Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 December 2014, 12:47 GMT

2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Nicaragua

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 - Nicaragua, 27 August 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48caa48337.html [accessed 25 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 Labor2486
Working children, 5-14 years (%), 2005:8.4
Working boys, 5-14 years (%), 2005:13.5
Working girls, 5-14 years (%), 2005:3.2
Working children by sector, 5-14 years (%), 2005:
     – Agriculture70.7
     – Manufacturing9.6
     – Services19.2
     – Other0.5
Minimum age for work:14
Compulsory education age:15
Free public education:Yes*
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:112
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:87
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%), 2005:84.9
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2004:54
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes
* Must pay for miscellaneous school expenses.

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children in the agricultural sector of Nicaragua work in the production of such crops as coffee, corn, sugar, and tobacco.2487 Children also work in street sales and personal services, such as domestic service in third-party homes, as well as in markets, restaurants, hotels, and cigar factories. A small percentage of children engage in mining, stone quarrying, construction, and transport.2488 The majority of children work in the informal sector, and some are engaged in garbage dump scavenging.2489

Child prostitution and sex tourism are problems in Nicaragua.2490 Nicaragua is a source and transit country for children trafficked for sexual exploitation. Children are trafficked within Nicaragua from rural to urban areas.2491 Children from poor rural areas between the ages of 13 and 18 are among the most vulnerable to trafficking. Some are recruited to work as nannies and waitresses, but are then forced to work as prostitutes in other countries.2492 Some children are trafficked internally for forced labor as domestic servants. Children are also trafficked from Nicaragua, often along the Pan-American Highway, to other parts of Central America to work as prostitutes in bars and nightclubs.2493 The Government reported that trafficking was linked to organized crime, including prostitutes and brothel owners who recruit trafficking victims.2494

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age for employment at 14 years.2495 Children 14 to 16 years cannot work without parental permission and under the supervision of the Labor Ministry.2496 Children 14 to 18 cannot work more than 6 hours a day or 30 hours a week. Minors are also prohibited from engaging in work that endangers their health and safety, such as work in mines, garbage dumps, and night entertainment venues, and work that may interfere with schooling.2497 Annually the Ministry of Labor publishes a list of types of work that are harmful to the health, safety, and morals of children.2498 An inter-ministerial resolution specifically prohibits children under 14 years from work in export processing zones, while another prohibits contracting children under 16 for work at sea.2499

The law provides for fines in cases of violations of child labor laws. Within the Ministry of Labor, the National Commission for the Progressive Eradication of Child Labor and Protection of the Young Worker (CNEPTI) receives revenues from fines that are put toward drawing attention to the rights and protection of minors.2500

The Constitution prohibits forced labor, slavery, and indentured servitude.2501 The Constitution was amended in 1995 to prohibit military conscription. The minimum legal age for entry into the Armed Forces is not specified.2502

Prostitution is legal for individuals 14 years and older, but the promotion and procurement of prostitution is prohibited by law. The law establishes a penalty of 4 to 8 years of imprisonment for those found guilty of recruiting children under 16 years into prostitution, and 12 years of imprisonment for recruiting children under 12 years.2503 Promoting, filming, or selling child pornography is prohibited.2504 Trafficking in persons is penalized with 4 to 10 years of imprisonment.2505 The Ministry of Labor is responsible for enforcing child labor laws.2506 The Ministry of Labor's Inspector General's Office is responsible for conducting all inspections, including those regarding child labor.2507 Although the law imposes fines for violators and allows inspectors to close establishments employing children, according to USDOS, the Ministry of Labor does not have sufficient resources to adequately enforce the law, with the exception of the small formal sector.2508

The law prohibits any type of forced or compulsory labor.2509 The Ministry of Government is responsible for law enforcement in the country, operates an anti-trafficking office, and leads the National Coalition against Trafficking in Persons. The Office of the National Prosecutor, through its specialized Women and Children's unit, is responsible for prosecuting trafficking cases.2510 The Office of the Human Rights Prosecutor also has separate Special Prosecutors for Women, Children, and Adolescents who investigate trafficking cases.2511 However, USDOS notes that Government progress in the prosecution of traffickers has been limited. In addition, the deficit of data collection and registration of trafficking of persons cases, and the loose immigration controls between the borders of Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala further weaken Government efforts to pursue enforcement actions against traffickers effectively.2512

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

The Government's Policy on Special Protection for Children and Adolescents includes special protections for victims of commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking in persons.2513 The Government oversees implementation of a 5-year National Plan against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (2003-2008) and a 10-year National Action Plan for Children and Adolescents.2514 The Ministry of Labor (CNEPTI), in coordination with ILO-IPEC, finalized a 10-year plan (2007-2016) to end child labor that requires all government programs and projects include child labor prevention and eradication initiatives.2515 In June 2007, the Ministry of Labor signed an accord with the Ministries of Agriculture and Environment, the Institute of Rural Development, the ILO, and several labor organizations to renew the Government's commitment to eradicate child labor.2516

