Last Updated: Friday, 29 August 2014, 14:18 GMT

2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Venezuela

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 - Venezuela, 18 April 2003, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d748ccc.html [accessed 31 August 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 Venezuela has been a member of ILO-IPEC since 1996.3803 In 1997, the government created the National Commission for the Eradication of Child Labor and Protection of Child Workers with responsibilities for collaborating with ILO-IPEC on child labor elimination projects and encouraging and strengthening coordination among national and international public and private institutions in an effort to combat child labor.3804 ILO-IPEC, with the support of the Spanish government, implemented a project from 1999-2000 to eliminate the commercial sexual exploitation of girls in Venezuela.3805 The Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Social Development are currently working together on a government study of the child labor situation in the country.3806

The government has collaborated with UNESCO to develop an Education for All plan to increase primary school enrollment and completion rates, improve educational achievement, and expand basic education services and training in essential skills for youth.3807 The National Institute for Minors has made efforts to address the commercial sexual exploitation of children by establishing Local Social Protection networks for children and adolescents who are at high social risk.3808

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 2000, UNICEF estimated that 9.9 percent of children ages 5 to 14 years in Venezuela were working.3809 Children are engaged in selling goods on the streets, shining shoes, bagging groceries at supermarkets, guarding and washing cars, guiding the blind, and helping in family businesses (including family farms).3810 Children are also involved in begging, petty theft on the streets, prostitution, and drug trafficking.3811 Although child labor is not reported to be a significant problem in the manufacturing sector, some girls work in their homes helping their mothers sew garments on a piecework basis.3812

There are reports that children from Venezuela have been abducted and used as child soldiers by the the Revolutionary Armed Forces in Colombia, the military wing of the Colombian Communist Party.3813 In 2001, Venezuela was reported to be a source, destination and transit country for trafficking in persons.3814 Children were reportedly trafficked from other South American countries, especially Ecuador, to work in Caracas as street vendors and housemaids.3815

Education is compulsory for 10 years3816 and free up to the university preparatory level (15 or 16 years of age).3817 Under Article 53 of the Law for the Protection of Children and Adolescents, all children have the right to receive a free education at a school or institution near their home.3818 In 1996, the gross primary enrollment rate was 91.3 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 83.8 percent.3819 Primary school attendance rates are unavailable for Venezuela. While enrollment rates indicate a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children's participation in school.3820 Children in some regions of the country do not have access to schools and have limited access to materials and textbooks.3821 There are an insufficient number of well-trained teachers in some areas and drop out rates and repetition rates at the primary and secondary school level are high.3822 In 2000, an NGO study reported that 500,000 children were not eligible to receive government assistance, including public education, because their births were not documented properly.3823 Members of the country's indigenous population also lack access to basic educational facilities.3824

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Labor Code of 19973825 and the Law for the Protection of Children and Adolescents sets the minimum age for employment at 14 years.3826 Children under the age of 14 are prohibited from working in businesses, establishments, and industrial, mining, and commercial enterprises.3827 Children between the ages of 12 and 14 can work under certain circumstances with the permission of the National Children's Institute and the Ministry of Labor, provided that they are employed in work suited to their physical capacity and are guaranteed an education.3828 Children ages 14 to 16 can work only with the permission of their parent or legal guardian or another appropriate authority.3829 In most cases, children under the age of 16 are not permitted to work more than 6 hours a day (in two shifts of no more than four hours each) and 30 hours a week. Children under the age of 18 cannot work at night.3830 Article 28 of the Law for Protection of Children and Adolescents prohibits forced labor, slavery and servitude.3831 Forced labor is also prohibited under Article 32 of the Labor Code3832 and slavery and servitude are prohibited under Article 54 of the Constitution.3833 Article 33 of the Law for Protection of Children and Adolescents guarantees the right of all children to be protected against any form of abuse or sexual exploitation.3834

Articles 388 and 389 of the Criminal Code prohibit inducing the prostitution of minors and the corruption of minors.3835 Persons convicted of these crimes can be sentenced to imprisonment from 3 to 18 months.3836 Laws protecting minors from abuse may be used to prosecute cases of child pornography.3837 The Constitution prohibits trafficking in persons.3838 The Law for the Protection of Children and Adolescents provides a penalty of 1 to 10 months in jail for trafficking in children.3839 The Ministry of Labor, the National Institute for Minors, and the Prosecutor General's office enforce child labor laws. These laws are enforced effectively in the formal sector but are not well enforced in the informal sector.3840 The government did not prosecute any cases of trafficking in 2001 and government efforts to prevent and prosecute trafficking are rare.3841

The Government of Venezuela ratified ILO Convention 138 on July 15, 1987, but has not ratified ILO Convention 182.3842


3803 ILO-IPEC, All About IPEC: Programme Countries, [online] [cited August 21, 2002]; available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/ipec/about/countries/t_country.htm.

