Last Updated: Thursday, 30 October 2014, 14:31 GMT

2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Peru

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 - Peru, 27 August 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48caa488c.html [accessed 30 October 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 Labor2790
Working children, 6-14 years (%), 2000:22.3
Working boys, 6-14 years (%), 2000:24
Working girls, 6-14 years (%), 2000:20.5
Working children by sector, 6-14 years (%), 2000:
     – Agriculture73.2
     – Manufacturing2.7
     – Services23.9
     – Other0.2
Minimum age for work:14
Compulsory education age:16
Free public education:Yes*
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:116
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:96
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%), 2000:96.6
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2004:90
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes
* Must pay for miscellaneous school expenses.

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Many children in rural areas of Peru work on family farms, in mining, or as domestic servants. In urban areas, many children work as street vendors, begging, shining shoes, or scavenging in garbage dumps.2791 Children are also found working in the brick making industry in Lima and outlying areas.2792

According to a recent ILO study, girls in the stone crushing industry are frequently sexually exploited.2793 Children in domestic service are also vulnerable to sexual abuse.2794 Some Peruvian children, especially girls, are trafficked from rural to urban areas or from city to city to work in domestic service and for sexual exploitation.2795 Children are trafficked internally for the purpose of forced labor in the mining, logging, and brick making sectors. Most victims of trafficking are girls from the poorest areas of Peru, including the Amazonian jungle and mountains.2796 According to USDOS, narcotics traffickers and Shining Path terrorists force children to work in remote areas, cultivating coca and food crops. Child sex tourism is prevalent in the tourist cities of Cusco and Iquitos.2797 In 2006, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child reported that there are 500,000 child victims of sexual exploitation and violence in the country.2798

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

Although the general minimum age for employment in Peru is 14 years, the following provisions place restrictions on ability of children 14 years and above to work legally. The minimum age for employment in non-industrial agricultural work is 15 years; for work in the industrial, commercial, and surface mining sectors it is 16 years; and for work in the industrial fishing sector it is 17 years.2799 Children under 18 years may perform certain jobs, subject to restrictions, only if they obtain legal permission from the corresponding government authorities, can certify that the minor is physically and emotionally capable of performing the job, and if it does not limit their ability to attend school or training.2800 All children must register their work with the authorities; the Ministry of Labor's Office of Labor Protection for Minors issues permits for children between 12 and 17 years to work legally. During 2007, there were 703 permits granted for children 12 to 17 years, most of which were issued for children between 16 and 17 years.2801 Children 12 to 14 years are prohibited from working more than 4 hours a day, or more than 24 hours a week; adolescents 15 to 17 years may not work more than 6 hours a day, or more than 36 hours a week. Children working non-paid jobs for family members or in domestic service are entitled to a 12-hour rest period and must attend school.2802 Regulations require that adolescents working in paid or unpaid domestic service must have access to education. Night work is prohibited for children under 18 years, but a special permit can be issued for adolescents between 15 to 17 years for a maximum of 4 hours of work a night.2803 Underground work or work that involves heavy lifting, toxic substances, or responsibility for the safety of themselves and other workers is prohibited for children under 18 years.2804 The Government has established a list of dangerous work for children, which includes work underground; using machinery or electrical equipment; work with toxic chemicals; in brick production; at sea; selling alcohol; in sexually exploitive situations; with garbage; with animal remains; or lifting heavy weights.2805

Peruvian law prohibits forced and slave labor.2806 The law prohibits promoting child prostitution, with a penalty of 5 to 12 years in prison if the victim is under 18 years of age.2807 Peru's Penal Code also prohibits delivering a child to a third party for the purpose of prostitution; the penalty for this offense is 6 to 12 years. The penalty for profiting economically from the prostitution of a minor between the ages of 14 to 18 years is 6 to 10 years in prison, and increases to 8 to 12 years in prison if the victim is under 14 years of age.2808 Statutes prohibit trafficking in persons and provide penalties of 12 to 20 years of imprisonment for those who move a person between 14 and 18 years, either within the country or to an area outside the country, for sexual exploitation or forced labor. The penalty increases to at least 25 years in prison if the victim is under 14 years.2809 A new law gives the Administrative Authority of Work the authority to levy fines against employers who are guilty of trafficking minors.2810 The penalty for promoting sexual tourism that exploits adolescents ages 14 to 18 years is 2 to 6 years in prison. The penalty is 6 to 8 years if the victim is under 14 years, and in cases of involvement by a public official or a child's guardian, the penalty is 8 to 10 years in prison.2811 The penalty for possessing, promoting, producing, or selling child pornography is 4 to 6 years imprisonment and fines. If the victim is under 14 years, the penalty increases to 6 to 8 years in prison.2812 Military service is voluntary and prohibited for children under 18 years.2813

The Ministry of Labor's Office of Labor Protection for Minors and the Public Ministry have authority to investigate reports of illegal child labor practices by conducting onsite inspections of worksites. During 2007, the Office of the Ombudsman for Children and Adolescents worked in conjunction with the Ministry of Labor to document violations of child labor laws, and operated a decentralized child labor reporting and tracking system.2814

