Last Updated: Friday, 21 November 2014, 13:47 GMT

2001 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Peru

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 - Peru, 7 June 2002, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48c8c9e5c.html [accessed 22 November 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

The Government of Peru has been a member of ILO-IPEC since 1996.[2011] ILO-IPEC programs in which Peru is involved include a regional program to eliminate child labor in the small-scale, traditional mining sectors of Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru, and a regional program to eliminate child domestic labor in Brazil, Paraguay, Colombia and Peru.[2012] In 2000, Peru implemented a child labor survey with technical assistance from ILO-IPEC's SIMPOC, and participation from the Ministry of Labor, the National Institute of Statistics, and the Ministry of Women's Advancement and Human Development (PROMUDEH).[2013]

In 1997, Peru put in place its first National Plan of Action for Children and Adolescents to promote and ensure the complete protection of children's rights.[2014] In 1997, PROMUDEH created the National Steering Committee on the Eradication of Child and Adolescent Labor to carry out the strategies and goals stated in the National Plan of Action.[2015]

The Ministry of Education is implementing programs that reinforce curricula, make lessons more pertinent to the lives of working children,[2016] promote good school performance, prevent the early insertion of children into the work force,[2017] and improve the quality and infrastructure of education throughout the country.[2018] The Ministry of Health's School Insurance program decreases school dropout numbers by providing medical coverage to children between the ages of 3 and 17 years in exchange for proof from teachers that students are continuously attending classes.[2019] The National Institute of Family Well-Being has a program that provides a variety of services to working youth, including school support, housing, reinsertion into the government school system, reinsertion into the family, and vocational training.[2020]

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 1999, the ILO estimated that 5.5 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 14 in Peru were working.[2021] The majority of working children are active in the country's informal economy.[2022] Children work in the agricultural sector, in fireworks factories, in stone quarries,[2023] and in mining sites.[2024] They shine shoes, load and unload produce in markets, collect garbage, carry heavy loads of bricks, and perform unpaid domestic work for their families.[2025] Children also engage in prostitution.[2026]

The Constitution establishes free and compulsory education through secondary school.[2027] In 1997, the gross primary enrollment rate was 122.8 percent and the net primary enrollment rate was 91 percent.[2028] School attendance is lowest in rural areas, and girls attend at a lower rate than boys.[2029] Indigenous children and those from rural areas lack access to the education system.[2030]

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

In 2001, new legislation was passed that modified the Child and Adolescent's Code of 2000 and raised the legal minimum age for employment from 12 to 14 years.[2031] According to the Code, the minimum age for the hazardous industrial, commercial or mining sectors is 15 years, while in the fishing sector, the legal minimum age is 16.[2032] Work that might harm a child's physical, mental and emotional health and development, including underground work or work that involves heavy lifting and carrying, or work that might serve as an obstacle to continued school attendance is prohibited for youth under the age of 18.[2033] The Code prohibits extreme forms of child labor such as forced and bonded labor, economically exploitative labor, prostitution and trafficking.[2034] Children between 12 and 14 years are prohibited from working more than four hours a day, or over to 24 hours a week, and adolescents between 15 and 17 years may not work more than six hour a days, or over 36 hours a week.[2035] The Code further stipulates that all working adolescents must obtain special certification from the Ministry of Labor, which is also the entity responsible for guaranteeing that they are attending school.[2036] Working children must be paid at the same rate as adult workers.[2037]

Prostitution is legal in Peru, but laws prohibit individuals from profiting by prostituting others. Laws prohibiting kidnapping, the sexual abuse of minors, and illegal employment are enforced and can be used to sanction individuals who traffic children for exploitative labor.[2038]

The Ministry of Labor is responsible for enforcing labor laws. The Ministry has 150 labor inspectors, and inspections are primarily conducted in the formal sector.[2039] The Directorate of Children and Adolescent Affairs, an office within the Ministry of Women's Advancement and Human Development (PROMUDEH), is charged with protecting the rights of children and adolescents.[2040] At the municipal level, the Municipal Child and Adolescent Defender Centers (DEMUNAs) work with local governments to supervise and apply punishments.[2041]

Peru has not ratified ILO Convention 138, but ratified ILO Convention 182 on January 10, 2002.[2042]


[2011] Patricia Crosby, coordinator of children, infant and adolescent policy (PROMUDEH), interview with USDOL official, November 15, 2000.

