Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 April 2014, 14:04 GMT

2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Mozambique

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 18 April 2003
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Mozambique, 18 April 2003, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d748a15.html [accessed 16 April 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 1999, the Government of Mozambique began working with UNICEF to implement a rapid assessment survey of child labor. Following the completion of the survey, the Ministry of Labor worked with UNICEF to develop a Draft Strategy for the Eradication of Child Labor.2471 The government is collaborating with UNICEF and ILO-IPEC to implement a plan of action developed at a national child labor conference held in July 2001. The plan calls for the prevention of child labor, and the protection and rehabilitation of child workers.2472 In 2002, the government sponsored a "Child Parliament," during which children had the opportunity to express their views on problems affecting them and to propose solutions.2473

Since 1997, the government has worked on a campaign against child prostitution and sexual abuse, including such activities as disseminating pamphlets and flyers and issuing public service announcements.2474 The government has trained the police about child prostitution and pornography and initiated a rehabilitation program for children in prostitution by providing education referrals and training opportunities.2475 In June 2000, the Ministry of Women and Social Action launched a campaign against the sexual exploitation of children and is educating hotel employees about child prostitution.2476

The government has established a scholarship program to cover the costs of school materials and fees for children, with a focus on the needs of girls. In addition, the government has established a Poverty Reduction Strategy for 2001-2005, which includes a component on investment in education.2477 The government also is working with international donors to expand the primary school network.2478

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 1999, the ILO estimated that 32.7 percent of children ages 10 to 14 years in Mozambique were working.2479 A rapid assessment child labor survey of children under 18 conducted by the Ministry of Labor and UNICEF estimated that approximately 50 percent of children begin working before the age of 12.2480

Children work in the informal sector on family farms, in factories, forestry, and small-scale mining.2481 There are also reports of the growing incidence of children working in construction.2482 In urban areas children wash and guard cars, collect scrap metal, hawk food and other goods on streets, and beg.2483 In rural areas, they work on commercial farms alongside their parents or as independent workers, often picking cotton or tea.2484 Children, mostly girls, also work as domestic servants.2485 In some cases, children are forced to work in order to settle family debts.2486 There are reports by child advocates that a small number of children are trafficked to South Africa and Swaziland for prostitution, however there have been no confirmed cases.2487 The number of children in prostitution is growing in both urban and rural regions such as the Maputo, Beira and Nacala areas.2488 Many children victims of commercial sexual exploitation have been infected with HIV/AIDs.2489

Education is compulsory and free through the age of 12, but there is a matriculation fee for each child, and children are responsible for purchasing books and school supplies.2490 Enforcement of compulsory education laws is inconsistent, because of the lack of resources and the lack of schools in the upper grades.2491 In 1999, the gross primary enrollment rate was 75.6 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 43.6 percent.2492 In 1995, 86 percent of students who entered primary school reached grade two, and 46 percent reached grade five.2493 Girls have lower enrollment rates and higher dropout rates than boys, although in 1999 the drop out rate for boys exceeded that of girls.2494 Floods in February and March 2000 destroyed a number of schools, and other schools were converted into emergency shelters.2495 The Ministry of Education reported that more than 105,000 primary school students have been prevented from attending classes as a result of the floods.2496 More recently, drought conditions have placed pressure on families to withdraw children from school in order to save money for food.2497

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

Law 8/98 sets the minimum age for employment at 15 years, but in exceptional cases, allows for children under 15 to work with the joint approval of the Ministries of Labor, Health, and Education.2498 It sets restricted conditions on the work minors between the ages of 15 and 18 may perform, limits the number of hours they can work, and establishes training, education, and medical exam requirements.2499 Children between the ages of 15 and 18 are prohibited from being employed in unhealthy or dangerous occupations or occupations requiring significant physical effort, as determined by the Ministry of Labor.2500 The Constitution prohibits forced labor, except in the context of penal law,2501 and there were no reports of such practices in the formal economy.2502 Yet it is reported that in rural areas children are forced to work to settle debts or other disputes.2503

