Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Honduras

Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

Honduras

2015 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

Moderate Advancement

In 2015, Honduras made a moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The Government passed an executive decree that re-established the National Commission for the Gradual and Progressive Eradication of Child Labor and held workshops to build the capacity of five of its Regional Subcommissions. The Secretariat of Labor and Social Security continued to implement the Roadmap for the Eradication of Child Labor, including through trainings for coffee, chocolate, and pepper producers on child labor issues and through public awareness campaigns. In addition, the Government continued to expand key social programs, including the School Meals Program, which now reaches more than 1.3 million students in an effort to bolster school attendance. However, children in Honduras are engaged in child labor, including in agriculture, and in the worst forms of child labor, including in commercial sexual exploitation as a result of human trafficking. The Government does not employ a sufficient number of labor inspectors to adequately enforce child labor laws across the country, and the Government lacks social programs to eliminate child labor in dangerous activities such as fishing, mining, and domestic work.

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Children in Honduras are engaged in child labor, including in agriculture. Children are also engaged in the worst forms of child labor, including in commercial sexual exploitation as a result of human trafficking.(1-11) Table 1 provides key indicators on children’s work and education in Honduras.

Table 1. Statistics on Children’s Work and Education

Working children, ages 5 to 14 (% and population):

7.8 (153,536)

Working children by sector, ages 5 to 14 (%):

 

Agriculture

65.3

Industry

12.3

Services

22.4

School attendance, ages 5 to 14 (%):

84.6

Children combining work and school, ages 7 to 14 (%):

4.4

Primary completion rate (%):

90.7

Source for primary completion rate: Data from 2014, published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2015.(12)
Source for all other data: Understanding Children’s Work Project’s analysis of statistics from Encuesta Permanente de Hogares de Propósitos Múltiples (EPHPM) Survey, 2013.(13)

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

Production of melon, coffee, sugarcane,* and okra* (1, 14-20)

Harvesting mollusks*† (21, 22)

Fishing,* including working as divers’ assistants† and diving for lobster† (3, 4, 6, 19, 23, 24)

Industry

Quarrying limestone*† and production of lime*† (25-27)

Artisanal mining† (1, 4, 9, 18, 23, 28)

Production and sale of fireworks*† (4, 29-33)

Construction,† activities unknown (4, 10, 34)

Services

Street begging and vending† (1, 10, 23, 25, 33, 35)

Work in repair shops,*† including in mechanical repair*† (10, 36)

Washing car windows*† and performing at traffic lights† (1, 7, 34, 37)

Scavenging in garbage dumps† (1, 4, 18, 19, 23, 25, 35, 38)

Work in hotels* and laundromats,* activities unknown (10)

Domestic work† (1, 4, 7, 16, 18, 39)

Categorical Worst Forms of Child Labor‡

Commercial sexual exploitation as a result of human trafficking (7, 8, 11)

Forced begging (33, 34, 40)

Use in illicit activities, including by gangs in committing homicides, extortion, and selling and trafficking drugs (1, 11, 33, 34, 37, 41, 42)

* Evidence of this activity is limited and/or the extent of the problem is unknown.
† Determined by national law or regulation as hazardous and, as such, relevant to Article 3(d) of ILO C. 182.
‡ Child labor understood as the worst forms of child labor per se under Article 3(a) – (c) of ILO C. 182.

In 2015, Honduras, like El Salvador and Guatemala, continued to be a principal source of the high numbers of unaccompanied children from Central America migrating to the United States.(43-45). Such children often lack economic and educational opportunities, and are vulnerable to the worst forms of child labor, including commercial sexual exploitation and recruitment by gangs into illicit activities such as committing homicides and trafficking drugs.(46-48) Children emigrate to escape violence and extortion by gangs, in addition to searching for economic opportunities and family reunification. Once in route, they are also vulnerable to human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation.(46-48)

In Honduras, children are sometimes trafficked from rural areas into commercial sexual exploitation in urban and tourist destinations, such as the Bay Islands, San Pedro Sula, and Tegucigalpa. In addition, reports indicate that Honduran children are trafficked to other Central American countries and North America for commercial sexual exploitation.(49, 50) Reports indicate that gangs sometimes threaten families as a means to forcibly recruit children into their ranks, where boys are used in the commission of extortion, drug trafficking, and homicides and where girls are engaged in commercial sexual exploitation.(42) Reports indicate that 20 percent of the Honduran population is of indigenous or African descent and that children from these groups are particularly vulnerable to child labor, including its worst forms.(51, 52)

In Honduras, access to education is often limited. Reports indicate that approximately 220,000 children between the ages of 5 and 17 lack access to the educational system in practice.(17) More than 75 percent of these children live in rural areas, where lack of funding for schools and, in many cases, lack of any secondary schools remain a problem.(17) In urban areas, access to education is often hindered by widespread violence and the recruitment of children into gangs. In addition, school completion rates are low; many children fail to complete primary education and, according to 2011 national data, only 50.5 percent of girls and 37.5 percent of boys completed secondary school.(8, 53)

Honduras 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 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

 

