides, long working hours, and extreme weather.(6-8) Although information is limited, there are reports that children also perform hazardous activities in the production of Brazil nuts.(6-8) Children are responsible for shepherding and caring for farm animals, as well.(9) Children herding livestock may suffer injuries such as being bitten, butted, gored, or trampled by animals.(10)

Children work in mining, particularly gold mines, which requires them to carry heavy loads and work in poorly ventilated, unsafe conditions.(4, 6, 8, 11) Evidence suggests that forced child labor is a problem in informal gold mines.(8, 12-14) Children, principally boys, also work in fishing.(15, 16) These children may work long hours, perform physically demanding tasks, and face dangers such as drowning.(3, 17)

In urban areas, children produce bricks and fireworks, which may cause them to be harmed by dangerous chemicals, extreme heat, and carrying heavy loads.(8, 18) Children work on the streets as vendors, performers, beggars, and car washers, which exposes them to the risk of vehicle accidents. Children also work as fare collectors on buses and as scavengers in garbage dumps.(6, 8, 9, 19-21) Children also reportedly work in battery recycling, which exposes them to hazardous substances.(4)

Children, mainly girls, work in domestic service in both rural and urban areas and are vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse.(6, 22) Some children, especially girls from the poorest areas of Peru, are trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation and domestic service through false offers of employment in other occupations or promises of education.(12, 23, 24) Girls are reportedly particularly found in commercial sexual exploitation near mining camps.(25, 26) Child sex tourism is a problem in Cuzco, Lima, and Iquitos.(12, 23)

Drug traffickers and the terrorist group Shining Path are reported to use children to grow and process coca, sometimes using hazardous chemicals, as well as to transport drugs.(12, 21, 23) There are credible reports that Shining Path employs child soldiers, including through forced recruitment, in the Apurimac-Ene River Valley.(21, 23, 27)



Laws and Regulations on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

The Child and Adolescent Code sets the general minimum age for employment at 14 and places some restrictions on the ability of children ages 14 and older to work legally. For employment in nonindustrial agricultural work, the minimum age is 15; for work in the industrial, commercial, and surface mining sectors, the age is 16; and for work in the industrial fishing sector, the age is 17.(28) Additionally, the Child and Adolescent Code requires children under age 18 to receive a permit from the Ministry of Labor or the municipality in order to work and prohibits night work for children under age 15.(29)

The Government of Peru has in place a List of Hazardous Occupations for Children under Age 18, which prohibits minors from working in 29 types of hazardous activities and allows for updates to the list as necessary. These hazardous activities include domestic work in third-party homes, work in fireworks production, public transportation, garbage dumps, manufacturing, and street work.(24, 30) The list also prohibits minors from engaging in hazardous activities in fishing, mining, and agriculture, such as carrying heavy loads, working underwater or underground, and handling pesticides or sharp tools.(30)

Peru’s Constitution and Penal Code prohibit all forms of compulsory labor, including forced labor, debt bondage, and servitude.(31, 32) Peru’s Penal Code prohibits the prostitution of children, including selling, recruiting, using, and benefiting economically from the crime. The Penal Code also prohibits child pornography, including its production, sale, use, and possession.(33) The Law against Trafficking in Persons and Illegal Migrant Smuggling prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons; penalties increase significantly for child trafficking.(34) The Military Service Law sets the minimum age at 18 and prohibits forced recruitment into the armed services or any defense or armed groups.(35, 36) Peru’s Decree No. 22095 prohibits the recruitment of children for the production, sale, and trafficking of illicit drugs.(37)

The Constitution provides for free primary and secondary education. Education is compulsory through the completion of secondary school, generally at age 17.(32, 38)



Institutional Mechanisms for Coordination and Enforcement

The Government of Peru operates a National Commission for the Prevention and Eradication of Child Labor (CPETI), which is led by the Ministry of Labor (MOL) and meets once a month to coordinate government actions against child labor.(21) Members of CPETI include several government ministries, such as the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of the Interior, as well as representatives from business associations, unions, and NGOs.(21, 24) The Government of Peru also operates the National Commission Against Forced Labor, led by the MOL, and the Multi-Sector Committee Against Trafficking in Persons, led by the Ministry of Interior, which coordinate government efforts to combat forced labor and trafficking in persons, respectively.(21) In practice, however, there has been a lack of coordination and information sharing between government agencies dealing with child labor issues, including child trafficking.(21, 24)

