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Cablegate: Update of Worst Forms of Child Labor: Colombia,

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DE RUEHBO #0501/01 0390046
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 080046Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1250
INFO RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 2452
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 1535

UNCLAS BOGOTA 000501

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DEPT. PLEASE PASS TO DOL/ILAB FOR TINA MCCARTER, DRL/IL
FOR TU DANG

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB ETRD PHUM CA CO
SUBJECT: UPDATE OF WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR: COLOMBIA,
2007

REF: STATE 158223

1. Embassy Bogota's update of worst forms of child labor
information request follows.

2. LAWS AND REGULATIONS PROSCRIBING THE WORST FORMS OF CHILD
LABOR INDICATORS:

-What laws have been promulgated on child labor, such as
minimum age(s) for employment or hazardous forms of work? Are
there exceptions to the minimum age law?

Colombia increased the minimum employment age to 15 years
through the New Code on Children and Adolescents, enacted by
law 1098, which it passed on November 8, 2006. This law
supersedes previous provisions that allowed the Colombian
Institute of Family Welfare (ICBF), under special
circumstances, to make exceptions for some minors under age
15 to work. The law limits children's working hours.
Children between 15 and 17 may work 6 hours per day and a
maximum of 30 hours per week. Those between 17 and 18 may
work 8 hours per day and a maximum of 40 hours per week. The
law prohibits children under age 17 from working between the
hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. 17 year-olds may not work past 8
p.m. The law also bars minors from work that may harm their
morality as well as work that is exploitative or hazardous.

-What laws have been promulgated on the worst forms of child
labor, such as forced child labor and trafficking or child
prostitution and pornography? What is the country's minimum
age for military recruitment?

The Constitution prohibits slavery and servitude. It also
bans human trafficking, and the law punishes trafficking of
children under 18 with fines and 17 to 35 years
incarceration.

According to Decree 3966 of 2005, minors under 18 may not
serve in the government armed forces or perform
defense-related or intelligence activities. The law regards
minors that participate in the country's hostilities as
victims. Armed groups must place all minor recruits with
ICBF in order to participate in the government's
demobilization process.

-If the country has ratified Convention 182, has it developed
a list of occupations considered to be worst
forms of child labor, as called for in article 4 of the
Convention?

The GOC ratified Convention 182 on Jan. 28, 2005, and
Ministry of Social Protection (MSP) Resolution #4448, issued
in 2005, identifies the worst forms of child labor that are
prohibited for all minors under 18. Minors are cannot
perform most work related to: agricultural work destined for
market, such as coffee, flowers, sugarcane, cereals,
vegetables, fruits, tobacco, and livestock; fisheries;
lumber; mining or work underground; industrial manufacturing
and bakeries; utilities; construction, painting, and heavy
equipment; transportation or warehousing; healthcare; defense
and private security; and unskilled labor such as
shoe-shining, domestic service, trash collection, messenger
service, doormen, gardening, work in clubs and bars, and
street sales. Minors must also not work in conditions which
have loud noises, strong vibrations, dangerous substances,
poor lighting or ventilation, activities underground or
underwater, biological or chemical materials, safety risks,
or problems due to posture or excessive physical activity.
Minors may not work under conditions that may harm their
psychosocial development, such as work without pay; work that
interferes with schooling; work that keeps them separated
from their families; work under despotic or abusive
conditions; work in illegal or immoral situations; or between
8 p.m. and 6 a.m. Resolution #4448 allows the ICBF to
authorize adolescents ages 16 and 17 to work at night under
special circumstances but, according to the ILO-IPEC office
in Colombia, the New Code on Children and Adolescents
supersedes this provision and prohibits work between the
hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. for minors younger than 17 years
old, and between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. for those 17 years old.
The ILO-IPEC Office will reconsider the provision of
Resolution #4448 that allows ICBF to authorize 16 and 17
years olds to work after 8:00 p.m. as part of an upcoming
review of the list of prohibited jobs, initiated by the MSP
and under the framework of the Inter-institutional Committee
for the Eradication of Child Labor.

3. REGULATIONS FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT OF
PROSCRIPTIONS AGAINST THE WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR.

-What legal remedies are available to government agencies
that enforce child labor laws (criminal penalties, civil
fines, court orders), and are they adequate to punish and
deter violations?

