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Saint Vincent and the Grenadines


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2012 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

In 2012, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines made a minimal advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. In implementing the Prevention and Trafficking in Persons Act this year, the Government established a ministerial National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons. An anti-trafficking unit has also been established within the Royal Police Force. However, gaps remain in the legal framework, as the minimum age for hazardous work falls below international standards and there is no law to prohibit the use of children in the production of drugs. While the country does not appear to have a widespread child labor problem, some children are engaged in the worst forms of child labor.

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Prevalence and Sectoral Distribution of the Worst Forms of Child Labor

In Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, some children are engaged in the worst forms of child labor. There is limited evidence suggesting that children are involved in dangerous activities within the agricultural sector, including the cultivation of marijuana.(3-5) Although information is limited, there are reports that children are also found working on banana plantations and in family-owned cottage industries.(5, 6) Such work may put them at risk by requiring them to use dangerous tools, carry heavy loads, and apply harmful pesticides.(7, 8)

There also have been reports of trafficking in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, including children who are trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and work in agriculture.(9) Limited reports from NGO and government sources state that girls are encouraged by their mothers to engage in sexual activities with older men for money as a way to supplement the family income.(6) However, the Government has acknowledged that due to the lack of data on the prevalence of child labor,especially the sexual exploitation of children, the full extent of the problem is unknown.(10) In addition, there is limited evidence that children are involved in the trade of marijuana.(3-5)



Laws and Regulations on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

The Employment of Women, Young Persons, and Children (EWYPC) Act establishes the minimum age for employment, including hazardous work, at age 14.(10, 11) This law does not meet the international minimum age standard of 18 for hazardous work.(10, 11) Children under the age of 18 are prohibited from working at night and in any industrial undertaking.(10, 11)

The EWYPC Act also authorizes the Governor-General to establish regulations regarding the health, welfare, and safety of children and young persons. However, there are no regulations defining or prohibiting hazardous occupations or conditions for children.(10, 11).

The Prevention of Trafficking in Persons (PTIP) Act of 2011 prohibits the sale and trafficking of all children under the age of 18. The Act prohibits the involvement of any trafficked person, including children, in forced labor, prostitution, and pornography.(12, 13) It also prohibits the use of a child in the trafficking of illicit goods.(12, 13) However, there are no legal frameworks prohibiting the use of children in the production and trafficking of illicit drugs.(10)

The Constitution (1979) prohibits all forms of forced and compulsory labor.(14)

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines does not have a national army.(15) The Royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force is responsible for the security and protection of the people. The minimum age for voluntary recruitment into the Police Force is 19.(15, 16)

The Education Act of 1992 was revised in 2006 to offer universal access to primary and secondary schooling. The Act mandates free and compulsory education for all children between the ages of 5 to16.(17-19)



Institutional Mechanisms for Coordination and Enforcement

Research found no evidence that the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has established a coordinating mechanism to combat the worst forms of child labor. However, a ministerial-level task force coordinates the prosecution of trafficking cases.(5)

The Ministry of Labor is responsible for enforcing all child labor laws. There are five labor officers who are responsible for monitoring all labor issues for the country and the island of the Grenadines.(4-6) Inspectors investigate child labor only in response to complaints; there were no reports of inspections or violations involving child labor this reporting period.(5) The Government recognizes that there are not enough inspectors to carry out the full extent of their assigned duties and this has led to difficulties in inspecting workplaces.(20) In 2012, the Government allocated $377,777 to the Ministry for all enforcement activities.{, #46;U.S. Embassy- Bridgetown, #63}Labor inspectors did not receive training on child labor and its worst forms this reporting period.(5)

The Royal Police Force is responsible for making all criminal arrests, including those involving the worst forms of child labor and human trafficking. An anti-trafficking unit has also been created within the Royal Police Force in an effort to address the problem.(5, 21) In 2012, the budget for the police force was $650,250. This reporting period, the entire force received training on trafficking victim identification, care, and sensitization.(21) Children who are identified by the police force as victims of human trafficking or engaged in child labor are referred to the Ministry of Social Development for social services by the Ministry of Labor.(5, 21)

In 2012, the Government established a ministerial National Task Force against Trafficking in Persons.(22) The functions of the Task Force are to develop a national plan to address trafficking, to coordinate the collection of data amongst government agencies, to establish policies to enable government agencies to work with nongovernmental organizations to prevent trafficking and assist victims, as well as to coordinate and provide training for all relevant government officials and authority figures.(13, 22)