The MOL and the National Police enforce laws regarding child labor and child exploitation.(5, 39) The MOL is responsible for carrying out labor inspections in the Lima region.(40) Regional governments maintain regional labor inspectorates which receive support from but are not under the direct control of the MOL.(40) In 2012, the MOL employed 416 inspectors nationally, an increase from 385 inspectors in 2011.(5, 39) Some regional governments employed additional labor inspectors, as well.(41) Inspectors are required to address possible child labor violations during routine inspections.(42) The MOL coordinates with municipal-level child protection offices, the Public Ministry, and the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations to document and investigate complaints of violations of child labor laws. Cases of child labor are also referred to relevant social protection and legal services.(39, 42)

In general, inspectors in Peru lack sufficient resources, such as transportation and fuel, to effectively carry out inspections.(21, 42) The United Nations Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights has noted that Peru’s labor inspection system lacks sufficient capacity to effectively carry out its mandates.(4) In addition, many regional labor inspectorates outside of Lima and Callao are particularly understaffed and underfunded.(40)

During the reporting period, the MOL carried out 1,022 inspections, resulting in 52 employers being sanctioned for illegally employing children—an increase from 48 businesses in 2011.(21) However, the number of inspections carried out nationally is insufficient given the prevalence of child labor.(21) The law permits the MOL to fine employers that employ children in the worst forms of child labor up to $54,000 per violation.(43, 44) In 2012, fines imposed on businesses for child labor violations totaled approximately $97,000, an increase from $50,000 in 2011. Information on whether the fines were collected was unavailable. As a result of these inspections, the MOL assisted 33 children in Lima who were found to be working illegally.(21) Data on the number of children assisted in other regions was not available. Employers sanctioned for child labor violations were mainly in the mining, agriculture, fishing, and commercial sectors.(21)

The Trafficking Investigation Unit of the Peruvian National Police investigates cases of trafficking in persons and the commercial sexual exploitation of children.(5) During the reporting period, the police investigated 211 reports of trafficking in Cusco, Lima, Loreto, and Madre de Dios regions, resulting in the rescue of 71 minors.(5, 21) Of those minors, 20 were reported to be victims of forced labor and nine of forced begging.(21) As a result of the investigations, 263 persons were arrested and 76 criminal groups were disbanded.(5) The police worked with the Public Ministry to place rescued minors in the care of family members or state social services.(5) The Government of Peru maintains a hotline to receive reports of trafficking in persons.(5, 12) In 2012, the hotline received 801 calls, which resulted in the rescue of nine child trafficking victims.(5)



Government Policies on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

In 2012, the Government of Peru approved the National Strategy for the Prevention and Eradication of Child Labor (ENPETI) for the period 2012-2021, replacing the previous strategy which expired in 2010.(5, 45) The Strategy aims to eliminate hazardous child labor by improving the livelihoods of poor families, improving education opportunities, raising awareness about child labor, improving work conditions for adolescents, and increasing efforts to sanction violators of child labor laws.(9) The ENPETI complements the Government’s wider policy for children and adolescents, the National Action Plan for Children and Adolescents for 2012-2021 (PNAIA), which includes the goal of eradicating hazardous child labor.(5, 21) One goal of the ENPETI is to improve the quality of child labor data in Peru.(9) To this end, in 2012, Peru’s National Statistics Agency modified its annual National Household Survey to collect more detailed data on the occupations and number of hours worked by children and adolescents.(5)

Ministerial Resolution 215-2011-TR requires the MOL to implement the Sector Strategy on the Prevention and Eradication of Child Labor, which was developed jointly by the MOL and ILO.(39) The Strategy includes the objectives of increasing the availability of child labor data, raising public awareness, strengthening coordination between public and private entities on child labor issues, and improving investigations of child labor violations.(39, 40) In 2012, the MOL began implementing the Strategy, including by providing training to regional CPETI commissions to increase their capacity to foster public-private cooperation on child labor issues.(5)