14

Article 120 of the Code on Childhood and Adolescence; Article 15 of the Executive Agreement STSS-211-01; Article 32 of the Labor Code; Article 124 of the Constitution (54-57)

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

Yes

18

Articles 1 and 122 of the Code on Childhood and Adolescence; Articles 2 and 10 of the Executive Agreement STSS‑211-01; Article 1 of the Executive Agreement STSS-097-2008 (55, 56, 58)

Prohibition of Hazardous Occupations or Activities for Children

Yes

 

Article 1 of the Executive Agreement STSS-097-2008; Article 8 of the Executive Agreement STSS‑211-01 (55, 58)

Prohibition of Forced Labor

Yes

 

Articles 6 and 52 of the Law Against Trafficking in Persons (Decree 59-2012); Articles 2 and 10 of the Executive Agreement STSS‑211-01; Articles 179E, 179F and 192 of the Penal Code; Articles 68 and 127 of the Constitution (54, 55, 59, 60)

Prohibition of Child Trafficking

Yes

 

Articles 6 and 52 of the Law Against Trafficking in Persons (Decree 59-2012); Articles 2 and 10 of the Executive Agreement STSS‑211-01; Article 8 of the Legislative Decree 35-2013 (55, 59, 61)

Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Yes

 

Article 134 of the Code on Childhood and Adolescence; Articles 6 and 52 of the Law Against Trafficking in Persons (Decree 59-2012); Articles 2 and 10 of the Executive Agreement STSS‑211-01; Articles 148 and 149A-E of the Penal Code (55, 56, 59, 60)

Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities

Yes

 

Article 134 of the Code on Childhood and Adolescence; Article 10 of the Executive Agreement STSS‑211-01; Articles 6 and 52 of the Law Against Trafficking in Persons (Decree 59-2012); Article 8 of the Legislative Decree 35-2013 (55, 56, 59, 61)

Minimum Age for Compulsory Military Recruitment

N/A*

 

 

Minimum Age for Voluntary Military Service

Yes

18

Articles 2 and 12 of the Executive Agreement STSS‑211-01; Article 276 of the Constitution (54, 55)

Compulsory Education Age

Yes

17

Articles 8, 13, and 21–23 of the Fundamental Law of Education; Articles 36 and 39 of the Code on Childhood and Adolescence (56, 62)

Free Public Education

Yes

 

Articles 7, 13, and 21–23 of the Fundamental Law of Education; Article 36 of the Code on Childhood and Adolescence; Article 171 of the Constitution (54, 56, 62)

* No conscription (55, 63)

The Constitution states that a child 16 years old or younger may not work unless it is necessary to sustain his or her family and the work does not interfere with schooling. Honduran statutes build upon the protections in the Constitution.(54) The Labor Code and the Code on Childhood and Adolescence prohibit children under age 14 from working in any circumstances and allow children ages 14 to 17 to work only with written parental consent and authorization from the Secretariat of Labor and Social Security (STSS).(56, 57) The Code on Childhood and Adolescence states that children ages 14 and 15 may work no more than 4 hours per day and that children ages 16 and 17 may work no more than 6 hours per day; children ages 16 and 17 can also receive special permission from the STSS to work in the evening if it does not affect their schooling.(56, 57, 64)

Article 120 of the Code on Childhood and Adolescence and Article 15 of the Executive Agreement STSS-211-01 set the minimum age for work at 14 in all undertakings and without exception for their size.(55, 56) Article 32(1) of the Labor Code also prohibits children under the age of 14 from working. However, children working in agricultural and stock-raising undertakings that do not permanently employ more than 10 workers are not covered by the Labor Code’s minimum age protections because Article 2 of the Labor Code excludes these undertakings from its scope.(57) The ILO has recommended that the Government harmonize the Labor Code with the Code on Childhood and Adolescence to ensure that no child under age 14 is permitted to work, including in agriculture and stock-raising.(65)

Article 8 of the Executive Agreement STSS-211-01 and Article 122 of the Code on Childhood and Adolescence both prohibit children under age 18 from engaging in dangerous activities. Article 22 of the Executive Agreement STSS-211-01 and Article 122(v) of the Code on Childhood and Adolescence allow the STSS to authorize minors ages 16 and 17 to perform dangerous activities if they have successfully completed relevant technical training at the National Institute of Vocational Training or a similar specialized technical institute and upon STSS verification that such minors are fully protected in these activities.(6, 55, 56)

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

Secretariat of Labor and Social Security (STSS)

Inspect labor conditions and enforce child labor laws.(8, 34)

Public Ministry’s Office of the Special Prosecutor for Children (OSPC)

Prosecute crimes against children, including trafficking in children, hazardous labor, forced labor, and commercial sexual exploitation. Coordinate with Honduran National Police to investigate crimes and protect victims.(8, 34)

Public Ministry’s Technical Agency for Criminal Investigations (ATIC)

Investigate and technically support criminal prosecutions conducted by the Public Ministry, including by the OSPC, such as human trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, and child pornography.(9, 33, 34)

Prosecutorial Task Force to Combat Criminal Smuggling of Unaccompanied Children and Trafficking in Persons

Investigate and prosecute criminal organizations that engage in the illegal smuggling of unaccompanied children and trafficking in persons. Created in 2014 and overseen by the Special Prosecutor Against Organized Crime and the Special Prosecutor for Children.(40, 66)

 

Labor Law Enforcement

In 2015, labor law enforcement agencies in Honduras took actions to combat child labor, including its worst forms (Table 6).