[2012] USDOL and ILO-IPEC, "Prevention and Elimination of Child Domestic Labour in South America: Program to Prevent and Progressively Eliminate Child Labor in Small-Scale Traditional Gold Mining in South America" [documents on file].

[2013] Eliseo Cuadrao, Director of IPEC, South America Regional Office, interview with USDOL official, November 13, 2000.

[2014] OAS, Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, Capítulo VIII, "Derechos del Niño," at www.cidh.org/countryrep/peru2000sp/capituulo8.htm.

[2015] U.S. Embassy-Lima, unclassified telegram no. 3383, June 1999.

[2016] Dra. Ballardo, Ministry of Education, Lima, Peru, interview with USDOL official, November 15, 2000.

[2017] Ibid.

[2018] Ministerio de Educación, Programa de educación básica para todo, at www.minedu.gob.pe/web/el_ministerio/el_ministero/Administr/poryect/educ_basic.html, on 10/16/01. See also Ministerio de Educación. Plan Huascarán: Moderna Tecnología para Escuelas Rurales, 700 Colegios los Primeros Beneficiarios, 5 Mil Estarán Enlazados el 2004, at www.minedu.gov.pe/ prensa_comunica/notas/octubre-2001/dir.php?obj=13-10-2001_02.htm.

[2019] Dr. Cecilia Costa, director of People's Health, Ministry of Health, Lima, Peru, interview with USDOL official, November 15, 2000.

[2020] Instituto Nacional de Bienestar Familiar. INABIF, Nuestros Servicios, at www.inabif.gov.pe/servicio/servicio2.htm on 10/16/01. During the first 6 months of 2001, the program provided services to approximately 7,000 children and adolescents a month in 17 provinces. Instituto Nacional de Bienestar Familiar (INABIF), Oficina de Planeamiento y Desarrollo, Area de Estadística, INABIF en Cifras I y II Trimestres 2001, Boletín I y II Trimestres 2001, at http://www.inabif.gob.pe/publica/encifras/uno/BOLETIN%20I%20TRIMESTRE-OK.pdfBoletin I y II Trimestres 2001, and http://www.inabif.gob.pe/publica/encifras/dos/boletin2.pdf.

[2021] Slightly fewer than half of these working children were boys (46,921), while girls accounted for just more than half (53,712). See ILO, Yearbook of Labour Statistics (Geneva, 2000), Table 1A.

[2022] U.S. Embassy-Lima, unclassified telegram no. 3672, June 2000.

[2023] Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2000 – Peru (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of State, 2001) [hereinafter Country Reports 2000], Section 6d, at http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2000/af/index.cfl?docid=849.

[2024] Maria del Carmen Piazza, Children Working in Small-Scale Traditional Gold Mining in Peru: National Baseline Study for the Project for Prevention and Progressive Elimination of Child Labor in Small-Scale Traditional Gold Mining in South America (ILO-IPEC, March 2001), 80-83.

[2025] Jesus V. Astete and Isabel R. Baufume, Trabajando en las calles de mi ciudad, Asociación Qosqo Maki (Cuzco, Peru, April 1998), 28. See also AIDECA Peru, Eliminating Child Labor in the Brickworks of Huachipa, Peru: Changing the Economic Equation [document on file]. See also Country Reports 2000 at Section 6d.

[2026] ECPAT International Database, "Child Prostitution," at http://www.ecpat.net/eng/ecpat_inter/projects/monitoring/online_database/index.asp. See also Country Reports 2000 at Section 5.

