Cablegate: Mozambique: Worst Forms of Child Labor Report

DE RUEHTO #1392/01 3321607
R 281607Z NOV 07




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A) STATE 149662 B) STATE 158223


1. The Government of the Republic of Mozambique (GRM) is party to
the ILO convention against the worst forms of child labor. The GRM
has a regulatory framework in place to monitor and prosecute
infractions of the labor code, but does not have a regulatory body
specifically devoted to child labor cases. The Ministry of Labor
(MOL), in conjunction with multilateral organizations and
non-governmental organizations (NGOs), continues to develop and
implement programs to combat the worst forms of child labor, but
impact remains minimal. Child labor and forced and bonded labor
remain common practices, particularly in rural areas. Major factors
contributing to child labor include chronic family poverty, lack of
employment for adults, breakdown of family support mechanisms, an
inadequate education system, gender inequality, and the increasing
impact of HIV/AIDS. 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 (MOL),
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. In April the Council of Ministers
approved a draft Child Protection Law and forwarded the draft to the
National Assembly for final approval.

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 this number continues to increase.

4. Mozambican law does not specifically prohibit trafficking in
persons. Traffickers can be prosecuted using laws on sexual
assault, rape, abduction, and child abuse. Post is unaware of any
prosecutions or convictions for trafficking cases during the year.
The government has responded to trafficking-related allegations in
the press by conducting follow-up investigations, issuing public
awareness announcements, and holding local workshops. The police
conducted general training on vulnerable children, including
trafficking, in the central provinces of Sofala, Manica and Zambezia
and the northern province of Nampula. In July, the Council of
Ministers approved a comprehensive draft law against trafficking in
persons, including children, and forwarded the draft to the National
Assembly for final approval. 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

5. The Mozambican NGO Civic Education Forum (FECIV) and Save the
Children Norway operate the country's only known 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 serves approximately 15 children. FECIV also
works with other NGOs on the border to screen for victims of
trafficking among the hundreds of 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 persons.

6. The government ratified ILO Conventions 29, 138, and 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,

MAPUTO 00001392 002 OF 003

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, violence against
children, and trafficking in persons.

Implementation and Enforcement of Labor Laws

7. The MOL regulates 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 40 times the monthly minimum wage. Enforcement
mechanisms 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 2007. The government
provides training for police on child prostitution, abuse,
(including pornography), and trafficking; 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. The trade union movement in
Mozambique also 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,
including participation in seminars and workshops as well as in the
design of the child labor regulations.

9. The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of International Labor
Affairs currently funds one project in Mozambique, which began in
2005. The project targets children in 18 communities in Tete
Province for withdrawal and prevention from work in agriculture, as
domestics, in the streets, and commercial sexual exploitation. The
major focus is to withdraw or prevent from exploitive labor
approximately 2,600 children through the provision of educational
and non-educational services.

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 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 schools.

National Policy and Plan of Action

12. While the Ministry of Education has made significant progress in
increasing school enrollments at all levels, significant challenges
remain. UNICEF estimates that in 2007, 94 percent of children were
enrolled in primary education in Mozambique. Completion rates
remain much lower: in 2006, only 29 percent of girls and 41 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. Over the next several years the government
set goals to achieve gender equilibrium in primary schools, 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 opportunities.

MAPUTO 00001392 003 OF 003

13. The Ministry of Education and Culture and UNICEF are working
together in Zambezia Province 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 children. The program will be implemented in
all primary schools in seven model districts over the next three
years, with the goal of benefiting some 300,000 children.

14. UNICEF, UNESCO, and national broadcasters Radio Mozambique and
Television Mozambique continue the Child-to-Child radio and
television programs. The radio program involves 233 children
between the ages of eight and 18 working on more than two dozen
programs broadcast provincially and nationally in 16 local languages
and Portuguese. Discussion topics include themes such as child
abuse, violence, and trafficking, 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 television program, entitled "Roda Viva" is
dedicated to children's rights and issues of interest to young
people and involves 16 children in program design, production, and

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

15. Although forced and bonded labor by children is prohibited by
law, it is common in rural areas. A Labor Force Survey conducted by
the National Institute of Statistics in 2004-05 revealed that 32
percent of children between ages 7 and 17 were engaged in some form
of economic activity. Of this number, it was estimated that 40
percent of children in rural areas work, while only 16 percent of
children in urban areas work. The same report revealed that the
provinces with the highest levels of economically active children
were Tete, Inhambane, Manica, and Nampula (all between 38-51
percent). UNICEF estimates that more than one million Mozambican
children under 14 are subject to exploitative labor. The most
common forms of child labor included children working on family
farms, in commercial agriculture, as domestics, and as prostitutes.

16. The major factors contributing to child labor in Mozambique
were chronic family poverty, lack of employment for adults,
breakdown of family support mechanisms, an inadequate education
system, gender inequality, and the increasing 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. Concerning the
effect of HIV/AIDS, approximately 99,000 children under the age of
15 were living with the virus, the majority below the age of five.
According to UNICEF, of the country's 1.6 million orphans, some
380,000 have been orphaned due to AIDS, representing more than 20
percent of the total orphaned population. 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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