 Table 6. Labor Law Enforcement Efforts Related to Child Labor

Overview of Labor Law Enforcement

2014

2015

Labor Inspectorate Funding

Unknown

Unknown

Number of Labor Inspectors

141 (34)

135 (33)

Inspectorate Authorized to Assess Penalties

Yes (33)

Yes (33)

Training for Labor Inspectors

   

Initial Training for New Employees

Unknown

 N/A (67)

Training on New Laws Related to Child Labor

Unknown

Yes (67)

Refresher Courses Provided

Unknown

Yes (33)

Number of Labor Inspections

11,156 (34)

Unknown

Number Conducted at Worksite

Unknown

7,188 (33)

Number Conducted by Desk Reviews

N/A

N/A

Number of Child Labor Violations Found

60 (33)

Unknown

Number of Child Labor Violations for Which Penalties Were Imposed

Unknown

3 (33)

Number of Penalties Imposed That Were Collected

Unknown

3 (33)

Routine Inspections Conducted

Yes (34)

Yes (33)

Routine Inspections Targeted

Unknown

Yes (67)

Unannounced Inspections Permitted

Yes (33)

Yes (33)

Unannounced Inspections Conducted

Unknown

Yes (67)

Complaint Mechanism Exists

Yes (33)

Yes (33)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Labor Authorities and Social Services

No (33)

No (33)

 

In 2015, the STSS reported that it allocated approximately $1,325,000 for the salaries of its inspectors in the General Inspection Service; the overall level of funding for the labor inspectorate was unknown.(33) The STSS, labor union confederations, employer organizations, and human rights organizations have indicated that the level of funding and resources for the General Inspection Service, which includes limited office space, telephones, computers, vehicles, and fuel for vehicles, is insufficient for inspectors to adequately perform their duties.(33, 34) Reports also indicate that the number of labor inspectors employed by the STSS is inadequate to inspect for child labor violations nationwide.(33) According to the ILO’s recommendation of one inspector for every 15,000 workers in industrializing economies, Honduras should employ roughly 243 inspectors in order to adequately enforce labor laws throughout the country.(68-70)

During the reporting period, the STSS reported that 119 of its 135 labor inspectors, as well as other government officials, received training on child labor issues in 5 capacity-building workshops that were held in San Pedro Sula, La Ceiba, El Progreso, Comayagua, and Choluteca. The workshops focused on laws and international conventions on child labor, as well as on local strategies to prevent child labor, including its worst forms.(33, 71)

The official process for labor inspections in Honduras includes a preliminary visit, which may be unannounced and through which inspectors identify and inform employers of violations but do not issue fines or citations.(34, 64) Employers are given a specified number of days to remedy violations, typically between 3 and 60 days, depending on the type of violation.(64, 72, 73) Inspectors then conduct reinspections to determine whether the violations have been remediated. If during reinspections inspectors find that the violations have not been remedied, inspectors recommend that the Inspector General of the STSS issue penalties.(72) Reports indicate that if violations involving underage children or children working in hazardous conditions are found during a preliminary inspection, inspectors immediately report them to their supervisors.(74) This two-step inspection process puts an additional strain on the limited human and financial resources of the inspectorate and may not sufficiently deter employers from exploiting children in the workplace, particularly in remote, rural areas where conducting the reinspections that can lead to penalties is especially challenging. Furthermore, a lack of publicly available information on the results of preliminary and subsequent inspections, including whether child labor violations are ultimately remedied, prevents a complete understanding of how effectively this inspection system enforces child labor laws.(75)

Although the total number of labor inspections conducted by the STSS in 2015 is unknown, the STSS conducted 6,680 inspections from January to March 2015.(76) The STSS also reported that it conducted 162 child labor inspections during the reporting period.(67) The STSS and civil society partners have reported that the number of labor inspections is insufficient to address the scope of labor violations in the country, including child labor violations.(33) Reports indicate that most of the inspections take place in the urban areas of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula. Inspections in rural areas and in indigenous communities, where hazardous activities in agriculture and fishing or diving are concentrated, have been insufficient to address the scope of the problem.(7, 51, 64) Although information on the full range of economic sectors and localities in which inspections were carried out does not appear to be publicly available, the STSS reported that regionally-based labor inspectors conducted inspections of businesses engaged in agriculture and fishing, mining and construction, commercial and community services, hotels and restaurants, and transportation. Regionally-based inspectors reported finding 23 violations of child labor laws and regulations; research could not determine the total number of child labor violations found by all STSS inspectors nationwide.(33) The STSS reported that it authorized 212 minors aged 14 to 17 to work from January to September 2015; 101 of these authorizations were permanent and 111 were temporary.(77)

