Cablegate: Information On Child Labor and Forced Labor for Dol


DE RUEHBO #0237/01 0431731
R 121730Z FEB 10



E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 131995; 10 BOGOTA 111

1. Per reftel a, post submits the following information for the
U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Congressional Reporting
Requirements related to forced and child labor.

2. The following is new information relevant to tasking 1: The
Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2005,
Section 105(b) and Executive Order 13126 of 1999, keyed to the
request in reftel a for new information on the use of exploitive
child labor in the production of goods. We will follow up where
information was "unavailable."

The Colombian Sugar Cane Producers Association (ASOCANA) objected
to the inclusion of sugar cane on the DOL List of Goods Produced by
Child Labor in an October 2009 letter to Ambassador Brownfield.
ASOCANA said its producers were committed to corporate social
responsibility and have promoted the importance of child education
among their employees. In 2008, the sugar sector invested almost
$2 million in public and private schools and $500,000 in
scholarships. ASOCANA also noted that it continues to support a
program in conjunction with the International Labor Office (ILO)
that promotes ILO Conventions 138 and 182 among its sugarcane

ASOCANA provided the Embassy with documentation, claiming that DOL
Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) based its findings on
labor practices on the part of the sugarcane sector that does not
produce sugar or ethanol. In 2008, 205,000 out of the 450,000
hectares cultivated with sugarcane were dedicated to sugar and
ethanol. As such, the inclusion of sugarcane on the DOL list,
ASOCANA argues, represents an undeserved and poorly documented
penalty on Colombian sugar and ethanol producers. ASOCANA requests
that ILAB take sugarcane off its list, or contextualize its reports
to reflect that child labor is not used in the production of sugar
and ethanol in Colombia.

3. The following are answers in response to tasking 2: Trade and
Development Act (TDA) of 2000, keyed to questions in reftel a.


1-2. In what sectors (not related to the production of goods) were
children involved in exploitive labor? Posts are requested to
determine if the government collected or published data on
exploitive child labor during the

period, and if so, whether the government would provide the data
set to DOL for further analysis.

There was evidence that children were involved in exploitive labor
in the domestic services and child pornography industries.
According to the National Administrative Department of Statistics
(DANE), of the 11.5 million children between the ages of five and
17 in Colombia, 267,343 worked in service industries, including
28,356 in domestic services (a further breakdown was unavailable).
Additionally, the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF)
received 551 complaints of commercial sexual exploitation of

children in 2009, including 53 related to child pornography.


1-2. What new laws or regulations were enacted in regard to
exploitive child labor over the past year? If applicable, were the
changes improvements in the legal and regulatory framework? Was
the country/territory's legal and regulatory framework adequate for
addressing exploitive child labor?

First, the GOC promulgated Law 1336 of 2009 to expand and
strengthen Law 679 of 2001, designed to prevent and counter sexual
exploitation of children, with particular reference to pornography
and sex tourism. Specifically, it codified a process for
dispossession of property -- hotels, pensions, residences, income -
of entities and individuals involved in the sexual exploitation of
minors. Second, Law 1329 of 2009 similarly modified the penal code
(Law 599 of 2000). It stipulated a prison term of 14 to 25 years
per instance of commercial sexual exploitation of a minor, and 10
to 14 years for advertising such services. The GOC also issued
Circular 60 of 2009, which clarified the process for authorizing
children to work and investigating non-compliance with child labor
laws. Finally, the GOC implemented a "Regional Action Plan" for
the prevention of sexual exploitation of children in the tourism
sector in conjunction with neighboring countries.

Colombian laws regarding child labor are comprehensive and should
be adequate to address exploitive child labor. However, resources
remained inadequate for effective enforcement. The Ministry for
Social Protection's (MSP) 180 labor inspectors nationwide were
responsible for enforcing child labor laws in the formal sector
(approximately 40% of the economy) through periodic inspections.
(Note: The MSP plans to hire 207 additional inspectors by the end
of 2010. End Note.)


Section I: Hazardous Child Labor

1-2. What agency or agencies was/were responsible for the
enforcement of laws relating to hazardous child labor? If multiple
agencies were responsible for enforcement, were there mechanisms
for exchanging information? Assess their


The MSP had primary responsibility for enforcing child labor laws
in the formal sector, which covered approximately 20% of the child
labor force. Other agencies and institutions with central
enforcement roles -- in both the formal and informal economies --
included the National Police (CNP) at both the national and
municipal levels; the Administrative Department of Security (DAS)
in a preventive capacity; the Ministry of Interior and Justice
(MOIJ); the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) with respect to cross
border trafficking; and the Ministry of Education (MOE), primarily
to raise awareness of child labor issues.

