Last Updated: Friday, 31 October 2014, 13:33 GMT

2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Antigua and Barbuda

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 22 September 2005
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Antigua and Barbuda, 22 September 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48c8ca425.html [accessed 31 October 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 Child Labor Measures Adopted by Governments
Ratified Convention 138 03/17/1993X
Ratified Convention 182 09/16/2002X
ILO-IPEC Member 
National Plan for Children 
National Child Labor Action Plan 
Sector Action Plan 

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Statistics on the number of working children under the age of 15 years in Antigua and Barbuda are unavailable,[206] and there is limited information on the incidence and nature of child labor in the country. Children over 12 years old engage in part-time employment, particularly during summer holidays, generally with parental consent and with the right to utilize their earnings independently.[207] According to the World Bank, children are becoming involved in commercial sexual exploitation in order to pay for basic needs, such as school fees and food.[208]

According to the 1973 Education Act, education is compulsory and free for children between the ages of 5 and 16 years. Thirty of the 55 primary schools in Antigua and Barbuda are public schools where schooling is free. The government provides free textbooks and schooling supplies to private schools through the Board of Education.[209]

Recent primary school enrollment and attendance statistics are not available for Antigua and Barbuda. According to the government, most children enjoy access to primary education. However, there are no nationally available statistics detailing the total population of children for Antigua and Barbuda.[210]

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Labor Code, Division E of 1975, sets the minimum age for employment at 14 years. The provisions also establish that children under 16 years cannot work more than 8 hours in a 24-hour time period or during school hours.[211] Children between the ages of 14 and 18 years must obtain a medical examination prior to employment.[212] The Constitution prohibits slavery and forced labor.[213]

The Sexual Offences Act of 1995 increased the age of consent in Antigua and Barbuda from 14 to 16 years of age. The Sexual Offences Act also prohibits prostitution, including child prostitution and makes the offense punishable with a sentence of up to 15 years imprisonment.[214] There is no comprehensive law prohibiting trafficking in persons; however, existing laws on prostitution and labor provide a legal framework to prosecute individuals for trafficking offenses.[215] The Offences Against the Person Act offers some protection to children who are sold, trafficked, or abducted.[216] The Act dictates penalties for child stealing when the child is under 14 years[217] and makes it an offense to abduct a girl under 16 years without the consent of her parents.[218] The Act makes no provision for boys with respect to abduction.[219] UN officials expressed concern over the growing problem of substance abuse among children and the lack of specific legislation prohibiting children from using, selling, and trafficking controlled substances.[220]

The Ministry of Labor, which is required to conduct periodic inspections of workplaces, effectively enforced laws prohibiting child labor, according to the U.S. Department of State.[221] The police and social welfare departments investigate the criminal and social aspects of child labor. There is an Inspectorate in the Labor Commissioner's Office that handles exploitive child labor matters.[222]

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

In 2004, the World Bank, in partnership with CARICOM and other international donor organizations, launched a regional HIV/AIDS prevention project in Antigua and Barbuda. This project contains a component focused on the prevention of HIV transmission among young people. It will provide support to orphans, increase access to HIV/AIDS prevention and services for out of school youth, integrate HIV/AIDS information into reproductive health programs, and promote peer counseling for youth, parents, and teachers. The first phase of this project is expected to end in 2007.[223]

The government developed an initiative, the Health and Family Life Education Project, to improve the education of children in schools through additional material in the curriculum and organizing peer counseling and parenting workshops.[224]

In 2003, the House passed the Child Care and Protection Act, which seeks to establish a specific agency within the government to address child welfare issues, including at-risk, abused, neglected, HIV/AIDS positive, or disabled children.[225]

The Ministry of Sports and Youth Empowerment offers the Youth Skills Training Programme for out of school youth and youth unable to regularly attend school. This program provides them with vocational skills training and transportation subsidies.[226]


[206] LABORSTAT, 1A – Total and economically active population, by age group (Thousands) [Database], Geneva, 2004; available from http://laborsta.ilo.org.

[207] Government of Antigua and Barbuda, Antigua and Barbuda National Report on Follow Up to the World Summit for Children and Lima Accord, St. Johns, 2000, 7,8.

[208] The World Bank, Project Appraisal Document on a Proposed IDA Grant in the Amount of SDR 6.1 Million Equivalent to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) for The Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS Project, The World Bank, Washington, D.C., March 4, 2004, 5; available from http://www-wds.worldbank.org/servlet/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2004/03/09/000160016_20040309103136/Rendered/INDEX/272670LCR.txt.

[209] UNESCO, Education for All 2000 Assessment: Country Reports – Antigua and Barbuda, UNESCO, 2000 [cited April 15, 2004], Descriptive Section 1.0, 1.3; available from http://www2.unesco.org/wef/countryreports/antigua_barbuda/rapport_1.html. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention CRC/C/15/Add.247, CRC/C/15/Add.247, Geneva, October 1, 2004, para 57; available from http://www.chchr.org/english/bodies/crc/docs/co/37antiguab.pdf.

[210] Government of Antigua and Barbuda, Antigua and Barbuda National Report, 13. See also The World Bank, World Development Indicators 2004 [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2004.

[211] Hurst, letter dated October 18, 2001, Government of Antigua and Barbuda, The Convention on the Rights of the Child, Initial Report 2001: Antigua and Barbuda, 2001, 54-55; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu2/6/crc/doc/report/srf-a&b-1.pdf.

[212] Government of Antigua and Barbuda, Initial Report 2001: Antigua and Barbuda, 55.

[213] Constitution of Antigua and Barbuda, Chapter II, Article 6, (1981); available from http://www.georgetown.edu/pdba/Constitutions/Antigua/ab81.html.

[214] Sexual Offenses Act, Part II, 1995; available from http://www.protectionproject.org/vt/2.htm. See also Government of Antigua and Barbuda, Initial Report 2001: Antigua and Barbuda, 12.

[215] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2003: Antigua and Barbuda, Section 6f.

[216] The Offences Against the Person Act, Chapter 58. Government of Antigua and Barbuda, Initial Report 2001: Antigua and Barbuda, 57.

[217] Section 51. Ibid.

[218] Section 50. Ibid.

[219] Ibid.

[220] UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports CRC/C/15/Add.247, para 62.

[221] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2003: Antigua and Barbuda.

[222] Hurst, letter dated October 18, 2001.

[223] The World Bank, Project Appraisal Document on a Proposed IDA Grant in the Amount of SDR 6.1 Million Equivalent to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) for The Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS Project.

[224] UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention CRC/C/28/Add.22, CRC/C/28/Add.22, prepared by Government of Antigua and Barbuda, pursuant to Initial Reports of States Parties Due in 1995, February 4, 2003; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/898586b1dc7b4043c1256a450044f331/b55a32024da69a4ec1256e7c004ebac7/$FILE/G0345726.pdf. 261.

[225] Natlie S. Fleming, "House passes new child protection act", Antigua Sun, October 22, 2003 [cited May 17, 2004]; available from http://www.antiguasun.com/paper/?as=view&sun=191130077805172004&an=100213109210222003&ac=Local&aop=305936099110222003.

[226] UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention CRC/C/28/Add.22. 257.

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