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Cablegate: (U) Nicaragua 1/Tvpra - Goods Produced by Child Labor

VZCZCXYZ0001
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMU #0184/01 0331415
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 021414Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0588
INFO WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS MANAGUA 000184

SIPDIS
DEPT FOR WHA/CEN AKRAAIMOORE
DEPT FOR INR/IAA
DOL/ILAB LEYLA STROTKAMP, RACHEL RIGBY, TINA MCCARTER
DEPT FOR DRL/ILCSR FOR SARAH MORGAN
DEPT FOR G/TIP LUIS CDEBACA
STATE FOR USOAS
STATE PASS TO USAID/LAC
STATE PASS TO MCC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB EIND ETRD PHUM PGOV SOCI NU
SUBJECT: (U) NICARAGUA 1/TVPRA - Goods produced by Child Labor

REF: STATE 131995

1. (U) The following is US Embassy Managua's submission regarding
the Department of Labor request for information on forced labor and
child labor in the production of goods for mandatory congressional
reporting requirements as outlined in State 131995 and 131997.

2. (U) As reported previously (see REF C and D) there is no
evidence of adults working under forced labor conditions; however,
there is substantial evidence of child labor in Nicaragua. The
extreme poverty that exists throughout Nicaragua, and in particular
in rural areas, results in a significant number of children working
to ensure the basic well-being of their families. Nicaraguan laws
allow adolescents from age 14 to 16 to work for a limited number of
hours a day, and only with the express consent of their parents
(see REF D). Nonetheless, the Nicaraguan Labor Code prohibits all
children and adolescents from admission to hazardous work or work
that puts them in "moral danger."

3. (U) There were no new studies on the number of Nicaraguan
children working; however, the Ministry of Labor (MITRAB) plans to
complete a new survey of child and adolescent labor in 2010. The
2005 National Survey on Child and Adolescent Labor (ENTIA), the
most recent, estimated that 13.2 percent (239,220) of Nicaraguan
children ages 5 to 17 years were employed. In contrast, a
longitudinal study (2004 and 2006) sponsored by Save the Children
Norway (Save) found that over 33 percent of Nicaraguan children
were employed, with the percentage reaching 38 percent in rural
areas. Further, the ENTIA study noted a 5.5 percent drop in child
labor between 2000 and 2005, while the Save the Children research
noted a 13.7 percent increase between 2004 and 2006.

4. (U) As reported previously (see REF C) the majority of child
laborers work in the informal sector (ENTIA - 75 percent, Save - 90
percent), are found in rural areas (65 percent), work in
agriculture and stockbreeding or related activities (over 55
percent), and do not receive remuneration for their efforts (Save -
75 percent, ENTIA - 61.5 percent). The majority of child laborers
work as part of a family unit - either in small family enterprises
or by assisting their parents in the performance of labor for which
their parents have been hired. Although the majority of child
laborers do not receive any remuneration, overall child and
adolescent labor directly or indirectly contributed to family
income.

5. (U) The following list represents products allegedly made in
Nicaragua with child labor. The production of the listed products
requires the use of one or more forms of labor considered dangerous
by its nature, as defined by the Government of Nicaragua's
officially published list of "dangerous" forms of labor, last
published in November 2006. This list was developed primarily
through consultations with the international and national NGOs and
a review of numerous studies and publications on child labor in
Nicaragua. The Ministry of Labor (MITRAB) refused to meet with
EmbOff in 2009 and 2010 to discuss this and other topics.

Bananas

- - - -

6. (U) Good: Bananas

7. (U) Type of Exploitation: Banana cultivation can include
exploitative child labor. The work carried out by children and
adolescents in banana production falls within the government's
definition of hazardous forms of labor.

8. (U) Sources of information and years: 2005 ENTIA Study; and
2009 interviews with Professional for the Social and Business
Auditing (PASE), and 2008 interviews with ILO-IPEC, MITRAB, and
other credible NGOs.

