Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More



Cablegate: Peru: Information On Child and/or Forced Labor In


DE RUEHPE #1345/01 2271636
P 141636Z AUG 08




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 043120

1. (U) In response to reftel request, Post submits the
following information on child and/or forced labor in the
production of goods in Peru. Information on child and/or
forced labor in Peru is limited. Most child labor in Peru
occurs in the service sector and is therefore not applicable
to this report. As a result, the following information is not
indicative of the total extent of child and/or forced labor
in Peru. Post does have limited information on child and/or
forced labor in certain industries, which follows below.
Copies of source material are available on request. Sources
included the Government of Peru (GOP), the International
Labor Organization (ILO), and other human rights
organizations involved in labor and/or children's rights.

Scope of the Problem

2. (U) Child labor and/or forced labor continues in Peru,
according to sources, though authoritative and comprehensive
information on the subject is lacking. The majority of
available information is based on anecdotal evidence. The ILO
estimates that approximately two million children work in
Peru, including 7,000 in Lima's historic center alone. Child
laborers predominately work in the informal sector of Peru's
economy, which encompasses some 70 percent of all workers in
Peru. There is even less information, especially of a
quantitative nature, on forced labor. The most comprehensive
information on forced labor in Peru is from the ILO, which
estimates that there are 20,000 to 45,000 forced laborers in
Peru, most of whom work in the Amazonian jungle regions in
the logging industry. The majority of forced labor in Peru is
in the form of debt bondage, according to the ILO.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

Specific Industries

3. (U) Mining: The ILO estimates that approximately 50,000
children work in Peru's gold mining industry. (Note: Based on
field expierence and conversations with experts, Embassy
Economic Section finds this number, which was based on a
survey conducted in 2000, extremely high. End Note.) Gold
mining involves child labor and forced child labor, mostly in
informal "artisan" mines in the Santa Filomena area of
Ayacucho region and the Rinconada area of Puno. There tend to
be large numbers of migrant and trafficked workers in those
areas as well. According to the Peruvian NGO Association for
Human Rights (APRODEH), more than 1000 children work in gold
mining in the regions of Ayacucho, Arequipa, Ica and
Huancavelica. Often they work alongside their parents or
other family members. Older children work in the mining
shafts and assist with grinding which involves moving large
rocks. Younger children work sifting for gold and washing the
gold. In Huaypetuhe, Madre de Dios, APRODEH found more then
500 children working in washing or cleaning gold. In Ananea,
Puno, APRODEH found 400 children working in gold mines.

4. (U) Timber: Child and/or forced labor in the timber
industry occurs mostly in Peru's jungle regions, particularly
in Ucayali, Madre de Dios and Loreto. In the most
comprehensive available study -- "Forced Labor in Timber
Extraction in the Peruvian Amazonia" (2005)-- the ILO
estimated that the timber industry utilized 33,000 forced
laborers. Debt bondage was the most common form of labor

5. (U) Bricks: In 2005, the Center of Social Studies and
Publications (CESIP) NGO published a study finding that 164
children worked alongside their families in the brick-making
industry in the rural district of Huachipa, Lurigancho
Chosica, located outside Lima. Of the 164 children, CESIP
found that 40 percent were between the ages of 4 and 6, 36
percent were between the ages of 7 and 9, and 20 percent were
between 10 and 12. Eighty-five percent of these children
worked and attended school. The families received
approximately 25.00 Peruvian Nuevo Soles (approximately USD
8.60) per 1000 bricks produced. An average family produced
approximately 3000 to 4000 bricks per week. (The study was
titled "A Situational Diagnostic of Children and Adolescents
that Work in the Making of Artisan Bricks and Trash Recycling
in the Slums of Huachipa: Union Peru, Santa Isabel and Santa

6. (U) Coca: Peru's Labor Ministry estimates that 59,525
children work in the coca industry, and that approximately
5000 of these are forced laborers. The Labor Ministry
believes that while most children collect coca leaves, some

also help produce cocaine by mixing coca leaves with
chemicals -- including sulfuric acid, kerosene, and others --
stepping barefoot on the mixture in pits or barrels. The
Apurimac and Ene River Valley (VRAE) in Ayacucho and the
Upper Huallaga Valley in San Martin are the primary locations
for coca production.

7. (U) Fireworks: Capital Humano Social Alternativo's (Human
Social Capital Alternative - CHS) Manual for Trafficking in
Persons mentions that children work in fireworks workshops,
but the report provides no further details and we have found
no other sources.

8. (U) Stone: The National Initiative Group for Children's
Rights in a report titled "Context and Child Labor" discusses
child labor in the stone extraction industry and calls it one
of the worst forms of child labor in Peru. The Labor
Ministry concurs with Portocarrero's assessment but has
provided no estimates on the scale of the problem.

9. (U) Castana Nuts (Brazilian Nut): CHS Alernativo's Manual
for Trafficking Persons in Peru says that many victims are
trafficked to castana nut production zones in Madre de Dios
during the harvesting season from Arequipa, Lima, Puerto
Maldonado, Cusco, Cajamarca and Iquitos. There are no
estimates of how many persons, including children, work
harvesting castana nuts each year.

Efforts to Eradicate Child and/or Forced Labor
--------------------------------------------- -

10. (U) The GOP's National Plan to Eradicate Child Labor
(2006-2010) calls for at least 50 percent of local
governments to begin documenting child labor to help
determine where and how children are working. The GOP's
National Committee for the Prevention and Eradication of
Child Labor is an intersectoral committee with participation
from all ministries, unions, business, international
organizations (including the ILO) and national NGOs. The
efforts of the these different sectors include
awareness-raising campaigns, after-school programs, workplace
inspections, training initiatives, and outreach to child
workers both in and out of school. There is a similar
intersectoral body on forced labor called the National
Intersectoral Commission for the Eradication of Forced Labor.
The GOP also has a National Action Plan to Combat Forced

11. (U) In 2007 Lima's municipal government, under the Office
of Social Management, began a program to address the more
than 7,000 children working in the historic center by
providing aid payments of approximately 320 Nuevo Soles per
year, per child to families to discourage child labor. To
receive payment, parents must ensure their children attend

12. (U) CESIP administers a project that works with 150
children and adolescents working in brick making and other
industries in Huachipa. The project provides information to
the Huachipa local community in order to raise consciousness
about child labor and to provide direct education
intervention to child workers. CESIP also works with parents
to develop skills and training to help them find better
employment. The program, which began in March 2008, will
conclude in February 2011 and is funded by the Dutch
Development Organization, CORDAID.

13. (U) The U.S. Department of Labor supports the "Preparate
Para La Vida" (Prepare for Life) Program, which works with
both in-school and out-of-school child workers in the cities
of Lima, Trujillo, Cusco and Iquitos with the goal of
reaching approximately 10,500 children and reducing child

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
World Headlines


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.