Last Updated: Friday, 19 December 2014, 13:25 GMT

2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Jamaica

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 27 August 2008
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Jamaica, 27 August 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48caa478c.html [accessed 21 December 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 Statistics and Indicators on Child Labor1789
Working children, 5-14 years (%), 2006:8.4
Working boys, 5-14 years (%), 2006:9.6
Working girls, 5-14 years (%), 2006:7.2
Working children by sector, 5-14 years (%):
     – Agriculture
     – Manufacturing
     – Services
     – Other
Minimum age for work:15
Compulsory education age:16
Free public education:Yes*
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:95
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:90
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%), 2006:98.6
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2001:90
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes
* Must pay for miscellaneous school expenses

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

According to a joint ILO-IPEC and Government of Jamaica survey, children work on plantations, farms, and construction sites; in gardens, shops and markets; as well as in commercial fishing.1790 Children are involved in prostitution, selling goods and services, and begging.1791 Teenage girls as young as 14 are reported to engage in prostitution, especially in tourist areas such as Montego Bay, Kingston, Port Antonio, Ocho Rios, and Negril.1792 Young girls are in exploitive work in bars, casinos, and dance clubs.1793 Some children are forced to work as domestic servants.1794

In Jamaica, children are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Young women and girls, and gradually more boys, are the primary victims of trafficking in Jamaica and are often trafficked from rural to urban and tourist areas for sexual exploitation.1795

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law prohibits the employment of children under 13 years in any type of work. Children between 13 and 15 years are permitted to engage in "light work," as prescribed by the Minister of Labor, which will not disrupt their education or be harmful to their health, including their physical, mental, spiritual, or social development.1796 The law also prohibits children under 15 years from working at night or in any industrial undertaking. However, the Minister of Labor may issue a permit to a child for work in artistic performances.1797

Children under 18 are prohibited from working in nightclubs and establishments that sell or serve alcohol or tobacco, and from begging on the streets. The law provides for fines and 6 months to 1 year of imprisonment for the violation of child labor laws.1798 Nightclubs employing children are also subject to the revocation of their operating licenses.1799 The law prohibits procuring a child younger than 18 years for the purpose of prostitution and allows for punishments up to 3 years of imprisonment.1800 It also subjects those "carnally knowing" a girl 13 to 15 years to up to 7 years imprisonment and imprisonment for life if the girl is under 12 years.1801 The law prohibits the sale or trafficking of any child, and penalties include fines and up to 10 years of imprisonment.1802 In February 2007, the Government passed anti-trafficking legislation which prohibits all forms of trafficking, and specifically, the trafficking of children for labor or commercial sexual exploitation.1803 Minors of at least 17.5 years may voluntarily enlist for military training with parental consent, but they must be 18 years old upon graduating from training.1804

The police are authorized to conduct child labor inspections.1805 However, according to Child Development Agency (CDA) officials, the lack of officers dedicated to this task contributes to the challenge of effective enforcement.1806 The CDA is responsible for carrying out investigations of abuse, finding shelters for children subject to exploitation, and handling any legal matters related to children. The CDA also makes efforts to prevent child labor violations by conducting public education and community outreach.1807 A police anti-trafficking unit of six officers has been established to compile data on trafficking investigations and related legal proceedings. The Government is conducting investigations of trafficking cases.1808 However, while police have conducted raids of nightclubs, few convictions have resulted. During 2006, authorities rescued nine trafficking victims, three of whom were 13 to 17 years.1809

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

The Government of Jamaica continues a high-profile anti-trafficking campaign.1810 In addition, a comprehensive assessment of trafficking has been completed.1811 The public education program implemented by the Bureau of Women's Affairs includes trafficking topics.1812 Moreover, in conjunction with the IOM, the Government has trained police officers, immigration officers, and other government employees on trafficking investigations.1813 The CDA has been operating shelters for child trafficking victims and has established a mechanism for reporting exploitation.1814

The Government provides funding to NGOs that work to assist child victims of trafficking.1815 The Office of the Prime Minister provides resources and support for the Possibility Programme, which assists street children 8 to 18 years old to improve their life opportunities through school reintegration and skills training.1816


