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Cablegate: Venezuela: Update of Worst Forms of Child Labor

VZCZCXYZ0004
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHCV #3623 3481958
ZNR UUUUU ZZH (TAO)
P 141958Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY CARACAS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7305
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR PRIORITY
INFO RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 0662

UNCLAS CARACAS 003623

SIPDIS


SIPDIS

DOL/ILAB FOR TINA MCCARTER
DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/AND AND DRL/IL (TDANG)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB EIND ETRD PHUM SOCI
SUBJECT: VENEZUELA: UPDATE OF WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR

REF: 2005 CARACAS 002499

1. Venezuelan law protects children from exploitation in the
workplace, but enforcement is often lacking. The Ministry of
Labor and the National Institute for Minors enforces child
labor policies effectively in the formal sector, but less so
in the informal sector. According to official Ministry of
Labor statistics, 45 percent of all Venezuelan employees
worked in the informal sector in October 2006. Among minors
in the workplace, the percentage that are employed in the
informal sector is considerbly higher -- almost 70 percent,
according to the Foundation for the Training in the
Investigation of Human Resources.

2. The law permits children between the ages of 12 and 14 to
work only if the National Institute for Minors or the
Ministry of Labor grants special permission; children between
the ages of 14 and 16 may not work without the permission of
their legal guardians. Those under 16 years of age may by
law work no more than 6 hours per day or 30 hours per week.
Minors under the age of 18 may work only between 6:00 a.m.
and 7:00 p.m.

3. Minors may not work in mines or smelting factories. They
are also prohibited by law from working in occupations that
risk life or health or could damage intellectual or moral
development; or in public spectacles. The Venezuelan
government decreed two increases in the minimum wage for
adolescent workers and apprentices in 2006, raising the wage
to 384,225 Bolivares a month (one dollar = 2150 Bolivares).

4. Centro Comunitario de Aprendizaje y Por los Derechos de la
Ninez y Adolescencia (CECODAP), a leading Venezuelan NGO
promoting the rights of children and adolescents, recently
issued an annual report documenting the plight of many
children in the workplace. Citing a Ministry of Labor study,
CECODAP notes that there are approximately one million minors
working in Venezuela of which a large percentage do not
receive the benefits due to them under Venezuelan law.
CEPODAP estimates, based on the same Labor Ministry study,
that:

-- 72 percent of children and adolescents working do not have
the proper work permits;
-- 59.5 percent work more than 6 hours a day and 30 hours a
week;
-- 27 percent receive a one-hour break;
-- less than 4 percent have a work contract
-- only 2 percent are registered with the social security
system;
-- one percent receive paid vacations
-- less than one percent earn the minimum wage.

5. Venezuela is a source, transit, and destination country
for women and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual
exploitation and forced labor. The law prohibits inducing
the prostitution and corruption of minors, but here too
enforcement is lacking. Laws against child trafficking
provide for fines of one to 10 months' salary. Penalties for
the prostitution or corruption of minors range from 3 to 18
months in prison and up to 4 years in prison if the minor is
younger than 12 years old. The Venezuelan government does
not fully comply with the minimum standards for the
elimination of trafficking.

BROWNFIELD

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