Last Updated: Thursday, 28 August 2014, 14:19 GMT

2005 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Angola

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 29 August 2006
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2005 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Angola, 29 August 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d748d8c.html [accessed 28 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.

Selected Child Labor Measures Adopted by Governments
Ratified Convention 138     6/13/2001
Ratified Convention 182     6/13/2001
ILO-IPEC Member 
National Plan for Children 
National Child Labor Action Plan 
Sector Action Plan 

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

An estimated 5.2 percent of children ages 7 to 14 were counted as working in Angola in 1995. Approximately 4.9 percent of all boys 5 to 14 were working compared to 5.6 percent of girls in the same age group.138 Children often work on family farms in subsistence agriculture.139 Some children in rural areas also work in diamond mining.140

The combination of poverty and war has led to an influx of orphaned and abandoned children working in urban areas.141 Children in urban areas often work as domestic servants and street vendors in the informal sector. In Luanda alone, it was estimated that there were 10,000 street children; however, following a government-conducted study in 2005 approximately 1,500 were identified and registered.142 Street children are also common in the Benguela and Huambo provinces.143 Some of the street children were displaced or separated from their families and communities during the civil war and have yet to be reunited,144 but the majority of them only work on the streets, returning to their family homes at night or on weekends.145 Children on the streets earn money by shining shoes, washing cars, carrying water, and begging.146 These street children are more vulnerable to resorting to crime or prostitution and are at high risk of sexual and other forms of violence and trafficking.147 Child pornography, forced labor, and other forms of child exploitation are reported to exist in the country.148 Angola is a source country for small numbers of women and children trafficked, primarily internally, for forced labor and sexual exploitation.149 Children who are orphaned, homeless, or internally displaced are the most vulnerable to trafficking.150

Although by law, education in Angola is compulsory and free for 8 years,151 the government reports that a certain percent of students are not in school due to a lack of school buildings and teachers. Students are often responsible for paying additional school-related expenses, including fees for books and supplies.152 In 1999, the gross primary enrollment rate was 74 percent and in 1998, the most recent year for which data are available, the net primary enrollment rate was 61 percent.153 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. There continue to be significant disparities in enrollment between rural and urban areas.154 In 1995, 71.2 percent of children ages 7 to 14 years were attending school.155 It is reported that higher percentages of boys attend school than girls.156 During the conflict, nearly half of all schools were reportedly looted and destroyed, leading to current problems with overcrowding.157 The Ministry of Education hired 20,000 new teachers in 2005, and continued to implement teacher trainings.158 Teachers tend to be underpaid, inadequately trained, and overworked (sometimes teaching two or three shifts a day). Teachers also reportedly demand payment or bribes directly from their students.159 Other factors, such as the presence of landmines, lack of resources and identity papers, and poor health also prevent children from regularly attending school.160 Although budgetary allocations for education were increased in 2004, the education system in Angola continues to be extremely under-funded.161

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

By law, 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.162

The worst forms of child labor may be prosecuted under different statutes in Angola. The Constitution and Angolan statutory law prohibit forced or bonded child labor.163 The 1996 Decree of Application on Military Service established a minimum age of 18 years for voluntary recruitment of men and 20 years for women.164 Trafficking in persons is not specifically prohibited in Angola, but constitutional and statutory laws prohibit kidnapping, forced or bonded servitude, prostitution, illegal entry,165 and pornography.166 Under Angolan law, sexual relations with a child under 12 years are defined as rape. Sexual relations with a child between 12 and 15 years may be defined as sexual abuse, and can result in up to 8 years of imprisonment.167 Since 1999, the Government of Angola has submitted to the ILO a list or an equivalent document identifying the types of work that it has determined are harmful to the health, safety or morals of children under Convention 182 or Convention 138.168

While the Ministry of Public Administration, Employment, and Social Security's (MAPESS) Inspector General has the ultimate authority to enforce labor laws, the Ministry of Family and Women's Affairs currently has jurisdiction over most child labor cases, and is responsible for receiving and often investigating child labor complaints.169 However, the Children's Affairs court, established by the Ministry of Justice in 2003, has jurisdiction over child labor cases in the province of Luanda. The court's coverage will eventually expand into all 18 provinces.170 MAPESS maintains employment centers that screen out prospective employees who are under 14 years. MAPESS has authority to levy fines and order restitution for violations of child labor laws. There is no standard procedure for investigations or formal inspections outside the family law system.171 The Government of Angola does not have the capacity to regulate labor in the informal sector, which is where most children work.172 Individuals may report child labor violations, but the U.S. Department of State reports that both child labor complaints and enforcement of child labor laws are rare.

