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Cablegate: Angola: Annual Update On the Worst Forms of Child

DE RUEHLU #1245/01 3481121
R 141121Z DEC 07





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. STATE 15823
B. STATE 149662
C. 06 LUANDA 01279

1. (U) The following responses reflect updated information as
requested by ref A and B.

Laws and Regulations on Child Labor

2. (U) Angola's onstitution prohibits human bondage in
general, and statutory law specifically prohibits forced or
bonded child labor. The Government ratified ILO Convention
182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labor on June 13, 2001, and
is currently working with UNICEF and the Christian Children's
Fund (CCF) to develop a list of occupations considered to be
the worst forms of child labor, as required by the
convention. Angola acceded to the Optional Protocol to the
Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of
children, child prostitution and child pornography on March
24, 2005. While prostitution and unauthorized transport of
children are prohibited under the general criminal statute,
there are no specific laws targeting child prostitution,
pornography, or trafficking. Anti-prostitution laws are not
regularly enforced, but sexual relations with children under
the age of 15 can be considered sexual abuse and result in
fines or up to 8 years of imprisonment.

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3. (U) The legal minimum age for apprenticeship is 14 years;
full employment is legal at age 18. Children between the
ages of 14 and 18 may not work at night, in dangerous
conditions, or in occupations requiring great physical
effort, and children less than 16 years of age are prohibited
from factory work. The minimum age for military recruitment
is age 18. While these laws provide legal protection for
children working in the formal sector, the majority of
children work in the largely unregulated informal sector.

Regulations for Implementation & Enforcement of Proscriptions
--------------------------------------------- -

4. (U) The Inspector General of the Ministry of Public
Administration, Employment, and Social Security (MAPESS) is
responsible for enforcing labor laws and performing workplace
inspections. The Children's Affairs court system, created in
2003 under the Ministry of Justice, has jurisdiction to
adjudicate child labor violations, but only functions in the
capital province of Luanda. In other provinces, child labor
cases are adjudicated by the Provincial Criminal Courts for
minors aged 16-18 or the Ministry of Family and Women's
Affairs' Family Courts for children under age 16. Child
labor violations are punishable by fines.

5. (U) While institutions are nominally in place to
investigate and prosecute child labor violations in the
formal sector, no formal procedure for inspections and
investigations into child labor abuses currently exists. The
Angolan court system is already over-extended; few resources
are available for Family or Children Affairs courts or child
labor investigations. In addition, the government does not
have the capacity to oversee the larger informal sector.
This greatly hampers implementation and enforcement of laws
against child labor as an overwhelming majority of child
labor is outside the existing legal framework.

Social Programs to Prevent Child Labor

6. (U) The government, through the National Children's
Assistance Institute (INAC), has worked to create, train and
strengthen Child Protection Networks at the provincial and
municipal level in all 18 provinces. These networks,
comprised of local NGOs, religious leaders, and government
officials, report cases in which they have successfully
identified and removed children from exploitative work
situations, but no mechanism exists to track cases or provide

Comprehensive Policy to Eliminate Child Labor

7. (U) In July 2007 the government created the National
Children's Council (CNAC), an inter-ministerial commission
designed to define priorities and coordinate the government's
policies to combat all forms of violence against children,
including the worst forms of child labor. All relevant
ministries are represented on the council, as are civil
society representatives and religious leaders. The national

LUANDA 00001245 002 OF 002

plan to combat violence against children remains at the
working group level within the Council.

8. (U) Extreme poverty and the lack of educational
opportunities remain significant factors driving children
into the workforce. Though reliable statistics are
unavailable, UNICEF estimates that at least one million
school-age children remain out of the educational system.
Primary education is compulsory, but there are not enough
schools to provide universal primary education and there are
ample reports of families with the means to do so paying
bribes to school officials to secure seats for their
children. Textbooks and school supplies are not provided by
the government; this additional cost poses a significant
barrier to entry for impoverished families. Preliminary
studies show that just over one-third of students who start
primary school will finish, and less than 30 percent percent
of the overall student population moves on to secondary

9. (U) The government is dedicating extensive resources to
the expansion of the educational system; in 2007 the Ministry
of Education's budget was over 1.7 billion USD, or 6.6
percent of the total budget. Over 471 million USD was
allocated for new facilities and the rehabilitation and
reconstruction of the more than 5,000 schools destroyed
during the civil war. Undocumented children are not
permitted access to the educational system, and fees for
birth certificates and identification cards remain
prohibitive for impoverished families. Though the official
registration drive ended in 2004, the government continues to
partner with UNICEF to identify and assist undocumented
children, and provides limited subsidies to cover fees for
families with proven financial need. In 2007 the government
also announced a plan to provide birth certificates in health
clinics and maternity wards, but the program has yet to be
implemented nationwide.

Progress Toward Eliminating Child Labor

10. (U) The government has limited means to address child
labor and exploitation in the informal economy. War and
extreme poverty has brought large numbers of orphaned and
abandoned children into employment in the informal economy.
UNICEF estimates that at least 10,000 children work in the
streets of Luanda, but most return to some form of dwelling
during the evening. Street children are also common in the
provinces of Benguela, Huambo, and Kwanza Sul. Children
engage in wage-earning activities such as agricultural labor
on family farms and commercial plantations, charcoal
production, domestic labor and street vending. Exploitive
labor practices include forced prostitution, involvement in
the sale or transport of illegal drugs, and the offloading
and transport of goods in ports and across border posts.
There are anecdotal reports of children being trafficked
internally for agricultural labor, domestic servitude, and
for sexual exploitation, and externally to Namibia, South
Africa, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo for
agricultural and domestic labor.

11. (U) The government conducts regular information campaigns
aimed at raising awareness of the rights of children and
reducing all forms of violence, including the worst forms of
child labor, sexual exploitation and trafficking. Though
statistics on the extent of the problem are not yet tracked,
the government openly discusses the issue in public forums
and state-run news publications. Since 2006, the government
has required proof of travel authorization from a parent or
legal guardian for all children traveling outside of the
country, and has worked with UNICEF and IOM to conduct
anti-trafficking training for border police and immigration
officials. Revisions to the penal code which criminalize
trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation and violence
against children are currently pending approval.

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