Last Updated: Friday, 25 July 2014, 12:52 GMT

2001 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Uruguay

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 7 June 2002
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2001 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Uruguay, 7 June 2002, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48c8c9fc5.html [accessed 26 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.

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

In December 2000, the Government of Uruguay created a National Committee for the Eradication of Child Labor, and the government is in the process of becoming a member of ILO-IPEC.[2643] The National Child and Adolescent Institute (INAME), in collaboration with a local NGO, provides parents of working children with monthly payments to cover the costs of schooling in exchange for regular class attendance by their children.[2644] Project Projoven, an initiative created by the National Employment Council, the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, and the Sport and Youth Ministry, encourages adolescents to improve their employment opportunities by offering them skills training in non-hazardous work.[2645] In May 2000, the Uruguayan Minister of Labor and Social Security joined with labor ministers from other countries in the region to discuss regional policies to fight child labor.[2646]

The National Food Institute implements projects to prevent and protect at-risk children from early entrance into the labor market by offering them daycare services and healthy meals and by providing their families with courses in nutrition.[2647] The ILO's Inter-American Center for Research and Documentation on Professional Formation funds a number of projects to socially integrate youth into schools and the greater community.[2648] The National Administration of Public Education (ANEP), an autonomous government agency, has developed a project to train teachers and educate students on children's rights.[2649]

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 1999, a survey conducted by the National Statistics Institute estimated that 12.7 percent of children ages 12 to 17 in Uruguay were working.[2650] Children work in agriculture, commerce, and family-run businesses and as domestic servants.[2651] Children as young as age 11 or 12 reportedly engage in prostitution.[2652] More children work in the interior of the country than in Montevideo, the capital city.[2653]

Education is compulsory for a total of nine years, beginning at the primary level, and is free from the pre-primary through the university level.[2654] In 1996, the gross primary enrollment rate was 111.7 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 92.9 percent.[2655] Primary school attendance rates are unavailable for Uruguay. While enrollment rates indicate a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children's participation in school.[2656]

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Children and Adolescents' Code sets the minimum age for employment at 14 years.[2657] However, in most cases, children must complete compulsory education in order to obtain a work permit. The government permits some children over the age of 12 to work in family businesses and children over the age of 13 to work in light, non-industrial work such as messengers, newspaper deliverers, and fruit and flower pickers. Children under the age of 14 are prohibited from working more than 2 hours per day.[2658] Adolescents between the ages of 15 and 18 are prohibited from working more than six hours daily and 36 hours weekly in the industrial sector.[2659] All working children under the age of 18 must obtain a work card issued by the National Child and Adolescent Institute and must provide it to their employers.[2660] A draft Code of the Child, intended to harmonize the Children and Adolescent's Code to the stipulations of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has been introduced into the legislative process.[2661] Article 294 of the Uruguayan Penal Code prohibits procuring a person for prostitution.[2662] The trafficking of children and child pornography are criminal offenses in Uruguay.[2663]

The Ministry of Labor and Social Security is responsible for enforcing labor laws.[2664] Uruguay ratified ILO Convention 138 on June 2, 1977, and ILO Convention 182 on August 3, 2001.[2665]


[2643] Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2000 – Uruguay (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of State, 2001) [hereinafter Country Reports 2000], Section 6d, at http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/httpt/2000/wha/index.cfm?docid=834. See also ILO-IPEC, All About IPEC: Programme Countries, at http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/ipec/about/countries/t_country.htm.

[2644] U.S. Embassy-Montevideo, unclassified telegram 1824, September 2000 [hereinafter

[2645] unclassified telegram 1824. Programa de Capacitación e Inserción Laboral de Jóvenes, Uruguay, Oportunidades para los jóvenes, at http://www.projoven.gub.uy on 11/13/01.

[2646] The meetings included members of the Southern Cone Common Market (MERCOSUR). See unclassified telegram 1824.