Through its Program for Children and Adolescents at Risk, the Ministry of Family works to remove children from exploitive work, provide counseling to children and their families, and coordinate with other government agencies, the police, and NGOs to provide services.2517 The ministry also operates a "traffic lights" project to assist children who perform odd jobs around traffic intersections.2518 In addition, the Ministry is responsible for the operation of a shelter that provides services to minors who are victims of commercial sexual exploitation and a national hotline for victims of abuse and exploitation.2519

The Ministries of Government, Education, Tourism, and the Women's Division of the National Police continued to implement trafficking awareness campaigns specifically for border police, immigration officials, students, teachers, the press, and the tourism industry.2520 The Government also sponsored an education program in the city of Granada with the Ministry of Tourism to train hotel owners and taxi drivers to discourage the commercial sexual exploitation of children.2521 Additionally, the Ministry of Labor conducted outreach and training activities on child labor, including training on labor legislation in four major coffee growing areas and raising awareness about the risks of child labor aimed at municipality leaders and agricultural producers.2522

The Government of Nicaragua participates in regional projects funded by USDOL. These include a USD 8.8 million regional project implemented by ILO-IPEC that seeks to combat commercial sexual exploitation through a variety of activities including capacity building and legal reform. In addition, the project aims to withdraw 713 children and prevent 657 children from commercial sexual exploitation in the region.2523 Also, in coordination with the Nicaraguan Government, CARE is implementing a USD 5.7 million regional project funded by USDOL to combat exploitive child labor through the provision of quality basic education. The project aims to withdraw and prevent 2,984 children and adolescents from exploitive child labor in the region, in addition to strengthening regional cooperation, legislation, policies, and institutions to effectively address the worst forms of child labor.2524

The Government of Nicaragua participated in a Phase II USD 2.6 million regional project and a Phase III USD 3 million regional project to eradicate child labor in Latin America, funded by the Government of Spain and implemented by ILO-IPEC.2525

The Government also implements a project to prevent and eradicate child labor in small-scale mining, and another to combat child labor in the tobacco-growing sector.2526 The Nicaraguan Government participates in a regional project funded by the Government of Canada to prevent and combat the worst forms of child labor by strengthening the country's labor ministry.2527


2486 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 Nicaragua, Ley núm. 474 por la que se dicta la Ley de reforma al Título VI, Libro Primero del Código de Trabajo, (October 21, 2003), article 2; available from http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/natlex_browse.details?p_lang=en&p_isn=67286. See also Government of Nicaragua, Constitución Política de la República de Nicaragua (1987, with 1995, 2002 and 2005 reforms), article 121; available from http://pdba.georgetown.edu/Constitutions/Nica/nica05.html. See also U.S. Department of State, "Nicaragua," 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/2007/100647.htm.

2487 U.S. Embassy – Managua, reporting, December 14, 2007.

2488 Ministry of Labor and ILO-IPEC, National Report on the Results of the Child and Adolescent Labour Survey in Nicaragua, April 2003, 29. See also U.S. Embassy – Managua, reporting, December 19, 2006. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Nicaragua," section 6d.

2489 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Nicaragua," section 6d. See also U.S. Department of State, "Nicaragua," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2006, Washington, DC, March 6, 2007, section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78899.htm.

2490 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Nicaragua," section 6d. See also U.S. Department of State, "Nicaragua (Tier 2)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007, Washington, DC, 2007; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2007/82806.htm.

2491 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Nicaragua," section 5.

2492 Ibid. See also U.S. Embassy – Managua, reporting, March 27, 2007.

2493 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Nicaragua." See also U.S. Embassy – Managua, reporting, March 27, 2007.

2494 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Nicaragua," section 5.

2495 Government of Nicaragua, Ley núm. 474, article 2. See also Government of Nicaragua, Código de la Niñez y la Adolescencia, Ley. No. 287, (May 1998), article 73; available from http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/WEBTEXT/55822/66754/S98NIC01.htm. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Nicaragua," section 6d.

2496 ILO NATLEX National Labor Law Database, Decreto núm. 22-97 de creación de la Comisión Nacional para la erradicación progresiva del trabajo infantil y la protección del menor trabajador, accessed December 7, 2007, article 2; available from http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/natlex_browse.details?p_lang=en&p_country=NIC&p_classification=04&p_origin=C OUNTRY.

2497 Government of Nicaragua, Ley núm. 474, articles 3-5.

2498 ILO NATLEX National Labor Law Database, Acuerdo Ministerial núm. VGC-AM-0020-10-06 sobre el listado de trabajos peligrosos aplicado para el caso de Nicaragua, accessed December 7, 2007; available from http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/natlex_browse.details?p_lang=en&p_country=NIC&p_classification=04&p_origin=C OUNTRY. See also U.S. Embassy – Managua, reporting, March 27, 2007.

