Last Updated: Friday, 21 November 2014, 13:47 GMT

2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Argentina

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 - Argentina, 27 August 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48caa45b46.html [accessed 24 November 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 Labor139
Working children, 10-14 years (%), 1997:20.7
Working boys, 10-14 years (%), 1997:25.4
Working girls, 10-14 years (%), 1997:16
Working children by sector, 5-14 years (%):
     – Agriculture
     – Manufacturing
     – Services
     – Other
Minimum age for work:14
Compulsory education age:18
Free public education:Yes
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2004:113
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2003:99
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%), 1997:96.6
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2003:97
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In rural areas of Argentina, children work in family and third-party farms in the production of flowers, tomatoes, and strawberries, often handling pesticides without proper protection.140 In urban areas, children are engaged in domestic service, food preparation, street sales, trash recycling, and garment production.141 They also work in small and medium businesses and workshops, and they perform odd jobs such as opening taxi doors, washing car windshields, and shining shoes.142 Some children in Argentina are exploited in prostitution, sex tourism, and drug trafficking.143

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age for employment at 14 years. The Government authorizes children under 14 years to work in family businesses under special circumstances.144 Children 14 to 18 years must present medical certificates that attest to their ability to work and must undergo periodical medical checkups.145 In addition, a Government regulation specifically prohibits the employment of children under 14 years in domestic service.146 Children who have not completed compulsory schooling may obtain permission to work in cases for which their income is necessary for their family's survival, as long as they continue their studies.147 Children 14 to 18 years are prohibited from working more than six hours a day and 36 hours a week, and between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. In some cases, however, children 16 to 18 years can work additional hours.148

The law provides for 6 to 15 years of imprisonment for facilitating the prostitution of children under 13 years of age, and 4 to 10 years when it involves children 13 to 17 years old.149 The publication and distribution of pornography that features minors carries penalties of 6 months to 4 years of imprisonment.150 In 2007, the Buenos Aires City Legislature increased penalties for enabling the commercial sexual exploitation of children. The promotion, publication, provision of assistance, websites, or services to third parties involving children and adolescents in sexual activities are punished by fines, arrests up to 90 days, and business closures.151 Argentine law establishes penalties for the smuggling of minors that range from 5 to 20 years imprisonment.152 The lack of anti-trafficking laws prevents the Government's systematic collection of data and statistics related to efforts to combat trafficking. However, USDOS reports some progress during the April 2006 to March 2007 period, including two cases involving trafficking of minors which resulted in sentences of 14 years and 4 years in prison.153 Argentine law sets the minimum age for volunteering for the Argentine Armed Forces at 18 years.154

The Government has trained hundreds of labor inspectors and other social actors in identifying child labor, developing an interdisciplinary approach to the child labor problem.155 However, statistics on the number of child labor investigations are not officially kept at the national or provincial levels.156

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

The National Commission for the Eradication of Child Labor (CONAETI), conducted seminars with the 19 provincial Commissions for the Eradication of Child Labor (COPRETIS) to provide training to provincial authorities responsible for enforcing labor laws and raising awareness regarding exploitive child labor.157 CONAETI continued with the implementation of the National Plan to Combat Child Labor, which calls for the national consolidation of data, awareness raising, inter-institutional collaboration, stronger inspection mechanisms, mainstreaming of child laborers into the formal education system, research, coordination of child labor laws, and a national program for the prevention and eradication of child labor in rural and urban settings.158 The purpose of the plan is to prevent school dropout, provide psychological and health assistance to children, and strengthen families.159 CONAETI provides technical assistance to action programs implemented by NGOs addressing child labor in the tobacco and trash-picking sectors, including workshops with tobacco producers to encourage corporate social responsibility on child labor issues.160 The Government works with several NGOs in addressing CSEC in the triborder area with Brazil and Paraguay. The effort involves disseminating information on prevention and available assistance for victims. A trinational network has been established involving local government and civil society to help coordinate the efforts to combat trafficking.161

The Government of Argentina and other associate and member governments of MERCOSUR are conducting the "Niño Sur" ("Southern Child") initiative to defend the rights of children and adolescents in the region. The initiative includes unified public campaigns against commercial sexual exploitation, trafficking and child labor, mutual technical assistance in adjusting the legal framework to international standards on those issues, and the exchange of best practices related to victims protection and assistance.162

The Ministry of Education's Integral Program for Educational Equality strengthens the provision of basic education in urban schools that serve vulnerable populations.163 The Ministry of Education also provides scholarships to reintegrate children who have dropped out of school to work, and supports children who work and attend school. The program provides children's parents with job search assistance and job training.164

