Cablegate: 2004 Zimbabwe Child Labor Update
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001386
STATE FOR AF/S
USDOC FOR AMANDA HILLIGAS
TREASURY FOR OREN WYCHE-SHAW
PASS USTR FLORIZELLE LISER
STATE PASS USAID FOR MARJORIE COPSON
STATE FOR DRL/IL
STATE PASS USDOL/ILAB FOR TINA FAULKNER
E. O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB ECON EIND ETRD PHUM SOCI ZI
SUBJECT: 2004 ZIMBABWE CHILD LABOR UPDATE
Ref: A) SECSTATE 163982
B) 03 HARARE 01669
1. (SBU) Summary: The continuing political, economic,
and social crises in Zimbabwe overwhelm any attempt to
eliminate child labor. With 1.1 to 2 million HIV/AIDS
orphans, many children must work to survive. As in Ref B,
increased enforcement of existing child labor laws awaits
resources from GOZ, labor, employers, and NGOs. The pre-
land reform 1999 child labor survey still serves as the
statistical base. Thus, statistics on the current
situation are scarce. But, civil society organizations
are certain child labor is increasing. End Summary.
SOCIAL PROGRAMS TO PREVENT THE ENGAGEMENT OF CHILDREN IN
THE WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR
2. (SBU) Private education costs continue to spiral out
of reach of middle-class families, and some poorer
families cannot pay even public school fees. Food
security and healthcare continue to deteriorate, with
children working to support families devastated by
hunger, illness, and premature death. The HIV/AIDS
pandemic leaves many child-headed households. Even with
helpful relatives, the children must work to survive.
3. (SBU) GOZ Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare touts
its BEAM (Basic Education Assistance Module) and CDC
(Children in Difficult Circumstances) programs. These
programs were designed to pay for school fees (BEAM) and
other items such as uniforms and books (CDC) for children
who could not afford to go to school. GOZ sought to reach
25% of affected children but never achieved more than 18%
in 2000 with declining percentages each year since. The
Central Statistics Office recently conducted a labor
survey with results due out in December 2004.
4. (SBU) Civil society labors on. Save the Children
Norway Zimbabwe sponsored a series of workshops in 2003
that culminated in the formation of a National Movement
for Working Children and Youth. They started research
into child domestic servants but lack of resources and
survival needs have overtaken them. Associated Mine
Workers of Zimbabwe plans to travel from mine to mine to
educate employees and employers on child labor but
currently lacks resources. Zimbabwe Domestic and Allied
Workers Union plans to provide basic reading and writing
skills to child domestic workers. The project will start
in Chinoyi, Bulawayo, Mutare, and Zvishane.
COMPREHENSIVE POLICY AIMED AT ELIMINATION OF THE WORST
FORMS OF CHILD LABOR
5. (SBU) There has been no comprehensive policy to
eliminate the worst forms of child labor despite
agreement between GOZ, labor, and employers about the
need for such a policy. Zimbabwe also has no resources to
implement a comprehensive policy.
6. (SBU) According to GOZ Ministry of Labor, the ILO
refused to fund a 2002 proposal for child labor
mitigation programs and an in-depth study on the worst
forms of child labor. The Ministry blamed Zimbabwe's
continued international isolation.
CONTINUAL PROGRESS TOWARDS ELIMINATING THE WORST FORMS OF
7. (SBU) GOZ has made no discernible progress in
eliminating the worst forms of child labor. Due to the
continuing economic collapse, as well as the increasing
impact of HIV/AIDS-related deaths, increasingly more
children must work to ensure their families' survival.
8. (SBU) GOZ and civil society use the 1999 child labor
survey as a statistical base due to a lack of reliable
current information. Civil society recognizes that the
post-land reform situation is significantly worse, but
the GOZ continues to tout the 1999 numbers.
9. (SBU) However, some things do remain true. Save the
Children Norway Zimbabwe, Child Protection Society,
UNICEF, ILO, Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ),
Associated Mine Workers of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Domestic
and Allied Workers Union, GOZ Ministry of Labor and
Social Welfare all agree that child labor exists mostly
in agriculture, domestic work, and informal mining.
10. (SBU) Child Protection Society asserts that new
farmers use children as cheap labor that cannot complain
about working conditions. UNICEF sees children working as
independent contractors so employers can evade employing
children. Zimbabwe Domestic and Allied Workers Union
observes that employers often bring children from their
rural homes to work as domestics with parental consent.
11. (SBU) Save the Children Norway Zimbabwe cites two
specific examples: Sugar businesses along the Mozambique
border at Catiyo use children to sell sugar across the
border. Often with the complicity of their parents,
children are paid less than adults and do not attend
school. The tea estates, however, send children to school
in the morning and to work in the afternoon and evening.
12. (SBU) Information on specific types of the worst
forms of child labor is mainly anecdotal. Trafficking in
children occurs only in isolated instances. Prostitution
is on the increase with more female pimps and male
prostitutes. Children often lack access to necessary
safety equipment and training. Child domestic workers can
work as much as 14 hours a day.
13. (SBU) Non-Payment of wages occurs mostly in the
domestic worker sphere where some employers believe they
are doing a child from their rural home a favor. In
addition, employers pay the parents for the child's work.
Relatives often use AIDS-orphaned children as domestics
without pay. There are also unconfirmed reports of police
rounding up street kids and taking them to work on a farm
without pay. However, these reports are dubious at best.
14. (SBU) GOZ has made very little measurable progress on
eliminating the worst forms of child labor. The crush of
poverty and HIV/AIDS has forced many Zimbabweans to focus
on survival by any means, including child labor. Until
these root causes are resolved, there is little hope for
effective efforts against the worst forms of child labor.