In accordance with Decree 859 of 1995, the MSP presided over an
Inter-Institutional Committee for the Eradication of Child Labor
and the Protection of Child Workers, which included the following
actors: the MSP Vice Minister of Health; the MOE Director General
for Investigation and Pedagogical Development; the Director of the
National Planning Department (DNP); the Director General of the
Colombia Family Welfare Institute (ICBF); the Director General of
the Colombian Institute for Youth and Sports (ICJD); the Director
General of the National Training Service (SENA); the Presidential
Advisor for Social Policy; and a representative from the largest
labor confederation, currently the United Workers' Confederation

While institutional coordination led to significant progress,
resources remained inadequate for effective enforcement. Periodic
labor inspections in the formal economy did little to dissuade
noncompliance in the informal and illicit sectors.

3. Did the country/territory maintain a mechanism for making
complaints about hazardous child labor violations? If so, how many
complaints were received in the reporting period?

The ICBF maintains a free hotline for complaints related to child
labor. In 2009, it received 975 complaints of exploitive child
labor and 551 complaints of commercial sexual exploitation of

4. What amount of funding was provided to agencies responsible for

There was no budget specifically dedicated to child labor
inspections. General labor inspections included evaluations of
compliance with child labor laws; however, they occurred too
infrequently to constitute an effective deterrent.

5. How many inspectors did the government employ? Was the number of
inspectors adequate?

The MSP employed 180 inspectors. The number of inspectors was

6. How many inspections involving child labor were carried out?

MSP inspectors carried out 38,457 general labor inspections in
2009, all of which included child labor monitoring components.
Still, lack of resources prevented the MSP from responding directly
to numerous child labor complaints.

7. How many children were removed/assisted as a result of
inspections? Were these children actually provided or referred for
services as a result (as opposed to simply fired)?

The MSP identified and assisted 22,752 victims of the worst forms
of child labor with assistance from Save the Children and Partners
of the Americas, among other NGOs and private actors. (Note: Per
telcon with ILAB, we will clarify how the MSP arrived at this
figure. End Note)

The ICBF assisted 8,084 victims of child labor exploitation, and
1,806 child victims of child sexual exploitation. Additionally, it
placed 3,344 children in preventative programs, and removed 901
children from exploitation by illegal armed groups.

8. How many child labor cases or "prosecutions" were opened?

The information was unavailable.

9. How many child labor cases were closed or resolved?

The information was unavailable.

10. How many violations were found or "convictions" reached?

The information was unavailable.

11. What is the average length of time it took to resolve child
labor cases?

Article 99 of Law 1098 requires child labor cases to be processed
within four months of opening an investigation. The MSP must also
respond to child labor complaints within one day of receipt.
Information on compliance with these regulations was unavailable.

12. In cases in which violations were found, were penalties
actually applied, either through fines paid or jail sentence
served? Did such sentences meet penalties established in the law?

The information was unavailable.

13. Did the experience regarding questions 7 through 10 above
reflect a commitment to combat exploitive child labor?

The GOC appears committed to combating exploitive child labor. For
example, it has allocated funds to hire and train an additional 207
labor inspectors in 2010.

14. Did government offer any training for investigators or others
responsible for enforcement? If so, what (if any) impact have these
trainings had?

The MSP held numerous workshops and training seminars for
inspectors and law enforcement personnel in conjunction with Save
the Children and Partners of the Americas. The success of these
training programs were partially responsible for convincing the GOC
to more than double the number of MSP labor inspectors by the end
of 2010.

Section II: Forced Child Labor

Please see responses to Section I: Hazardous Child Labor above.
The same Colombian institutions that were responsible for hazardous
child labor were also responsible for forced child labor.

trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation of children, use of
children in illicit activities:

1. Did the country/territory have agencies or personnel dedicated
to enforcement of child trafficking/CSEC/use of children in illicit
activities? How many investigators/social workers/dedicated police
officers did the government employ to conduct investigations? If
there were no dedicated agencies or personnel, provide an estimate
of the number of people who were responsible for such
investigations. Was the number of investigators adequate?

