Last Updated: Friday, 29 August 2014, 14:18 GMT

2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Cape Verde

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 - Cape Verde, 22 September 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48c8ca4b38.html [accessed 30 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 
Ratified Convention 182 10/23/01X
ILO-IPEC Member 
National Plan for Children 
National Child Labor Action Plan 
Sector Action Plan 

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

The ILO estimated that 13.3 percent of children ages 10 to 14 years in Cape Verde were working in 2002.[860] Children work as street vendors and car washers in urban areas including Mindelo, Praia and Sal.[861] The commercial sexual exploitation of children is a problem occurring primarily in urban areas.[862]

Education is free for the first 6 years of primary school.[863] Education is compulsory until the age of 16 years.[864] In 2001, the gross primary enrollment rate was 122.6 percent; 124.9 percent for boys and 120.2 percent for girls.[865] In 2001, the net primary enrollment rate was 99.4 percent.[866] 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. Recent primary school attendance statistics are not available for Cape Verde. Approximately 88 percent of per student cost goes toward teachers' salaries, leaving insufficient funds for school materials, lunches, and books, and there is a high repetition rate for certain grades.[867]

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.[868] Children between the ages of 14 and 18 may not work more than 38 hours per week or more than 7 hours per day.[869] Children of compulsory school age are prohibited from working, and the Constitution expressly forbids the exploitation of child labor.[870] Forced or bonded labor by children and the trafficking of children is expressly prohibited by law.[871] The 2004 Penal Code unified diverse legislation on child abuse in the work place and child trafficking.[872] The new penal code prohibits certain forms of child sexual exploitation.[873] The trafficking of children for the purposes of prostitution is punishable by 2 to 8 years imprisonment.[874] According to the U.S. Department of State, the Ministry of Justice and Labor enforced the minimum age laws in urban and formal sectors of the economy with limited success.[875] Cape Verde has no formal institutional mechanisms to investigate and address complaints relating to the worst forms of child labor, but the Penal Code can be used for criminal cases related to the worst forms of child labor.[876]

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

In July 2001, the government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with international organizations sponsoring Education for All.[877] Under the MOU, the sponsors and the government will prepare a National Plan of Action for Education for All to coordinate efforts to ensure universal access to a quality education is achieved by 2015.[878] The Ministry of Education and the WFP have agreed to renew collaboration through 2005 on primary school feeding programs.[879] WFP provides free meals in over 450 primary and pre-primary schools to help boost school enrollment and improve student performance.[880] UNICEF and the Government of Cape Verde have also launched a variety of initiatives to improve access to schooling, particularly for girls, including programs that provide educational materials and address gender bias.[881] The Government in conjunction with the World Bank supported the Education and Training Consolidation and Modernization Project though June 2004, which aims to improve primary school infrastructure and textbook supply.[882] The government also supports radio and television programs that provide alternative educational opportunities to children of primary-school age.[883] The government of Cape Verde works with NGOs, international organizations, and other countries on several bilateral and multilateral projects aimed at expanding educational opportunities for youth and adults.[884] These efforts include teacher training programs, school infrastructure improvements, and improving pre-school and special education.[885]


[860] World Bank, World Development Indicators 2004 [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2003. The Ministry of Employment, Training and Social Integration estimates that 3.3 percent of children 5 to 13 years old are engaged in paid or unpaid work inside or outside the home. See Government of Cape Verde, Cape Verde National Report on Follow Up to the World Summit for Children and Lima Accord, Ministry of Employment, Training, and Social Integration, Praia, 2000, Annex 1.

[861] UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Cape Verde, CRC/C/15/Add.167, Geneva, October 12, 2001, paras. 57 and 61; available from http://www.hri.ca/fortherecord2001/documentation/tbodies/crc-c-11-add23.htm.

[862] The commercial sexual exploitation of children may be linked to a recent increase in tourism. See U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2003: Cape Verde, 2004 [cited February 26, 2004]; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2003/27717.htm. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Periodic Reports of States Parties Due in 1994: Cape Verde, CRC/C/11/Add.23, United Nations, January 2001. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations.

