Last Updated: Tuesday, 02 September 2014, 13:12 GMT

2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Paraguay

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 31 August 2007
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Paraguay, 31 August 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d7494bc.html [accessed 2 September 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 Labor
Percent of children 5-14 estimated as working in 1999:6.5%3348
Minimum age for admission to work:123349
Age to which education is compulsory:143350
Free public education:Yes3351*
Gross primary enrollment rate in 2003:106%3352
Net primary enrollment rate:Unavailable
Percent of children 5-14 attending school in 1999:87%3353
As of 2002, percent of primary school entrants likely to reach grade 5:81%3354
Ratified Convention 138:3/3/20043355
Ratified Convention 182:3/7/20013356
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes3357
* Must pay for school supplies and related items.

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

The majority of working children in Paraguay in 1999 were found in the agricultural sector (52.9 percent), followed by services (41.7 percent), manufacturing (4.0 percent), and other sectors (1.4 percent). Approximately 9.4 percent of all boys ages 5 to 14 were working compared to 3.5 percent of girls in the same age group.3358 Boys work principally in agriculture and unskilled manual labor.3359 Girls work in the same sectors, as well as in the service and sales sectors,3360 including as domestic servants in third-party homes.3361 Under the practice of criadazgo, many child domestic servants do not receive salaries, but work in exchange for room, board, and financial support for schooling. These child domestic workers are sometimes subject to sexual exploitation. Many children work on the streets in the informal sector, including as newspaper and sundries vendors and as car window washers. Children who work on the streets or who work under the criadazgo system often lack access to education.3362

According to a 2004 ILO-IPEC report, the number of children in commercial sexual exploitation is estimated to be 3,700 and is believed to be concentrated in three cities of the country (Asunción, Ciudad del Este, Encarnación). In April 2006, the ILO estimated that during 2005 more than 3,500 children ages 5 to 17 had been sexually exploited in Ciudad del Este and that there were 250 minor girl prostitutes in the city.3363 Girls are trafficked along the Brazil-Paraguay-Argentina border for commercial sexual exploitation. There are also reports of Paraguayan children trafficked to Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, and Spain.3364 Poor rural children are trafficked internally to urban areas for commercial sexual exploitation and forced domestic labor. Paraguayan children reportedly are also exploited in neighboring countries for forced domestic labor.3365

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

Children older than 12 years may enter into work contracts, with parental authorization. Fines are established for employing children under age 12.3366 The minimum age for employment in industrial work is 15 years, with exceptions for children over 12 years working in authorized professional schools and family businesses where the work is not dangerous.3367 Children 14 to 16 years may not work more than 4 hours per day and 24 hours per week. Children 16 to 18 years may not work more than 6 hours per day and 36 hours per week. The maximum daily work hours are reduced to 4 for adolescents that are attending school.3368 Fines are established for employing children under 18 for nighttime industrial work.3369

Adolescents 14 to 17 may be sent to locations different than specified in the original work contract, as long as they are not uprooted from their families and they remain in school.3370 Employers are required to maintain a registry containing biographical information on adolescent employees and to register adolescent employees with the Ministry of Justice and Labor and the Council for Children's Rights (CODENI).3371 Adolescents 15 to 18 year olds who work must have a birth certificate, an annual certificate of physical and mental health, and their guardian's authorization to work. Minors are to be paid at least 60 percent of the legal minimum salary for unspecified labor, and if a minor performs the same work as an adult, he or she must be paid the established legal minimum wage.3372 As stated in the legal code for children and adolescents, employers of adolescent domestic workers must facilitate their school attendance, provide the adolescent with food and a separate bedroom, and register the adolescent with the social security system.3373 Authorization from the adolescent's guardian is needed for domestic work, and the appropriate Municipal Council for Children and Adolescent's Rights must be notified if the adolescent is moved to another location.3374

Employing anyone under 18 years in work that may be harmful to his/her well-being is prohibited and punishable by fines.3375 The "List of Work Endangering Children" decree prohibits minors under 18 from working in 26 broad classifications of work, including crossing national borders, operating dangerous machinery, working as a domestic servant (with exceptions for those 16 and older), and working between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.3376 Although the practice of criadazgo and child domestic labor are on this list, the Department of Legal Affairs states that criadazgo is not completely prohibited for children 16 and older as long as the provisions laid out in the legal code for children and adolescents are followed.3377

The commercial sexual exploitation of children and adolescents is prohibited.3378 Penalties of up to 5 years of incarceration or fines are imposed for inducing the prostitution of someone under 18. If the perpetrator acts for profit, or if the victim is under 14, the penalty can increase.3379 Profiting from the prostitution of a person is punishable by up to 5 years of incarceration.3380 The production of child pornography is punishable by 5 to 10 years of incarceration; a prison term of 3 to 8 years applies for the distribution of such material. The use of anyone under 18 in sexually explicit performances carries a prison sentence of 3 to 10 years. Increased penalties apply if the crimes relating to child pornography and sexually explicit performances were done for profit or by a member of an organized group.3381 Slavery and trafficking in persons are prohibited.3382 The maximum prison term is 10 years for trafficking a minor for labor or sexual exploitation, or for forcing, deceiving, or coercing a person to leave the country.3383 Although the law establishes 18 years as the minimum age for conscription into the military, boys younger than 18 may join the military in exceptional circumstances.3384