[2027] Constitution of the Republic of Peru, Article 17, at http://confinder.richmond.edu/peru(eng).html on 11/23/01. In 2001, basic education consisted of 2 years at the pre-primary level, 6 years at the primary level, and 4 years at the secondary level. As part of the Education for All initiative in 1999, Peru began to experiment by uniting the secondary and primary levels to form a basic education requirement of 10 years. The reform will add an additional year of pre-primary to the basic education requirement until it reaches 13 years in 2002. Children will be required to start school at the age of 3. At the beginning of the 1990s, basic education was only required for a 6-year period. See UNESCO, The Education for All 2000 Assessment: Country Reports – Peru, at www2.unesco.org/wef/countryreports/peru/rapport_1.htm.

[2028] World Development Indicators 2001 (Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2001) [CD-ROM].

[2029] Country Reports 2000 at Section 5.

[2030] ICFTU, "Peru: Report on Core Labour Standards for the WTO: ICFTU Report for the WTO General Council Review of the Trade Policies of Peru" (Geneva, May 30-31, 2000), at http://www.icftu.org.

[2031] Ley que Modifica el Artículo 51 de la Ley No. 27337, Código de los Niños y Adolescentes, at http://www.cajpe.org.pe/rij/bases/legisla/peru/27571.htm. Children between the ages of 12 and 14 may obtain special permission from the Ministry of Labor to work legally up to 4 hours a day to help support their families. Ministerio de Trabajo y Promoción Social, Resolución Ministerial No 033-2000-TR.9, Requisitos y formalidades para la contratación laboral de adolescente [hereinafter Requisitos y formalidades para la contratación laboral de adolescente], at www.mtps.gov.pe/normas/033-2000-tr.htm. The aforementioned special permission from the Ministry of Labor certifies that the children are attending school regularly. See Ministerio de Trabajo y Promoción Social, Síntesis Legal: 7.5. Beneficios de los Adolescentes, at www.mtps.gob.pe/sintesis.htm. As of August 2001, 2,228 special permission requests had been approved for 2001. See also U.S. Embassy-Lima, unclassified telegram no. 5240, September 2001 [hereinafter unclassified telegram 5240].

[2032] Requisitos y formalidades para la contratación laboral de adolescente: Edades mínimas para el trabajo.

[2033] Requisitos y formalidades para la contratación laboral de adolescente: Trabajos prohibidos y facilidades y beneficios.

[2034] Comisión Andina de los Juristas, Red de Información Judicial Andina, Ley no. 27337, Ley que Aprueba el Nuevo Código de los Niños y Adolescentes [hereinafter Comisión Andina de los Juristas], Libro primero: Derechos y libertades, Capítulo I: Derechos Civiles, Artículo IV, at http://www.cajpe.org.pe/rij/bases/legisla/peru/ley1.html. Other prohibited work includes mining underground and carrying excessive loads or toxic substances.

[2035] Ministerio de Trabajo y Promoción Social, Síntesis Legal. 7.1.3, Jornadas especiales de trabajo adolescentes, at www.mtps.gob.pe/sintesis.htm.

[2036] Ministerio de Trabajo y Promoción Social, Síntesis Legal: 7.3.1, Formación laboral juvenil, at www.mtps.gob.pe/sintesis.htm. Working adolescents are not required to register with the Ministry of Labor if they are performing domestic or unpaid family work; however, the head of the household for which they work must register them in the municipal labor records. See Comisión Andina de los Juristas at Capitulo IV, Regimen para el adolescente trabajador, Artículo 50.

[2037] Comisión Andina de los Juristas at Artículo 59.

[2038] Country Reports 2000 at Section 6f.

[2039] Unclassified telegram 5240.

[2040] Ibid.

[2041] Comisión Andina de los Juristas at Capitulo V, Contravenciones y Sanciones, Artículo 70.

[2042] "C182 Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999," at http://ilolex.ilo.ch:1567/english/newratframee.htm.

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