Supreme Decree 052-2011-PCM requires the MOL to implement specific actions to eradicate the worst forms of child labor, including the creation of regional CPETI commissions in areas with high rates of child labor.(46) By the end of 2012, the CPETI had established regional commissions in 23 of the 25 regions in Peru.(5) However, not all of the regional commissions have plans of action against child labor in place, and some are not funded.(24, 42) During the reporting period, the Government worked with the ILO and the nonprofit organization Desarrollo y Autogestión to provide technical assistance to some regional CPETI commissions.(5, 7) In addition, in 2012 the MOL worked with Desarrollo y Autogestión to participate in a training workshop hosted by the Government of Ecuador to learn about best practices in eradicating child labor in garbage dumps.(7)

Peru is also a member of the Joint Regional Group for the Americas, which conducts child labor prevention and awareness-raising campaigns in tourism.(47)



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

In 2012, the Government supported three new programs to address the worst forms of child labor: the Seed Project implemented in the regions of Huancavelica, Junín, and Pasco; a project in the Carabayllo district of the Lima region to address child labor in garbage dumps; and a project in the Huánuco region to improve educational opportunities for child laborers. The Seed Project is a USDOL-funded 4-year project to combat rural child labor, which targets 6,500 children and 3,000 families, providing them with education and livelihood services to reduce the incidence of child labor.(7, 19) In 2012, the Project began providing children engaged in or at risk of exploitative child labor with afterschool assistance and worked with their families to reduce child labor on family farms.(7) The Seed Project also began working with the Ministry of Social Development to study the impact of the Government’s conditional cash transfer program, the Together Program, on child labor. In addition, the Project worked with an external evaluator to assess the effectiveness of some of the Project’s interventions in reducing child labor.(7)

The Carabayllo and Huánuco projects are 2-year pilot projects to reduce child labor; they are funded by the Government and are subject to impact evaluations to determine their effectiveness in reducing child labor.(9) In Carabayllo, the Government will provide scholarships, education assistance, psychological help, and other services to 1,000 families and 1,500 children with the aim of reducing urban child labor, especially in garbage dumps.(5, 9) The Huánuco project seeks to improve school retention and attendance rates among child laborers in rural areas. In conjunction with the Together Program, the Huánuco program will assist approximately 25,000 children and 4,900 families by providing them with cash transfers, education, and livelihood services. To carry out the impact evaluation of this program, the Government will provide families with different packages of services to assess if there is an optimal program design or package of interventions that would more effectively reduce child labor.(5, 9) The Together Program provides cash transfers to approximately 650,000 low-income households in 14 of the country’s 25 departments.(48, 49)

The Government also implements anti-poverty and education programs that benefit children and families vulnerable to the worst forms of child labor. The MOL runs the Peru Works Program, which offers temporary work and technical training to low-income households and requires beneficiaries to commit to withdrawing their children from child labor.(21, 39) The MOL also runs the Youth to Work Program, which provides 16-to-24-year-olds with free job training, and the Go Peru Program, which provides job training, assistance for entrepreneurs, and job placement services to the unemployed, including youth.(21) The Street Educators Program provides counseling and training to children engaged in begging and street work in 20 cities throughout Peru.(50) The Program connects working children and their families to educational and social services with the goal of withdrawing them from exploitative work and improving family welfare.(42, 50)

Although some programs target children engaged in the worst forms of child labor in urban areas, they reach only a fraction of these children. Existing initiatives to combat child labor in agriculture are also insufficient, given the scope of the problem.(21) Information is not available on specific programs to assist children working in mining and domestic work.



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

Area

Suggested Actions

Year(s) Action Recommended

Coordination and Enforcement

Increase the level of funding allocated to the MOL and to regional governments to help ensure effective enforcement of child labor laws, particularly in regions with high rates of child labor and underfunded labor inspectorates.

2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

Increase information publicly available about child labor law enforcement efforts, particularly at the regional level, including the number of children rescued from child labor and the number of fines imposed and collected for child labor violations.

2012

Strengthen coordination and information-sharing mechanisms among government agencies dealing with child labor issues.