Penalties for violating child labor laws can include fines
and the temporary or permanent closure of violating
establishments. Trafficking of children under 12 years of
age is punishable by 20 to 35 years imprisonment. Inducing
prostitution can result in 2.7 to 6 years incarceration and
fines. Penalties for forced prostitution range from 6.7 to
13.5 years incarceration and fines. Penalties increase by
one-third to one-half for both induced and forced
prostitution if the victim is under 14 or if the crime
involved international trafficking. Crimes involving child
pornography or the operation of an establishment in which
minors practice sexual acts can carry a are punishment of 8
to 12 years incarceration and fines. The use of the mail or
the Internet to obtain or offer sexual contact with a minor
is punishable by 6.7 to 15 years incarceration and a fine,
with increased penalties if the victim is under 12. Posting
child pornography on the Internet can result in fines and the
cancellation or suspension of the web site. The law can
penalize tourist agencies for involvement in child sex
tourism by fines and the suspension or cancellation of their
registration. Forced prostitution and sexual slavery related
to the country's ongoing conflict are punishable by
imprisonment from 13.3 to 27 years and fines. The
recruitment of minors by armed groups in relation to the
ongoing conflict carries punishments of 8 to 15 years in
prison and fines. The commission of terrorist acts involving
the participation of a minor is punishable by 16 to 30 years
incarceration and fines. Individuals must report child labor
law violations to MSP. Punishments for crimes involving
illegal drugs, such as drug cultivation, manufacturing, and
trafficking increase if the crimes involve a minor.

- To what extent are complaints investigated and violations
addressed? What level of resources does the government devote
to investigating child labor cases throughout the country?
How many inspectors does the government employ to address
child labor issues? How many child labor investigations have
been conducted
over the past year? How many have resulted in fines,
penalties, or convictions?

The MSP conducts formal sector child labor inspections, with
277 inspectors. ICBF, the Ombudsmen's office, the Children
and Adolescent Police, the Prosecutor General, and Family
Commissioners enforce child labor laws. The National Police
and Prosecutor General investigate and prosecute child
trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. The District
Attorney's Office has a unit dedicated to trafficking, sexual
violence and under-aged victims. Information is unavailable
on how many investigations have been conducted over the last
year, and how many resulted in fines, penalties, or
convictions.

-Has the government provided awareness raising and/or
training activities for officials charged with enforcing
child labor laws?

The Inter-institutional Committee against Trafficking in
Persons and various ministries have implemented
anti-trafficking awareness-raising activities within
Colombia, including enclosing flyers about trafficking in
newly issued passports; installing information kiosks at
major airports; producing short television ads and a daytime
soap opera about trafficking; making presentations for
at-risk school children; and assisting with the development
of departmental and municipal anti-trafficking plans. The
Committee also maintains a database of trafficking cases and
promotes collaboration between agencies. Colombian foreign
missions and the National Police provide assistance to
trafficking victims that includes referrals to the
International Office of Migration's (IOM) repatriation
services and information on legal protections.

The Ministry of Education's (MEN) Policy Guide for Vulnerable
Populations includes strategies to address child labor. The
military distributes educational kits to schools in areas
where children are at risk for recruitment into armed groups,
and awareness-raising materials for children to prevent
involvement in armed groups.


4. WHETHER THERE ARE SOCIAL PROGRAMS SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED
TO PREVENT AND WITHDRAW CHILDREN FROM THE WORST FORMS OF
CHILD LABOR.

-What initiatives has the government supported to prevent
children from entering exploitative work situations, to
withdraw children engaged in such labor, and to advocate on
behalf of children involved in such employment and their
families? These initiatives could include cash transfer
programs that specifically target families with working
children to enable children to leave work and enter school,
establishment of shelters for child trafficking victims, or
other programs. Since the focus of the report is on
government efforts, reporting is requested on initiatives
carried out either by the government or by NGOs, but with
government support. (If possible, please provide
information on funding levels for such initiatives.)