[2647] Asociación Uruguaya de Protección a la Infancia (AUPI), Centro de Atencion a la Infancia y a la Familia (CAIF), Servicio de Asistencia Alimentaria Colectivizada (SAAC), Ministerio de Trabajo y Seguridad Social. Instituto Nacional de Alimentacion, Asistencia, Educacion y Vigilancia Alimentaria Nutricional, at http://www.inda.gub.uy/caif.htm on 11/13/01.

[2648] ILO, Observatorio de experiencias: Uruguay, programas y proyectos ejecutados por el Instituto de Educación Popular el Abrojo, at http://www.cinterfor.org.uy/public/spanish/region/ampro/cinterfor/temas/youth/exp/uru/abrojo/index.htm on 11/07/01.

[2649] Administración Nacional de Educación Pública (ANEP), Derechos del niño: Derechos deberes y garantías, una propuesta pedagógica hacia un indicador de logro actitudinal, segunda parte del proyecto, at http://www.anep.edu.uy/primaria/informacioninstitucional/proyectoscep/derechos1.htm on 11/13/01.

[2650] Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas, Indicadores de empleo y desempleo: Módulo de trabajo infantil, cuadro 1, Oct. 3, 2000, at http://www.ine.gub.uy/bancodedatos/bdech%5Fmódulo%5Ftrab%5Finfant.htm. The incidence of working boys is greater than that of working girls, and this ratio increases in rural areas. See Oficina Internacional de Trabajo, Trabajo infantil en los paises del MERCOSUR: Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chapter 5, "Uruguay" (Lima, Peru, 1998) [hereinafter Trabajo infantil en los paises del MERCOSUR], 99.

[2651] Trabajo infantil en los paises del MERCOSUR at 99.

[2652] ECPAT International Database, "Child Prostitution," at http://www.ecpat.net/eng/ecpat_inter/projects/monitorin/online_database/.

[2653] Trabajo infantil en los paises del MERCOSUR at 99.

[2654] Unclassified telegram 1824.

[2655] UNESCO, Education for All: Year 2000 Assessment, (Paris, 2000) [CD-ROM].

[2656] For a more detailed discussion on the relationship between education statistics and work, see Introduction to this report.

[2657] ILO, NATLEX database, 1934-04-06, Ley núm. 9342, por la que se dicta el Código del niño, at http://natlex.ilo.org/Scripts/natlexcgi.exe?lang=S&doc=query&ctry=URY&llx=12.01.

[2658] Ministerio de Educación y Cultura, Instituto Nacional de la Juventud, Trabajo de Menores, 5, Capacidad para Contratar a Menores, 1, Edad minima, at http://www.mec.gub.uy/inju/trabajo.htm on 10/05/00.

[2659] An exception to this regulation is that adolescents 16 years of age and older may work 8 hours daily in industrial activities that do not compromise their physical or moral health.

[2660] Work cards must contain a medical certificate reflecting the child's good health and parental authorization. During the first 9 months of 2000, National Institute for Children (INAME) issued approximately 1,445 work cards to children between the ages of 14 and 18, with three-fourths of these going to boys. See unclassified telegram 1824.

[2661] Country Reports 2000 at Section 5. In the new code, the INAME, along with the Ministries of Health, Labor and Social Security, and the National Security Bank, would be responsible for periodically establishing a list of the worst forms of child labor. See also untitled article, Hace 9 anos que las Naciones Unidas aprobaron la convencion sobre los derechos del nino, el mayor derecho, el de los ninos, at http://www.140/buscador/1998/11noviembre/981120/soci2.html.

[2662] If the victim is younger than 14 years, the punishment is 4 years of imprisonment. See PNUD contra violencia: Leyes, Uruguay, at http://www.undp.org/rblac/gender/campaign-spanish/uruguay.htm on 11/7/01.

[2663] Unclassified telegram 1824.

[2664] Trabajo infantil en los paises del MERCOSUR at 101.

[2665] ILO, ILOLEX database, at http://ilolex.ilo.ch:1567/scripts/ratifce.pl?C182 on 11/14/01.

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