[863] These 6 years are typically from the ages of 6 to 12. Secondary education is free only for children whose families have an annual income below approximately 160,000 escudos (USD 1,750). See U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2003: Cape Verde, Section 5. For currency conversion, see FXConverter, [online] [cited June 18, 2004]; available from http://www.oanda.com/convert/classic.

[864] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2003: Cape Verde, Section 5.

[865] World Bank, World Development Indicators 2004. For an explanation of gross primary enrollment and/or attendance rates that are greater than 100 percent, please see the definitions of gross primary enrollment rate and gross primary attendance rate in the glossary of this report.

[866] Ibid.

[867] World Bank, Cape Verde – Education and Training Consolidation and Modernization Project, [online] April 30, 1999 [cited February 27, 2004]; available from http://www-wds.worldbank.org/servlet/WDSServlet?pcont=details&eid=000094946_99052608145863.

[868] Embassy of the Republic of Cape Verde, letter to USDOL official, October 26, 2001. See also U.S. Embassy-Praia, unclassified telegram no. 0552, July 31, 2003. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2003: Cape Verde, Section 6d.

[869] Gregorio Semodo, letter to USDOL official, October 26, 2001. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2003: Cape Verde, Section 6d.

[870] CONSTITUIÇÃO DA REPÚBLICA, Lei Constitucional n.º 1/V/99 de 23 de Novembro, Article 89 (2) and (3), (1999); available from http://www.parlamento.cv/constituicao/const00.htm.

[871] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2003: Cape Verde, Sections 6c and 6f. .

[872] U.S. Embassy-Praia, unclassified telegram no. 0539, September 17, 2004.

[873] According to Article 148 of the Penal Code, the facilitation of sexual acts with persons under 14 or with mental illness by parents is punishable by 2 to 8 years of imprisonment. The same crime committed on children between the ages of 14 and 16 years may be punished by a prison term of 1 to 5 years. There are additional penalties based on the circumstances. See U.S. Embassy-Praia official, email communication to USDOL official, May 19, 2005. See also The Protection Project, "Cape Verde," in Human Rights Report on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children: A Country-by-Country Report on a Contemporary Form of Slavery, Washington, D.C., March 2002; available from http://209.190.246.239/protectionproject/statutesPDF/CapeVerde.pdf.

[874] Penal Code, Article 149, as cited in U.S. Embassy-Praia official, email communication.

[875] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2003: Cape Verde, Section 6d.

[876] U.S. Embassy-Praia, unclassified telegram no. 0539.

[877] The sponsors of EFA in Cape Verde include FAO, UNESCO, UNDP, UNICEF, UN Population Fund, the World Bank, and WHO. See Cape Verde – Memorandum of Understanding between the Sponsors of Education for All and the Government of Cape Verde, UNESCO, July 20, 2001 [cited March 3, 2004]; available from http://www.dakar.unesco.org/countries/news_docs_comnat/010816_en_capvert.shtml.

[878] Ibid.

[879] When they are able, local farmers donate surplus crops toward this effort. See WFP, "Cape Verde: How Long Should Support Last?," in Global School Feeding Report – 2002, Rome, 2002.

[880] Integrated Regional Information Networks, "Cape Verde: Feeding for the future", IRINnews.org, [online], October 30, 2003 [cited February 12, 2004]; available from http://www.irinnews.org/print.asp?ReportID=37546.

[881] UNICEF, Girls' Education in Cape Verde, [online] [cited August 25, 2003]; available from http://www.unicef.org/programme/girlseducation/action/cases/cape_verde.htm.

[882] World Bank, Education and Training Consolidation and Modernization Project, in World Bank, [online] March 3, 2004 [cited March 3, 2004]; available from http://web.worldbank.org/external/projects/main?pagePK=104231&piPK=40941&menuPK=228424&Projectid=P055468.

[883] U.S. Embassy-Praia, unclassified telegram no. 0552.

[884] Ministry of Education and the Development of Human Resources, Balanço da Cooperação, Praia, August 2003; available from http://www.minedu.cv/pdf/propproj/cooperacao/balancocooperacao.pdf.

[885] Ibid.

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