Last Updated: Monday, 28 July 2014, 16:37 GMT

2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - East Timor

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 27 August 2008
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - East Timor, 27 August 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48caa46cc.html [accessed 30 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Selected Statistics and Indicators on Child Labor1086
Working children, 10-14 years (%), 2001:85.2
Working boys, 10-14 years (%), 2001:84.5
Working girls, 10-14 years (%), 2001:85.9
Working children by sector, 10-14 years (%), 2001:
     – Agriculture91.8
     – Manufacturing0
     – Services8.2
     – Other0
Minimum age for work:15
Compulsory education age:Not defined
Free public education:Yes*
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:99
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:68
School attendance, children 10-14 years (%), 2001:86.3
Survival rate to grade 5 (%):
ILO-IPEC participating country:No
* Guaranteed by law, but no system has been established to ensure that education is available.

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In East Timor, many children in rural areas work in agriculture, including on coffee farms.1087 Children are also engaged in domestic work, primarily in adoptive family homes or in the homes of relatives of their adoptive families; a small percentage work for non-relatives. Most of these children work in return for school fees or shelter.1088 In urban areas, children are found working in the streets, selling a variety of items and washing cars.1089 Throughout the country, children are found working in construction under hazardous conditions. In coastal areas, children work in fishing.1090 Children are commercially exploited for sexual purposes, including prostitution.1091

Authorities have recognized that child trafficking is a problem, but there is little information about the nature of the trafficking. There have been reports of girls trafficked into East Timor in recent years.1092 Although East Timor was not previously considered a source country, starting in 2006 there has been evidence that East Timorese girls are targeted for trafficking.1093 There are also reports of internal trafficking of girls from rural areas to the capital, Dili, for commercial sexual exploitation.1094

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age for employment at 15 years and prohibits work by a child between 15 and 18 years that would jeopardize their health, safety, or morals. However, the official minimum age of 15 does not apply to family-owned businesses, and children working in vocational schools are exempted.1095 Further, the law allows for light work for children older than 12 years.1096 According to USDOS, enforcement of the labor code is limited due to a lack of resources and capacity, especially outside of Dili, the capital.1097

The law forbids compulsory work.1098 Trafficking is prohibited, and the penalty for trafficking minors is imprisonment of 5 to 12 years.1099 USDOS reports no enforcement efforts or prosecutions of traffickers between April 2006 and March 2007. In fact, USDOS has stated that credible reports suggest that police and customs officials have colluded with traffickers.1100 The minimum age for conscription into military service is 18 years.1101

Current Government Policies and Programs to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor

The Government has a program that provides funding to a local NGO to assist children working in the streets.1102


1086 For statistical data not cited here, see the Data Sources and Definitions section. For data on ratifications and ILO-IPEC membership, see the Executive Summary. For minimum age for admission to work, age to which education is compulsory, and free public education, see U.S. Department of State, "East Timor," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2007, Washington, DC, 2008, sections 5, 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100519.htm. See also Government of East Timor, Constitution of the Democratic Republic of East Timor, (2002), article 59; available from http://www.eastimorlawjournal.org/LAWSINDEPENDENCE/ConstitutionofRDTLinEnglish.html. See also USDOL consultant, Researcher's Comments on East Timor to USDOL official, August 15, 2007.

1087 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: East Timor," section 6d. See also ILO, "East Timor: A New Labour Code for the World's Newest Country," World of Work 43 (June 2002); available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/inf/magazine/43/timor.htm. See also ILO, Rapid Assessment on Child Labor in Timor Leste, Jakarta, December 2007, executive summary.

1088 ILO, Rapid Assessment on Child Labor in Timor Leste, executive summary. See also U.S. Embassy – Dili, reporting, February 12, 2008. See also USDOL consultant, Researcher's Comments on East Timor.

1089 ILO, "East Timor: A New Labour Code." See also ILO, Rapid Assessment on Child Labor in Timor Leste, executive summary. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by State Parties, prepared by Timor-Leste, pursuant to Article 44 of the Convention, June 28, 2007; available from http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G07/426/99/PDF/G0742699.pdf?OpenElement.

1090 ILO, Rapid Assessment on Child Labor in Timor Leste.

1091 Cathleen Carson, Trafficking in East Timor: A Look into the Newest Nation's Sex Industry, ALOLA, 2004, 7, 32. See also ILO, Rapid Assessment on Child Labor in Timor Leste.

1092 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: East Timor," section 5.

1093 Ibid. See also Carson, Trafficking in East Timor.

1094 U.S. Department of State, "East Timor (Tier 2)," in Trafficking in Persons Report-2007: East Timor, Washington, DC, 2007; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2007/.

1095 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: East Timor," section 6d. See also Government of East Timor, Labour Code, (May 1, 2002), section 11.3; available from http://www.doingbusiness.org/Documents/LawLibrary/Timor-Leste-Labour-Code.pdf. See also Ministry of Labor official, Interview with USDOL consultant, June 8, 2007.

1096 Government of East Timor, Labour Code, section 11.

1097 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: East Timor," section 6d. See also U.S. Embassy – Dili, reporting, February 12, 2008. See also USDOL consultant, Researcher's Comments on East Timor.

1098 Government of East Timor, Constitution of East Timor, section 50.

1099 Government of East Timor, Immigration and Asylum Law No. 9, (May 6, 2003), article 81; available from http://www.eastimorlawjournal.org/LAWSINDEPENDENCE/9of2004immigrationasylum.html.

1100 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: East Timor." See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: East Timor."

1101 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by State Parties pursuant to Article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, February 1, 2008.

1102 Ministry of Labor official, Interview with USDOL consultant, June 8, 2007, 8. See also ILO, Rapid Assessment on Child Labor in Timor Leste, 55.

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