According to the U.S. Department of State, the government generally does not enforce minimum age requirements for employment. The Secretariats for Women, for Repatriations, and for Childhood and Adolescence (SNNA) have limited effectiveness for combating trafficking and providing assistance to victims because of budgetary constraints; also, the borders are not well controlled.3385 However, the government has arrested individuals for crimes involving child trafficking.3386

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

The government worked to implement the National Plan for the Eradication and Prevention of Child Labor (2003-2008). The plan's objectives include data collection, publicity and education, training, improved legal protections and public policy, and implementation of a monitoring system and interventions.3387 SNNA participates in and organizes programs on human trafficking and child labor, including child domestic servants.3388 The Secretariat for Social Action, with assistance from UNICEF, provides services to children who work on the streets.3389 The government offered some financial support to NGOs that provide services to children who live on the streets or are victims of commercial sexual exploitation.3390 The National Plan for the Prevention and Eradication of Child Sexual Exploitation, along with the child labor plan, is part of the National Policy for Childhood and Adolescence (2003-2013).3391

The Government of Paraguay and the other governments of MERCOSUR developed the "Niño Sur" ("Southern Child") initiative to defend the rights of children and adolescents in the region. The initiative has focused on countering the sexual exploitation of children and adolescents (including trafficking), child labor, and improving youth criminal justice systems. Action strategies include the harmonization of legal frameworks, unified public campaigns and joint actions in border cities.3392

The government participates in a regional USDOL-funded ILO-IPEC project targeting children involved in commercial sexual exploitation and domestic labor. This project seeks to withdraw 2,185 children from exploitive child labor situations and prevent an additional 2,920 children from engaging in child labor.3393 Government secretariats participated in and implemented activities including the creation of an anti-trafficking handbook, interinstitutional meetings on trafficking, and awareness-raising campaigns on trafficking and child pornography.3394 A public utility jointly owned by the Paraguayan and Brazilian Governments, Itaipu Binational, supports an NGO that operates a hotline and shelter for trafficking victims in Ciudad del Este.3395 The government works to repatriate trafficking victims, usually through NGOs, and provides legal, medical, and psychological services to trafficking victims in Asuncion.3396

The Ministry of Education and Culture requires that all schools gather information on the working status of children.3397


3348 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates, March 1, 2007.

3349 Government of Paraguay, Que Modifica, Amplia y Deroga Artículos de la Ley 213/93, Código del Trabajo, Articles 36 and 389; available from http://www.senado.gov.py/leyes/.

3350 Government of Paraguay, Ley General de Educación, 1.264, Article 32; available from http://www.senado.gov.py. See also UNESCO, Education for All Global Monitoring Report, 2006; available from http://gmr.uis.unesco.org.

3351 Government of Paraguay, Ley General de Educación, Article 32. See also UNESCO, EFA Global Monitoring Report, 84.

3352 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Gross Enrolment Ratio. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006 available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org.

3353 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates, October 7, 2005.

3354 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Survival Rate to Grade 5. Total, accessed December 18, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org.

3355 ILO, Ratifications by Country, accessed October 18, 2006; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/newratframeE.htm.

3356 Ibid.

3357 ILO, IPEC Action Against Child Labor: Highlights 2006, [online] February, 2007 [cited March 29 2007]; available from http://www.ilo.org/iloroot/docstore/ipec/prod/eng/20070228_Implementationreport_en_Web.pdf.

3358 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates.

3359 Roberto Céspedes, Seguimiento de Indicadores sobre la Niñez Trabajadora de Paraguay según la Encuesta de Hogares, ILO-IPEC, UNICEF, Asuncion, 2003, 29; available from http://www.oit.org.pe/ipec/boletin/documentos/estadisticas_py.pdf.

3360 Ibid., 30.

3361 ILO-IPEC, Prevención y Eliminación del Trabajo Infantil Doméstico en Sudamérica: Evaluación Rápida sobre Trabajo Infantil Doméstico en Paraguay, Lima, June 2002, 9, 19, and 20; available from http://www.oit.org.pe/ipec/documentos/ev_tid_paraguay.pdf.3362 Ibid., 43, 71-72, and 76. See also Mike Kaye, Contemporary Forms of Slavery in Paraguay, Anti-Slavery International, 2006, 20 and 21; available from http:www.antislavery.org/homepage/resources/PDF/PDFslavery.htm.3363 U.S. Department of State, "Paraguay," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2006, Washington, DC, March 6, 2007, Section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78901.htm. See also ILOIPEC, Prevention and Elimination of Child Domestic Labour (CDL) and of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) in Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru, project document, RLA/00/P53/USA, Geneva, September 30, 2004, 19.

3364 U.S. Department of State, "Paraguay," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007, Washington, DC, March 5, 2007.

3365 Ibid. See also U.S. Department of State, "Paraguay," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2006, Washington, DC, March 6, 2006, Section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/. See also Mike Kaye, Contemporary Forms of Slavery in Paraguay, 9-10.

