Last Updated: Friday, 26 December 2014, 13:50 GMT

2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Angola

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 22 September 2005
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Angola, 22 September 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48c8ca4137.html [accessed 29 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 Child Labor Measures Adopted by Governments
Ratified Convention 138 6/13/2001X
Ratified Convention 182 6/13/2001X
ILO-IPEC Member 
National Plan for Children 
National Child Labor Action Plan 
Sector Action Plan (Commercial Sexual Exploitation)X

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

UNICEF estimated that 29.9 percent of children ages 5 to 14 years in Angola were working in 2001.[162] Many children in Angola live in the streets, not only as a result of displacement from recent civil conflict, but also as a consequence of poverty and the lack of any other options.[163] Many homeless girls are at high risk of sexual and other forms of violence.[164] Street children often work as shoe shiners, car washers, and water carriers.[165] Angolan children work in subsistence agriculture, as domestic servants, as street vendors,[166] and as beggars.[167]

Child trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, pornography, forced labor, sexual slavery, and other forms of exploitation are reported to exist in the country.[168] Angola is a country of origin for trafficked children. Children have been trafficked internally and also to Namibia and South Africa for the purposes of sexual exploitation and domestic and commercial labor.[169]

Education in Angola is compulsory and free for 8 years,[170] although families are responsible for significant additional fees.[171] In 1999-2000, the gross primary enrollment rate was approximately 74 percent and the net primary enrollment rate was approximately 30 percent.[172] Gross and net enrollment ratios are based on the number of students formally registered in primary school and therefore do not necessarily reflect actual school attendance. In 2001, 55.8 percent of children attended primary school.[173] Higher percentages of boys attend school.[174] As of 2001, 76.0 percent of children who started primary school were likely to reach grade 5.[175] Only 6 percent of children are enrolled in secondary school.[176] Reports indicate that more than 1 million school-age children are estimated to be out of school with little prospect of returning.[177] It is estimated that children make up a majority of the roughly 832,000 displaced persons in Angola, and educational opportunities are extremely limited for displaced children and adolescents.[178] In Angola's recent conflict, nearly half of all schools were reportedly looted and destroyed, leading to problems of overcrowding.[179] Other factors, such as teacher strikes,[180] landmines, lack of resources and identity papers, and poor health prevent children from attending school regularly.[181]

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for employment in Angola is 14 years. Children between the ages of 14 and 18 are not permitted to work at night, under dangerous conditions, or in activities requiring great physical effort. Children under 16 years of age are restricted from working in factories.[182] The Constitution and Angolan statutory law prohibit forced or bonded child labor.[183] In 1998, the Angolan Council of Ministers established a minimum conscription age for military service of 17 years.[184] Trafficking in persons is not specifically prohibited in Angola, but forced servitude, prostitution, and pornography are illegal under the general criminal statute.[185] Sexual relations with a child under 12 years are defined as rape under Angolan law. Sexual relations with a child between 12 and 15 years may result in up to 8 years imprisonment.[186] According to the U.S. Department of State, the Government of Angola is making significant efforts to comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, including efforts to prevent child trafficking.[187]

The Inspector General of the Ministry of Public Administration, Employment, and Social Security (MAPESS) is responsible for enforcing labor laws.[188] Child labor complaints can be filed with the Ministry of Family and Women's Affairs, which has principal responsibility for child welfare.[189] MAPESS maintains employment centers to screen out applicants under age 14. MAPESS has authority to levy fines and order restitution. There is no standard procedure for investigations or formal inspections.[190] Individuals may report child labor violations, but reports of child labor complaints are rare.[191]

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

Since the end of the armed civil conflict in Angola in 2002, the Ministry of Social Assistance and Reintegration and UNICEF have been implementing a two-phase family verification program. UNICEF program activities for demobilizing and rehabilitating former child soldiers have included locating relatives, arranging transportation, and reuniting the children with their families. The programs also identify school and job training opportunities for former child soldiers and prepare local communities to accept children who had been engaged in armed conflict.[192] The ongoing second phase, focusing on family reunification efforts, identified 11,076 separated children and reunited 3,670 with their families as of March 2004.[193]

On June 30, 2004, a Transitional Coordination Unit officially replaced the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The Unit is tasked with overseeing post-conflict social service coordination functions over 18 months and gradually transferring them to appropriate government bodies.[194]

In 2004, the Government of Angola concluded its national child registration campaign, which has documented 3.8 million children under the age of 18 years since August 2002.[195] By providing children with accurate, official age documentation, the government worked to stem the recruitment of underage children by traffickers, and ensure underage children were not admitted to the military.[196] In addition, 45,000 orphans or children living alone were reintegrated into family living situations.[197]