The GOC has six entities that work to combat trafficking and
monitor prosecution, prevention, and victim protection: the MOIJ,
which presides over the Interagency Committee for the Fight against
Trafficking in Persons (ICFTP); DAS, which houses the offices that
monitor migration and coordinate with INTERPOL; the Unit to Combat
Trafficking in Persons, Sexual Violence and Child Victims at the
Prosecutor General's Office (Fiscalia); the "Grupo Humanitas"
inside the Judicial Police section of the CNP; the Family Welfare
Institute (ICBF); and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).
Fourteen agencies are members of the ICFTP, which was established
informally in 2003 and formally launched in 2005: MOIJ, MFA, MSP,
MOE, DAS, the CNP, the Fiscalia, the Inspector General's Office
(Procuraduria), the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman
(Defensoria), Interpol, ICBF, the Presidential Advisor for Equality
of Women, The Ministry of Defense organization FONDELIBERTAD, and
the Special Administrative Unit for Information and Financial
Analysis (UIAF). In 2009, the ICFTP prepared public awareness
campaigns, promoted information exchange among government agencies,
and initiated use of a database to monitor trafficking cases.
Moreover, 15 departments established inter-agency committees to
combat trafficking in persons locally, and the GOC hosted a
bilateral anti-trafficking conference for counterparts in Panama in
August. (NOTE: Colombia has been a Tier I country since the
inception of the Trafficking in Persons Report. End Note.)

2. How much funding was provided to agencies responsible for
investigating child trafficking/CSEC/use of children in illicit
activities? Was this amount adequate? Did investigators have

sufficient office facilities, transportation, fuel, and other
necessities to carry out investigations?

Information on total funding was not available.

3. Did the country/territory maintain a hotline or other mechanism
for reporting child trafficking/CSEC/use of children in illicit
activities violations? If so, how many complaints were received in
the reporting period?

The government maintained a free, national hot line to prevent
trafficking and report violators. During the year the national
trafficking prevention hot line received 2,097 calls, 39 (1.86
percent) directly related

to trafficking.

4. How many investigations were opened in regard to child
trafficking/CSEC/use of children in illicit activities? Was the

number of investigations adequate?

The Prosecutor General's Office opened 134 trafficking in persons
cases in 2009. Information on the number pertaining to trafficked
children was unavailable.

5. How many children were rescued as a result?

A total of 10 trafficked children were recovered in 2009, including
nine girls trafficked for sexual exploitation: two in Trinidad and
Tobago, four in Ecuador, one in Panama, and two in Venezuela. One
male victim of labor trafficking was recovered from Ecuador.

6. How many arrests were made or other kinds of prosecutions
carried out?

The information was unavailable.

7. How many cases were closed or resolved?

The information was unavailable.

8. How many convictions?

The Prosecutor General's Office opened 134 cases for trafficking in
persons (pertaining to adults and minors) in 2009; 21 individuals
were placed in preventive detention; 27 individuals were convicted

and sentenced.

9. Did sentences imposed meet standards established in the legal

The law provided for prison sentences between 13 and 23 years and
fines up to 1,000 times the monthly minimum wage ($252) for
trafficking offenses. These penalties may be increased by up to
one-half if there are aggravating circumstances, such as
trafficking of children younger than 12. Additional charges of
illegal detention, violation of the right to work in dignified
conditions, and violation of personal freedom also may be brought
against traffickers. In general, sentences imposed met these

10. Were sentences imposed actually served?

See response to 2D question 8.

11. What is the average length of time it takes to resolve cases of
child trafficking/CSEC/use of children in illicit activities?

This information was unavailable.

12. Did the government offer any training for investigators or
others responsible for enforcement of child trafficking/CSEC/use of
children in illicit activities? If so, what was the impact (if any)
of these trainings?

The GOC worked with the International Organization for Migration
(IOM) to strengthen government institutions involved in
anti-trafficking efforts and assist trafficking victims. The IOM
and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime trained officials
on specific trafficking issues and provided sensitization training
to NGO groups.

13. If the country/territory experienced armed conflict during the
reporting period or in the recent past involving the use of child
soldiers, what actions were taken to penalize those responsible?
Were these actions adequate or meaningful given the situation?

Guerillas and illegal armed groups used children as soldiers. The
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and ICBF estimated the
number of children participating in illegal armed groups ranged
from 10,000 to 13,000. The penalty for leaders of armed groups who
use child soldiers is life imprisonment. The government, in
conjunction with USAID, IOM, and UNICEF, provided services to
former child soldiers and carried out public awareness campaigns to
prevent the recruitment of children by armed groups.


1. Did the government have a policy or plan that specifically
addresses exploitive child labor? Please describe.

The GOC ratified ILO Convention 182 (Prohibition and Immediate
Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor) in
1999. Subsequently, the GOC promulgated the Code of Childhood and
Adolescence in 2006 (Law 1098). In 2008, the MSP issued Resolution
677 further delineating those activities considered to be the worst
forms of child labor. The GOC also has a National Strategy for
Preventing and Eliminating the Worst forms of Child Labor and
Protecting Child Workers (2008-2015), and a National Action Plan
for Preventing and Eliminating Commercial Sexual Exploitation of
Children and Adolescents (2006-2011).