The Peruvian National Police is responsible for preventing, investigating, and fighting trafficking in persons and child sexual exploitation.2815 The Government has a database to track trafficking trends. Over 100 trafficking cases were filed in 2007, and 51 trafficked minors were reported.2816

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

Through the National Committee to Prevent and Eradicate Child Labor, the Government of Peru works with NGOs, labor unions, and employer organizations within the country to implement the National Plan for the Prevention and Eradication of Child Labor. The Plan, established in accordance with the National Plan of Action for Children (2002-2010), focuses on three strategic goals: preventing and eradicating child labor under 14 years, preventing and eradicating the worst forms of child labor among children under 18 years of age, such as child trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children, and protecting the wellbeing of adolescent workers between the ages of 14 and 18 years.2817

The Ministry of Women and Social Development (MIMDES) implemented a program in 2007 that provides children and adolescents who work and live in the street with educational services.2818 The Ministry of the Interior has implemented a program called Colibrí which integrates children who work as vendors in the street or in markets into educational programs.2819

MIMDES has a National Plan against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Boys, Girls and Adolescents (2006-2010). The Plan has four strategic components: create and strengthen institutions; increase awareness about commercial sexual exploitation of children; establish a system to monitor and penalize perpetrators; and develop a system to support victims.2820

The Government of Peru participated in an ILO-IPEC USD 5.5 million USDOL-funded regional project to eliminate exploitive child labor in domestic service and the commercial sex sectors in four countries including Peru.2821 The project closed in 2007, withdrawing 2,036 children from exploitive work and preventing 3,582 children from entering such activities.2822 The Government of Peru continued to participate in a USD 5 million USDOL-funded project to combat child labor through education. This project targets 5,250 children for withdrawal and 5,250 children for prevention from exploitive work in the urban informal sector in the poorest districts of Lima, Callao, Trujillo, and Iquitos.2823 During the reporting period, the Government of Peru participated in an ILO-IPEC 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.2824 The Government also collaborated with the Organization of American States in a USD 300,000 project funded by USDOS to prevent trafficking in persons by building capacity and international cooperation across the foreign ministries of the nine participating governments.2825

The Government of Peru lacks resources to assist trafficking victims, but focuses efforts on detection, prosecution, and prevention. The Government supported an NGO in a radio campaign on trafficking and cooperated with another NGO in raising awareness about trafficking among local government officials, student groups, and school leaders. MIMDES worked with the Belgian Government to combat trafficking in four regions of Peru.2826 The Ministry of Interior operates a toll-free number to report trafficking crimes, which received an average of 1,000 calls per month, 15 percent of which were related to trafficking crimes.2827 The Ministry of Foreign Affairs conducted an information campaign on trafficking both domestically and internationally. The Ministry of Tourism began a campaign for hotels to sign a code of conduct to prevent child sex tourism.2828

The Government of Peru and other associate and member governments of MERCOSUR conducted the Niño Sur ("Southern Child") initiative to defend the rights of children and adolescents in the region. The initiative includes unified public campaigns against commercial sexual exploitation, trafficking, and child labor; mutual technical assistance in adjusting legal frameworks to international standards on those issues; and the exchange of best practices related to victim protection and assistance.2829


2790 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 Peru, Ley que Modifica el Artículo 51 de la Ley No. 27337, Código de los Niños y Adolescentes, (2001); available from http://www.cajpe.org.pe/rij/bases/legisla/peru/27571.htm. See also Government of Peru, Ley General de Educación, (July 17, 2003), article 4, 12; available from http://www.minedu.gob.pe/normatividad/leyes/ley_general_de_educacion2003.doc. See also UNESCO, Education for All 2008 Assessment: Country Reports-Peru, 2007; available from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0015/001547/154743e.pdf. See also UNESCO, Education for All 2006 Assessment: Country Reports-Peru, 2005; available from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0015/001547/154743e.pdf.

2791 U.S. Department of State, "Peru," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2007, Washington, DC, March 11, 2008, section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/index.htm. See also International Youth Foundation, Prepárate para la Vida, Project Document, Washington, DC, March 28, 2007, 7.

2792 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Peru," section 6d. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Periodic Reports of States Parties due in 2006: Peru, prepared by Government of Peru, pursuant to Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, March 2006, para 62; available from http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G06/408/87/PDF/G0640887.pdf?OpenElement.

2793 ILO-IPEC, Girls in Mining, research findings from Ghana, Niger, Peru and United Republic of Tanzania, Geneva, 2007, 5-6; available from http://www.ilo.org/ipecinfo/product/viewProduct.do?productId=5304.

2794 ILO-IPEC, Invertir en la Familia, Estudio sobre factores preventivos y de vulnerabilidad al trabajo infantil doméstico en familias rurales y urbanas: el caso de Perú, Lima, 2007; available from http://white.oit.org.pe/ipec/documentos/invertir_familia_tid_pe.pdf.

2795 U.S. Embassy – Lima, reporting, March 5, 2008, para 2a.

2796 Ibid.

2797 U.S. Department of State, "Peru (Tier 2 Watch List)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007, Washington, DC, June 12, 2007; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2007/82806.htm. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Peru," section 6d.

