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2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Chile

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 18 April 2003
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Chile, 18 April 2003, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d748853c.html [accessed 23 December 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.

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

The Government of Chile has been a member of ILO-IPEC since 1996.782 As part of this program, the government established the National Advisory Committee to Eradicate Child Labor.783 In 2001, the Committee developed a National Plan of Action784 with five focus areas: nation-wide awareness-raising, collection of data,785 promotion of legislative reform in compliance with ILO conventions, development of age-specific targeted intervention programs, and ongoing monitoring and evaluation.786 As part of this effort, the Committee has designed specific programs for children working in the regions of Río Cachapoal, El Olivar, Temuco and the suburbs of Santiago.787 In 2002, ILO-IPEC began working with the government on two new initiatives, a project to establish a national register on the worst forms of child labor and a project on the prevention and eradication of commercial sexual exploitation of children.788

In addition to collaborative efforts with ILO-IPEC, the Chilean government recently announced that a new "Chile in Solidarity" program will begin at the end of 2002 to provide income and other support for families with children at risk of deserting school and working.789 A working group has also been established to prepare a plan of action against the commercial sexual exploitation of children.790

Chile is also participating in regional efforts to combat child labor. In 1997, Chile was a party to the Declaration of Buenos Aires, in which it agreed, along with the Mercosur countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay), to conduct awareness raising and promote the harmonization of regional laws related to child labor. With the support of ILO-IPEC, the Chilean government is collaborating with the Mercosur countries to gather more adequate statistics on child labor under ILO-IPEC's SIMPOC, to create and exchange best practices on child labor inspection systems, to promote legislation in line with ILO Conventions 138 and 182 throughout the region, to strengthen civil society partners, to incorporate child labor themes into national and regional policies, to remove children from and prevent children from entering child labor, and to establish observer committees responsible for evaluating progress.791 Also with assistance from ILO-IPEC, Chile is participating in the development of a coordinated information system on child labor throughout South America.792

The Chilean Ministry of Education has initiated reforms to improve the quality, equity and efficiency of the country's educational system.793 The government operates a family income support program (Subsidio Unico Familiar) in which families receive direct money transfers if they can demonstrate, among other requirements, that family members between 6 and 18 years of age are registered in school. The government also provides support for scholarship and school meal programs.794 There has been a significant increase in the number of schools covered by the Program of 900 Schools (P-900), initially launched in 1990, which provides funding for teaching assistants for a number of basic education classrooms.795 The government's Rural Basic Education Program provides additional funding and targeted programs for rural students and teachers.796 In 1996, the government implemented the Full School Day Reform, which extended the school day, provided a new curriculum framework, implemented incentives for teacher professionalism and initiated a network to model and disseminate innovative teaching, learning and managerial practices at the secondary level.797

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 2000, the ILO estimated that less than 1 percent of children ages 10 to 14 in Chile were working.798 ILO-IPEC has identified mining, agriculture and street work as three high risk areas where children are working in Chile.799 Children also work in manufacturing (garment, furniture, bottling and packaging),800 lumber processing, charcoal production, meat processing, shellfish processing, fishing, ranching, shepherding, domestic service, as baggers in supermarkets, and in the sale of drugs.801 Many children are employed in the informal economy.802 Children are involved in prostitution in Chile.803 There is limited information available on other forms of commercial sexual exploitation of children in Chile.804

Education is free805 and compulsory in Chile for eight years.806 In 1998, the gross primary enrollment rate was 105.8 percent and the net primary enrollment rate was 87.9 percent.807 In 2000, according to a government household survey, 1 percent of Chilean children between 6 and 13 did not attend school.808 The country's rural population completes less schooling than the country's urban population.809 The likelihood that children will engage in work instead of attend school increases as family income decreases.810