Offering or procuring of prostitution and pornography of any form, including that of children, are illegal under the Penal Code.2504 In May 1999, the National Assembly passed a law prohibiting the access of minors to bars and clubs in an effort to address the problem of children prostitution.2505 Some provisions of the Penal Code can also help protect minors against exploitation, incitement, or compulsion to engage in illegal sexual practices.2506 The age for conscription and voluntary recruitment into the military is 18 years.2507 In times of war, however, the minimum age for military conscription may be changed.2508

The Ministry of Labor has the authority to enforce and regulate child labor laws in both the formal and informal sectors.2509 Labor inspectors may obtain court orders and use the police to enforce compliance with child labor legislation.2510 There has not been any specialized training for labor inspectors on child labor. The police are responsible for investigating complaints relating to child labor offences punishable under the Penal Code.2511 The Labor Inspectorate at the Ministry of Labor is responsible for investigating complaints about violations of child labor laws; however, the Labor Inspectorate and police lack adequate staff, funds and training to investigate child labor cases, especially in areas outside the capital.2512 In theory, violators of child labor laws would be subject to fines ranging from one to 10 times the minimum wage.2513

The Government of Mozambique has not ratified ILO Conventions 138 or 182.2514


2471 Government of Mozambique, Ministry of Labor, and UNICEF, Child Labour Rapid Assessment: Mozambique (Part I), Geneva, 1999/2000, 96. The Ministry of Labor is currently undertaking a global review of all relevant laws and regulations for future consolidation, harmonization, and modernization. The Ministry is also drafting new regulations prohibiting most street and market vending activities by children. See also U.S. Embassy – Maputo, unclassified telegram no. 2817, October 2001.

2472 U.S. Embassy – Maputo, unclassified telegram no. 2817.

2473 His Excellency Joaquim Alberto Chissano, Statement at UN Special Session on Children, May 8, 2002, [cited December 27, 2002]; available from http://www.un.org/ga/children/mozambiqueE.htm.

2474 U.S. Embassy – Maputo, unclassified telegram no. 2817.

2475 Ibid.

2476 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2000: Mozambique, Washington, D.C., February 23, 2001, Section 5 [cited December 16, 2002]; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2000/af/ index.cfm?docid=859. See also UNICEF, UNICEF Mozambique Situation Report 04-11 Oct 2002, ReliefWeb, [online] October 11, 2002, [cited October 31, 2002]; available from http://www.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/ 9ca65951ee22658ec125663300408599/3606dbdaad929e4cc1256c5d0031ecb6?OpenDocument.

2477 Statement at UN Special Session on Children.

2478 U.S. Embassy – Maputo, unclassified telegram no. 2817.

2479 ILO statistics as cited in World Bank, World Development Indicators 2001 [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2001.

2480 Government of Mozambique, Labor, and UNICEF, Child Labour Rapid Assessment: Mozambique (Part I), 36. UNICEF now expects that the effects of two years of heavy rains and flooding in 2000 and 2001, followed by the current severe drought and food insecurity affecting the Southern Africa region, will lead to decreased school enrolment and attendance and increased child labor as the demands upon household income and time for water collection/food scavenging increase. See UNICEF, Situation Up-date: Mozambique, May 10, 2002.

2481 U.S. Embassy – Maputo, unclassified telegram no. 2817. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2001: Mozambique, Washington, D.C., March 4, 2002, 479-82, Section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2001/af/8394.htm. See also Government of Mozambique, Labor, and UNICEF, Child Labour Rapid Assessment: Mozambique (Part I), 58, 78.

2482 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Mozambique, 479-82, Section 6d.

2483 U.S. Embassy – Maputo, unclassified telegram no. 2817. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports 2001: Mozambique, 479-82, Section 6d. See also Government of Mozambique, Labor, and UNICEF, Child Labour Rapid Assessment: Mozambique (Part I), 54.

2484 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2000: Mozambique, Section 6d. See also Line Eldring, Sabata Nakanyane, and Malehoko Tshoaedi, "Child Labour in the Tobacco-Growing Sector in Africa" (paper presented at the IUF/ITGA/BAT Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour, Nairobi, October 8-9, 2000), 48. See also Government of Mozambique, Labor, and UNICEF, Child Labour Rapid Assessment: Mozambique (Part I), 61-76.

