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Cablegate: Colombia: Information On Child/Forced Labor in The

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #2261/01 1721658
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 201658Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3302
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 8254
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0588
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ JUN 9508
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 6284
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA PRIORITY 1892
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 6950
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL PRIORITY 4466

UNCLAS BOGOTA 002261

SIPDIS

DOL FOR ILAB RACHEL RIGBY
DEPT FOR DRL/ILCSR MARK MITTELHAUSER
DEPT ALSO FOR G/TIP STEVE STEINER AND WHA/CEN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON PGOV PREL SOCI CO
SUBJECT: COLOMBIA: INFORMATION ON CHILD/FORCED LABOR IN THE
PRODUCTION OF GOODS

REF: STATE 043120

SUMMARY
-------
1. The following is information on forced labor and
exploitative child labor in the production of goods in
Colombia, as requested per reftel. Post obtained the
information from Colombian government agencies, human rights
groups, and the International Labor Organization (ILO) for
use in preparing a list of goods produced with child labor,
forced labor, or forced child labor, as mandated by the
Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005.
Copies of source materials will be sent separately per
reftel. Colombia's agricultural and mining sectors do not
appear to have significant child labor issues, but a lack of
solid data indicates further research may be warranted. END
SUMMARY


COFFEE, SUGAR CANE, BANANAS AND PLANTAINS
------------------------------------

2. Type: Exploitative child labor
Source/year of information: National Administrative
Department of Statistics (DANE - 2005), ILO/IPEC
Representative in Colombia (2008), Colombian Human Rights
Ombudsman (2006)

3. Description: DANE reports that 393,058 children work in
the agricultural sector in Colombia, the majority of whom
work on illicit crops. The Colombian Human Rights Ombudsman
reports that 200,000 children work in the cultivation of
illegal coca. National Coordinator for the International
Program to Eliminate Child Labor (IPEC/ILO) Liliana Obregon
says that in rural areas it is difficult to determine how
many children work in the informal agricultural sector. She
says that in rural areas, and especially in
indigenous-dominated areas of Colombia, it is culturally
acceptable for children to help their families cultivate
agricultural products such as coffee, sugar cane, bananas,
and plantains. Obregon tells us there is no evidence of
significant use of child labor in the formal agricultural
sector; the large-scale plantations, which produce about 99%
of Colombia's agricultural exports, are inspected frequently.

4. Obregon says the coffee sector merits additional study.
She notes there is a special program operated by the Ministry
of Education in some rural areas called "new school" that
offers education to students at early or late hours in the
day, allowing them to help with the coffee harvest and still
study. She says that although the intention is good (keeping
children in school), this system often allows children to
continue to work illegally. Obregon adds that because coffee
beans need to be hand picked, this sector could be
particularly susceptible to child labor. She notes that
Colombian law allows for children over 15 to work (for
limited hours) with proper permits. Still, only 20,000
Colombian children have obtained the permits, leaving many in
the informal and at-risk sectors.

5. Incidence: There is not sufficient information to indicate
that the incidence of exploitative child labor in the
production of coffee, sugar cane, bananas and plantains is
significant. Still, continued study and monitoring of the

issue is warranted.

6. Action: The ILO hopes to fund more studies to collect
information on these specific agricultural sectors.
Additional information on government and international
initiatives is included in the final paragraph.

MINING OF COAL, GOLD, CLAY AND EMERALDS
---------------------------------------

7. Type: Exploitative child labor
Source/year of information: Ingeominas (2006), ILO/IPEC
Representative in Colombia (2008), MINERCOL (2001), National
Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE - 2005)

8. Ingeominas, a GOC institute that works with the Ministry

of Mines and the private sector, reports that 200,000-400,000
children work in the informal sector that surrounds the
emerald, gold, clay and coal mining industries. DANE reports
8,735 children work in the mining industry. Obregon says
these children primarily work with their families in the
artisanal and informal mining sector. She says the DANE
numbers are low because they use self-identification to
produce these statistics.

9. Obregon notes that "almost all" of the production of coal,
gold, clay and emeralds comes from the large mining
companies, not from the artisanal and informal mining sector.
The ILO visited most of the mining companies in Colombia,
and found that child labor is not used in the formal sector.
Obregon noted that more boys were employed in the mining
sector than girls, and that the gold sector is dominated by
Afro-Colombian families due to geographical reasons (gold is
found in the Afro-Colombian dominated Choco region).

10. MINERCOL reports that child labor in small scale mining
occurs in the following regions: coal mining principally in
the Municipality of Sogamoso Boyaca region, gold mining in
the Municipality of Condoto in Choco, clay mining in the
Municipality of Nemocon in Cundinamarca, and emerald mining
in the municipality of Muzo in Boyaca.

11. Incidence: It is clear the incidence of the exploitative
child labor is isolated to the informal sector, which
accounts for 1-3% of the production of these goods.
Therefore, although the amount of exploitative child labor
does not merit a "significant" determination, it does merit
further study and monitoring in the future. Another issue is
that the most recent statistics by mining sector on
exploitative child labor are from 2001 -- new data is needed.

12. Action: The Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social
Protection, IPEC/ILO, UNICEF, and the Colombian Institute for
Children and Families (ICBF) work together vis-a-vis the
Joint Strategy to Eliminate all of the Worst Forms of Child
Labor in Colombia. Their efforts include after-school
programs, work-place inspections, training initiatives, and
programs that support school outreach programs to locate
children not attending school. The ILO hopes to fund more
studies to gather information on these specific agricultural
sectors. The new Department of Labor supported "Educate Me
First" program will provide after-school programs for over
10,200 at-risk Colombian children by 2011.
STANFORD

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