Since September 2007, the IDB is funding a project for the Prevention and Eradication of Child Labor in Migrant Families. The project, implemented by the IOM, works with families engaged in garbage scavenging and recycling; providing them with services and regularizing their immigration status.165 Argentina participates in a USD 2.1 million regional ILO-IPEC child labor survey funded by Canada. The country is also part of a 460,000 Euros ILO-IPEC global initiative funded by the Netherlands to combat child domestic work.166


139 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 Government of Argentina, Ley de Contrato de Trabajo, Ley No. 20.744, (May 13, 1976), article 189; available from http://www.trabajo.gov.ar/legislacion/ley/index.html. See also U.S. Department of State, "Argentina," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2007, Washington, DC, March 11, 2008, section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100625.htm. See also Government of Argentina, Ley de Educación Nacional, No. 26.206, (2006), article 11; available from http://www.me.gov.ar/doc_pdf/ley_de_educ_nac.pdf.

140 CONAETI, Trabajo infantil rural, [online] [cited December 5, 2007]; available from http://www.trabajo.gov.ar/conaeti/que_es/rural.htm.

141 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Argentina," section 6d. See also CONAETI, Trabajo infantil urbano, [online] [cited January 26, 2007]; available from http://www.trabajo.gov.ar/conaeti/que_es/urbano.htm.

142 CONAETI, Trabajo infantil urbano.

143 Ibid. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Argentina," section 6d. See also ECPAT International CSEC Database, Argentina, accessed December 5, 2007; available from http://www.ecpat.net/.

144 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Argentina," section 6d.

145 Government of Argentina, Ley de Contrato de Trabajo, articles 187-189.

146 Government of Argentina, Decreto Ley 326/56, article 2; available from http://www.trabajo.gov.ar/asesoramiento/files/decreto_%20ley%20_326_56.doc.

147 Government of Argentina, Ley de Contrato de Trabajo, article 189.

148 Ibid., article 190.

149 Government of Argentina, Código Penal, Título III, (1921), article 125 bis; available from http://www.justiniano.com/codigos_juridicos/codigos_argentina.htm.

150 Ibid., article 128.

151 U.S. Embassy – Buenos Aires, reporting, December 4, 2007.

152 World Bank, Education Excellence and Equity Project, accessed October 22, 2006, article 121; available from http://web.worldbank.org/external/projects/main?pagePK=64283627&piPK=73230&theSitePK=301412&menuPK= 301444&Projectid=P078933.

153 U.S. Department of State, "Argentina (Tier 2 Watch List)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007, Washington, DC, June 5, 2007; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2007/82805.htm. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Argentina," section 5.

154 OSCE, OSCE Presence in Albania, [online] 2005 [cited October 22, 2006], article 8; available from http://www.osce.org/albania/13138.html.

155 U.S. Embassy – Buenos Aires, reporting, December 4, 2007.See also Ministerio de Trabajo Empleo y Seguridad Social, Programa de formación e información sistemática en materia de prevención y erradicación del trabajo infantil.

156 U.S. Embassy – Buenos Aires, reporting, December 4, 2007.

157 Ibid.

158 CONAETI, Plan Nacional para la Prevención y Erradicación del Trabajo Infantil, October 31, 2002; available from http://www.trabajo.gov.ar/conaeti/actividades/files/plan_nacional_consensuado.doc.

159 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Argentina," section 6d.

160 CONAETI, Informe de gestión anual, 2005. See also CONAETI, Report on the basic fundamental norms on the worst forms of child labor and its eradication.

161 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Argentina," section 6d.

162 Ministry of Justice and Human Rights of Argentina, Iniciativa Niñ@ Sur, [online] [cited December 7, 2007]; available from http://www.derhuman.jus.gov.ar/direcciones/asistencia/ninosur.htm.

163 Ministry of Education, Programa Integral para la Igualdad Educativa, [online] [cited December 4, 2007]; available from http://curriform.me.gov.ar/piie/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1.

164 U.S. Embassy – Buenos Aires, reporting, December 4, 2007, U.S. Embassy – Buenos Aires, reporting, December 4, 2007. See also Ministry of Education, Programa Nacional de Inclusión Educativa, [online] [cited December 4, 2007]; available from http://www.me.gov.ar/todosaestudiar/.

165 IDB, Prevention and Erradication of Child Labour in Migrant Families, 2007; available from http://www.iadb.org/projects/Project.cfm?project=AR-T1031&Language=English#.

166 ILO-IPEC, E-mail communication to USDOL official, December 12, 2007.

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