2485 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Mozambique, 479-82, Section 6d. See also Government of Mozambique, Labor, and UNICEF, Child Labour Rapid Assessment: Mozambique (Part I), 47.

2486 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Mozambique, 475-82, Section 5 and 6d.

2487 Ibid., 479-82, Section 6f. The League of Human Rights in Mozambique has been investigating a 2000 case involving the trafficking of a 17-year old girl. See U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Mozambique, 475-79, Section 5. She was held for two months in South Africa and may have been sexually abused. See U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Mozambique, 479-82, Section 6f.

2488 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Mozambique, CRC/C/15/Add.172, Geneva, April 3, 2002, 21 [cited December 27, 2002]; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/d8a28bd0a8c53653c1256bd800545e83?Opendocument. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Mozambique, 479-82, Section 6d.

2489 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Mozambique, 475-79, Section 5.

2490 U.S. Embassy – Maputo, unclassified telegram no. 2817.

2491 Ibid.

2492 World Bank, World Development Indicators 2002 [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2002.

2493 UNESCO, World Education Report 2000: The Right to Education, Towards Education for All throughout Life, Geneva, 2000, 144.

2494 In 1999, the gross primary enrollment rate was 86.3 percent for boys and 64.8 percent for girls, and the net primary enrollment rate was 47.4 percent for boys and 39.8 percent for girls. Ninety percent of boys who entered primary school in 1995 reached grade two, and 52 percent reached grade five. The rates for girls were 79 and 39 percent, respectively. See World Bank, World Development Indicators 2002. See also UNESCO, World Education Report 2000, 144.

2495 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2000: Mozambique, Section 5.

2496 UNICEF Alert!, Mozambique, [online] July 1, 2002, [cited December 16, 2002]; available from http://www.unicefusa.org/alert/emergency/mozambique/mozambique.html.

2497 UNICEF, Situation Up-date: Mozambique.

2498 U.S. Embassy – Maputo, unclassified telegram no. 2817. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports 2001: Mozambique, 479-82, Section 6d.

2499 U.S. Embassy – Maputo, unclassified telegram no. 2817. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports 2001: Mozambique, 479-82, Section 6d.

2500 U.S. Embassy – Maputo, unclassified telegram no. 2817.

2501 Constitution of Mozambique, 1990, (November 1990), Article 88(3) [cited December 6, 2001]; available from http:/ /confinder.richmond.edu/MOZ.htm.

2502 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Mozambique, 479-82, Section 6c.

2503 Ibid.

2504 Government of Mozambique, Criminal Code, Article 1 [cited December 27, 2002]; available from http://www.protectionproject.org/main1.htm. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Mozambique, 47579, Section 5.

2505 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Mozambique.

2506 Government of Mozambique, Labor, and UNICEF, Child Labour Rapid Assessment: Mozambique (Part I), 80.

2507 U.S. Embassy – Maputo, unclassified telegram no. 2544, September 2001.

2508 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Mozambique," in Global Report 2001 London, May 2001, [cited December 27, 2002]; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/cs/childsoldiers.nsf/3f922f75125fc21980256b 20003951fc/271431570d2ec5d980256b1e004dc637?OpenDocument.

2509 U.S. Embassy – Maputo, unclassified telegram no. 2817. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports 2001: Mozambique, 479-82, Section 6d.

2510 U.S. Embassy – Maputo, unclassified telegram no. 2817.

2511 Ibid.

2512 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Mozambique, 479-82, Section 6d.

2513 U.S. Embassy – Maputo, unclassified telegram no. 2817.

2514 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Mozambique, Section 6d. See also ILO, Ratifications by Country, in ILOLEX, [database online] [cited November 13, 2002]; available from http://ilolex.ilo.ch:1567/english/ newratframeE.htm. Ratification was promised in a July 2001 conference, and the Ministry of Labor has forwarded the convention to the National Assembly. See U.S. Embassy – Maputo, unclassified telegram no. 2817.

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