2012

Policies

Establish regional commissions for the prevention and eradication of child labor in all regions, develop regional plans of action against child labor, and allocate sufficient funding to implement them.

2010, 2011, 2012

Social Programs

Initiate social programs to address child labor in mining and domestic service.

2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

Expand social programs to reach a greater number of children working in hazardous occupations in agriculture and urban hazardous work.

2009, 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, 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. 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 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.

4. UN Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights. Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Articles 16 and 17 of the Covenant: Peru. Geneva; May 30, 2012. Report No.: E/C.12/PER/CO/2-4. http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/publisher,CESCR,CONCOBSERVATIONS,,506447ed2,0.html.

5. Government of Peru. Response to USDOL Request for Information about Child and Forced Labor. Lima; January 28, 2013.

6. ILO-IPEC. Trabajo Infantíl Estudio de Opinión Pública en el Perú. Lima; 2007. http://white.oit.org.pe/ipec/documentos/estudio_cap_pe.pdf.

7. Centro de Desarrollo y Autogestión. Combating Exploitative Rural Child Labor in Perú. Technical Progress Report; October 2012.

8. U.S. Department of State. Peru. In: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2012. Washington, DC; April 19, 2013; http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?year=2012&dlid=204472.

9. Government of Peru. Estrategia Nacional para la Prevencion y Erradicacion del Trabajo Infantíl 2012-2021. Lima; 2012.

10. International Labour Office. Livestock Production, International Labour Organization, [online] [cited October 26, 2012]; http://www.ilo.org/ipec/areas/Agriculture/WCMS_172431/lang--en/index.htm.

11. Ensing A. Child Labour in the Mining Sector of Peru: The IREWOC Research Project on the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Latin America. Amsterdam, IREWOC; 2008.

12. U.S. Department of State. Peru. In: Trafficking in Persons Report- 2011. Washington, DC; 2011; http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2011/index.htm.

13. Novak and Namihas. La trata de personas con fines de explotación laboral: El caso de la minería aufífera y la tala ilegal de madera en Madre de Dios. Lima, International Organization for Migration and the Instituto de Estudios Internacionales (IDEI); 2009.

14. UN Human Rights Council. Report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences, Gulnara Shahinian; August 15, 2011.

15. Alvarado Pereda F. Diagnóstico social sobre el trabajo y el empleo en el sector pesquero de Ecuador y Perú Geneva, ILO; 2009. http://www.ilo.int/public/spanish/region/eurpro/madrid/download/peruecuador.pdf.

16. Instituto Nacional de Estadistica e Informatica (INEI). Perú: Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes que Trabajan, 1993-2008. Lima; 2009. http://www.pronino.pe/upload/LIB_PDF_Inei.pdf.

17. International Labour Office. Fishing and Aquaculture, International Labour Organization, [online] January 31, 2012 [cited October 26, 2012]; http://www.ilo.org/ipec/areas/Agriculture/WCMS_172419/lang--en/index.htm.

18. Macro International Inc. In-Country Research and Data Collection on Forced Labor and Child Labor in the Production of Goods in Peru. Calverton, MD; 2008.

19. Centro de Desarrollo y Autogestión. Combating Exploitative Rural Child Labor in Perú. Project Document; November 2011.

20. Macro International Inc. Children Working in Informal Sector Marketplaces: Lima, Peru. Calverton, MD; January 12, 2007.

21. U.S. Embassy- Lima. reporting, January 30, 2013.

22. ILO-IPEC. Trabajo Infantil en el Perú: magnitud y perfiles vulnerables. Geneva; 2009. http://www.ilo.org/ipecinfo/product/viewProduct.do?productId=13173.

23. U.S. Embassy- Lima. reporting, February 15, 2013.

24. U.S. Embassy- Lima. reporting, February 22, 2011.

25. ILO-IPEC. Girls in Mining, research findings from Ghana, Niger, Peru and United Republic of Tanzania. Geneva; 2007. http://www.ilo.org/ipecinfo/product/viewProduct.do?productId=5304.

26. U.S. Embassy- Lima official. E-mail communication to. USDOL official. June 3, 2013.

27. U.S. Department of State. Peru. In: Trafficking in Persons Report- 2012. Washington, D.C.; June 19, 2012; http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/192597.pdf.