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Labor Code sets the minimum age for employment at 15 years, although children under the age of 15 may work in theatrical productions with the proper legal authorization.811 Fifteen year olds are allowed to do light work if they have completed compulsory education, and if the work will not affect their health, development or attendance in education and training programs. Children ages 16 to 18 can work with the permission of their parents.812 Children under the age of 18 are prohibited from working at night between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. (outside a family business), underground, in nightclubs or similar establishments in which alcohol is consumed, or in activities that endanger their health, safety or morality.813 The Constitution and the Labor Code prohibit forced labor,814 and the prostitution of children, corruption of minors and involvement of children in pornography are prohibited under the Penal Code.815 The trafficking of children for prostitution is also prohibited under the Penal Code.816

The Ministry of Labor's Inspection Agency enforces child labor laws in the formal sector, while the National Service for Minors within the Ministry of Justice investigates exploitative child labor related to pornography, the sale of drugs, and other related criminal activities.817 Child labor inspections are infrequent, and are usually initiated only after a specific complaint,818 but overall compliance is good in the formal economy.819 Child labor is a problem in the informal economy, however.820 Cases of commercial sexual exploitation of children often are not investigated and prosecuted and victim assistance services are lacking.821

Chile ratified ILO Convention 138 on February 1, 1999 and ILO Convention 182 on July 17, 2000.822


782 ILO-IPEC, All About IPEC: Programme Countries, [online] August 13, 2001 [cited September 30, 2002]; available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/ipec/about/countries/t_country.htm.

783 This Committee is coordinated by the Ministry of Labor and includes UNICEF, ILO, NGOs, business leaders, legislators, labor unions, churches, and other public and private entities. See U.S. Embassy – Santiago, unclassified telegram no. 2756, October 2001.

784 Andrés Bianchi, Ambassador, facsimile communication to USDOL official in response to request for information, September 6, 2002.

785 As of August 2002, Chile was preparing to conduct a SIMPOC child labor survey. See ILO-IPEC official, electronic communication to USDOL official, August 28, 2002.

786 National Commission for the Eradication of Child Labor-Chile, Plan de Prevención y Erradicación Progresiva del Trabajo Infantil y Adolescente en Chile, ILO-IPEC Regional Office for Latin America and the Carribean, Lima, 2001, 2, 19 [cited December 16, 2002]; available from http://www.oit.org.pe/spanish/260ameri/oitreg/activid/proyectos/ipec/ doc/fichas/planchi.doc. Other focus areas include education, health services for children and the promotion of adequate adult employment and services. See ILO-IPEC, Chile: Plan Nacional de Erradicación del Trabajo Infantil, Lima, 2002, [cited December 16, 2002]; available from http://www.oit.org.pe/spanish/260ameri/oitreg/activid/proyectos/ipec/ chile.php#t2.

787 U.S. Embassy – Santiago, unclassified telegram no. 2756.

788 ILO-IPEC Regional Office official, electronic communication with USDOL official on Proniño and ILO-IPEC projects, October 1, 2002. Chilean unions have also received training on child labor issues under a regional union education campaign conducted by ILO-IPEC and small and medium sized-business owners have been sensitized through outreach seminars. See ILO-IPEC Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, Fortalecimiento de las Organizaciones Sindicales para la Prevención y Erradicación de las peores formas del Trabajo Infantil, Lima, July 22, 2002, [cited December 16, 2002]; available from http://www.oit.org.pe/spanish/260ameri/oitreg/activid/proyectos/ ipec/ficchiinst.php#ch1. See also ILO-IPEC Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, Plan Subregional para la Erradicación del Trabajo Infantil en los países del Mercosur y Chile, Lima, 10 [cited December 16, 2002]; available from http://www.oit.org.pe/spanish/260ameri/oitreg/activid/proyectos/ipec/doc/documentos/ folletomercosur.doc.

789 UNICEF, En Seminario Sobre Deserción: Factores Asociados al Abandono Escolar, [online] June 14, 2002 [cited August 13, 2002]; available from http://www.unicef.cl/noticias/seminario_desercion.htm.