1789 For statistical data not cited here, see the Data Sources and Definitions section. For data on ratifications and ILO-IPEC membership, see the Executive Summary. For minimum age for admission to work, age to which education is compulsory, and free public education, see Government of Jamaica, Child Care and Protection Act of 2004, (2004), articles 28, 33; available from http://www.cdagov.jm/downloads/Child_Care_and_Protection_Act_2004.pdf. See also U.S. Department of State, "Jamaica," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2007, Washington, DC, March 11, 2008, section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100645.htm.

1790 Kristin Fox, Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), Statistical Information and Monitoring Program and Child Labour (SIMPOC) of ILO, and UNICEF, Report of Youth Activity Survey 2002, June 2004, vii.

1791 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Jamaica," section 6d.

1792 ECPAT International CSEC Database, Jamaica, accessed December 13, 2007; available from http://www.ecpat.net/.

1793 Ibid.

1794 IOM, Exploratory Assessment of Trafficking in Persons in the Caribbean Region, June 2005, 83-90. See also U.S. Department of State, "Jamaica (Tier 2)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007, Washington, D.C., June 2007; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2007/82806.htm.

1795 IOM, Exploratory Assessment, June 2005, 83-90. See also U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Jamaica."

1796 Government of Jamaica, Child Care and Protection Act, articles 33-34.

1797 Ibid., article 35.

1798 Ibid., articles 35-39.

1799 Ibid., article 39.

1800 Offenses Against the Person Act, article 58.

1801 Ibid., articles 48 and 50.

1802 Government of Jamaica, Child Care and Protection Act, article 10.

1803 U.S. Embassy – Kingston, reporting, November 30, 2007. See also U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Jamaica."

1804 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Jamaica," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=831.

1805 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Jamaica," section 6d. See also Government of Jamaica, Labour Officers (Powers) Act, (1943), section 3.

1806 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Jamaica," section 6d.

1807 Ibid. See also Jamaica Information Service, CDA Holds Community Outreach in Rocky Point, [online] September 25, 2006 [cited December 14, 2007]; available from http://www.jis.gov.jm/health/html/20060921t100000-0500_10102_jis_cda_holds_community_outreach_in_rocky_point.asp. See also Jamaica Information Service, Jamaica Making Strides in Safeguarding Children's Rights, [online] February 22, 2005 [cited December 14, 2007]; available from http://www.jis.gov.jm/health/html/20050219t090000-0500_4918_jis_jamaica_making_strides_in_safeguarding_children_s_rights.asp.

1808 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Jamaica."

1809 U.S. Department of State, "Jamaica," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2006, Washington, DC, March 6, 2007, section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78897.htm.

1810 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Jamaica." See also Jamaica Information Service, USAID-Funded Programme Helps Young People at Risk of Human Trafficking, [online] January 17, 2008 [cited March 13, 2008]; available from http://www.jis.gov.jm/security/html/20080116t090000-0500_14010_jis_usaid_funded_programme_helps_young_people_at_risk_of_human_trafficking.asp.

1811 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Jamaica." See also U.S. Embassy – Kingston official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, August 5, 2008.

1812 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Jamaica," section 5.

1813 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Jamaica." See also U.S. Department of State, U.S. Government Funds Obligated for Anti-Trafficking in Persons Projects, Fiscal Year 2007, February 27, 2008 2008; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/rpt/101295.htm.

1814 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Jamaica," section 5. See also Office of the Press Secretary White House, Presidential Determination with Respect to Foreign Governments' Efforts Regarding Trafficking in Persons, Press Release, Washington, DC, September 21, 2005.

1815 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Jamaica," section 5.

1816 Jamaica Information Service, $8 Million for Possibility Programme in the Office of the Prime Minister, [online] April 3, 2007 [cited December 14, 2007]; available from http://www.jis.gov.jm/parliament/html/20070402t110000-0500_11608_jis_8_million_for_possibility_programme_in_the_office_of_the_prime_minister.asp.

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