In Honduras, STSS regulations provide a mechanism and procedures for handling complaints regarding child labor. However, NGOs report that, in practice, these procedures are often inadequately followed, largely due to institutional weaknesses and a lack of resources.(33)

The STSS reported that it removed nine children from dangerous work during the reporting period: four in La Ceiba, three in Tegucigalpa, and two in Choluteca. The Directorate of Childhood, Adolescence, and Family (DINAF) is responsible for ensuring that victims of child labor receive government services. DINAF may also investigate complaints of child labor; however, there does not appear to be an effective mechanism by which the STSS and DINAF reciprocally refer cases of child labor to one another for labor law enforcement and the social protection of children, respectively.(33, 34) Research could not determine whether the nine children rescued by the STSS were referred to DINAF.

In December 2015, the Government of the Choluteca Department passed an ordinance that suspended all work at the Cuculmeca mine, due in part to a number of children who had been found engaged in dangerous work.(33, 71)

Criminal Law Enforcement

In 2015, criminal law enforcement agencies in Honduras took actions to combat the worst forms of child labor (Table 7).

Table 7. Criminal Law Enforcement Efforts Related to the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Overview of Criminal Law Enforcement

2014

2015

Training for Investigators

   

Initial Training for New Employees

Unknown

Unknown

Training on New Laws Related to the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Unknown

N/A

Refresher Courses Provided

Yes (34)

Yes (33, 42)

Number of Investigations

Unknown

Unknown

Number of Violations Found

Unknown

Unknown

Number of Prosecutions Initiated

Unknown

Unknown

Number of Convictions

Unknown

Unknown

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Criminal Authorities and Social Services

Unknown

Yes (33)

 

In Honduras, the Public Ministry’s Office of the Special Prosecutor for Children (OSPC) coordinates investigations of criminal cases involving the worst forms of child labor, including cases of forced child labor referred to it by the STSS.(33) Research could not determine the number of criminal investigators employed by the OSPC during the reporting period. Research could also not determine the level of funding for criminal law enforcement agencies in 2015. Reports indicate that the level of funding and resources available to the OSPC and other criminal law enforcement agencies are insufficient to address the worst forms of child labor nationwide.(33, 34) Despite these challenges, members of the Government’s Inter-Institutional Commission Against Exploitation and Commercial Sex Trafficking (CICESCT) conducted or participated in more than 80 trainings and forums related to trafficking in persons issues in 2015.(33)

In 2015, the Public Ministry reported that it was investigating 18 cases of trafficking in persons and 22 cases of commercial sexual exploitation. Eleven cases, including nine for trafficking in persons and two for commercial sexual exploitation, were being prosecuted in the courts.(33) The Public Ministry also reached convictions in 13 cases: 7 for trafficking in persons and 6 for commercial sexual exploitation.(33) However, for 2015, it is not known whether the cases under investigation and prosecution, including those for which convictions were reached, involved children.(33) In Honduras, reports indicate that the number of investigations, prosecutions, and convictions of the worst forms of child labor is not considered sufficient to address the problem.(34, 42)

In 2015, the Public Ministry reported that it rescued 17 trafficked girls, ages 14-17. Research could not determine whether criminal investigations or prosecutions were brought in these cases.(33) Victims of the worst forms of child labor, including trafficked children, are referred to DINAF for services; DINAF is also responsible for referring cases of suspected criminal conduct to the Public Ministry for investigation.(33, 34) Research could not determine how many children rescued by the Public Ministry received services through DINAF, or how many cases of suspected criminal conduct related to the worst forms of child labor were referred by DINAF to the Public Ministry.

The Government has established mechanisms to coordinate its efforts to address child labor, including its worst forms (Table 8).

Table 8. Mechanisms to Coordinate Government Efforts on Child Labor

Coordinating Body

Role & Description

National Commission for the Gradual and Progressive Eradication of Child Labor*

Coordinate government policies and efforts on child labor issues, including the implementation of the Roadmap for the Eradication of Child Labor in Honduras. Chaired by the STSS and includes officials from eight government ministries, DINAF, the Supreme Court, and other government entities.(71, 78) Receives guidance from DINAF, which serves as the Commission’s Secretary, as well as from a Technical Council, which is overseen by an Executive Secretariat.(71, 78) Oversee regional subcommissions, led by regional representatives of the STSS and DINAF, who implement national efforts locally.(78) In September 2015, the Government passed Executive Decree PCM-057-2015 through which the National Commission for the Gradual and Progressive Eradication of Child Labor was re-established.(33, 71, 78) Also during the reporting period, the National Commission, led by the STSS, conducted five workshops to build the capacity of its regional subcommissions in San Pedro Sula, La Ceiba, El Progreso, Comayagua, and Choluteca.(33, 71)

Inter-Institutional Commission Against Exploitation and Commercial Sex Trafficking (CICESCT)

Coordinate the efforts of government institutions and civil society groups to combat commercial sexual exploitation and human trafficking, including of children.(37, 79) Consists of representatives from 52 organizations, including several government ministries and various NGOs.(37, 59, 79) Oversee 19 local CICESCT committees.(42)