9. (U) Narrative: Large-scale banana production for export is
concentrated along the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua, primarily in the
departments of Chinandega and Leon; however, small-scale banana
production occurs throughout the country. Children have been used
in the preparation of the land for the planting of banana trees,
which includes cutting, burning, and removing existing trees;
planting seedlings; fumigation; and application of chemical
pesticides. Adolescents are used during the harvest period to do
further fumigation, pick the fruit by hand, and carry heavy baskets
of the bananas. Child laborers can be exposed to chemical
pesticides and fertilizers, and are required to carry heavy baskets
of bananas. These children work alongside their parents, who work
as hired labor, or work directly for the employers.

10. (U) Prevalence: The incidence of child labor in small-scale
banana production is isolated. In the past, children were
apprenticed at large-scale banana plantations, but this has been
absent from the country for many years.

11. (U) Host government, industry or NGO efforts: Rainforest
Alliance certification of bananas for export includes a provision
that bananas must be harvested without child labor. All bananas
plantations for export actively participate in the Rainforest
certification program.

Tobacco

- - - -

12. (U) Good: Tobacco

13. (U) Type of Exploitation: Tobacco cultivation and harvesting
can include exploitative child labor. The work carried out by
children and adolescents in tobacco production falls within the
government's definition of hazardous forms of labor.

14. (U) Sources of information and years: 2005 ENTIA Study;
CNEPTI-Save 2007 Workshops; and 2008 interviews with Save the
Children Norway, INPRHU, ILO-IPEC, MITRAB, and other credible NGOs.

15. (U) Narrative: Tobacco production is found primarily in the
northern departments of Esteli and Nueva Segovia. According to
CNEPTI and Save the Children, child and adolescent labor is present
in informal tobacco production, where working children accompany
their parents/families, who have been hired as contract labor.
Child and adolescent labor is employed in the planting, growing,
and harvesting phases of tobacco production. CNEPTI and INPRHU in
Esteli report that the harvesting of tobacco is done almost
exclusively by children younger than 14 years old. After
harvesting, female laborers, mostly girls, are used to string
together the leaves for drying. Child laborers working in tobacco
production during the planting, culling and harvesting phases are
exposed to chemical contaminants and physical labor performed under
extreme temperatures and inclement weather.


16. (U) Prevalence: The incidence of child labor in tobacco
production is considered significant, although it is difficult to
determine the number of children involved. There are no reliable
figures, since the labor is concentrated in the informal and
non-commercial sector of the industry. There was no evidence of
child labor used in the production of cigars.

17. (U) Host government, industry or NGO efforts: There are no
current host government or industry efforts to combat child labor
in the cultivation and harvesting of tobacco. CNEPTI-Save the
Children, and INPRHU have worked to raise awareness of the problem
of child labor in tobacco production.

African Palm

- - - - - - -

18. (U) Good: African Palm cultivated for its oil.

19. (U) Type of Exploitation: African Palm cultivation often
includes exploitative child labor. The work carried out by
children and adolescents in African Palm production falls within
the government's definition of hazardous forms of labor.

20. (U) Sources of information and years: 2005 ENTIA Study; 2007 National Commission for the Progressive Eradication of Child Labor and Protection of Adolescent Workers (CNEPTI) CNEPTI-Save brochure on child labor "Son Incontables sus riesgos y danos"; and 2009 interviews with INPRHU, ENTERATE, and 2008 interviews with ILO-IPEC, and MITRAB.

21. (U) Narrative: African Palm cultivation is concentrated in
Nicaragua's South Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAS), specifically
in the municipality of Kukra Hill. A CNEPTI-Save the Children
study shows that adolescents 14 years and older are used in the
preparation of the land - which includes cutting down trees,
clearing land - pruning trees, and the application of chemical
fertilizers. Younger children are used in the preparation of the
seedlings. Boys ages 12 to 13 and girls aged up to 18 are used
during the planting phase. Boys and girls aged between 7 and 12 as
well as teenagers are employed during the harvest season. These
children accompany their families, the majority of which are
temporary migrants from the Pacific Coast who have come to the RAAS
to work as contracted labor for the African Palm harvest.
Adolescents work long hours and are exposed to dangerous tools,
chemical pesticides, and fertilizers.

