Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 May 2016, 08:28 GMT

2001 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 7 June 2002
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2001 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Antigua and Barbuda, 7 June 2002, available at: [accessed 25 May 2016]
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 Antigua and Barbuda is conducting extensive research on child labor, and simultaneously implementing a public education campaign on child labor through the print and electronic media.[53]

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 and there is limited information on the incidence of child labor in the country.[54] However, recent investigations indicate that children as young as 13 years old have been involved in a prostitution and pornography ring.[55]

Education is compulsory and free for children between the ages of 5 and 16 years.[56] In order to ensure that all costs related to schooling are covered by the government, there is an education levy on all basic wages in Antigua and Barbuda, with the funds used toward such costs as supplies, transportation, and school infrastructure maintenance.[57]

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Women, Young Persons and Children Employment Provisions within the Labor Code set the minimum age for employment at 16 years.[58] The Provisions also establish limited working hours for children less than 16 years, and prohibit working during school hours.[59] Chapter II of the Constitution (Article 6) prohibits slavery and forced labor.[60] The Sexual Offences Act prohibits prostitution, and it is mandatory to report all incidents to government police.[61] 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.[62] The Ministry of Labor is required to conduct periodic inspections of workplaces. There have been no reports of minimum age violations, according to the Ministry of Labor. Antigua and Barbuda ratified ILO Convention 138 on March 17, 1983, and expects to ratify ILO Convention 182 before the end of the calendar year.[63]

[53] The government also plans to establish a committee on children's rights and indicated that it intends to strengthen monitoring and implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. In addition, UNICEF conducted a needs assessment on children and families for the government to establish a National Plan of Action on Child Survival, Development, and Protection. UNICEF is also actively promoting the development of National Plans of Action on children's rights in Caribbean countries, following the World Summit for Children. See U.S. Embassy-Bridgetown, unclassified telegram 1773, September 2001 [hereinafter unclassified telegram 1773], and Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2000 – Antigua and Barbuda (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of State, 2000) [hereinafter Country Reports 2000], Section 5, at See also UNICEF, "Social Policy, Development and Planning, Caribbean Area Office," at on 11/26/01.

[54] According to various sources, there are no reports of child trafficking, forced labor, or violations of the laws on the minimum age for employment. There are approximately 24,000 children under age 18 in the country, or 36 percent of the total population. Statistics on children active in the labor force are not available. See Country Reports at Sections 6c, 6d, 6f. See also World Development Indicators 2001 (Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2001) [CD – ROM].

[55] To date, eight individuals have been arrested and charged based on this incident, and investigations are ongoing. In addition, given the economy's heavy reliance on tourism, government officials could not rule out the possibility that child prostitution or the involvement of children in drug trafficking continues. Representatives from Antigua and Barbuda attended the ILO Caribbean Tripartite Meeting on the Worst Forms of Child Labor in December 1999, and based on what was learned at the meeting, they expressed a need to reassess the country's situation with regard to child labor sectors that cater to the tourist industry. See Lionel Hurst, Labour Commissioner of the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, letter to ICLP official, October 18, 2001 [hereinafter Hurst letter] [letter on file], and unclassified telegram 1773.

[56] Gross and net attendance and enrollment statistics are not available. See UNESCO, The Education for All (EFA) 2000 Assessment: Country Reports – Antigua and Barbuda, at

[57] Unclassified telegram 1773.

[58] Antigua and Barbuda Labour Code [hereinafter Labour Code], Division E, as cited in Hurst letter. See also Country Reports 2000 at Section 6d.

[59] Labour Code at Division E, Sections E3-E5(3).

[60] Constitution of Antigua and Barbuda, Chapter II, Article 6 (1981), at on 10/16/01.

[61] Sexual Offences Act (1995), Part II, as cited in Human Rights Reports on Trafficking of Women and Children, Antigua and Barbuda, The Protection Project Database, at See also unclassified telegram 1773.

[62] Prostitution and drug trafficking laws establish penalties, including fines, confinement, confiscation of property, or a combination of the three. See unclassified telegram 1773.

[63] The Cabinet approved the recommendation of the Labor Commissioner that Convention 182 should be ratified, and it is currently before Parliament for consideration. See unclassified telegram 1773. See also ILOLEX database: Antigua and Barbuda at

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