Cablegate: Mozambique: Worst Forms of Child Labor Report

DE RUEHTO #1604/01 3491041
R 151041Z DEC 06





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 184972

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1. Mozambique is a party to the ILO convention against the
worst forms of child labor. The Government of the Republic
of Mozambique (GRM) has a regulatory framework in place to
monitor and prosecute infractions of the labor code, but it
does not have a regulatory body specifically devoted to
child labor cases. The Ministry of Labor (MOL) and non-
governmental organizations (NGOs) have increased efforts to
develop programs to combat the worst forms of child labor,
but impact to date remains minimal. The Labor Law regulates
child labor; however, child labor remains a problem in
Mozambique. Forced and bonded labor are common practices in
rural areas. End Summary.

Laws Proscribing the Worst Forms of Child Labor
--------------------------------------------- --

2. Law 8/98 sets the minimum age for employment at 15
years, but, in exceptional cases, allows for children
between the ages of 12 and 15 to work with the joint
approval of the Ministries of Labor, Health, and Education.
The law sets restricted conditions on the work that minors
between the ages of 15 and 18 may perform, limits the number
of hours they can work, and establishes training, education,
and medical exam requirements. Children between the ages of
15 and 18 are prohibited from being employed in unhealthy or
dangerous occupations or occupations requiring significant
physical effort, as determined by the MOL. Article 79 of
the Labor Law stipulates that employers must provide
children between 12 and 15 with vocational training and
offer age-appropriate work conditions. For children between
15 and 18 years of age, the employer is required to provide
for their education and professional training and to ensure
conditions of work that are not damaging to their physical
and moral development. During 2006 the government's Child
Protection Committee, which was formed in 2004 in response
to an NGO analysis of children's legal issues, finalized the
drafting of a child protection law. The Council of
Ministers plans to submit the draft law for parliamentary
approval in 2007.

3. For minors under 18 years, the maximum workweek is 38
hours and the maximum workday is 7 hours. Children must
undergo a medical examination before beginning work. By
law, children must be paid at least the minimum wage or a
minimum of two-thirds of the adult salary, whichever is
higher. Children, including those under the age of 15,
commonly worked on family farms in seasonal harvests or
commercial plantations, where they were paid on a piecework
basis. In the urban informal sector children performed such
tasks as guarding cars, collecting scrap metal, working as
vendors, and selling trinkets and food in the streets, and
presumably are paid on a piecework basis. Children also
were employed as poorly paid domestic laborers, and their
number continues to increase.

4. Mozambican law does not specifically prohibit
trafficking in persons. Traffickers can be prosecuted using
13 related articles of the penal code on sexual assault,
rape, abduction, and child abuse. Mozambique prosecuted its
first trafficking case in March 2006, resulting in the
conviction of two men for kidnapping and attempting to sell
a 13-year-old boy. The government has investigated reports
of trafficking, including press reports, issued public
awareness announcements, and held local workshops. In March
2006, the Ministry of Justice signed an agreement with an
NGO to jointly draft a comprehensive law against trafficking
in persons, including children. Trained police officials
continued to staff women's shelters at police stations to
protect trafficking victims in Maputo, Beira, Nampula, and
several large towns in Gaza Province.

5. On May 2, 2006, the Mozambican NGO Civic Education Forum
(FECIV) inaugurated the country's first permanent shelter
for trafficking victims outside the town of Moamba. The
shelter is located half way between Maputo and the South
African border post of Ressano Garcia, which is a major
crossing point for trafficked persons. The shelter receives

MAPUTO 00001604 002.2 OF 004

funding from several NGOs and the USG, and serves
approximately 25 women and children at a time. FECIV also
began a program to screen for victims of trafficking among
the 800 to 1,000 illegal Mozambican immigrants repatriated
each month by South African immigration authorities. The
Department of Migration maintains an agreement with the
government of South Africa to share facilities and
information, including information on trafficking in

6. The government ratified ILO Conventions 29, 138, 182 in
June 2003. Mozambique ratified the UN Convention on the
Rights of the Child in April 1994, the UN Optional Protocol
to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of
Children, Child Prostitution, and Child Pornography in March
2003, and the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish
Trafficking in Persons in September 2006. Focus on
children's rights continues to be a primary focus of the
government, particularly as it relates to HIV/AIDS and
trafficking in persons.

Implementation and Enforcement of Labor Laws

7. The MOL is authorized to regulate child labor in both
the informal and formal sectors. Labor inspectors are
authorized to obtain court orders and use police to enforce
compliance with child labor provisions. Violations of child
labor provisions are punishable with fines ranging from 1 to
10 times the monthly minimum wage. Enforcement remedies
generally are adequate in the formal sector, but remain poor
in the regulation of informal child labor. The Labor
Inspectorate and police force lack adequate staff, funds,
and training to investigate child labor cases, especially in
areas outside of the capital, where many cases occur. Post
is unaware of any child labor investigations occurring in
2006. The government provides training for police on child
prostitution and abuse (including pornography); however,
there is no specialized child labor training for the Labor
Inspectorate. The government has disseminated information
and provided education about the dangers of child labor.