2499 Ministry of Labor and ILO-IPEC, National Report on the Results of the Child and Adolescent Labour Survey, 17.

2500 Government of Nicaragua, Ley núm. 474, article 6. See also ILO NATLEX National Labor Law Database, Decreto núm. 22-97, article 7.

2501 Government of Nicaragua, Constitución Política de Nicaragua, article 40. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Nicaragua," section 6c.

2502 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Nicaragua," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=833.

2503 Government of Nicaragua, Código Penal de la República de Nicaragua, (1974), articles 201 and 203; available from http://www.unifr.ch/derechopenal/legislacion/ni/cp_nicaragua3.pdf.

2504 Government of Nicaragua, Código de la Niñez y la Adolescencia, article 69.

2505 Government of Nicaragua, Código Penal, article 203.

2506 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Nicaragua," section 6d. See also Ministry of Labor, Mision, [online] [cited December 12 2007]; available from http://www.mitrab.gob.ni/mision.html#.

2507 Ministry of Labor, Servicios, [online] [cited December 12, 2007]; available from http://www.mitrab.gob.ni/sevicios.html.

2508 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Nicaragua," section 6d.

2509 Ibid., section 6c.

2510 Ibid., section 5.

2511 U.S. Embassy – Managua, reporting, March 27, 2007.

2512 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Nicaragua." See also U.S. Embassy – Managua, reporting, March 27, 2007. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Nicaragua," section 6d.

2513 ILO-IPEC, "Stop the Exploitation" ("Alto a la explotación") Contribution to the Prevention and Elimination of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Central America, Panama and the Dominican Republic, Technical Progress Report, RLA/02/P51-05/52/USA, September 13, 2006, 2.

2514 U.S. Embassy – Managua, reporting, December 19, 2006. See also CONAPINA, Plan Nacional Contra La Explotación Sexual Comercial de Niñas, Niños y Adolescentes 2003-2008, November 2003. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Written Replies by the Government of Nicaragua Concerning the List of Issues (CRC/C/Q/NIC/3) Formulated by the Committee on the Rights of the Child in Connection with Consideration of the Third Periodic Report of Nicaragua (CRC/C/125/Add.3), CRC/C/RESP/83, prepared by Government of Nicaragua, pursuant to Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, April 18 2005, 54; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/898586b1dc7b4043c1256a450044f331/3faa16ea862e67b2c125701f00457e2f/$FI LE/CRC_C_RESP_83(E).doc.

2515 U.S. Embassy – Managua, reporting, December 14, 2007.

2516 Government of Nicaragua, Acuerdo de Acción Conjunta: Agricultura Libre de Trabajo Infantil: La Cosecha Futura, June 20, 2007.

2517 U.S. Embassy – Managua, reporting, July 26, 2005. See also ILO-IPEC, "Stop the Exploitation" ("Alto a la explotación") Contribution to the Prevention and Elimination of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Central America, Panama and the Dominican Republic, Technical Progress Report, RLA/02/P51-05/52/USA, September 3, 2007.

2518 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Written Replies by the Government of Nicaragua Concerning the List of Issues (CRC/C/Q/NIC/3), 56.

2519 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Nicaragua." See also U.S. Embassy – Managua, reporting, March 27, 2007. See also ILO-IPEC, "Stop the Exploitation" ("Alto a la explotación"), Technical Progress Report, September 2007.

2520 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Nicaragua." See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Nicaragua," section 5.

2521 U.S. Embassy – Managua, reporting, March 27, 2007. See also U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Nicaragua." 2522 U.S. Embassy – Managua, reporting, December 14, 2007. 2523 ILO-IPEC, "Stop the Exploitation" ("Alto a la explotación") Contribution to the Prevention and Elimination of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Central America, Panama and the Dominican Republic, Project Document, RLA/02/P51-05/52/USA, San Jose, 2002, 2005, 1 and 63. See also ILO-IPEC, Contribution to the Prevention and Elimination of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Central America, Panama and the Dominican Republic, Project Addendum, Geneva, September 2005, 1 and 22. 2524 CARE International, Primero Aprendo Project: Combating Exploitive Child Labor Through Education in Central America (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua) and the Dominican Republic, Project Document, 2004, 5. See also ILO-IPEC, Contribution to the Prevention and Elimination of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Central America, Panama and the Dominican Republic, Project Addendum, 22-23.

2525 ILO-IPEC Geneva official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, December 12, 2007.

2526 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Written Replies by the Government of Nicaragua Concerning the List of Issues (CRC/C/Q/NIC/3), 56

2527 ILO-IPEC Geneva official, E-mail communication, December 12, 2007.

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