790 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Report on the Twenty-Ninth Session, CRC/C/114, United Nations, Geneva, May 14, 2002, 102.

791 ILO-IPEC Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, Plan Subregional para la Erradicación del Trabajo Infantil, 5, 17-19.

792 ILO-IPEC Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, Los Proyectos IPEC en breve: Proyecto Sistema de Información de la Marcha Global, Lima, 2002, [cited December 16, 2002]; available from http://www.oit.org.pe/ spanish/260ameri/oitreg/activid/proyectos/ipec/doc/fichas/ficha_mglobal.doc.

793 Francoise Delannoy, "Education Reforms in Chile, 1980-1998: A Lesson in Pragmatism," The Education Reform and Management Publication Series 1, no. 1 (June 2000), 61.

794 Bianchi, facsimile communication, September 6, 2002.

795 Ministry of Education, Sentidos y Propósitos: Programa de las 900 Escuelas (P-900), Government of Chile, [online] 2002 [cited August 12, 2002]; available from http://www.mineduc.cl/basica/p900/ N2002052411352223165.html.

796 Ministry of Education, Objetivos del Programa de Educación Rural, Government of Chile, [online] 2002 [cited August 12, 2002]; available from http://www.mineduc.cl/basica/rural/N2002052417080024790.html.

797 All government and privately subsidized schools were expected to adopt the reform by 2002, unless superior performance could be demonstrated. See Delannoy, "Education Reforms in Chile," 26-27. In addition, the Ministry of Education has promoted a national debate on a proposal to require 12 years of schooling in Chile. See Ministry of Education, Seminario, 12 Años de Escolaridad: Un Requisito para la Equidad, Government of Chile, [online] 2002 [cited August 2, 2002]; available from http://www.mineduc.cl/destacados_web/seminario12/index.htm.

798 World Bank, World Development Indicators 2002 [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2002. In 1996, a survey conducted by the Chilean Ministry of Planning and Cooperation estimated that 1.9 percent of children ages 6 to 14 years in Chile were working during the three months preceding the survey. The 1996 government survey found that approximately 47,000 children ages 6 to 14 (or 1.9 percent of children in that age group) were working. The same survey found that approximately 78,000 children ages 15 to 17 were working, which is 9.7 percent of children in that age group. See Ministry of Planning and Cooperation, Situación del Trabajo Infantil en Chile, 1996: Resultados de la Encuesta de Caracterización Socioeconómica Nacional, survey, Santiago, September 1997, 3, 9. According to a more recent version of this same household survey, 4 percent (64,954) of children ages 12 to 17 were working in 2000. See Ricardo Solari Saavedra, "La Erradicación del Trabajo Infantil en Chile: Caracterización, Acciones del Gobierno y Lineaminentos a Futuro," Observatorio Laboral on Line (July 11, 2002), [cited December 16, 2002]; available from http://www.mintrab.gob.cl/.

799 U.S. Embassy – Santiago, unclassified telegram no. 2756.

800 Ministry of Justice, Trabajo Infantil en Chile: Ponencia de la Ministra de Justicia, Maria Soledad Alvear Valenzuela, en la Conferencia Internacional sobre Trabajo Infantil, Oslo, October 1997, 4.

801 ILO-IPEC Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, Sistematización del Proyecto: Acción Contra el Trabajo Infantil á Través de la Educación y la Motivación, Sistema de Información Regional sobre Trabajo Infantil, Lima, [cited December 16, 2002]; available from http://www.colegiodeprofesores.cl/trabajoinfantil/erradicacion2.htm.

802 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2001: Chile, Washington, D.C., March 4, 2002, [cited December 16, 2002]; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2001/wha/8318.htm.