Directorate of Childhood, Adolescence, and Family (DINAF)

Formulate, coordinate, and implement national plans that concern children, adolescents, and their families; monitor children’s rights according to national legislation and other statutes; and coordinate state efforts with civil society and religious institutions to protect children.(80, 81) Created in 2014 through Executive Decree PCM-27-2014 to replace the Honduran Institute for Children and the Family (INHFA) and overseen by the Secretariat of Development and Social Inclusion (SEDIS).(80, 81)

Unaccompanied Children Task Force (UAC Task Force)

Provide for the safe repatriation of unaccompanied migrant children and coordinate their reintegration into their communities of origin. Led by the First Lady and comprising officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; DINAF; the Ministry of Human Rights, Justice, Governance, and Decentralization; the National Institute for Migration; and the Public Ministry, with specialized services for returnees provided by the Ministries of Labor, Education, Health, and Development and Social Inclusion.(40, 71, 75)

Ministry of Social Development

Coordinate social protection policies and the provision of services to vulnerable populations, including child and adolescent victims of violence, human trafficking, and sexual and economic exploitation.(8)

* Mechanism to coordinate efforts to address child labor was created during the reporting period.

Reports indicate that in 2015 DINAF lacked sufficient resources to effectively carry out its mandate.(82)

The Government of Honduras has established policies related to child labor, including its worst forms (Table 9).

Table 9. Policies Related to Child Labor

Policy

Description

Second National Plan of Action to Prevent and Eradicate Child Labor (NPAPECL II) (2008–2015)

Aimed to prevent children from dropping out of school before they could legally work, to withdraw children who were engaged in the worst forms of child labor, and to ensure that the laws that protect children were enforced.(8, 79, 83) Established regional subcommittees in Choluteca, Comayagua, Danlí, El Progreso, Juticalpa, La Ceiba, and San Pedro Sula to oversee local implementation of NPAPECL II.(35)

Roadmap for the Eradication of Child Labor in Honduras

Aims to improve coordination of the Government’s responses to child labor issues. Works at the national, regional, and sub-regional levels and incorporates issues related to poverty, education, health, and social mobilization.(8, 79, 84) Implemented by the STSS.(8, 33) In 2015, the STSS continued to implement the Roadmap for the Eradication of Child Labor in Honduras, including through trainings for coffee, chocolate, and pepper producers on child labor issues, as well as through public awareness campaigns on child labor through national and local media.(33, 71) During the reporting period, the Government also held workshops with representatives from government agencies, the private sector, and NGOs in Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, La Ceiba, Choluteca, and La Esperanza to evaluate the implementation of the Roadmap for the period 2012–2014.(33, 71)

First Public Policy and National Action Plan on Human Rights

Aims to implement the Government’s national and international human rights commitments, including those addressing child and forced labor.(34)

National Strategy to Reduce Poverty (ERP) (2001–2015)

Aimed to reduce poverty nationwide by fostering economic development and assisting vulnerable populations. Prioritized the elimination of child labor and increased school attendance, recognizing that both are necessary to national development.(85)

Education for All Plan (2002–2015)

Aimed to increase school attendance to ensure that all Honduran children completed primary schooling, recognizing that a lack of schooling both contributes to and is a consequence of child labor.(85)

Executive Decrees PCM‑011‑2011; PCM 056-2011

Mandate that all Secretariats and their dependencies incorporate the issue of child labor elimination and prevention into their institutional strategic planning in accordance with the framework of the National Plan.(3, 4, 86-88)

Country Vision (2010–2038) and National Plan (2010–2022)

Guide national policy to reduce extreme poverty. Both Plans address education, the creation of social protection systems, and child labor.(64, 84, 89)

Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle

Aims to create economic growth, increase educational and vocational training opportunities for youth, and reduce violence in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, in part to decrease the number of unaccompanied minors who leave Honduras and other Central American countries for the United States and who are vulnerable to human trafficking. Signed by the presidents of each country in 2014.(90-92)

US–Honduras Labor Rights Monitoring and Action Plan (2015–2018)

Aims to improve the enforcement of labor laws, including laws related to child labor, by implementing legal and policy reforms, strengthening the STSS, enhancing enforcement activities, and increasing outreach efforts.(93)

Declaration of the Regional Initiative: Latin America and the Caribbean Free of Child Labor (2014–2020)

Aims to increase regional cooperation on the eradication of child labor by 2020 through signatories’ efforts to strengthen monitoring and coordination mechanisms, government programs, and South–South exchanges. Reaffirms commitments made in the Brasilia Declaration from the Third Global Conference on Child Labor (October 2013) and signed by Honduras at the ILO’s 18th Regional Meeting of the Americas in Lima, Peru (October 2014).(94-96)

XIX Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor†

Promotes decent work with social inclusion throughout the Americas. Held in Cancún, Mexico, participating countries adopted the Declaration of Cancún 2015 which aims in part to foster policies to eliminate labor exploitation, including child labor, and promote education and vocational training for youth.(97, 98) Participating countries also adopted a Plan of Action that prioritizes the elimination of child labor, including through data collection, enforcement of labor laws, and the development of social protection policies for children and families.(97, 99)

Declaration of the Vice-Ministers of the XX Regional Conference on Migration†

Aims to strengthen regional cooperation in order to protect the human rights of migrants, especially youth and children, in countries of origin, transit, and destination, including by increasing opportunities for education and employment. Adopted by Honduras at the XX Regional Conference on Migration in Mexico City (November, 2015).(100-102)

† Policy was approved during the reporting period.