Social Programs to Counter Child Labor

8. The MOL and other organizations have done some work on
child labor issues, but with little impact. The MOL has
developed an action plan for reducing child labor and
allocated funds to organize seminars to discuss this issue.
In 2006 the Eliminating Child Labor in Tobacco Foundation
issued the results of a study conducted during the latter
months of 2005 to measure incidents of child labor in the
tobacco growing industry in Tete and Niassa Provinces. The
study found that 80 percent of tobacco farms employed
children, and the majority of these children were under age
15. The Foundation planned to present the results to the
Mozambican government for action. The trade union movement
in Mozambique has been involved in the eradication of child
labor. The Confederation of Trade Unions (OTM) has
participated in several initiatives against child labor,
particularly in rural areas where this is common, including
participation in seminars and workshops as well as in the
design of the child labor regulations.

9. The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of International
Labor Affairs currently funds two projects in Mozambique,
which began in 2005. The first project is a study on child
domestic workers in rural and urban areas, including child
trafficking victims. The second project is a study on child
prostitution throughout the country.

10. The GRM also has programs aimed at supporting children
from impoverished families to stay in school and away from
the labor market and the worst forms of child labor. For
example, the GRM has established a scholarship program to
cover the costs of school materials and fees for children.
These programs are targeted particularly at vulnerable
groups affected by HIV/AIDS such as young girls, orphans,
and child-headed households.

11. Education is compulsory and free through the age of 12,
but there is a matriculation fee for each child, and
children are responsible for purchasing books, uniforms, and

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school supplies (spending on these associated costs often
was higher than matriculation fees). Such fees and
associated costs represented a significant financial burden
for many families. Children who have a certificate that
testifies that their parents' incomes are below a certain
poverty level do not pay any matriculation fees.
Enforcement of compulsory education laws is inconsistent due
to the lack of resources and the need for additional

National Policy

12. While the Ministry of Education has made significant
progress in increasing school enrollments at all levels,
significant challenges remain. UNICEF estimates that in
2005, 83 percent of children were enrolled in primary
education in Mozambique. Completion rates remain much
lower; in 2004, only 28 percent of girls and 40 percent of
boys completed primary school. The government's 2007
economic and social plan aims to increase the overall number
of students by 13 percent as well as recruit 9,000 new
teachers. The GRM's Second Poverty Reduction Strategy for
2006-2010 also includes an education investment component.
The government has set goals to achieve gender equilibrium
in primary schools over the next five years, and by 2015
ensure that all children complete the full cycle of primary
education. The program also seeks to improve access to and
quality of education at all levels, by investing in teacher
training and school equipment (particularly in rural areas),
by increasing the amount of time children spend at school,
by providing additional vocational programs, and by
orienting the curriculum to specific employment

13. The Ministry of Education and Culture and UNICEF are
working together to implement an innovative package of
school interventions to improve access and quality, known as
the Child-Friendly School (CFS) initiative. CFS includes
learning and teaching material, extracurricular life skills
programs on HIV/AIDS prevention and girls' empowerment, and
access to social services for orphaned and vulnerable

14. Since 2000, UNICEF has been supporting the national
broadcaster Radio Mozambique in the development and
implementation of Child-to-Child radio. It now consists of
24 different programs, which are broadcast by the national
and all provincial studios of Radio Mozambique in 16 local
languages and Portuguese. The program includes themes such
as child abuse and violence, HIV/AIDS and health awareness,
and girls' access to education. To ensure nationwide
outreach, the programs occasionally are also broadcast live
from districts and remote communities. The program involves
75 children and young people as regular contributors. In
2004 the program was expanded to include television. A
weekly program, broadcast on Mozambique's government
television channel, entitled "Roda Viva" is dedicated to
children's rights and involves 16 children and young people
in program design, production, and presentation.

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

15. Current statistics on the incidence of child labor in
Mozambique are not available; however, according to a 2000
report released by the Brussels-based International
Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), nearly 33
percent of Mozambican children between the ages of 10-14
were believed to be economically active. UNICEF estimates
that more than one million Mozambican children under 14 are
subject to exploitative labor. A rapid assessment child
labor survey of children under 18 conducted between 1998 and
2002 by the MOL and UNICEF identified the worst forms of
child labor prevalent in Mozambique as children working in
commercial agriculture, domestic labor, and child
prostitution. Forced and bonded labor are common practices
in rural areas, and there is no legislation prohibiting
these practices.

16. The major factors contributing to child labor in
Mozambique were chronic family poverty, lack of employment
for adults, breakdown of family support mechanisms, changing

MAPUTO 00001604 004.2 OF 004

economic environment, lack of educational opportunities
resulting from inadequate education system, gender
inequality, and the impact of HIV/AIDS. Regarding
education, UNICEF reports that more than half of primary
school-aged children leave school before they complete grade
five; many of these children eventually enter the informal
job market, where they are subject to abuse and
exploitation. The effect of HIV/AIDS continues to
intensify. In 2006 approximately 99,000 children under the
age of 15 were living with HIV/AIDS; the majority were below
the age of five. It is estimated that by 2010 the number
will increase to 121,000. According to UNICEF, of the
country's 1.6 million orphans, more than 470,000 have lost
one or both parents to AIDS, and that number is expected to
rise to approximately 626,000 by 2010. It is estimated that
one in every five households in Mozambique cares for at
least one orphan. Children orphaned by HIV/AIDS often are
forced to work because they are left without any adult
family members or with only extended family members who were
unable to support them.


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