The Government of Colombia has developed a National Plan of
Action for the Prevention and Eradication of Commercial
Sexual Exploitation of Boys, Girls, and Adolescents less than
18 Years of Age (2006-2011). This plan establishes such
objectives as generating information, developing and applying
legislation, prevention, provision of services to children,
institutional capacity building, and participation of
children in the plan. The National Police's program,
&Colombia without Prostitution,8 uses family and community
education to prevent the commercial sexual exploitation of
children. The government participates in a USDOL-funded
ILO-IPEC regional project costing USD 5.5 million to combat
child domestic labor and commercial sexual exploitation.
This project aims to withdraw 2,185 children from
exploitative child labor and prevent 2,920 children from
entering such work.

The Inter-institutional Committee against Trafficking in
Persons and various ministries have implemented various
anti-trafficking awareness-raising activities within
Colombia, including enclosing flyers about trafficking in
newly issued passports; installing information kiosks at
major airports; producing short television ads and a daytime
soap opera about trafficking; making presentations for
at-risk school children; and assisting with the development
of departmental and municipal anti-trafficking plans. The
Committee also maintains a database of trafficking cases and
promotes collaboration between agencies. Colombian foreign
missions and the National Police provide assistance to
trafficking victims that includes referrals to the
International Office of Migration's (IOM) repatriation
services and information on legal protections.

The GOC also participates in projects to combat child labor
with the assistance of foreign governments and international
organizations. The government participates in a USD 5.1
million, three-year USDOL-funded project implemented by
Partners of the Americas and its associates to combat
exploitative child labor by improving basic education. This
project seeks to withdraw 3,663 children from their
workplaces and prevent a further 6,537 children from entering
the workplace. The Colombian Institute of Geology and Mining
implements a project with UNDP to eradicate child labor in
mining. With support from ILO-IPEC and Canada, the
government executed a child labor survey and contributed to
the consolidation of the National Policy for the Prevention
and Elimination of Child Labor.

ICBF administers programs that provide services to former
children soldiers and seek to prevent further recruitment of
children by armed groups. These programs receive assistance
from the United States and from several foreign governments
and international organizations. The Ministries of Defense
and Interior assist through the demobilization of child
soldiers, who then go to the ICBF. The Colombian Government
participated in a three-year, USD seven million,
inter-regional ILO-IPEC project funded by USDOL to combat the
involvement of children with armed groups. This project,
which ended in 2007, sought to withdraw 5,264 children from
child soldiering and prevent an additional 4,250 children
from becoming child soldiers in seven countries, including
Colombia.

The Inspector General began a project in 2007 to work with
the mayors of capital cities and the governors of Colombia's
departments to include children and adolescents in their
municipal and departmental development plans. This includes
developing indicators to track whether children and

adolescents are meeting key goals and objectives related to
staying in school and out of the work place.

"Families in Action," the GOC's conditional cash transfer
program, substantially increased school attendance and
children's health for 700,000 families in extreme poverty.
The GOC recently expanded the program to cover an additional
one million impoverished families. The program follows a
standard conditional cash transfer model to reduce poverty
and build human capital. Impoverished families receive
subsidies of USD 22 per month for taking their children for
health check-ups and an additional USD 7-13 per month for
each child in primary and secondary school. By reaching this
at-risk population, the GOC has dramatically reduced the
number of children who might otherwise have chosen to enter
the workforce.

5. DOES THE COUNTRY HAVE A COMPREHENSIVE POLICY AIMED AT THE
ELIMINATION OF THE WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR?

-Does the country have a comprehensive policy or national
program of action on child labor or specific forms of child
labor? Does the country incorporate child labor specifically
as an issue to be addressed in poverty reduction,
development, educational or other social policies or
programs, such as Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers, etc. If
so, to what degree has the country implemented the policy
and/or program of action and achieved its
goals and objectives?

The GOC's National Development Plan, unveiled in July of
2007, establishes the eradication of exploitive child labor
as a priority. The Plan for Childhood (2004-2015) contains
provisions relating to child labor, including worst forms
such as trafficking, recruitment into armed groups, and
commercial sexual exploitation. The objectives of the Third
Plan for the Elimination of Child Labor and the Protection of
Working Youth 2003-2006 included increasing knowledge and
awareness; changing cultural norms that promote child labor;
improving legislation and public policy; and implementing
strategies that address these problems. The GOC finalized
its National Strategy for the Eradication of Child Labor for
2007-2015 at the end of 2007, and will unveil it in February
2008. The Inter-institutional Committee for the Eradication
of Child Labor has conducted training; it also maintains a
child labor information system. The MSP and the National
University of Colombia worked to eradicate exploitive child
labor through a media campaign, community and school
education, and inter-institutional coordination.