In 2015, the Government of Honduras funded and participated in programs that include the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor, including its worst forms (Table 10).

Table 10. Social Programs to Address Child Labor

Program

Description

Voucher 10,000†

Government conditional cash transfer program that aims to reduce poverty by providing financial assistance to the head of household when children meet educational and health requirements.(79, 103) Objectives include the elimination of child labor.(7) In 2015, assisted 255,991 households.(71)

Program to Combat Child Forced Begging†

DINAF program to identify and rescue children who are subjected to forced begging. Includes a media campaign to raise awareness of child forced begging.(34)

The Friendly Hand Program†

SEDIS program that targets young people working in garbage dumps in San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa. Offers a holistic approach to removing these young people from the worst forms of child labor and offers training for children’s family members.(39, 104-106)

Civic Saturdays†

Ministry of Education program that reintroduced a Saturday school day in 2013, in part to help reduce child labor. Topics covered during classes are Honduran culture, laws pertaining to children, and recreational activities.(7, 34, 107) Since 2014, components also include tutoring in math and reading.(34)

Better Life Program†

SEDIS program that seeks to assist 800,000 of the poorest families by improving their housing conditions with cement flooring, water filters, and private bathrooms. Targets many of the families whose children are engaged in begging on the streets.(33, 34, 75)

Program for the Reintegration of Returned Unaccompanied Migrant Children

Government program that provides assistance to unaccompanied migrant children who have been returned to Honduras. Participating ministries and agencies include the National Institute for Migration, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, DINAF, SEDIS, and the National Center for Social Sector Information.(67) In 2015, the Government reported assisting 4,650 returned migrant children.(71)

Program to Prevent

Sex Tourism Involving Children and Adolescents†

Government program that aims to raise awareness and provide information, training, and a code of conduct for the tourism industry. Implemented by the Honduran Tourist Board, the Ministry of Tourism, and the Tourism Institute.(8, 108)

School Meals Program

Ministry of Education program, implemented with support from the WFP and in conjunction with the Office of the First Lady, that provides school lunches to students to improve nutrition and bolster attendance. In 2015, the program expanded from 1,220,000 students to 1,300,915 students.(34, 71, 75)

My First Job Program†

STSS program that connects disadvantaged youth with vocational opportunities.(37, 79, 109) Includes job skills and vocational training, internships, job placement, and public–private partnerships to support on-the-job training.(34, 37, 64)

Decent Work Country Program for Honduras (2012– 2015)

ILO program that aimed to ensure that workers’ rights and Honduran labor laws were upheld. For the period 2013 – 2015, aimed to implement measures from the Roadmap to help Honduras become child labor-free.(85)

Country Level Engagement and Assistance to Reduce Child Labor II (CLEAR II)*

USDOL-funded capacity building project implemented by Winrock International and partners Verité and Lawyers Without Borders in at least eight countries to build local and national government capacity to address child labor.(110) In Honduras, aims to build the institutional capacity of DINAF to carry out its mandates related to child protection. In 2015, CLEAR II completed a needs assessment on DINAF and assisted with donor coordination.(111)

Youth Pathways Central America (2015–2019)*

 

$13 million USDOL-funded, 4-year project implemented by Catholic Relief Services to prevent at-risk youth, including returned migrant youth, in El Salvador and Honduras from engaging in hazardous work by providing them with vocational training, skills programs, employment services, and other holistic support services. Works with the Government, private sector stakeholders, and community organizations to improve job training models for at-risk youth, increase the number of job opportunities accessible to at-risk youth, and to support self-employment opportunities for youth.(112)

Bright Futures (2014–2018)

$7 million, USDOL-funded, 4-year project implemented by World Vision to address child labor and improve labor rights and working conditions in Honduras, particularly in Valle, Intibucá, Choluteca, and the San Pedro Sula area.(113) Works with the Honduran Government, industry, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders to build the Ministry of Labor’s capacity to ensure remediation of labor law violations related to child labor, freedom of association, acceptable work conditions, and the right to organize and bargain collectively. Targets 5,150 children and youth for improved educational and livelihood opportunities.(113)

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 the evidence base on child labor and forced labor through data collection and research in Honduras.(114)

Honduran Youth Alliance

USAID-funded project that focuses on long-term gang prevention, including social reintegration of former gang members. Works at the national and local levels with civil society and the private sector to advocate for policy reform, run public awareness campaigns, and provide support for outreach centers for vulnerable youth in high-risk communities, including through recreational, educational, and vocational opportunities.(115)

