Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Sao Tomé and Principe

Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

São Tomé and Príncipe

2016 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

Minimal Advancement

In 2016, São Tomé and Príncipe made a minimal advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The Government approved a National Action Plan for the Elimination of Child Labor and National Policy on Child Protection. However, children in São Tomé and Príncipe perform dangerous tasks in agriculture. The types of hazardous work prohibited for children are not comprehensive, and the compulsory education age does not extend to the minimum age for work. Inadequate resources hamper law enforcement agencies’ capacity to enforce child labor laws.

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Children in São Tomé and Príncipe perform dangerous tasks in agriculture.(1) Table 1 provides key indicators on children’s work and education in São Tomé and Príncipe.

Table 1. Statistics on Children’s Work and Education

Children

Age

Percent

Working (% and population)

5 to 14

22.6

Attending School (%)

5 to 14

89.2

Combining Work and School (%)

7 to 14

24.9

Primary Completion Rate (%)

 

82.9

Source for primary completion rate: Data from 2016, published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2016.(2)
Source for all other data: Understanding Children’s Work Project’s analysis of statistics from Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 5, 2014.(3)

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

Farming, including weeding, fertilizing, and spraying plants (1, 4)

Line and hook fishing (1)

Industry

Carpentry and woodworking (5)

Construction (1)

Services

Domestic work (6)

Working in shops and offices (1, 4)

Working in restaurants and bars (1)

Street work, including begging and selling goods (1, 5-7)

São Tomé and Príncipe has ratified most 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). However, gaps exist in São Tomé and Príncipe’s legal framework to adequately protect children from child labor.

Table 4. Laws and Regulations on Child Labor

Standard

Meets International Standards: Yes/No

Age

Legislation

Minimum Age for Work

No

14

Article 128 of the Legal Regime of Individual Employment Conditions (8)

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

Yes

18

Article 129 of the Legal Regime of Individual Employment Conditions (8)

Identification of Hazardous Occupations or Activities Prohibited for Children

Yes

 

Articles 129 and 134 of the Legal Regime of Individual Employment Conditions (8)

Prohibition of Forced Labor

Yes

 

Articles 159, 160, and 181 of the Penal Code (9)

Prohibition of Child Trafficking

Yes

 

Articles 160 and 181 of the Penal Code (9)

Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Yes

 

Articles 179–182 of the Penal Code (9)

Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities

Yes

 

Articles 279, 280, and 289 of the Penal Code (9)

Minimum Age for Military Recruitment

 

 

 

State Compulsory

Yes

18

Article 1 of Decree-Law 3/83 (10)

State Voluntary

Yes

17

Legislation title unknown (11, 12)

Non-state Compulsory

No

 

 

Compulsory Education Age

No

12‡

Article 6(1) of the Basic Education System Law (13, 14)

Free Public Education

Yes

 

Article 6(1) of the Basic Education System Law (14)

‡ Age calculated based on available information

The law’s minimum age protections do not apply to children working outside of a formal labor relationship, such as children who are self-employed.(8, 13)

The law prohibits children under age 18 from engaging in heavy work carried out in unhealthy or dangerous conditions. It also prohibits underground and night work; however, the types of hazardous work prohibited for children do not cover agriculture, an area of work where there is evidence of exposure to hazardous substances, agents, and processes.(8)The gap between the end of compulsory education and the minimum age for work leaves children ages 12 and 13 vulnerable to child labor, including its worst forms, because they are not in school, but they also may not legally work.

The Government has established institutional mechanisms for the enforcement of laws and regulations on child labor, including its worst forms (Table 5). However, gaps in labor law and criminal law enforcement remain and some enforcement information is not available.

Table 5. Agencies Responsible for Child Labor Law Enforcement

Organization/Agency

Role

Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs

Enforce labor laws, including child labor.(15)

Ministry of Justice and Human Rights

Enforce criminal laws against the worst forms of child labor.(15)

Labor Law Enforcement

In 2016, labor law enforcement agencies in São Tomé and Príncipe 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

2015

2016

Labor Inspectorate Funding

Unknown

Unknown

Number of Labor Inspectors

13 (4)

13 (15)

Inspectorate Authorized to Assess Penalties

No (4)

No (15)

Training for Labor Inspectors

   

Initial Training for New Employees

Unknown

N/A (15)

Training on New Laws Related to Child Labor

N/A

N/A

Refresher Courses Provided

Yes (4)

No (15)

Number of Labor Inspections

70 (4)

65 (15)

