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2003 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Saint Kitts and Nevis

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 29 April 2004
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2003 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Saint Kitts and Nevis, 29 April 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48c8ca2f4a.html [accessed 22 August 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

In 1999, Government of St. Kitts and Nevis officials participated in the ILO Tripartite Meeting on the Worst Forms of Child Labor.[3751] The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis is working to improve primary education through construction and expansion of school buildings, revision of the primary curriculum, and by funding textbooks and paying school fees for students' external examinations.[3752] In 1998, a Teacher Resource Center was established, and primary school children now receive a hot lunch.[3753] Also in 1998, public expenditures on primary education were 36.7 percent of total public expenditures on education and 1.7 percent of GNP.[3754]

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Statistics on the number of working children in St. Kittsand Nevis are unavailable, and limited information is available on the incidence and nature of child labor. Children work in agriculture and domestic service, usually to help their families.[3755] Children may also be involved in the distribution of drugs, pornography and prostitution.[3756] As of 2002, no cases of forced or bonded child labor had been reported.[3757]

Education is free and compulsory between the ages of 5 and 16 years.[3758] In 1997 to 1998, the gross primary enrollment rate was 97.6 percent, and the net primary enrollment was 88.6 percent.[3759] Attendance rates are not available for Saint Kitts and Nevis. While enrollment rates indicate a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children's participation in school.[3760] Primary schools suffer from a high dropout rate and poor reading ability formales, high truancy, lack of relevant learning material, an insufficient number of trained and qualified teachers, and teaching methods that are exclusively exam oriented.[3761]

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The 1966 Employment of Children Ordinance and the Employment of Women, Young Persons, and Children Act were both amended to set the minimum legal working age at 16 years.[3762] The Employment of Children Ordinance also outlaws slavery, servitude and forced labor.[3763] The Constitution prohibits slavery, servitude and forced labor.[3764]

The Department of Labor in St. Kitts and Nevis is responsible for investigating child labor complaints.[3765] The Labor Ministry relies on school truancy officers and its community affairs division to monitor compliance with child labor provisions.[3766]

The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has not ratified ILO Convention 138; it ratified ILO Convention 182 on October 12, 2000.[3767]


[3751] U.S. Embassy-Bridgetown, unclassified telegram no. 1791, September 2001.

[3752] UNESCO, Education for All 2000 Assessment: Country Reports – Saint Kitts and Nevis, prepared by Ministry of Education, pursuant to UN General Assembly Resolution 52/84, 1999; available from http://www2.unesco.org/wef/countryreports/st.kitts_nevis/contents.html.

[3753] Ibid.

[3754] Ibid.

[3755] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2002: Saint Kitts and Nevis, Washington, D.C., March 31, 2003, Section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2002/18343.htm.

[3756] U.S. Embassy-Bridgetown, unclassified telegram no. 1791.

[3757] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: St. Kitts and Nevis, Section 6c.

[3758] Government of Saint Kitts and Nevis, The Education Act, No. 18 of 1975, (July 31, 1975). See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: St. Kitts and Nevis, Section 5.

[3759] UNESCO, EFA Country Report: Saint Kitts and Nevis.

[3760] For a more detailed discussion on the relationship between education statistics and work, see the preface to this report.

[3761] UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Saint Kitts and Nevis, CRC/C/15/Add.104, Geneva, August 24, 1999, para. 28; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/b5d52fb968f8571a80256797004a6e81?OpenDocument.

[3762] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: St. Kitts and Nevis, Section 6d.

[3763] Ibid.

[3764] Constitution of Saint Christopher and Nevis, 1983, Article 6 (1), (2), (June 22, 1983); available from http://www.georgetown.edu/pdba/Constitutions/Kitts/stkitts-nevis.html.

[3765] U.S. Embassy-Bridgetown, unclassified telegram no. 1791. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: St. Kitts and Nevis, Section 6d.

[3766] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: St. Kitts and Nevis, Section 6d.

[3767] ILO, Ratifications by Country, in ILOLEX, [database online] [cited June 13, 2003]; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/newratframeE.htm.

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