Strengthening Local Capacity to Build a Culture of Peace (FORPAZ)

USAID-funded project that aims to improve citizen security by turning schools into community centers that provide extracurricular activities for at-risk youth, as well as develop a media campaign that promotes a culture of peace.(115)

Improving Education for Work, Learning, and Success (METAS)

USAID-funded project that aims to increase educational opportunities for at-risk youth through alternative education programs that provide basic educational skills and workforce development training. Promotes increased access to educational opportunities for youth residing in areas known for drug trafficking and gang activity.(115)

Education and Monitoring Program for the Eradication of Child Labor (2012–2015)

$1.3 million, Government of Spain-funded, 3-year project implemented by ILO-IPEC that aimed to strengthen public policies and government capacity to combat child labor in 19 countries in the Americas, including Honduras. Included the objective of developing information systems on the worst forms of child labor.(116)

Elimination of Child Labor in Latin America (Phase 4) (2011–2015)

$4.5 million, Government of Spain-funded, 4-year project implemented by ILO-IPEC to combat child labor in 19 countries, including Honduras.(116)

* Program was launched during the reporting period.
† Program is funded by the Government of Honduras.

Although the Government of Honduras funds or participates in social programs that aim to eliminate child labor in forced begging, garbage scavenging, commercial sexual exploitation, and the illegal recruitment of children into gang-related activities, research did not identify programs that specifically target children working in other dangerous activities, such as fishing, mining, and domestic work.

Based on the reporting above, suggested actions are identified that would advance the elimination of child labor, including its worst forms, in Honduras (Table 11).

Table 11. Suggested Government Actions to Eliminate Child Labor, Including its Worst Forms

Area

Suggested Action

Year(s) Suggested

Legal Framework

Ensure that minimum age protections in the Labor Code extend to agricultural and stock-raising undertakings that do not permanently employ more than 10 workers to ensure consistency with the protections provided in the Code on Childhood and Adolescence.

2013 – 2015

Enforcement

Make information on the level of funding for the labor inspectorate, disaggregated by region, publicly available.

2015

Ensure adequate funding for the STSS, including resources for sufficient numbers of labor inspectors and labor inspections in areas where child labor is prevalent, such as rural areas and indigenous communities where children engage in hazardous activities in agriculture and fishing or diving.

2010 – 2015

Ensure all labor inspectors receive training on child labor and make information about the initial training for new criminal investigators publicly available.

2014 – 2015

Ensure that the two-step inspection system does not undermine effective child labor law enforcement and consider how the system may strain the limited resources of the inspectorate and whether measures should be adopted to reduce any such strain.

2011 – 2015

Make information publicly available on all the sectors and localities in which inspections are carried out, as well as on the total number of violations found and sanctions imposed and collected as a result of inspections.

2012 – 2015

Ensure adequate resources for STSS to follow the established procedures for responding to child labor complaints.  

2015

Ensure that there is an effective, reciprocal referral mechanism between the STSS and DINAF for the enforcement of labor laws and the provision of social services for child labor victims, and publicly report on the number of children rescued from child labor who receive social services.

2014 – 2015

Make publicly available information on the level of funding for criminal law enforcement agencies that respond to crimes concerning the worst forms of child labor, including the number of criminal investigators assigned to child labor.

2015

Ensure adequate resources are provided to the OSPC to effectively investigate and prosecute crimes concerning the worst forms of child labor.

2014 – 2015

Make information on the number of criminal investigations, violations, prosecutions, and convictions regarding the worst forms of child labor publicly available.

2015

Make information on the number of rescued children who receive social services, as well as the number of children referred by social services to criminal law enforcement agencies, publicly available.

2015

Coordination

Ensure DINAF has sufficient resources to effectively carry out its mandates regarding child protection issues.

2015

Social Programs

Increase access to education by increasing funding to schools and building more schools, in particular in rural areas.

2014 – 2015

Create government programs that aim to eliminate child labor in dangerous activities, such as fishing, mining, and domestic service.

2009 – 2015

 

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2.         El Heraldo. "Más de 400,000 niños laboran en Honduras." El Heraldo, Tegucigalpa, Dec. 6, 2011; País. http://archivo.elheraldo.hn/Pa%C3%ADs/Ediciones/2011/06/13/Noticias/Mas-de-400-000-ninos-laboran-en-Honduras.

3.         Secretaria de Estado en los Despachos de Justicia y Derechos Humanos. Trabajo Infantil en Honduras. Tegucigalpa; February 14, 2012. http://www.sjdh.gob.hn/sites/default/files/20120920%20-%20Informe%20Trabajo%20Infantil%20en%20Honduras.pdf.

4.         Gobierno de la República de Honduras, Secretaría de Trabajo y Seguridad Social. Día Mundial Contra el Trabajo Infantil 2011 Secretaría de Trabajo y Seguridad Social, [online] June 8, 2011 [cited March 25, 2013]; http://www.trabajo.gob.hn/prensa-y-difusion/dia-mundial-contra-el-trabajo-infantil-2011-1.