2798 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Periodic Reports of States Parties due in 2006: Peru.

2799 Government of Peru, Ley que Modifica el Artículo 51 de la Ley No. 27337.

2800 Government of Peru, Ley que Aprueba el Nuevo Código de los Niños y Adolescentes, 27337, (August 2, 2000), article 54; available from http://www.acnur.org/biblioteca/pdf/01163.pdf.

2801 Ibid., article 53. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Peru," section 6d.

2802 Government of Peru, Ley que Aprueba el Nuevo Código de los Niños y Adolescentes, articles 56, 63.

2803 Ibid., articles 61, 57.

2804 Ibid., article 58.

2805 Government of Peru, Aprueban la "Relación de Trabajos y Actividades Peligrosas o Nocivas para la Salud Fisica o Moral de las y los Adolescentes", (July 25, 2006); available from http://white.oit.org.pe/ipec/documentos/decreto_tip_pe.pdf.

2806 Government of Peru, Constitución Política del Perú 1993 con las reformas de 1995, 2000, 2002, 2004 y 2005 (hasta octubre), (1993), article 24(b); available from http://pdba.georgetown.edu/Constitutions/Peru/per93reforms05.html. See also Government of Peru, Ley que Aprueba el Nuevo Código de los Niños y Adolescentes, article 4.

2807 Government of Peru, Modificación del Codigo Penal 28251, (February 14, 1994), article 179; available from http://www.oit.org.pe/ipec/documentos/ley_28251_esci_pe.pdf.

2808 Ibid., articles 180, 181.

2809 Government of Peru, Ley contra la Trata de Personas y el Tráfico Ilícito de Migrantes, (2007), articles 153, 153-A; available from http://white.oit.org.pe/ipec/documentos/ley_trata_peru_06.pdf. See also U.S. Embassy – Lima, reporting, December 13, 2007, para 4.

2810 Embassy of Peru official, Fax communication to USDOL official, December 6, 2007, para 16.

2811 Government of Peru, Codigo Penal, article 181-A.

2812 Ibid., article 183-A.

2813 Government of Peru, Ley del Servicio Militar, (September 28, 1999); available from http://www.resdal.org/Archivo/d0000281.htm. See also Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Peru," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=836.

2814 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Peru."

2815 ILO-IPEC, Situación de la Aplicación de la Ley No 28251, para el Combate a la Explotación Sexual Comercial de Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes, Lima, 2006, 9-13; available from http://white.oit.org.pe/ipec/documentos/estudio_situacion_ley_28251.pdf.

2816 U.S. Embassy – Lima, reporting, March 5, 2008, paras 1, 2a.

2817 Government of Peru, Plan Nacional de Prevención y Erradicación del Trabajo Infantíl, 2005, 58, 63, 66; available from http://www.mimdes.gob.pe/dgnna/dna/cpeti/Plan_CPETI.pdf. See also Embassy of Peru official, Fax communication, December 6, 2007, para 7.

2818 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Peru."

2819 Government of Peru, Aprueban Plan Nacional de Prevención y Erradicación del Trabajo Infantíl, 008-2005-TR, (September 30, 2005), 45-46; available from http://www.mimdes.gob.pe/dgnna/dna/cpeti/Plan_CPETI.pdf.

2820 Government of Peru, Plan Nacional contra la Explotación Sexual Comercial de Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes, 2006; available from http://www.mimdes.gob.pe/dgnna/escnna/presentacion_plan.pdf.

2821 ILO-IPEC and Roberto Cespedes, Infancia y adolescencia trabajadora de Paraguay, 2006; available from http://white.oit.org.pe/ipec/documentos/estadisticas_py_07.pdf.

2822 ILO-IPEC, Prevention and Elimination of Child Domestic Labor (CDL) and of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) in Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru, Technical Progress Report, September 30, 2007, 34-35, 54-55.

2823 International Youth Foundation, Prepárate para la Vida, Project Document.

2824 ILO-IPEC official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, February 4, 2008.

2825 U.S. Department of State, U.S. Government Funds Obligated for Anti-Trafficking in Persons Projects, Fiscal Year 2007, [online] February 2008 [cited March 10, 2008]; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/rpt/101295.htm.

2826 U.S. Embassy – Lima, reporting, March 5, 2008, para 4k. See also Ministry of Women and Social Development, MIMDES y Gobierno Belga ejecutarán proyecto para prevenir la violencia, el abuso y la explotación sexual comercial infantíl, [online] May 15, 2006 [cited March 8, 2008]; available from http://www.mimdes.gob.pe/noticias/2006/not15may_1.htm.

2827 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Peru," section 5.

2828 Ibid.

2829 Ministry of Justice and Human Rights of Argentina, Iniciativa Niñ@ Sur, [online] [cited March 16, 2008]; available from http://www.derhuman.jus.gov.ar/direcciones/asistencia/ninosur.htm. See also Child Rights Information Network, MERCOSUR, [online] 2007 [cited December 26, 2007]; available from http://www.crin.org/espanol/RM/mercosur.asp.

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