22. (U) Prevalence: The prevalence of child labor in African Palm
cultivation is isolated.

23. (U) Host government, industry or NGO efforts: There are no
current host government or industry efforts to combat child labor
in African Palm cultivation. CNEPTI-Save the Children have worked
to raise awareness of the problem of child labor in African Palm
cultivation.

Oranges

- - - -

24. (U) Good: Oranges for export primarily to Costa Rica.

25. (U) Type of Exploitation: Oranges cultivated on large scale
plantations often have an element of exploitative child labor. The
work carried out by children and adolescents at these large scale
orange plantations falls within the government's definition of
hazardous forms of labor.

26. (U) Sources of information and years: 2005 ENTIA Study; 2007
CNEPTI-Save brochure on child labor "Son Incontables sus riesgos y
danos"; 2009 interviews with INPRHU and ENTERATE; and 2008
interviews with ILO-IPEC and MITRAB.

27. (U) Narrative: Large-scale orange production is concentrated
along the San Juan River and its tributaries in the department of
Rio San Juan. A CNEPTI-Save the Children study found that boys
aged between 12 and 13 are frequently used in the preparation of
the land for planting of orange trees - this includes cutting and
burning of existing trees, recollection of tree roots mechanically
extracted, fumigation, and application of chemical pesticides.
Young boys aged between eight and 13 are used during the harvest
period to do further fumigation, pick the fruit by hand, bag the
fruit, and load/unload bagged fruit from trucks. Child laborers
working in large-scale orange plantations are exposed to chemical
pesticides and fertilizers, and are required to carry heavy loads
of oranges on ladders. It is unclear whether these children work
alongside their parents, who work as hired labor, or work directly
for the employers.

28. (U) Prevalence: The prevalence of child labor in orange
production is isolated.

29. (U) Host government, industry or NGO efforts: There are no
current host government or industry wide efforts to combat child
labor in the production of oranges. CNEPTI-Save the Children have
worked to raise awareness of the problem of child labor in large
scale-orange cultivation.

Cattle-raising and Dairy Production

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

30. (U) Good: Beef and dairy products.

31. (U) Type of Exploitation: Cattle-raising and dairy production
often includes exploitative child labor. The work carried out by
children and adolescents in stock breeding and dairy production
falls within the government's definition of hazardous forms of
labor.

32. (U) Sources of information and years: 2005 ENTIA Study; 2007 CNEPTI-Save brochure on child labor "Son Incontables sus riesgos y danos"; and 2008 interviews with ILO-IPEC, Agriculture and Cattle Association of Chontales (ASOGACHO), and MITRAB.

33. (U) Narrative: Cattle-raising and the associated production of beef and dairy products is concentrated in the departments of Chontales, Boaco, and the western parts of the North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN) and the South Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAS). According to ASOGACHO, the vast majority of the country's many thousands of producers are small often family-managed businesses that employ child and adolescent labor. The ASOGACHO and CNEPTI-Save the Children study reported that the cattle sector is male-dominated; primarily employing teenage boys ages 13 to 18 in a variety of jobs. These youth are used to oversee cattle grazing, milk the cows, transport the milk, and clean and maintain stalls and equipment. They work as either hired hands on larger farms or are the children of families hired as caretakers by absentee owners. Younger children may also work on family farms or in caretaker families, but generally complete primary school before joining the workforce full-time. Child laborers are exposed to long hours of work, micro-organisms from dairy production, and the risk of physical injury.

34. (U) Prevalence: The prevalence of child labor in
cattle-raising and dairy production outside of family farms is
considered significant and not isolated; however, it is difficult
to determine the number of children involved outside of family
farms as there are no reliable statistics.

35. (U) Host government, industry or NGO efforts: There is little
to no effort by the host government, industry or NGOs to combat
child labor in cattle-raising and dairy production.
CALLAHAN

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