Last Updated: Thursday, 21 August 2014, 11:05 GMT

2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Chile

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 31 August 2007
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Chile, 31 August 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d7492ac.html [accessed 21 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 Statistics and Indicators on Child Labor
Percent of children 5-14 estimated as working in 2003:3.5%947
Minimum age for admission to work:18948
Age to which education is compulsory:12949
Free public education:Yes950
Gross primary enrollment rate in 2004:104%951
Net primary enrollment rate in 2003:85%952
Percent of children 5-14 attending school in 2003:97.2%953
As of 2003, percentage of primary school entrants likely to reach grade 5:99%954
Ratified Convention 138:2/1/1999955
Ratified Convention 182:7/17/2000956
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes957

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 2003, approximately 4.4 percent of boys and 2.6 percent of girls ages 5 to 14 were working in Chile. The majority of working children were found in the services sector (66.6 percent), followed by agriculture (24.7 percent), manufacturing (6.6 percent), and other sectors (2 percent).958 The rate of child work is higher in rural than in urban areas, although the absolute number of working children is higher in urban areas. In urban areas children work in supermarkets, waiting tables in restaurants, selling goods on the street, caring for parked automobiles, and assisting in construction activities. In rural areas, children are involved in harvesting, collecting and selling crops, and caring for farm animals.959

Children are victims of commercial sexual exploitation, in some cases as a result of internal trafficking from rural areas to cities such as Santiago, Iquique, and Valparaiso. Anecdotal reporting suggests that girls have been trafficked to other countries for prostitution after being misled by false newspaper ads recruiting models and product promoters.960

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age for employment without restrictions at 18 years. Children 16 to 18 must obtain permission from their parents or guardians to work. The law establishes that children age 15 may only perform light work that will not affect their health or school attendance, and only with parental permission.961 Children under 18 are also not permitted to work at night between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. (excluding work in a family business), or in nightclubs or similar establishments in which alcohol is consumed.962 All persons under the age of 21 are prohibited from working underground without undergoing a physical exam.963 Penalties include fines, which increase in cases of repeat offenders.964

Chilean laws prohibit slavery and forced labor.965 The minimum age for compulsory military service in Chile is 18.966 The prostitution of children is punishable by prison sentences and fines.967 The law establishes punishments for the production, sale, importation, exportation, distribution, and exhibition of pornography using minors.968 Chilean law prohibits trafficking for prostitution and imposes prison terms of 5 to 20 years if the victim is under 18 years.969

The Ministry of Interior coordinates national efforts to combat trafficking in persons. The Undersecretary of the Interior heads a new committee that includes the Public Prosecutor's office, the Ministry of Justice, the Investigative Police, the Carabineros (uniformed police), the Department of Immigration, the National Institute for Minors (SENAME) and the Ministry of Women's Issues (SERNAM).970 The Public Prosecutor's office is in charge of all prosecutions, while the Ministry of Justice takes the lead on legal issues related to trafficking in persons. Not all forms of trafficking in persons are criminalized in Chile; public prosecutors do not investigate forms of trafficking they will be unable to prosecute. Police are often understaffed and lack basic resources to address trafficking cases.971

The Ministry of Labor enforces labor laws.972 The U.S. Department of State reports that Chile is devoting adequate resources and oversight to child labor policies. During 2006, 1,123 violations were reported in which children and adolescents were engaged in the worst forms of child labor.973

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

As part of its 2001-2010 National Policy on Childhood, the Government of Chile has adopted a national child labor action plan that focuses on raising awareness, collecting data, promoting legislative reform in compliance with ILO conventions, developing targeted intervention programs, and conducting ongoing monitoring and evaluation.974

The Government of Chile collaborates with ILO-IPEC on projects to address the worst forms of child labor. A USD 5.5 million USDOL-funded regional IPEC project works towards the prevention and elimination of child domestic labor and the commercial sexual exploitation of children.975 The Chile component of this project aims to withdraw 316 and prevent 400 children from commercial sexual exploitation.976 Government agencies including SENAME, the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, and the police have developed a list of the worst forms of child labor.977 Based on this list, SENAME developed and maintains a register of documented worst forms of child labor cases with input from the Chilean police forces and the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare.978 SENAME works with international organizations and local NGOs to ensure that children rescued from trafficking are not returned to high-risk and abusive situations.979

The government is funding 16 NGOs that provide counseling, psychological and health care, and educational services to minors that are victims of trafficking.980 SENAME's strategy for combating commercial sexual exploitation of minors includes awareness raising, prevention, and victim's assistance.981 SENAME oversees 10 projects to benefit children and adolescents who live in the streets, providing them with services including school reinsertion and skills training.982 SENAME is expanding its provision of services to children and adolescents engaged in commercial sexual exploitation to four new regions, and is incorporating two new projects in Santiago.983


947 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates, October 7, 2005.