UNICEF and the Government of Angola expanded their existing Back-to-School campaign by recruiting and training 29,000 new primary school teachers for the 2004 school year.[198] As a result, student enrollment increased by nearly 1 million, primarily in grades 1 through 4.[199] The program is developing into Education for All.[200] In April 2004, the Ministry of Education held public consultations on the proposed National Plan of Action for Education for All.[201]

The World Food Program is involved in food-for-work programs including the reconstruction of schools and destroyed infrastructure, food-for-training projects for demobilized soldiers and their families,[202] and school feeding programs.[203] In March 2003, the World Bank approved a USD 33 million grant to provide services to underage soldiers in settlement communities.[204] Services include family tracing and reunification, trauma counseling and psychosocial care, and the facilitation of access to education, recreation, and vocational training for children over the age of 15.[205]


[162] Government of Angola, Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) Report: Angola, UNICEF, Luanda, April 2002, 13; available from http://www.childinfo.org/MICS2/newreports/angola/angola.pdf.

[163] U.S. Embassy-Luanda, unclassified telegram no. 0927 (corrected), August 2004.

[164] Governo de Unidade e Reconciliação Nacional República de Angola, Relatório de Seguimento das Metas da Cimeira Mundial pela Infância, December 2000, 13; available from http://www.unicef.org/specialsession/how_country/edr_angola_pt.PDF. It is reported that Angolan children, particularly street children, have been accused of witchcraft and targeted for violence and torture. See Paul Salopek, "Children in Angola tortured as witches," Chicago Tribune (Chicago), March 28, 2004; available from http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-0403280349mar28,1,5350944,print.story.

[165] U.S. Embassy-Luanda, unclassified telegram no. 0927 (corrected).

[166] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2003: Angola, Washington D.C., February 25, 2004, Section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2003/27711.htm.

[167] UNWire, Angola: Children Survive War as Scavengers, Prostitutes, online, United Nations Foundation, May 30, 2002, [cited June 4, 2004]; available from http://www.unwire.org/unwire/19990601/2898_story.asp.

[168] Watch List on Children and Armed Conflict, Angola: Important Note, ReliefWeb, [online] April 25, 2002 [cited June 4, 2004], 11; available from http://www.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/vID/CE7CF6EEF87D82D785256BD6006B39C0?OpenDocument. See also U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report – 2004: Angola, Washington, D.C., June 14, 2004; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2004/33188.htm. In June 2003 it was estimated that there are as many as 1,000 children engaged in prostitution in Luanda. See U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2003: Angola, Section 5.

[169] U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report – 2004: Angola. It is also reported that children are trafficked into the Democratic Republic of Congo. See IRIN, Angola: Attempts to curb child exploitation, [online] 2004 [cited February 11, 2004]; available from http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=38928&SelectRegion=Southern_Africa&SelectCountry=ANGOLA.

[170] UN Commission on Human Rights, Preliminary Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, prepared by Katarina Tomasevski, 2001, [cited June 8, 2004]; available from http://www.right-to-education.org/.

[171] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2003: Angola, Section 5.

[172] UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Global Education Digest 2004, [CD-ROM] 2004 [cited November 8, 2004]; available from http://portal.unesco.org/uis/TEMPLATE/html/HTMLTables/education/gerner_primary.htm.

[173] Government of Angola, Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) Standard Tables: Angola, April 27, 2004, Table 11; available from http://www.childinfo.org/MICS2/newreports/angola/angolatables.pdf.

[174] República de Angola, Relatório de Seguimento, 16.

[175] Government of Angola, MICS Standard Tables: Angola, Table 10.

[176] U.S. Embassy-Luanda, unclassified telegram no. 2491, October 2002.

[177] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2003: Angola, Section 5.

[178] U.S. Agency for International Development, Angola – Complex Emergency Situation Report #1, Fiscal Year (FY) 2004, Washington, DC, January 7, 2004; available from http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/humanitarian_assistance/disaster_assistance/countries/angola/fy2004/Angola_CE_SR01_01-07-2004.pdf. See also Watch List on Children and Armed Conflict, Angola, 7.

[179] Watch List on Children and Armed Conflict, Angola, 11.

[180] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2003: Angola, Section 5.

[181] Watch List on Children and Armed Conflict, Angola, 11.

[182] U.S. Embassy-Luanda, unclassified telegram no. 2491. Angola's primary law concerning child labor comes from Articles 29-31 of the Constitutional Law of 1992, which guarantee protection of the family and children. See U.S. Embassy-Luanda, unclassified telegram no. 2685, July 2000.

[183] U.S. Embassy-Luanda, unclassified telegram no. 2491.