803 ECPAT International, Chile, in ECPAT International, [database online] 2002 [cited December 4, 2002]; available from http://www.ecpat.net/eng/Ecpat_inter/projects/monitoring/online_database/index.asp. Estimates of the number of children involved in prostitution in Chile vary widely. UNICEF reported that in 1999 there were approximately 10,000 child prostitutes between the ages of 6 and 18. See U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Chile, Section 5. The Government of Chile, however, reported that 3,500 children under the age of 18 worked in prostitution and pornography in 1999. See Alejandra Muñoz, "3,500 menores ejercieron la prostitución el 99," La Tercera (Santiago), June 23, 2000, [cited December 26, 2002]; available from http://www.tercera.cl/. In 2000 there were reports that the prostitution of boys was increasing. See Swedish International Development Agency, Looking Back Thinking Forward: The Fourth Report on the Implementation of the Agenda for Action Adopted at the First World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Stockholm, Sweden, 28 August 1996, Stockholm, 2000, Section 4.3.

804 There have been reports that girls are trafficked from Chile to Brazil's Pantanal region. See Swedish International Development Agency, Looking Back, Thinking Forward, Section 4.3. Internet child pornography is available in Chile. In July 2002, arrests were made of four men involved in Internet child pornography. See ECPAT International, Chile. See also Casa Alianza, Casa Alianza and Chilean TV Break up Pedophile Network, [electronic listserv] 2002 [cited July 5, 2002].

805 Right to Education, Chile: Constitutional Guarantees, [online] [cited November 8, 2002]; available from http://www.right-to-education.org/content/consguarant/chile.html.

806 UNESCO, Education for All 2000 Assessment: Country Reports – Chile, prepared by Ministry of Education, pursuant to UN General Assembly Resolution 52/84, October 1999, [cited December 16, 2002]; available from http://www2.unesco.org/wef/countryreports/chile/rapport_1.htm.

807 World Bank, World Development Indicators 2002.

808 Bianchi, facsimile communication, September 6, 2002. See also Ministry of Planning and Cooperation, Situación de la Educación en Chile 2000: Informe Ejecutivo, July 2001, 10 [cited December 26, 2002]; available from http://www.mideplan.cl.

809 Ministry of Planning and Cooperation, Analisis de la VIII Encuesta Caracterización Socioeconómica Nacional (CASEN 2000), Documento No. 7: Situación del Sector Rural en Chile 2000, MIDEPLAN, Santiago, January 2002, 45 [cited December 26, 2002]; available from http://www.mideplan.cl/estudios/sectorrural2000.pdf. Indigenous children also face obstacles to school access. See UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Report on the Twenty-Ninth Session, 101.

810 Ministry of Justice, Trabajo Infantil en Chile, 7.

811 U.S. Embassy – Santiago, unclassified telegram no. 2756. See also Government of Chile, Código del Trabajo, as amended in 2000, Ley 19684, (1994), Article 16.

812 Código del Trabajo, Article 13.

813 Boys between the ages of 16 and 18 are excepted from this regulation in certain industries. Ibid., Articles 14-15, 18.
See also U.S. Embassy – Santiago, unclassified telegram no. 2756.814 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Chile, 2677-80, Section 6c.

815 U.S. Embassy – Santiago, unclassified telegram no. 2756. See also Interpol, Legislation of Interpol Member States
on Sexual Offenses against Children: Chile, [online] [cited August 13, 2002]; available from http://www.interpol.int/
Public/Children/SexualAbuse/NationalLaws/csaChile.asp.816 Interpol, Legislation of Interpol Member States.

817 U.S. Embassy – Santiago, unclassified telegram no. 2756.818 Ibid.

819 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Chile, 2677-80, Section 6d.

820 Ibid., 2675-77, Section 5.

821 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child:Chile, CRC/C/15/Add. 173, United Nations, Geneva, February 1, 2002, 13 [cited December 16, 2002]; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/Documentsfrset?OpenFrameSet.

822 ILO, Ratifications by Country, in ILOLEX, [database online] [cited September 30, 2002]; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/newcountryframeE.htm.

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