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

Since May 2002, the government has supported former child soldiers and other children affected by the war under its "Post-war Child Protection Strategy." Under this strategy, these children receive a "child rights package," consisting of birth registration and identification documents, education, skills training, counseling, and family tracing and reunification services. Since 2003, the World Bank has funded the Angola Emergency Demobilization and Reintegration Project, which aims to meet the special needs of female, child, and disabled ex-combatants in establishing sustainable livelihoods.173 The government also established a special Task Force to develop and implement a plan to address the needs of street children.174

Anti-trafficking programs supported by the government include training for border post directors, basic assistance and reintegration services to trafficking victims (including literacy and skills training for children), and enforcement of documentation requirements for international air travel for children unaccompanied by their parents.175 The Ministry of Justice continued its campaign to register children and provide them with identity papers in an effort to prevent trafficking and increase children's access to school and other services. The government operates facilities for abandoned and abducted children throughout the country but these tend to be under-funded, understaffed and overcrowded.176

In 2005, the Government of Angola began participating in a 3-year, USD 4 million USDOL Education Initiative project being implemented by Save the Children-U.S. This project aims to prevent children, particularly former child soldiers, from engaging in the worst forms of child labor.177 The Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC) continues efforts to increase access for out-of-school children, mostly in resettlement areas. Through its Back to School campaign, the MEC continues to train new teachers for placement in schools throughout the country.178 The National Plan on Education for All, which grew out of the Back to School campaign, is one of several initiatives to rebuild the educational system.179 The World Bank is funding projects that include education components, including one that aims to help local communities re-build social infrastructure and develop municipal governments' capacity to provide social services.180 The USD 91.7 million Emergency Multisector Recovery Program aims to improve access to primary education and will support school construction and rehabilitation efforts.181 The World Food Program is also operating programs in Angola, including food-for-work programs which aid in the reconstruction of destroyed infrastructure,182 and school feeding programs.183


138 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates, October 7, 2005. Reliable data on the worst forms of child labor are especially difficult to collect given the often hidden or illegal nature of the worst forms, such as the use of children in the illegal drug trade, prostitution, pornography, and trafficking. As a result, statistics and information on children's work in general are reported in this section. Such statistics and information may or may not include the worst forms of child labor. For more information on the definition of working children and other indicators used in this report, please see the "Data Sources and Definitions" section of this report.

139 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations: Angola, CRC/C/15/Add.246, November 3, 2004, para 64; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/898586b1dc7b4043c1256a450044f331/52a950efa14c0ae3c1256f200055358d/$FILE/G0444313. pdf. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices-2004: Angola, Washington, DC, February 28, 2005, Section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2004/41621.htm. See also U.S. Embassy – Luanda, reporting, September 16, 2005.

140 Rafael Marques, "Beyond "Conflict Diamonds": A New Report on Human Rights and Angolan Diamonds" (March 24, 2005).

141 U.S. Embassy – Luanda, reporting, September 16, 2005. Local NGOs estimate that approximately 100,000 children were abandoned or orphaned as a result of the war. See U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Angola, Section 5.

142 U.S. Embassy – Luanda, reporting (corrected), August 23, 2004. Estimates are based on information from the government's first child registration campaign. See U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Angola, Section 5.

143 U.S. Embassy – Luanda, conference call to USDOL official, March 9, 2005.

144 Ibid. See also U.S. Embassy – Luanda, reporting (corrected), August 23, 2004.

145 Many more children live with their families in extreme poverty on the outskirts of major cities and other areas that have been slow to recover from the war, and are at-risk of becoming street children. United Nations, Humanitarian Situation in Angola: Monthly Analysis, October-November 2004, 2004; available from http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/0/cc3855c3fc3ff171c1256f70003834fa?OpenDocument.

146 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Angola, Section 6.

147 Ibid., Section 5. See also 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. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations: Angola, CRC/C/15/Add.246, para 66.

148 Watch List on Children and Armed Conflict, Angola: Important Note, ReliefWeb, [online] April 25, 2002 [cited June 18, 2005], 11; available from http://www.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/vID/CE7CF6EEF87D82D785256BD6006B39C0?OpenDocument. See also U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report, Washington, DC, June 3, 2005; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2005/46613.htm.

149 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report, Washington, DC, June 5, 2006; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2006/65988.htm.

150 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Angola, Section 5. Children may account for up to half of the refugee and internally displaced population in Angola. Watch List on Children and Armed Conflict, Angola., 7.

151 UN Commission on Human Rights, Preliminary Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, prepared by Katarina Tomasevski, 2001, [cited June 23, 2005]; available from http://www.right-to education.org/content/unreports/unreport1prt3.html.

152 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Angola, Section 5.

153 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, http://stats.uis.unesco.org/TableViewer/tableView.aspx?ReportId=51 (Gross and Net Enrolment Ratios, Primary;accessed December 2005).

154 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations: Angola, CRC/C/15/Add.246, para 52.

155 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates.

