Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 May 2016, 09:24 GMT

2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Barbados

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 - Barbados, 31 August 2007, available at: [accessed 24 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.

Selected Statistics and Indicators on Child Labor
Percent of children 5-14 estimated as working:Unavailable
Minimum age for admission to work:16349
Age to which education is compulsory:16350
Free public education:Yes351
Gross primary enrollment rate:107%352
Net primary enrollment rate:97%353
Percent of children 5-14 attending school in 2001:Unavailable
In 2003, percent of primary school entrants likely to reach grade 5:97%354
Ratified Convention 138:1/4/2000355
Ratified Convention 182:10/23/2000356
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes, associated357

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

The ILO Subregional Office for the Caribbean conducted a rapid assessment survey of child work in Barbados in 2002 and found that children were involved in work in the services industry, vending, trades, and family-related businesses.358 Boys were mostly involved in construction, electrical repairs/installations, fruit vending, horse grooming, and assisting at supermarkets.359 Girls worked as shop assistants and in hair styling.360 The working conditions for these children were characterized by long hours, irregular pay, and low remuneration.361

Additionally, there were reports of children involved in commercial sexual exploitation.362 There have been reports of boys and girls both being involved in sex tourism.363 In some instances parents have compelled their children to become prostitutes in Bridgetown's red light district.364

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for employment in Barbados is 16 years.365 Children under 16, however, are allowed to work under certain restrictions.366 Such children may not work between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m. as well as during school hours.367 The work of a young person between 16 and 18 is also subject to certain restrictions.368 Young persons may not work in industrial undertakings during the night – from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. – or participate in work that is likely to cause injury to their health, safety, or morals.369 For the purposes of apprenticeship or vocational training, authorization may be granted to allow young persons to work during the night.370 Young persons participating in an apprenticeship or vocational training must first obtain a medical certificate them as fit to be employed.371

The law prohibits forced or compulsory labor.372 There are no laws that specifically address trafficking in persons, although the Young Persons Protection Act of 1918 prohibits the removal of persons under 17 from the island for the purpose of forced labor in foreign countries.373 Prostitution is illegal,374 as is the exploitation of children to use them in indecent photographs.375

The Child Care Board and the Labor Department are responsible for monitoring and investigating cases of child labor.376 The Labor Department has a small staff of labor inspectors who conduct spot investigations and verify records to ensure compliance with the law.377 These inspectors are authorized to take legal action against employers who are found to use underage workers.378

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

In October 2001, the ILO Subregional Office for the Caribbean launched the Regional Child Labor Project.379 This project seeks the progressive elimination of child labor, beginning with the worst forms of child labor, in the English and Dutch-speaking Caribbean.380 The project receives USD1.3 million381 in funding from the Government of Canada, and promotes national policies to eradicate poverty and increase educational opportunities for children.382 The government has also created restrictions on the import of products produced by child labor.383

349 U.S. Department of State, "Barbados," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2006, Washington, DC, 2007; available from

350 Ibid., Section 5.

351 Ibid., Section 5.

352 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Gross Enrolment Ratio. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006; available from

353 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Net Enrolment Rate. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006; available from

354 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Survival Rate to Grade 5. Total, accessed December 18, 2006; available from

355 ILO, Ratifications by Country, accessed November 13, 2006; available from

356 Ibid.

357 ILO, IPEC Action Against Child Labour Highlights 2006. Geneva, October 2006; available from

358 ILO, Regional Fact Sheets on Child Labour: Barbados, Subregional Office for the Caribbean 2002; available from

359 Ibid.

360 Ibid.

361 Ibid.

362 Ibid.

363 EPCAT International CSEC Database, Child Prostitution – Barbados, November 16, 2006; available from &CountryProfile=facts,affiliation,humanrights&CSEC=Overview,Prostitution,Pronography,trafficking&Implement=Coordination_cooperation,Prevention,Protection,Recovery,ChildParticipation&Nationalplans=National_plans _of_action&orgWorkCSEC=orgWorkCSEC&DisplayBy=optDisplayCategory&GetcategoryName=Prostitution.

364 U.S. Embassy – Bridgetown, reporting, March 7, 2007.

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

366 Government of Barbados, Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, (March 24, 1977); available from

367 Ibid.

368 Ibid.

369 Ibid.

370 Ibid.

371 Government of Barbados, Occupational Training Act, (October 1, 1979); available from

372 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Barbados." Section 6c.

373 Government of Barbados, Young Persons Protection Act, (May 17, 1918); available from

374 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Barbados." Section 5.

375 Government of Barbados, Protection of Children Act, (December 20, 1990); available from

376 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Barbados." Section 5.

377 Ibid., Section 6d.

378 Ibid., Section 6d.

379 ILO, Combating Child Labour in the Caribbean, accessed November 17, 2006; available from

380 Ibid.

381 ILO official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, November 16, 2006.

382 ILO, Combating Child Labour in the Caribbean.

383 ILO, Child Labour in Barbados.

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