Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Barbados

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 - Barbados, 27 August 2008, available at: [accessed 30 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 Labor263
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:16
Compulsory education age:16
Free public education:Yes
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:100
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:94
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%):
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2004:98
ILO-IPEC participating country:Associated

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

The ILO Subregional Office for the Caribbean conducted a survey of child work in Barbados in 2002 and found that children were involved in work in the services industry, vending, trades, and family-related businesses.264 Boys were mostly involved in construction, electrical repairs/installations, fruit vending, horse grooming, and assisting at supermarkets. Girls worked as shop assistants. The working conditions for these children were characterized by long hours, and irregular pay and low remuneration.265

There have been reports of children involved in commercial sexual exploitation, including reports of boys and girls being involved in sex tourism.266 In some instances parents have compelled their children to become prostitutes in Bridgetown's red light district.267 There are unsubstantiated reports of women and girls being trafficked to Barbados for sexual exploitation in brothels and strips clubs, and also for forced domestic service.268

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for employment in Barbados is 16 years.269 Children under 16, however, are allowed to work under certain restrictions.270 Such children may not work between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m. or during school hours.271 The work of a young person, defined as between 16 and 18 years old, is also subject to certain restrictions.272 Young persons may not work in industrial undertakings during the night – from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. – or participate in work that is likely to cause injury to their health, safety, or morals.273 For the purposes of apprenticeship or vocational training, authorization may be granted to allow young persons to work during the night.274 Young persons participating in an apprenticeship or vocational training must first obtain a medical certificate from a medical practitioner confirming that they are fit to be employed.275

The Child Care Board and the Labor Department are responsible for monitoring and investigating cases of child labor.276 The Labor Department has a small staff of labor inspectors who conduct spot investigations and verify records to ensure compliance with the law.277 These inspectors are authorized to take legal action against employers who are found to use underage workers.278

The law prohibits forced or compulsory labor.279 The minimum age for voluntary military services is 18 years old, or earlier with parental consent.280 The Young Persons Protection Act of 1918 prohibits the removal of persons under 17 from the island for the purpose of forced labor in foreign countries.281 Anyone who attempts to do so may be arrested.282 Prostitution is illegal.283 In addition, the exploitation of children for use in indecent photographs is prohibited. Any person who is convicted of this offense is liable to imprisonment for two to five years.284 In March of 2007, security forces intercepted a human trafficking ring that was headed for Barbados, with trafficking victims as young as 13 and 14 years old.285 In addition, the government has investigated some allegations and began prosecutions against a small number of possible traffickers, but as of June 2007 there had not been any convictions.286

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

The Government of Barbados has created restrictions on the import of products produced by child labor.287

263 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 U.S. Department of State, "Barbados," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2007, Washington, DC, 2008, section 5, 6d; available from

264 ILO, Regional Fact Sheets on Child Labour: Barbados, Subregional Office for the Caribbean 2002; available from

265 Ibid.

266 EPCAT International CSEC Database, Child Prostitution – Barbados, accessed January 24, 2008; available from ILO, Child Labour in Barbados.

267 U.S. Embassy – Bridgetown, reporting, March 7, 2007.

268 U.S. Department of State, "Barbados," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007, Washington, DC, June 5, 2007; available from

269 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Barbados."section 6d.

270 Government of Barbados, Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, (March 24, 1977); available from

271 Ibid., chapter 346, part V.

272 Ibid., chapter 346, part III.

273 Ibid.

274 Ibid.

275 Government of Barbados, Occupational Training Act, (October 1, 1979); available from

276 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Barbados."

277 Ibid.section 6d.

278 Ibid.section 6d.

279 Ibid. U.S. Department of State, "Barbados," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2006, Washington, DC, 2007, section 6c; available from

280 CIA World Factbook, "Barbados," in CIA World Factbook, Washington, DC, January 17, 2008; available from

281 Government of Barbados, Young Persons Protection Act, (May 17, 1918); available from

282 Ibid.

283 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Barbados."

284 Government of Barbados, Protection of Children Act, (December 20, 1990); available from

285 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Barbados."

286 State, "Trafficking in Persons Report 2007: Barbados."

287 ILO, Child Labour in Barbados.

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