3366 Government of Paraguay, Código del Trabajo, Modificado 1995, Articles 36 and 389.

3367 Ibid., Article 119.

3368 Government of Paraguay, Código de la Niñez y la Adolescencia, 1680, (May 30, 2001), Article 58; available from http://www.senado.gov.py/leyes/.

3369 Government of Paraguay, Código del Trabajo, Modificado 1995, Article 389.

3370 Government of Paraguay, Código de la Niñez y la Adolescencia, Article 59.

3371 Ibid., Articles 60 and 61. See also Government of Paraguay, Código del Trabajo, Modificado 1995, Article 124.

3372 Government of Paraguay, Código del Trabajo, No. 213, (June 15, 1993), Article 126; available from http://www.senado.gov.py/leyes/.

3373 Government of Paraguay, Código de la Niñez y la Adolescencia, Articles 63, 64, and 65.

3374 Ibid., Articles 66.

3375 Ibid., Article 54. See also Government of Paraguay, Código del Trabajo, Modificado 1995, Articles 352 and 389.

3376 Government of Paraguay, El Listado de Trabajo Infantil Peligroso, Decree 4951, (March 22, 2005); available from http://www.presidencia.gov.py/decretos/D4951.pdf.

3377 Ibid. See also Government of Paraguay, Código de la Niñez y la Adolescencia. See also Paraguayan Embassy official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, July 2, 2006.

3378 Government of Paraguay, Código de la Niñez y la Adolescencia, Chapter II, Article 31.

3379 Código Penal, No. 1.160, Article 139; available from http://www.unifr.ch/derechopenal/legislacion/pa/cpparaidx.htm.

3380 Ibid., Article 140.

3381 Government of Paraguay, Que reprime el comercio y la difusión comercial o no comercial de material pornográfico, utilizando la imagen u otra representación de menores o incapaces, 2861, (January 17, 2006), Articles 1, 2, 3, and 5; available from www.senado.gov.py/leyes/.

3382 Government of Paraguay, Constitución Nacional de La República del Paraguay, (June 20, 1992), Articles 10 and 54; available from http://www.senado.gov.py/leyes/.

3383 Código Penal, Articles 125 and 223.

3384 Child Rights Information Network, Paraguay pide perdón público por el reclutamiento ilegal de muerte de dos niños, [online] June 6, 2006 [cited April 4, 2007]; available from http://www.crin.org/resources/find.asp. See also, Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Paraguay," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=835.

3385 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Paraguay."

3386 Ibid., Section 5.

3387 National Commission for the Prevention and Eradication of Child Labor and the Labor Protection for Adolescents, Plan Nacional de Prevención y Erradicación del Trabajo Infantil y Protección del Trabajo de los Adolescentes, 2-3; available from http://www.oit.org.pe/ipec/documentos/plan_paraguay.pdf. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Paraguay," Section 6d.

3388 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Paraguay," Section 5.

3389 Secretariat of Social Action, Abrazo: programa para la disminución progresiva del trabajo infantil en las calles, Asuncion. See also Secretariat of Social Action, Resultados del Programa. Mes de Julio, Asuncion, October 8, 2006; available from http://www.sas.gov.py.

3390 ILO-IPEC, Prevention and Elimination of Child Domestic Work and of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Colombia, Chile, Paraguay, and Peru, technical progress report, Geneva, March 6, 2006, 3.

3391 Government of Paraguay, Decreto No. 2616, (May 31,), Article 2; available from http://www.oit.org.pe/ipec/documentos/planes_grales_py.pdf. See also Committee for the Rights of Children and Adolescents, ILO, and UNICEF, Plan Nacional de Prevención y Erradicación de la Explotación Sexual de Niñas, Niños, y Adolescentes en Paraguay, December 2003; available from http://www.oit.org.pe/ipec/documentos/plan_esci_py.pdf.

3392 Ministry of Justice, Países do Mercosul anunciam campanha conjunta de Combate à Exploração Sexual de Crianças e Adolescentes, [online] August 29, 2006 [cited October 21 2006]; available from http://www.mj.gov.br/sedh/ct/conanda/noticias2_teste.asp?id=1380. See also Ministry of Justice, Combate à Exploração Sexual de Crianças e Adolescente é Meta no Mercosul, [online] August 24, 2006 [cited October 21 2006]; available from http://www.mj.gov.br/sedh/ct/conanda/noticias2_teste.asp?id=1373.

3393 ILO-IPEC, Prevention and Elimination of Child Domestic Labour and of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, project document.

3394 ILO-IPEC, Prevention and Elimination of Child Domestic Work and of Commercial Sexual Exploitation, technical progress report. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Paraguay," Section 5. See also U.S. Embassy – Asuncion, reporting, April 26, 2006.

3395 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Paraguay," Section 5.

3396 U.S. Department of State, "Paraguay (Tier 2)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006, Washington, DC, June 5, 2006; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2006/. See also Mike Kaye, Contemporary Forms of Slavery in Paraguay, 14.

3397 U.S. Department of State, reporting, August 25, 2005.

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