5.         Centinela Economico. "Unos 500.000 niños son víctimas de explotación laboral en Honduras." centinelaeconomico.com [online] October 7, 2011 [cited March 27, 2013]; http://www.centinelaeconomico.com/2011/10/07/unos-500-000-ninos-son-victimas-de-explotacion-laboral-en-honduras/.

6.         ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Observation concerning Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) Honduras (ratification: 1980) Published: 2012; accessed March 27, 2013; http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:20010:0::NO:::.

7.         U.S. Embassy- Tegucigalpa. reporting, January 18, 2014.

8.         United Nations. Report of the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, Najat Maalla M'jid. Geneva; January 21, 2013. Report No. A/HRC/22/54/Add.2. http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Children/Pages/CountryVisits.aspx.

9.         Government of Honduras. Respuesta a Solicitud de Información Sobre Trabajo Infantil y sus Peores Formas en Honduras. source on file January 15, 2015.

10.       World Vision - Honduras. Diagnóstico de situación de Trabajo Infantil y erradicación de sus peores formas en Honduras; 2015. http://www.wvi.org/es/DiagnosticoHN.

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12.       UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary. Total. [accessed December 16, 2015]; http://www.uis.unesco.org/ Data provided is the gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary school. This measure is a proxy measure for primary completion. This ratio is the total number of new entrants in the last grade of primary education, regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the population at the theoretical entrance age to the last grade of primary. A high ratio indicates a high degree of current primary education completion. Because the calculation includes all new entrants to last grade (regardless of age), the ratio can exceed 100 percent, due to over-aged and under-aged children who enter primary school late/early and/or repeat grades. For more information, please see the “Children's Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions” section of this report.

13.       UCW. Analysis of Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Statistics from National Household or Child Labor Surveys. Original data from Encuesta Permanente de Hogares de Propósitos Múltiples (EPHPM), 2013. Analysis received December 18, 2015. 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.

14.       International Labor Rights Forum and COSIBAH. Women in the Honduran Melon Industry. Washington, DC; 2012. http://laborrights.org/creating-a-sweatfree-world/sweatshops-in-the-fields/melon-production-in-honduras/resources/women-in-.

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16.       UNICEF. Explotación laboral infantil [youtube video]. Honduras: UNICEF Honduras; May 12, 2012, 1 min. 36 sec., July 31, 2014; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeCwFNCKT7A.

17.       Cotza, L. "Improving education standards in Honduras: A long road ahead." The Guardian, London, June 6, 2013. http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2013/jun/06/education-standards-honduras.

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19.       Proceso Digital. "Conadeh denuncia que unos 220,500 niños están excluidos del sistema educativo." proceso.hn [online] June 11, 2012 [cited March 27, 2013]; http://proceso.hn/2012/06/11/Salud+y+Sociedad/Conadeh.denuncia.que/53107.html.

20.       Regional Union Coordinator. Interview with USDOL official. October 1, 2015.

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22.       El Heraldo. "Honduras: Pequeños curileros de San Lorenzo son los niños del fango." [online] September 6, 2015 [cited November 24, 2015]; http://www.elheraldo.hn/alfrente/876928-209/honduras-pequeños-curileros-de-san-lorenzo-son-los-niños-del-fango.

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26.       El Heraldo. "Por 500 lempiras, niños pican piedra durante una semana." [online] September 8, 2015 [cited November 24, 2015]; http://www.elheraldo.hn/inicio/877454-331/por-500-lempiras-niños-pican-piedra-durante-una-semana.

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30.       La Prensa. "Se queman dos niñas tras explosión en fábrica de cohetes." La Prensa, Santa Rosa de Copán, September 24, 2013. http://www.laprensa.hn/sucesos/policiales/389667-96/se-queman-dos-ni%C3%B1as-tras-explosi%C3%B3n-en-f%C3%A1brica-de-cohetes.

31.       El Heraldo. "El 50% de niños coheteros laboran antes de los 8 años." [online] September 8, 2015 [cited November 24, 2015]; http://www.elheraldo.hn/alfrente/877849-209/el-50-de-niños-coheteros-laboran-antes-de-los-8-años.

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33.       U.S. Embassy- Tegucigalpa. reporting, February 29, 2016.

34.       U.S. Embassy- Tegucigalpa. reporting, January 15, 2015.

35.       U.S. Embassy- Tegucigalpa. E-mail communication to USDOL official. July 20, 2011.

36.       Associated Press. "Poverty, Violence Push Honduran Children to Work." New York Times, December 23, 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2014/12/23/world/americas/ap-lt-honduras-child-labor.html?_r=1.

37.       U.S. Embassy- Tegucigalpa. reporting, January  20, 2012.

38.       El Heraldo. "Honduras: El cruel mundo de los niños pepenadores en la capital." [online] September 10, 2015 [cited December 16, 2015]; http://www.elheraldo.hn/alfrente/878801-209/honduras-el-cruel-mundo-de-los-ni%C3%B1os-pepenadores-en-la-capital.

39.       ILO Committee of Experts. Observation concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Honduras (ratification: 2001) Published: 2013; accessed March 20, 2014; http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:20010:0::NO:::.

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