3804 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of States Parties Due in 1992: Supplementary Report, Addendum, Venezuela, CRC/C/3/add.59, prepared by Government of Venezuela, pursuant to Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, December 1999, para. 181.

3805 ILO-IPEC, Programa Internacional para la Erradicación del Trabajo Infantil: Venezuela, Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, Caracas, August 15, 1999, [cited August 22, 2002]; available from http://www.oit.org.pe/ spanish/260ameri/oitreg/activid/proyectos/ipec/ficvensex.php.

3806 U.S. Embassy – Caracas, unclassified telegram no. 3537, December 2001.

3807 UNESCO, Education for All 2000 Assessment: Country Reports-Venezuela, prepared by Ministry of Education, pursuant to UN General Assembly Resolution 52/84, Part 1 [December 19, 2002]; available from http://www2.unesco.org/wef/countryreports/venezuela/contents.html.

3808 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of States Parties Due in 1992, para. 187.

3809 The Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) study defines "currently working" to include children who were performing any paid or unpaid work for someone other than a member of the household, who performed more than 4 hours of housekeeping chores in the household, or who performed other family work. See Government of Venezuela, Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS): Standard Tables for Venezuela, UNICEF, [cited October 7, 2002]; available from http://www.childinfo.org/MICS2/newreports/venezuela/venezuela.htm. See also Understanding Child Work, Recently Completed and Upcoming Surveys, ucw-project.org, [online] [cited August 22, 2002]; available from http://www.ucw-project.org/resources/future_survey_information.html.

3810 U.S. Embassy – Caracas, unclassified telegram no. 2626, July 10, 1996.

3811 Ibid.

3812 Ibid.

3813 Coalition to End the Use of Child Soldiers, "Venezuela," in Global Report 2001, [cited August 21, 2002]; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/report2001/countries/venezuela.html.

3814 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2001: Venezuela, Washington, D.C., March 4, 2002, 3085-89, Section 6f [cited August 20, 2002]; available from http://www.state.gov/drl/hrrpt/2001/wha/ 8229.htm.

3815 Ibid.

3816 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, National Education Systems, uis.unesco.org, [online] [cited April 5, 2002]; available from http://www.uis.unesco.org/statsen/statistics/yearbook/tables/Table3_1.htm.

3817 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Venezuela, 3081-85, Section 5.

3818 Ley orgánica para la protección del niño y del adolescente, 2000, [cited August 21, 2002]; available from http://www.cajpe.org.pe/rij/bases/legisla/venezuel/ve42.htm.

3819 World Bank, World Development Indicators 2002 [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2002.

3820 For a more detailed description on the relationship between education statistics and work, see the preface to the report.

3821 Ibid.

3822 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Right of the Child, Venezuela, CRC/C/15/Add.109, Geneva, February 11, 1999, D.7.

3823 The study was conducted by the NGO Community Centers for Learning (CECODAP). U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Venezuela, 3081-84, Section 5. Under Title II, Chapter II, Article 17 of the Law for the Protection of Children and Adolescents, all children have the right to be identified after birth. Article 22 further states that children have the right to obtain public identification documents that demonstrate their identify and that the State shall assure that there are program and measures to determine the identity of all children and adolescents. See Ley niño y del adolescente, 2000.

3824 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Venezuela, 3081-84, Section 5.

3825 Ley de reforma parcial de la Ley Orgánica del trabajo, No. 5152, (June 19, 1997), Title V, Chapter 2, Article 254 [cited November 21, 2001]; available from http://natlex.ilo.org/txt/S97VEN01.htm.

3826 Ley niño y del adolescente, 2000, Title II, Chapter 3, Article 96.

3827 Ley orgánica del trabajo, 1997, Title V, Chapter 1, Article 247.

3828 Ibid.

3829 Ibid., Title V, Chapter 1, Article 248.

3830 Ibid., Title V, Chapter 1, Articles 254 and 57.

3831 Ley niño y del adolescente, 2000, Title II, Chapter II, Article 38.

3832 Ley orgánica del trabajo, 1997, Title V, Chapter 3, Article 32.

3833 Constitución de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela,1999, [cited August 21, 2002]; available from http://
www.georgetown.edu/pdba/Constitutions/Venezuela/ven1999.html.

3834 Ley niño y del adolescente, 2000, Title II, Chapter I, Article 33.

3835 Interpol, Legislation of Interpol Member States on Sexual Offenses Against Children- Venezuela, [online] December 5, 2002 [cited August 21, 2002]; available from http://www.interpol.int/Public/Children/SexualAbuse/NationalLaws/
csaVenezuela.asp.

3836 Ibid.

3837 Ibid.

3838 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Venezuela, 3085-89, Section 6f.

3839 Ibid.

3840 Ibid., 3085-89, Section 6d.3841 Ibid., 3085-89, Section 6f.

3842 ILO, Ratifications by Country, in ILOLEX, [database online] [cited December 3, 2002]; available from http://
ilolex.ilo.ch:1567/english/newratframeE.htm.

Search Refworld

Countries