Last Updated: Thursday, 26 May 2016, 07:09 GMT

2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Mozambique

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 10 September 2009
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Mozambique, 10 September 2009, available at: [accessed 26 May 2016]
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 Labor
Population, children, 5-14 years:
Working children, 5-14 years (%):
Working boys, 5-14 years (%):
Working girls, 5-14 years (%):
Working children by sector, 5-14 years (%):
     – Agriculture
     – Manufacturing
     – Services
     – Other
Minimum age for work:15
Compulsory education age:12
Free public education:Yes*
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2006:104.8
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2006:76.0
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%):
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2005:57.6
ILO Convention 138:6/16/2003
ILO Convention 182:6/16/2003
ILO-IPEC participating country:Associated

* In practice, must pay for various school expenses

** Accession

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children in rural areas of Mozambique work on cotton, tea, and tobacco commercial farms as well as family farms and small plots known as machambas. They also herd livestock and work as domestics. Children sell products in shops, stalls, and on the street and work in restaurants and informal bars known as barracas. Some girls employed in barracas also engage in prostitution. Children cross the border from Zimbabwe into Mozambique to work in agriculture, construction, informal mining, prostitution, and street vending.

Children are trafficked internally and to South Africa and Swaziland for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor in agriculture, manual work, and domestic service. Girls trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation are sent to brothels and popular nightclubs. Girls from Zimbabwe and Malawi are also trafficked to Mozambique for commercial sexual exploitation and forced domestic service. Boys are trafficked within the country and to South Africa to work on farms and in mines.

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for employment in Mozambique is 15 years. The minimum age for apprenticeships is 12 years. In other exceptional cases, the law allows children between 12 and 15 years to work with the joint approval of the Ministries of Labor, Health, and Education; these children are issued legal documents establishing the conditions under which they are allowed to work. The law restricts the conditions under which minors between 15 and 18 years may work and commits employers to provide for their education and professional training. Children are prohibited from working more than 38 hours per week and more than 7 hours per day. Minors under 18 years are not permitted to work in unhealthy, dangerous, or physically taxing occupations; must undergo a medical examination; and must be paid at least minimum wage. Violators of child labor laws are subject to fines.

The Ministry of Labor has child labor law enforcement and regulation authority in both the formal and informal sectors. Labor inspectors may also obtain court orders to enforce adherence to child labor legislation. According to USDOS, the law is adequately enforced in the formal sector; however, the Labor Inspectorate and the police lack adequate staff, funds, and training to investigate child labor cases in the informal sector and areas outside of Maputo.

The law prohibits forced labor, with the exception of prison labor. The age for military conscription is 19 years and voluntary recruitment is 18 years, which can be lowered in times of war. The law also forbids the practice of child prostitution. Procuring a minor is punishable by imprisonment for 6 months to 2 years. Legislation was enacted in 2008 that criminalizes human trafficking, including the trafficking of children, with penalties of up to 20 years of imprisonment. A Juvenile Court system that handles trafficking cases was also established during the reporting period by the Ministry of Justice. An Anti-Trafficking Police Brigade was established, and the Government conducted investigations on issues regarding vulnerable children, including trafficking.

The Government also conducted investigations, issued public awareness announcements, and held local workshops and training on issues regarding vulnerable children including trafficking.

Current Government Efforts to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor

The Ministry of Labor continues to implement an action plan for the reduction of child labor and conducts seminars around this issue. In an effort to keep children in school and prevent them from engaging in exploitive labor, the Government of Mozambique provides a scholarship program to cover the cost of children's school materials and fees.

The Government of Mozambique's state-owned broadcaster, TVM, partners with UNICEF, UNESCO, and private radio and television broadcasters to provide radio and television programming that focuses on child trafficking and other issues affecting children. Police stations in Mozambique continue to operate support centers to address the needs of child trafficking victims. The Government, including the police, also held local workshops and training on issues regarding vulnerable children including trafficking.

The Government of Mozambique participated in a USDOL-funded 3-year USD 3 million program, which ended in September 2008, implemented by the American Institutes for Research, to combat child labor in agriculture, domestic work, and street work, as well as commercial sexual exploitation of children. The project withdrew and prevented 2,177 children from engaging in such activities throughout the life of the project.

Mozambique signed on to the Ministers of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) Declaration against child labor, which calls for a CPLP Plan of Action and elimination of the worst forms of child labor by 2016. Through December 2008, the Government of Mozambique participated in a USD 200,000 ILO-IPEC project to "Combat the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Lusophone Countries in Africa," funded by the Government of Brazil.

The Government of Mozambique also participated in the USD 3.46 million, 9-year ILO-IPEC Global Campaign to Raise Awareness and Understanding on Child Labor, funded by Italy that ended on March 31, 2009. The Government continues to collaborate with an NGO network, Rede Came, on a 2-year, USD 300,000 project to improve the legal environment for combating trafficking. The project began in May 2008 and is funded by USDOS.

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