Number Conducted at Worksite

Unknown

Unknown

Number Conducted by Desk Reviews

Unknown

Unknown

Number of Child Labor Violations Found

Unknown

0 (15)

Number of Child Labor Violations for Which Penalties Were Imposed

0 (4)

0 (15)

Number of Penalties Imposed that Were Collected

N/A

N/A

Routine Inspections Conducted

Yes (4)

Yes (15)

Routine Inspections Targeted

Unknown

Unknown

Unannounced Inspections Permitted

Yes (4)

Yes (15)

Unannounced Inspections Conducted

Unknown

Unknown

Complaint Mechanism Exists

Yes (4)

Yes (15)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Labor Authorities and Social Services

Yes (4)

Yes (15)

In 2016, enforcement of child labor laws was limited due to the lack of resources for inspections.(15)

Children found by the Department of Labor Inspection are referred to the Department of Social Protection in the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs for counseling and integration services.(15, 16)

Criminal Law Enforcement

In 2016, criminal law enforcement agencies in São Tomé and Príncipe 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

2015

2016

Training for Investigators

   

Initial Training for New Employees

Unknown

Yes (17)

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

N/A

N/A

Refresher Courses Provided

Unknown

Unknown

Number of Investigations

1 (4)

1 (15)

Number of Violations Found

Unknown

0 (15)

Number of Prosecutions Initiated

0 (4)

0 (15)

Number of Convictions

0 (4)

0 (15)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Criminal Authorities and Social Services

Yes (4)

Yes (15)

Children found by Ministry of Justice and Human Rights officials are also referred to the Department of Social Protection in the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs for counseling and integration services.(15, 16)

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

Table 8. Key Mechanisms to Coordinate Government Efforts on Child Labor

Coordinating Body

Role & Description

Anti-Child Labor Committee

Lead efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor.(18) Led by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.(17) In 2016, conducted child labor awareness campaigns in two targeted districts.(15)

Department of Social Protection and Solidarity, Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs

Carry out support programs for families to ensure that children attend school. Administer the Social Integration Assistance program, which provides funds to the Disadvantaged Mothers program (Mães Carenciadas).(19)

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

Table 9. Key Policies Related to Child Labor

Policy

Description

National Action Plan for the Elimination of Child Labor†

Guides the Government’s efforts to combat child labor.(15)

National Policy on Child Protection†

Defines the framework for carrying out efforts to prevent all forms of violence against children.(20)

National Poverty Reduction Strategy (2012–2016)

Outlines social protection strategies to combat the worst forms of child labor. Aims to ensure that all children complete basic education by 2016.(21)

† Policy was approved during the reporting period.

Research was unable to determine whether activities were undertaken to implement the National Poverty Reduction Strategy during the reporting period.(17)

In 2016, the Government funded and participated in programs that include the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor, including its worst forms (Table 10).

Table 10. Key Social Programs to Address Child Labor

Program

Description

Decent Work Country Program (2013–2016)

Government program in collaboration with the ILO that aims to eliminate the worst forms of child labor through legislative action and strategic programs.(22)

Support Centers†

Three Government-funded centers, run by NGOs, operate in areas with high concentrations of poor families, orphans, and street children. Provide household stipends to keep children in school and teach income-generating skills.(15, 23)

Disadvantaged Mothers Program (Mães Carenciadas)†

Government program that provides funds to female-led households to encourage basic education for children. Scholarships are given to children from low-income households to assist in continuing their studies.(19)

† Program is funded by the Government of São Tomé and Príncipe.

Research found no evidence of programs designed to specifically address children engaged in agriculture.

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

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

Area

Suggested Action

Year(s) Suggested

Legal Framework

Ratify the UN CRC Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution, and Child Pornography.

2014 – 2016

Ensure that all children are protected by law, including children who are self-employed.

2015 – 2016

Ensure that the types of hazardous work prohibited for children are comprehensive.

2009 – 2016

Ensure that the law criminally prohibits the recruitment of children under 18 by non-state armed groups.

2016

Establish a compulsory education age that is equal to or higher than the minimum age for employment.

2014 – 2016

Enforcement

Publish information regarding the labor inspectorate's funding, the type of labor inspections conducted, and refresher training for criminal law enforcement officials.

2014 – 2016

Authorize the inspectorate to assess penalties.

2015 – 2016

Provide inspectors and investigators with adequate training; equip labor inspectors with the necessary resources to conduct inspections.

2009 – 2016

Government Policies

Ensure the National Poverty Reduction Strategy is implemented.

