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2001 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Cape Verde

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 7 June 2002
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2001 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Cape Verde, 7 June 2002, available at: [accessed 29 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.

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

The Government of Cape Verde has launched several initiatives aimed at improving basic education and providing universal education to all children. The government's current education reform plan contains strategies for improving the curriculum, training teachers and extending compulsory basic education.[465] In July 2001, Cape Verde signed a MOU with the sponsors of Education for All in Cape Verde, which include FAO, UNESCO, UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA, the World Bank, and WHO, under which the sponsors will collaborate in the preparing the National Plan of Action of Education for All, work to include more stakeholders in the system, and better share information.[466]

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 1999, the ILO estimated that 13.7 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 14 in Cape Verde were working.[467] There is no information available on the incidence of child labor in Cape Verde. There are no reports specific to children, but Cape Verde is believed to be a transit point for the trafficking of persons to Europe.[468]

Primary school education is mandatory between the ages of 6 and 14 years and free for children ages 6 to 12.[469] In 1997, the gross primary enrollment rate was 148.8 percent.[470] Primary school attendance rates are unavailable for Cape Verde. While enrollment rates indicate a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children's participation in school.[471] Textbooks have been made available to 90 percent of school children, and 83 percent of the teachers have attended in-service teacher training.[472] Although most children have access to education, some problems remain. For example, many students and some teachers speak Creole at home and have a poor command of Portuguese (the language of instruction); there is insufficient spending on school materials, lunches, and books; and there is a high repetition rate for certain grades.[473]

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Labor Law sets the minimum age for employment at 14 years and prohibits children under the age of 16 from working at night or in enterprises that produce toxic products.[474] Children between the ages of 14 and 18 may not work more than 38 hours per week or more than seven hours per day, except where special permission is granted, and can only work with the consent of their parents.[475] Cape Verde's Constitution protects children from exploitation in the form of child labor.[476] The Ministries of Justice and Labor enforce child labor laws, but only in the urban, formal sector of the economy.[477] Forced and compulsory labor by children is prohibited by law.[478] The Criminal Code prohibits trafficking of children for the purposes of sexual exploitation, and establishes a penalty of 12 to 16 years imprisonment as the penalty for infractions.[479] The government has cooperated with European authorities and neighboring governments to address the issue of trafficking.[480] Cape Verde has not ratified ILO Convention 138, but ratified ILO Convention 182 on October 23, 2001.[481]

[465] Oxfam International, Aid and Education: The Squandered Opportunity, policy paper, March 2000 [hereinafter Aid and Education], at on 10/30/01.

[466] Memorandum of Understanding between the sponsors of Education for All and the Government of Cape Verde at on 12/21/01.

[467] World Development Indicators 2001 (Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2001) [hereinafter World Development Indicators 2001] [CD-ROM].

[468] Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2000 – Cape Verde (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of State, 2001) [hereinafter Country Reports 2000], Section 6f, at

[469] Secondary education is free only for children whose families have an annual income below approximately 160,000 escudos (USD 1,390). See Embassy of the Republic of Cape Verde to the United States of America, and Canada, letter to USDOL official, October 26, 2001 [hereinafter Embassy of the Republic of Cape Verde letter]. See also Country Reports at Section 5. Currency conversion at on 2/7/02.

[470] World Development Indicators 2001.

[471] For a more detailed discussion on the relationship between education statistics and work, see Introduction to this report.

[472] The World Bank, Project Appraisal Document on a Proposed Credit in the Amount of Sdr 4.5 Million (US$6.0 Million Equivalent) to the Republic of Cape Verde for an Education and Training Consolidation and Modernization Project, Report No.18581-CV, April 30, 1999 [hereinafter Project Appraisal Document], 6, at on 10/30/01.

[473] Ibid.

[474] Embassy of the Republic of Cape Verde letter. See also Country Reports 2000 at Section 6d.

[475] Embassy of the Republic of Cape Verde letter.

[476] Constitution of the Republic of Cape Verde (1992), Article 87 (2) at http:/ on 10/12/01.

[477] Country Reports 2000 at Section 6d.

[478] Ibid at 6c.

[479] Law No. 91/V/98, Article 406-D, as cited in Human Rights Reports – Cape Verde, Protection Project Database, at

[480] Country Reports 2000 at Section 6f.

[481] ILO-IPEC, Ratification Map, at on 10/30/01.

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