Last Updated: Thursday, 31 July 2014, 17:47 GMT

2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Guyana

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 - Guyana, 31 August 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d7493834.html [accessed 31 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 Labor
Percent of children 5-14 estimated as working in 2000:26.3%1942
Minimum age for admission to work:151943
Age to which education is compulsory:151944
Free public education:Yes1945
Gross primary enrollment rate in 2004:129%1946
Net primary enrollment rate in 2002:93%1947
Percent of children 5-14 attending school in 2000:95.8%1948
As of 2001, percent of primary school entrants likely to reach grade 5:64%1949
Ratified Convention 138:4/15/19981950
Ratified Convention 182:1/15/20011951
ILO-IPEC Member:Yes, associated1952

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 2000 in Guyana, approximately 28.7 percent of boys 5 to 14 years were estimated to be working compared to 23.9 percent of girls in the same age group.1953 Children work as porters, domestic servants, street vendors, and wait staff in bars and restaurants.1954 Some are found working in sawmills, markets, mining, and the illicit drug trade.1955 Guyanese girls are reported to be trafficked for sexual exploitation within Guyana and to neighboring countries.1956 There are reports of child prostitution.1957

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age for employment at 15 years, with some exceptions.1958 Children less than 15 years of age may be employed in technical schools provided such work is approved and supervised by the public authority.1959 Children younger than 16 years are prohibited from night work and employment in industrial undertakings.1960 There are penalties of fines for employers and parents who are guilty of direct involvement with child labor.1961

All forms of trafficking are prohibited by law, and penalties include life imprisonment, forfeiture of property, and payment of full restitution to the trafficked person.1962 Special provision is made for the evidence of victims who are children, defined as persons under 18 years.1963 Although child pornography or prostitution is not specifically mentioned in Guyanese law, the laws prohibit the selling, publishing, or exhibiting of any obscene matter1964 and the abduction of a girl under 18 years for "unlawful carnal knowledge."1965 Also, the law sets the age of sexual consent at 16, thus prohibiting sex with children younger than 16, regardless of profession of consent.1966 Forced labor, including by children, is prohibited by the constitution.1967 The law sets the minimum age for voluntary enlistment in the armed forces at 18 years.1968

The Ministry of Labor, Human Services and Social Security has principal responsibility for enforcing legislation relating to child labor.1969 The Ministry of Labor has 20 labor officers who have authority to enter all workplaces to conduct inspections, including inspections concerning child labor.1970 Within the Ministry, an anti-trafficking in persons unit has been established to enforce anti-trafficking laws.1971 In the areas of worst forms of child labor, including trafficking, the Ministry's enforcement efforts are supported by the Guyanese police force.1972 In addition, the Ministry of Education has responsibility for enforcing provisions of the Education Act relating to the employment of children.1973 As such, the Ministry of Education's attendance officers are authorized to enter any premise or place between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. on any day except Sunday and enquire whether any child resides or is employed there.1974 However, the Ministry was unable to provide information regarding the number of violations of child labor laws in 2006.1975

Although there are laws that restrict child labor, according to the U.S. Department of State, the Ministry of Labor lacks sufficient inspectors to enforce child labor laws effectively, particularly in the country's interior.1976

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

The Guyanese Government continues to participate in a USDOL-funded USD 2 million project implemented by an NGO (Partners of the Americas) to combat exploitive child labor through education, which aims to withdraw 1,267 and prevent 1,777 children from exploitive labor.1977 The project aims to build the capacity of the Guyanese Government to combat child labor by advocating for the establishment of a permanent coordinating institution within the government to lead efforts to combat child labor, and the development of a National Strategy on Child Labor.1978


1942 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates, March 1, 2007.

1943 Clive Pegus, A Review of Child Labour Laws of Guyana – a Guide to Legislative Reform, ILO Subregional Office for the Caribbean, June 2005, Section 4.2.1.

1944 U.S. Department of State, "Guyana," in Country Report on Human Rights Practices – 2005, Washington, D.C., March 8, 2006; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61730htm.

1945 Ibid., Section 5.

1946 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Gross Enrolment Ratio. Primary. Total, March 8, 2007; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org.

1947 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Net Enrolment Rate. Primary. Total, March 8, 2007; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/.

1948 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates.

1949 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Survival Rate to Grade Five. Total, March 8, 2007; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/.

1950 ILO, Ratifications by Country, accessed October 19, 2006; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/cgi-lex/ratifce.pl?Guyana.

1951 Ibid.

1952 ILO, Alphabetical list of ILO member countries, [online] October 5, 2006 [cited October 19, 2006]; available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/relm/country.htm.

1953 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates.

1954 George K. Dannas, Guyana The Situation of Children in the Worst Forms of Child Labor: A Rapid Assessment, International Labour Office, Port of Spain, October 2002, 34.

1955 Ibid.

1956 U.S. Department of State, "Guyana (Tier 2 Watch List)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006, Washington, DC, June 5, 2006; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2006/65988.htm. See also U.S. Department of State, "Guyana," in Country Report on Human Rights Practices – 2006, Washington, DC, March 6, 2007, Section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78894.htm.

1957 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Guyana," Section 5.

1958 Clive Pegus, A Review of Child Labour Laws of Guyana, Section 4.2.1.

1959 Government of Guyana, Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children Act (Chapter 99:01) [consolidated up to 1973], No. 14 of 1933; available from http://natlex.ilo.org.

1960 Clive Pegus, A Review of Child Labour Laws of Guyana, Section 4.2.1 and 4.2.4. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Guyana," Section 6d.

1961 Clive Pegus, A Review of Child Labour Laws of Guyana, Section 4.2.1.

1962 Ibid., Section 4.3.2. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2005: Guyana," Section 5.

1963 Clive Pegus, A Review of Child Labour Laws of Guyana, Section 4.3.2.

1964 Interpol, Legislation on Sexual Offences Against Children, [database online] [cited October 21, 2006]; available from http://www.interpol.int/public/Children/SexualAbuse/NationalLaws/csaGuyana.asp.

1965 Clive Pegus, A Review of Child Labour Laws of Guyana, Section 4.3.5. See also Interpol, Legislation on Sexual Offences Against Children.

1966 Interpol, Legislation on Sexual Offences Against Children. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Guyana," Section 5.

1967 Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana; available from http://www.georgetown.edu/pdba/Constitutions/Guyana/guyana96.html. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Guyana." Section 6c.

1968 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Guyana," in Global Report 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=828.

1969 Clive Pegus, A Review of Child Labour Laws of Guyana, 31. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Guyana," Section 5.

1970 U.S. Embassy – Georgetown, reporting, December 20, 2006.

1971 Guyana Government Information Agency, TIP seminar opens at GWLI, [online] April 20, 2005 2005 [cited October 21, 2006]; available from http://www.gina.gov/gy/archive/daily/b050420.html.

1972 Clive Pegus, A Review of Child Labour Laws of Guyana, 31. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Guyana," Section 5.

1973 Clive Pegus, A Review of Child Labour Laws of Guyana, 31.

1974 Ibid., 32.

1975 U.S. Embassy – Georgetown, reporting, December 20, 2006.

1976 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Guyana," Section 6d.

1977 Partners of the Americas, Educare-Guyana: Combating Child Labor through Education in Guyana, technical progress report, September 30, 2006, 9, 38.

1978 Ibid., Annex F: Performance Monitoring Plan, Indicators 2.1 and 2.2.

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