2. Did the country/territory incorporate exploitive child labor
specifically as an issue to be addressed in poverty reduction,
development, educational or other social policies, such as Poverty
Reduction Strategy Papers, etc? Please describe.

Strategies and policies addressing exploitive child labor formed
part of the National Development Plan (2006-2010) and Millennium
Development Goals.

3. Did the government provide funding to the plans described above?
Please describe the amount and whether it was sufficient to carry
out the planned activities.

The MSP budget for child labor administrative responsibilities was
approximately USD$600,000. The ICBF received about USD$6 billion,
which was disbursed for the following program categories: $3.4
billion for removing children from the armed conflict; $2 billion
for assisting children in circumstances of sexual exploitation; and
$600,000 for attending to children dangerous and prohibited

4. Did the government provide non-monetary support to child labor
plans? Please describe.

In the past decade, the GOC has provided institutional,
informational, and other non-monetary support to a variety of
international organizations, NGOs, and foreign governments aimed at
eliminating the worst forms of child labor in Colombia, including
four USG programs (three by DOL and one by USAID) totaling USD$10
million. The GOC has readily adopted best practices stemming from
these projects and integrated them into its own national strategy
and programming (reftel b).

5. Provide any additional information about the status and
effectiveness of the government's policies or plans during the
reporting period in regard to exploitive child labor.

The ICBF also identified and assisted 2,137 children working in

illegal mining operations in 2009. Estimates of the total number of
children who worked in illegal (artisanal) mining operations varied
from 10,000 to 200,000.

6. Did the government participate in any commissions or task forces
regarding exploitive child labor? Was the commission

active and/or effective?

See response to 2D question 1. No additional details were

7. Did the government sign a bilateral, regional or international
agreement to combat trafficking?

On April 27, the ICBF signed a cooperation agreement with the ILO
to reinforce its efforts to prevent and eliminate exploitive child
labor. Additionally, the Department of Cordoba and municipalities
of Armenia, Cartagena, Cucuta, and Dosquebrades signed a voluntary
accord on January 21 aimed at combating commercial sexual
exploitation of children.


1. Did the government implement any programs specifically to
address the worst forms of child labor? Please describe. (Please
note that DOL will not consider anti-poverty, education or other
general child welfare programs to be addressing exploitive child
labor unless they have a child labor component.)

See responses to 2C Section I above. No additional details were

2. Did the country/territory incorporate child labor specifically
as an issue to be addressed in poverty reduction, development,
educational or other social programs, such as conditional cash
transfer programs or eligibility for school meals, etc? Please

See response to 2E question 2. No additional details were

3. Did the government provide funding to the programs described
above? Please describe amount and whether it was sufficient to
carry out the planned activities.


4. Did the government provide non-monetary support to child labor

programs? Please describe.

See response to 2E question 4.

5. Provide any additional information about the status and
effectiveness of the government's activities during the reporting
period in relation to the programs described above. If the programs
involved government provision of social services to children at
risk of or involved in exploitive child labor, please describe and
assess the effectiveness of these services.

Colombian laws and strategies regarding exploitive child labor are
comprehensive and should be adequate to address exploitive child
labor. However, resources were inadequate for effective

6. If the government signed one or more bilateral, regional or
international agreement/s to combat trafficking, what steps did it
take to implement such agreement/s? Did the agreement/s result in
tangible improvements? If so, please describe.

See response to 2E question 7.


1. Considering the information provided to the questions above,
please provide an assessment of whether, overall, the government
made progress in regard to combating exploitive child labor during
the reporting period. In making this assessment, please indicate
whether there has been an increase or decrease from previous years
in inspections/investigations, prosecutions, and convictions;
funding for child labor elimination policies and programs; and any
other relevant indicators of government commitment.

Despite resource challenges, evidence suggests that the GOC
continues to invest significantly in preventing and eliminating
exploitive child labor. In 2009, the MSP took action in 155
municipalities in 20 departments, identifying and assisting 22,572
children in danger of the worst forms of child labor. It also
passed new legislation to expand and strengthen existing laws,
including increasing penalties for cases of child exploitation.
Moreover, the GOC has committed to doubling the number of official
labor inspectors by the end of 2010, which should substantially
improve enforcement. It also implemented a regional action plan in
cooperation with neighboring countries, and readily cooperated with
international organizations such as Save the Children, Partners of
the Americas, and the ILO.

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