[184] Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Angola," in Child Soldiers 1379 Report, 2002, 17; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/cs/childsoldiers.nsf/0/c560bb92d962c64c80256c69004b0797?OpenDocument. According to UNICEF, only 5 percent of the births in Angola are registered, which makes it difficult to verify children's ages for both military recruitment and school enrollment purposes. See UNICEF, UNICEF Humanitarian Appeal for Children and Women Jan-Dec 2002, February 11, 2002, [cited June 8, 2004]; available from http://www.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/0/516282c7f469687a85256b5f00537ff2?OpenDocument.

[185] U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report – 2004: Angola. See also U.S. Embassy-Luanda, unclassified telegram no. 2491.

[186] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2003: Angola, Section 5.

[187] U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report – 2004: Angola.

[188] U.S. Embassy-Luanda, unclassified telegram no. 0927 (corrected).

[189] U.S. Embassy-Luanda, unclassified telegram no. 2491.

[190] Ibid. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2003: Angola, Section 6d.

[191] U.S. Embassy-Luanda, unclassified telegram no. 2685.

[192] Trained local church members, or "Catequistas," provide psychosocial assistance in accordance with local beliefs and practices. See Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Angola."

[193] UN, Humanitarian Situation in Angola: Quarterly Analysis, January-March 2004, 2004; available from http://www.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/0/421a26de7f812c8d85256e8500677a9b?OpenDocument.

[194] UN, Humanitarian Situation in Angola: Quarterly Analysis, April-June 2004, 2004; available from http://www.reliefweb.int/library/documents/2004/ocha-ang-30jun.pdf. See also UN, Humanitarian Situation in Angola: January-March 2004.

[195] U.S. Embassy-Luanda, unclassified telegram no. 0927 (corrected). See also U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report – 2004: Angola.

[196] U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report – 2004: Angola. Because more than 70 percent of children were not registered, they had limited access to health, education, and sanitation. See Watch List on Children and Armed Conflict, Angola, 3.

[197] U.S. Embassy-Luanda, unclassified telegram no. 6571, June 8, 2004.

[198] UNICEF, UNICEF trains thousands of teachers in Angola, [online] October 27 2003 [cited May 24, 2004]; available from http://www.unicef.org.uk/press/news_detail.asp?news_id=190. See also IRIN, Southern Africa: UNICEF appeals for assistance for region's children, [online] December 2, 2003 [cited February 12, 2004]; available from http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=38196&SelectRegion=Southern_Africa&SelectCountry=southern%20africa. In 2002, the Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC), together with UNICEF, launched a Back-to-School campaign in two of the poorest provinces to increase education access for all school-aged children. The program targeted children in the Bié and Malanje provinces in the north. See IRIN, UNICEF appeals for assistance for region's children. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2003: Angola, Section 5.

[199] U.S. Embassy-Luanda, unclassified telegram no. 0927 (corrected).

[200] UNICEF, At a glance: Angola, [online] [cited June 7, 2004]; available from http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/angola.html. The World Declaration on Education for All (EFA) calls for countries, by the end of the decade, to meet the basic learning needs of all children and adults; provide universal access to education for all; create equity in education for women and other underserved groups; focus on actual learning acquisition; broaden the types of educational opportunities available to people; and create better learning environments for students. Participating countries are requested to create Action Plans that detail how they intend to meet the goals of the declaration. For additional information on EFA, please see the glossary to this report.

[201] The consultation adopted a final document adopting 26 recommendations. See Ministry of Education, Final Document, Luanda, April 24, 2004; available from http://www.unesco.org/education/efa/news_en/finalcommunique_Angola.doc.

[202] WFP, Russia Makes a Landmark Pledge of Food Aid for North Korea and Angola, The World Food Programme, [online] [cited June 4, 2004]; available from http://www.wfp.org/newsroom/subsections/preview.asp?content_item_id=1182&section=13.

[203] IRIN, Angola: School feeding an incentive for pupils and parents, [online] October 9, 2003 [cited February 12, 2004]; available from http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=37114&SelectRegion=Southern_Africa&SelectCountry=ANGOLA.

[204] MINARS will be involved in the administration of the project. See The World Bank, Technical Annex for a Proposed Grant of Sdr 24 Million (US$ 33 Million Equivalent) to the Republic of Angola for an Angola Emergency Demobilization and Reintegration Project, T7580-ANG, Washington D.C., March 7, 2003, 31-32; available from http://www.worldbank.org/afr/ao/reports/2003_EDRP_TechAnn.pdf.

[205] Ibid. In coordination with the World Bank, the Government of Angola is in the process of preparing an interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper. See World Bank, Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers, [online] 2004 [cited May 24, 2004]; available from http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/AFRICAEXT/ANGOLAEXTN/0,,menuPK:322504~pagePK:141132~piPK:141123~theSitePK:322490,00.html.

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