2016

Social Programs

Implement programs that specifically target children engaged in agriculture.

2010 – 2016

1.         Government of São Tomé and Príncipe. Diagnóstico Rápido Sobre Trabalho Infantil em São Tomé and Príncipe; September 2014. [Source on file].

2.         UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary education, both sexes (%). Accessed December 16, 2016: http://data.uis.unesco.org/. Data provided is the gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary education. 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 education. A high ratio indicates a high degree of current primary education completion. The calculation includes all new entrants to the last grade (regardless of age). Therefore, 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 “Children's Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions” in the Reference Materials section of this report.

3.         UCW. Analysis of Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Statistics from National Household or Child Labor Surveys. Original data from Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 5, 2014. Analysis received April 13, 2017. 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,  please see “Children's Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions” in the Reference Materials section of this report.

4.         U.S. Embassy- Libreville. reporting, January 15, 2016.

5.         Barros, M. "Trabalho Infantil é Cada Vez Mais Frequente em São Tomé e Príncipe." independenciaslusa.info [online] October 6, 2015 [cited November 8, 2015]; http://www.independenciaslusa.info/trabalho-infantil-e-cada-vez-mais-frequente-em-sao-tome-e-principe/.

6.         U.S. Department of State. "Sao Tome and Principe," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2015. Washington, DC; April 13, 2016; http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/252931.pdf.

7.         UNICEF. Annual Report 2013- São Tomé and Príncipe. http://www.unicef.org/about/annualreport/files/Sao_Tome_and_Principe_COAR_2013.pdf.

8.         Government of São Tomé and Príncipe. Regime Jurídico das Condições Individuais de Trabalho, Lei n.° 6/92, enacted June 11, 1992. http://www.africanchildforum.org/clr/Legislation%20Per%20Country/saotome/saotome_labour_1992_pr.pdf.

9.         Government of São Tomé and Príncipe. Código Penal, Lei n.° 6/2012, enacted November 6, 2012. [Source on file].

10.       Government of São Tomé and Príncipe. Decreto-Lei n.° 3/83, enacted February 25, 1983. [Source on file].

11.       ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Direct Request concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (no. 182) São Tomé and Príncipe (ratification: 2005) Submitted: 2014; accessed January 14, 2014; http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:11003:0:::::.

12.       Child Soldiers International. "Appendix II: Data Summary Table on Recruitment Ages of National Armies," in Louder Than Words: An Agenda for Action to End State Use of Child Soldiers. London, UK; 2012; https://www.child-soldiers.org/shop/louder-than-words-1.

13.       ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Direct Request concerning Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) São Tomé and Príncipe (ratification: 2005) Submitted: 2014; accessed January 14, 2014; http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:13100:0::NO:13100:P13100_COMMENT_ID,P11110_COUNTRY_ID,P11110_COUNTRY_NAME,P11110_COMMENT_YEAR:3133589,103341,Sao%20Tome%20and%20Principe,2013.

14.       Government of São Tomé and Príncipe. Lei de Bases do Sistema Educativo, Lei n.° 2/2003, enacted June 2, 2003. [Source on file].

15.       U.S. Embassy- Libreville. reporting, January 17, 2017.

16.       U.S. Embassy- Libreville. reporting, April 17, 2015.

17.       U.S. Embassy-Libreville official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. April 11, 2017.

18.       U.S. Embassy- Libreville official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. March 18, 2015.

19.       ILO-IPEC. Estudo Sobre a Aplicação das Convenções n. 138 e n. 182 da OIT e Suas Recomendações na Legislação Nacional dos Países da CPLP. Geneva; 2013. http://www.ilo.org/ipec/Informationresources/WCMS_222484/lang--en/index.htm.

20.       Centro de Informação em Protecção Social. "São Tomé e Príncipe: País Adota Política Nacional de Protecção da Criança." cipsocial.org [online] March 28, 2016 [cited November 11, 2016]; http://www.cipsocial.org/pt/noticia/1318/sao-tome-e-principe-pais-adota-politica-nacional-de-proteccao-da-crianca/1.

21.       Government of São Tomé and Príncipe. Segunda Estratégia Nacional de Redução da Pobreza 2012-2016; March 2012. https://www.mindbank.info/item/3592.

22.       ILO. Programme Pays de Travail Décent 2013-2016; December 2012. http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---africa/---ro-addis_ababa/---sro-yaounde/documents/genericdocument/wcms_316572.pdf.

23.       U.S. Embassy- Libreville. reporting, February 6, 2015.

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