The GOC has developed a National Plan of Action for the
Prevention and Eradication of Commercial Sexual Exploitation
of Boys, Girls, and Adolescents Less than 18 Years of Age
(2006-2011). This plan establishes such objectives as
generating information, developing and applying legislation,
instituting prevention programs, providing services to
children, building institutional capacity, and boosting
children's participation. The National Police's program,
&Colombia without Prostitution,8 uses family and community
education to prevent the commercial sexual exploitation of
children. The government participated in a USDOL-funded
ILO-IPEC regional project costing USD 5.5 million to combat
child domestic labor and commercial sexual exploitation.
This project, which ended in December, 2007, had a goal of
withdrawing 1,747 children from exploitive child labor and
preventing 2,584 children from entering such work.
Similarly, Colombia participates in the US-DOL funded project
for the elimination of child Labor run by Partners of the
Americas.

The ICBF currently works in 25 municipalities to identify and
document children workers. MSP also helps to do this in
twelve departments. In conjunction with the ILO, these
entities work to develop a national database of child
workers, which will facilitate targeting resources and
services to the children that need them.

-Is education free in law and in practice? Is education
compulsory in law and in practice?

Education is free, although students pay for school supplies
and related items. Education is compulsory in law and
practice until age 15.

6. IS THE COUNTRY MAKING CONTINUAL PROGRESS TOWARD
ELIMINATING THE WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR?

- In what sectors/work activities/goods are children involved
and how has this changed over the past year.

New information from the national statistics agency released
in 2007, indicates that in 2005, approximately 11.6 percent
of boys and 6 percent of girls ages 5 to 17 worked in
Colombia. The majority of those children labored in the
agricultural sector (37.1 percent), followed by commerce
(32.01 percent), manufacturing (12.6 percent), services (8.69
percent) and other sectors (9.6 percent).

-Please provide information on industries where child labor
occurs as well as specific tasks in which children
are involved and goods they produce, if available. Please
also provide information on age and gender of working
children, desegregated by industry/work activity/good, if
possible.

In urban areas, children work primarily in such sectors as
commerce, industry, and services. In rural areas, children
work primarily in agriculture and commerce. Many children
work as domestic servants or in family businesses, often
without pay. Children mine emeralds, gold, clay, and coal
under dangerous conditions. Colombia's Department of National
Statistics estimates that 8,733 children work in illegal
mines. Some Colombian children harvest coca, most of which
is used in the illegal drug trade.

-To what extent are children working in slavery or practices
similar to slavery, such as debt bondage,
serfdom, and forced or compulsory labor? Please indicate
industries where this occurs and, if applicable, specific
goods that such children produce.

Children in Colombia are recruited, sometimes forcibly, by
insurgent and new criminal groups to serve as fighters in the
country's ongoing conflict. Over the last year, the average
age for deserters of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs)
has gone down. The ILO office has received reports that some
criminal groups have forced some children to perform forced
labor. Many are forced to participate in and are victims of
human rights violations such as torture and murder. Children
also work in the cultivation of coca and opium and in the
processing of illicit drugs using harsh chemicals.
Reportedly, the government armed forces has used children as
informants in some cases.

-To what extent are children trafficked to work? Are children
trafficked for commercial sex or for labor
exploitation? If labor-related, what specific industries or
for the production of what specific goods are children
known to be trafficked? Are they trafficked across national
borders or within the country (specify source,
destination and transit countries/regions/communities, if
possible).

Many children are victims of commercial sexual exploitation,
including pornography, prostitution, and sexual tourism.
Colombia is a major source of girls trafficked for commercial
sexual exploitation. An estimated 25,000 minors worked in
the commercial sex trade in Colombia, according to a 2001
report by the Inspector General's Office, and Colombia is a
major source of girls trafficked for the purpose of
commercial sexual exploitation. Children are trafficked
internally from rural to urban areas for sexual exploitation
and forced labor.


Brownfield

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