948 Government of Chile, Código del Trabajo de Chile (vigencia desde el 14 de febrero de 2007), (1994), Section 5; available from http://www.dt.gob.cl/legislacion/1611/article-59096.html#h2_1.

949 Ministry of Education, Reforma Educacional 12 Años de Escolaridad, [online] 2006 [cited September 28 2006]; available from http://www.mineduc.cl/index.php?id_portal=1&id_seccion=990&id_contenido=936.

950 Ministry of Education, Hito Sin Precedentes en América Latina, [online] [cited October 20, 2006]; available from http://biblioteca.mineduc.cl/documento/12_anos.pdf.

951 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Gross Enrolment Ratio. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org.

952 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Net Enrolment Rate. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org.

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

954 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Survival Rate to Grade 5. Total, accessed December 18, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org.

955 ILO, Ratifications by Country, accessed October 20, 2006; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/newratframeE.htm.

956 Ibid. See also ILO-IPEC, Ficha Pais: Chile, Lima; available from http://www.oit.org.pe/spanish/260ameri/oitreg/activid/proyectos/ipec/documentos/fichachile.pdf.

957 ILO-IPEC, Ficha Pais: Chile.

958 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates, October 7, 2005.

959 Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, National Statistics Institute, and National Minors Service, Trabajo infantil y adolescente en cifras: Síntesis de la primera encuesta nacional y registro de sus peores formas, ILO-IPEC, Santiago, 2004; available from http://www.oit.org.pe/ipec/documentos/chile.pdf.

960 U.S. Department of State, "Chile," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2006, Washington, DC, March 6, 2007, Section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78884.htm.

961 Government of Chile, Código del Trabajo, Article 13.

962 Ibid., Article 13, 15 and 18.

963 Ibid., Article 14.

964 Ibid., Article 14 and 17.

965 Government of Chile, Constitución Política de 1980 incluidas las Reformas hasta el 2005, Articles 2 and 16; available from http://www.georgetown.edu/pdba/Constitutions/Chile/chile01.html.

966 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Chile" in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=819. All Chileans must register for military service when they turn 18.

967 Government of Chile, Codigo Penal de la República de Chile, Article 367; available from http://www.unifr.ch/derechopenal/legislacion/cl/cpchindx.html. See also Government of Chile, Modifica el Codigo Penal, El Codigo de Procedimiento Penal, y el Codigo Procesal Penal en Materia de Delitos de Pornografia Infantil, 19,927, (January 5, 2004), Article 1; available from http://www.anuariocdh.uchile.cl/anuario/documentos/10.Ley%2019927_DelitoPornografiaInfantil_CHILE.pdf.

968 Government of Chile, Modifica el Codigo Penal, Articles 1 and 8.

969 Government of Chile, Codigo Penal de la República de Chile, Article 367 bis. See also U.S. Embassy – Santiago, reporting, March 7, 2007.

970 U.S. Embassy – Santiago, reporting, March 9, 2007.

971 Ibid.

972 Ministerio del Trabajo y Previsión Social, Servicios Dependientes – Direccion del Trabajo; available from http://www.mintrab.gob.cl/quienes_servicios1.php.

973 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Chile."

974 Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, Plan de Prevención y Erradicación Progresiva del Trabajo Infantil y Adolescente en Chile, National Plan, Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, Santiago de Chile, 2001; available from http://www.oit.org.pe/ipec/doc/documentos/plch.doc. See also Ministerio del Trabajo y Previsión Social, Contexto en Chile y el mundo, [online] 2006 [cited September 28, 2006]; available from http://www.trabajoinfantil.cl/en_chile.html.

975 ILO-IPEC, Prevention and elimination of child domestic labour (CDL) and of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru, project document, Geneva, September 8, 2004.

976 ILO-IPEC, Technical Progress Report – Prevention and Elimination of CSEC in South America, TPR, September 4 2006.

977 Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, Manual de Capacitacion: Sistema de Registro Unico de Peopres Formas de Trabajo Infantil, Santiago, May 2003. See also Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, Categorías, [online] [cited September 28, 2006]; available from www.trabajoinfantil.cl/peores_categorias.html.

978 Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, Sistema de registro, [online] 2006 [cited September 28, 2006]; available from http://www.trabajoinfantil.cl/peores_definiciones.html.

979 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Chile," Section 6d.

980 U.S. Department of State, "Chile (Tier 2 Watch List)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006, Washington, DC, June 5, 2006; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2006/65988.htm.

981 SENAME, Explotación Sexual Infantil: Acción del SENAME, [online] [cited January 29 2007]; available from http://www.sename.cl/interior/explotacion/f_subportada.html.

982 National Minors Service, Niños de la Calle, Proyectos, [online] [cited September 28, 2006]; available from http://www.sename.cl/interior/ninos/f_subportada.html.

983 SENAME, Explotación Sexual Infantil: ¿Que hace el Sename?, [online] [cited October 17 2006]; available from http://www.sename.cl/interior/explotacion/explotacion_04.asp.

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