156 República de Angola, Relatório de Seguimento.

157 Watch List on Children and Armed Conflict, Angola, 11.

158 U.S. Embassy – Luanda, reporting, September 16, 2005.

159 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Angola, Section 5. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations: Angola, CRC/C/15/Add.246, para 52.

160 Watch List on Children and Armed Conflict, Angola. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations: Angola, CRC/C/15/Add.246, para 26. The lack of birth and identity records, or cedulas, often prevent returnees, IDPs, and other unregistered children from entering the school system in Angola. U.S. Embassy – Luanda, reporting, September 16, 2005.

161 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations: Angola, CRC/C/15/Add.246, paras 13, 52.

162 U.S. Embassy – Luanda, reporting, October 15, 2002. 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, reporting, July 15, 2000.

163 U.S. Embassy – Luanda, reporting, October 15, 2002. The Ministry of Justice has effective mechanisms for enforcing provisions in the formal sector but most labor law violations occur outside the official labor market. See U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Angola, Section 6c.

164 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, Child Soldiers Global Report 2004: Angola, November 17, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=757.

165 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report – 2005: Angola. See also U.S. Embassy – Luanda, reporting, October 15, 2002.

166 U.S. Embassy – Luanda, reporting, October 15, 2002.

167 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Angola, Section 5.

168 ILO-IPEC official, email communication to USDOL official, November 14, 2005.

169 U.S. Embassy – Luanda, reporting, October 15, 2002. U.S. Embassy – Luanda, reporting, September 16, 2005.

170 U.S. Embassy – Luanda, reporting, September 16, 2005.

171 U.S. Embassy – Luanda, reporting, October 15, 2002. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Angola, Section 6d. See also U.S. Embassy – Luanda, reporting, September 16, 2005.

172 U.S. Embassy – Luanda, reporting, September 16, 2005.

173 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, Global Report: Angola. See also World Bank Projects Database, Emergency Demobilization and Reintegration Project; accessed June 29, 2005; available from www.worldbank.org.

174 The Task Force, which is comprised of representatives from the Ministry of Social Assistance and Reintegration, the National Institute for Children, and the Ministry of Women and Family, received technical assistance from UNICEF. See United Nations, Humanitarian Situation in Angola: Oct.-Nov. 2004.

175 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report – 2005: Angola.

176 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Angola, Section 5. The government registered over 4 million children between August 2002 and December 2004. U.S. Embassy – Luanda, reporting, September 16, 2005.

177 U.S. Department of Labor, ICLP Projects Funded in FY 2005, [online] November 18, 2005 [cited February 9, 2006]; available from http://www.dol.gov/ilab/programs/iclp/projectchart05.htm.

178 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Angola, Section 5. See also United Nations, Humanitarian Situation in Angola: Oct.-Nov. 2004.

179 UNICEF, At a glance: Angola, [online] [cited June 18, 2005]; available from http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/angola.html. See also Ministry of Education, Final Document, Luanda, April 24, 2004; available from http://www.unesco.org/education/efa/news_en/finalcommunique_Angola.doc. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations: Angola, CRC/C/15/Add.246, para 52. For additional information on EFA, please see the glossary to this report.

180 World Bank Projects Database, http://www.worldbank.org (Angola Emergency Multisector Recovery Program Project; accessed June 21, 2005). See also World Bank Projects Database, http://www.worldbank.org (Third Social Action Fund; accessed June 21, 2005).

181 The program is funded by a grant of USD 25.8 million from the World Bank, a loan of USD 24.9 million from the World Bank, USD 32 million from the Government of Angola, and USD 9 million from other donors. World Bank, Angola: World Bank Provides Support For Emergency Multisector Recovery Program, press release, Washington, D.C., February 17, 2005; available from www.worldbank.org. See also World Bank Projects Database, (Angola Emergency Multisector Recovery Program Project).

182 There is no indication that food-for-work programs involve children in work activities. WFP, Russia Makes a Landmark Pledge of Food Aid for North Korea and Angola, The World Food Programme, [online] [cited June 18, 2005]; available from http://www.wfp.org/newsroom/subsections/preview.asp?content_item_id=1182&section=13.

183 IRIN, Angola: School feeding an incentive for pupils and parents, [online] October 9, 2003 [cited June 18, 2005]; available from http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=37114&SelectRegion=Southern_Africa&SelectCountry=ANGOLA. The WFP's school feeding and food-for-work programs in Angola were scaled back in late 2004 due to a significant shortage of funding. United Nations, Angola 2005 Humanitarian Framework. During July of 2005, the World Food Program fed 160,000 Angolan children at schools. It aims to feed 200,000 children in school by the end of 2005. WFP, World Hunger – Angola, [online] 2005 [cited December 15, 2005]; available from http://www.wfp.org/country_brief/indexcountry.asp?country=024.

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