28. Government of Peru. Ley que Modifica el Artículo 51 de la Ley No. 27337, 27571, (December 4, 2001); http://www.mintra.gob.pe/contenidos/legislacion/dispositivos_legales/ley_27571.htm.

29. Government of Peru. Ley que Aprueba el Nuevo Código de los Niños y Adolescentes, 27337, (August 2, 2000); http://www.acnur.org/biblioteca/pdf/01163.pdf.

30. Government of Peru. Decreto Supremo, No 003-2010-MIMDES, (2010); http://www.chsalternativo.org/upload/archivos/archivo_424.pdf.

31. Government of Peru. Código Penal 635, (August 4, 1991); http://www.seguridadidl.org.pe/normas/codigopenal.doc.

32. Government of Peru. Constitución Política del Perú (1993); http://www2.congreso.gob.pe/congreso/Constitución-Política-08-09-09.doc.

33. Government of Peru. Modificación del Codigo Penal 28251, (August 4, 2004); http://www.oit.org.pe/ipec/documentos/ley_28251_esci_pe.pdf.

34. Government of Peru. Ley contra la Trata de Personas y el Tráfico Ilícito de Migrantes, Law No. 28950, (January 16, 2007); http://white.oit.org.pe/ipec/documentos/ley_trata_peru_06.pdf.

35. Government of Peru. Ley del Servicio Militar, 27178, (September 28, 1999); http://www.resdal.org/Archivo/d0000281.htm.

36. Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers. Peru. In: Child Soldiers Global Report 2008. London; 2008; http://bit.ly/RB4Kz.

37. Government of Peru. Ley de Represión del Tráfico Ilícito de Drogas, 22095, (February 21, 1978); http://www.cedro.org.pe/leyes/ley22095.pdf.

38. Peruvian Embassy- Washington official. E-mail communication to. USDOL official. April 8, 2013.

39. Government of Peru. Response to USDOL Request for Information about Child and Forced Labor. Lima; May 30, 2011.

40. Government of Peru - Ministry of Labor and Employment Promotion. Informe Anual de la Inspección del Trabajo en el Perú: Año 2008. Lima; November 2009. http://www.mintra.gob.pe/archivos/file/gestion/informe_anual_inspeccion_%202008.pdf.

41. U.S. Embassy- Lima official. E-mail communication to. USDOL official. March 28, 2012.

42. U.S. Embassy- Lima. reporting, January 24, 2012.

43. Government of Peru. Decreto Supremo que Modifica el Reglamento de la Ley General de Inspección del Trabajo, 004-2011-TR, (April 7, 2011); http://www.mintra.gob.pe/archivos/file/SNIL/normas/2011-04-07_004-2011-TR_1402.pdf.

44. Government of Peru. Ley General de Inspeccion del Trabajo, Law No. 28806, (July 19, 2006); http://www.mintra.gob.pe/contenidos/archivos/prodlab/LEY28806.pdf.

45. Government of Peru. Plan Nacional de Prevención y Erradicación del Trabajo Infantíl. Lima; 2005. http://white.oit.org.pe/ipec/documentos/plan_peti_per_05.pdf.

46. Government of Peru. Decreto Supremo 052-2011-PCM, http://spij.minjus.gob.pe/Normas/textos/210611T.pdf.

47. Grupo de Acción Regional de las Américas. Quienes Somos, [online] 2011 [cited January 30, 2013];

48. Government of Peru. Tablero de Control - JUNTOS, [online] [cited March 22, 2013]; http://infomidis.midis.gob.pe/tablero/JUNTOS/P_Descripcion.html.

49. Romulo Paes-Sousa, Ferdinando Regalia, Marco Stampini. Conditions for Success in Implementing CCT Programs: Lessons for Asia from Latin America and the CaribbeanInter-American Development Bank; June 2013. http://idbdocs.iadb.org/wsdocs/getdocument.aspx?docnum=37839386.

50. Government of Peru. Programa Educadores de Calle, [online] [cited January 17, 2013]; http://www.inabif.gob.pe/portalinabif/02_lineas/pec/pec.htm.


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, 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.