Government Policies on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Although the worst forms of child labor do not appear to occur extensively in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, research found no evidence of policies to address existing child labor, including children working in agriculture and child victims of commercial sexual exploitation.(5) According to the Government, official statistics are not available on the prevalence and scope of the worst forms of child labor.(10)



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

The Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines does not have any programs that are specifically designed to address child labor. However, several programs exist to reduce poverty, increase educational attainment, and improve the overall lives of its people.(4, 5, 18) Some of the services include free medical and health care services for children 16 years and younger, subsidization of textbooks, and school feeding programs.(18)

The Ministry of Education developed the Education Sector Development Plan to serve as a guide in the comprehensive development of the education system.(4, 18, 19) Programs, such as Children Against Poverty, were developed to address gaps in the schooling system and break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.(4, 18) This program specifically targets low achievers between the ages of 5 to 16, using innovative and integrated approaches to learning, in order to keep children engaged.(18)

The impact of these programs on the worst forms of child labor is unclear.



Based on the reporting above, the following actions would advance the elimination of the worst forms of child labor in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines:

Area

Suggested Actions

Year(s) Action Recommended

Laws and Regulations

Amend the Employment of Women, Young Persons, and Children Act to make 18 the minimum age for engaging in hazardous work.

2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

Develop a list of hazardous occupations and working conditions prohibited to children under the age of 18.

2009, 2011, 2012

Draft and adopt legislation to prohibit procuring or offering a child for the production and trafficking of illicit drugs.

2011, 2012

Coordination and Enforcement

Establish a coordinating mechanism to combat all worst forms of child labor.

2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

Provide training to inspectors on child labor and its worst forms.

2011, 2012

Policies

Conduct a national child labor study to assess whether the worst forms of child labor are indicative of a small or hidden problem that requires further follow-up.

2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

Develop a national plan of action to address the worst forms of child labor, particularly for children engaged in commercial sexual exploitation and in illicit activities within the agricultural sector.

2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

Social Programs

Assess the impact that existing programs may have on addressing the worst forms of child labor.

2009, 2010, 2011, 2012



1. UNESCO Institute of Statistics. Gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary. Total; accessed 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. U.S. Embassy- Bridgetown. reporting, January 28, 2011.

4. U.S. Embassy- Bridgetown. reporting, January 25, 2012.

5. U.S. Embassy-Bridgetown. reporting, February 4, 2013.

6. U.S. Department of State. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. 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.

7. 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.

8. International Labour Office. Farming, International Labour Organization, [Online] January 31, 2012 [cited October 26, 2012]; http://www.ilo.org/ipec/areas/Agriculture/WCMS_172416/lang--en/index.htm.

9. U.S. Department of State. St. Vincent and the Grenadines (Tier 2). In: Trafficking in Persons Report. Washington, DC; June 19, 2012; http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2012/index.htm.

10. ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Direct Request concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (no. 182) Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (ratification: 2001) Published: 2012; November 9, 2012; http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:20010:0::NO:::.

11. ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Direct Request concerning Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (no. 138) Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (ratification:2006) Publlished: 2012; November 9, 2012; http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:20010:0::NO::.

12. The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit (ATIPU). The Prevention of Trafficking in Persons (PTIP) Act (No.. 27 of 2011)- Part I Police Headquarters; November 20, 2012.

13. Government of Saint Vincent and Grenadines. Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act, No. 27, (September 29, 2011);

14. Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Constitution of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, 1979 No. 916, (October 27, 1979); http://pdba.georgetown.edu/Constitutions/Vincent/stvincent79.html.

15. 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, UK; 2012; http://www.child-soldiers.org/global_report_reader.php?id=562.

16. Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Police Act- Revised Edition 1990, Chapter 280, (1947);

17. Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Education Act-Revised 2006, (1992);

18. Child Rights International Network. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Child Rights References in the Universal Periodic Review; September 19, 2011. http://www.crin.org/resources/infoDetail.asp?ID=26137#.

19. UNESCO. St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Caribbean Symposium on Inclusive Education December 2007.

20. ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Direct Request concerning Labour Inspection Convention, 1947 (no. 81) Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (ratification: 1998) Published: 2012; November 9, 2012; http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:20010:0::NO::.

21. Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Memorandum from Commissioner of Police to. USDOL official. April 9, 2013 2013.

22. The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit (ATIPU). The Prevention of Trafficking in Persons (PTIP) Act (No.. 27 of 2011)- Part 2 Police Headquarters; November 27, 2012.