Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 September 2014, 13:07 GMT

2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Honduras

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 - Honduras, 31 August 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d7493953.html [accessed 30 September 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 2002:9.2%2021
Minimum age for admission to work:162022
Age to which education is compulsory:132023
Free public education:Yes2024
Gross primary enrollment rate in 2004:113%2025
Net primary enrollment rate in 2004:91%2026
Percent of children 5-14 attending school in 2002:80.1%2027
Percentage of primary school entrants likely to reach grade 5:Unavailable
Ratified Convention 138:6/9/19802028
Ratified Convention 182:10/25/20012029
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes2030

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 2002, approximately 13.3 percent of boys and 5.0 percent of girls ages 5 to 14 years were working in Honduras.2031 The majority of working children were found in the agricultural sector (59.1 percent), followed by services (28.5 percent), manufacturing (10.9 percent), and other sectors (1.4 percent).2032 Children work on melon and sugarcane farms, as lobster divers, in garbage disposal sites, the maquila sector, and as domestic servants.2033 Children have been involved in the sale of drugs in Olancho and Comayagua.2034

Honduran children are trafficked internally for commercial sexual exploitation.2035 Children from rural areas are trafficked to urban and tourist centers such as San Pedro Sula, the North Caribbean Coast, and the Bay Islands.2036 Between 20 and 30 children, mostly girls, are trafficked daily across the border with Guatemala for sexual exploitation. A national NGO reported that there were 10,000 child trafficking victims during 2006.2037

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age for employment at 16 years.2038 Children 14 to 15 years are permitted to work with parental consent and the Ministry of Labor's permission.2039 The law prohibits a child younger than 14 years from working, even with parental permission.2040 If children 14 or 15 years are hired, an employer must certify that they have finished or are finishing compulsory schooling.2041 Individuals who allow or oblige children to work illegally face fines as well as prison sentences of 3 to 5 years.2042 Children under 16 are prohibited from working at night and in clubs, theaters, circuses, cafes, bars, in establishments that serve alcoholic beverages, or in jobs that have been determined to be unhealthy or dangerous.2043 No child under age 16 is allowed to work in hazardous conditions, which are defined by Honduran law to include standing on high scaffolding; exposure to toxic substances; diving underwater; working in tunnels or underground; working with wood-cutting machines, ovens, smelters, or heavy presses; and exposure to vehicular traffic, high-voltage electrical currents, and garbage.2044 Children under 17 years may only work 6 hours per day and for no more than 30 hours per week.2045

According to the U.S. Department of State, enforcement of child labor laws by the Ministry of Labor is not effective outside the maquila sector. Violations occur mostly in the agricultural export sector, family farming, small-scale services, and commerce.2046

Honduran law requires recruits to be 18 in order to enlist voluntarily in the armed forces. There is no compulsory conscription.2047

In Honduras, the child and adolescent code states that children are protected against sexual exploitation, child prostitution, and child pornography; violators face 3 to 5 years of imprisonment.2048 The penal code indicates that those who promote or facilitate child prostitution are punished with 7.5 to 12 years of imprisonment and fines.2049 A new antitrafficking law increased penalties and defined new offenses in relation to trafficking in persons. The law establishes fines and prison terms of 4 to 20 years for prostitution, incest, lechery, knowingly infecting someone with HIV/AIDS, abuse, and pornography related to trafficking.2050 A criminal code reform that includes the classification of the conducts related to the commercial sexual exploitation of children was approved in 2006.2051 The U.S. Department of State reports that enforcement of the new law has been limited.2052 However, the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Children has cooperated with the Governments of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Nicaragua to locate and repatriate children who were trafficking victims. As a result of this international cooperation, 53 trafficked children have been returned to Honduras.2053

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

Honduras is implementing a National Plan of Action to Eradicate Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children.2054 The Government of Honduras is educating government officials and the tourism industry about anti-trafficking law reforms.2055

The Government of Honduras is currently participating in a number of ILO-IPEC implemented projects including a USD 8.7 million 2002-2009 USDOL-funded regional project that works to combat the commercial sexual exploitation of children. The project targets 713 children for withdrawal and 657 children for prevention from trafficking and commercial sexual exploitationin the region.2056 As part of an effort to build capacity to improve labor law compliance among the CAFTA-DR partners, USDOL is providing USD 2.85 million for a project to strengthen outreach efforts in the agriculture sector in the region, where child labor is a serious problem.2057 Another ILO-IPEC implemented USD 500,000 project, funded by the Netherlands, works to combat child domestic work through education and training. A USD 2.7 million ILO-IPEC project funded by Italy combats child labor in garbage dumps. The Government of Honduras participates in a USD 500,000 ILO-IPEC project funded by Canada that focuses on combating child labor through strengthening labor ministries and workers. Honduras also participates in a USD 14 million ILO-IPEC regional project funded by Spain.2058

In addition, the Government of Honduras is participating in a 2004-2008 USD 5.7 million USDOL-funded regional project implemented by CARE to combat child labor through education. The project targets 470 children for withdrawal and 1,410 children for prevention from exploitive child labor.2059


2021 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates, October 7, 2005.

2022 Government of Honduras, Codigo de Trabajo de la Republica de Honduras y sus reformas, 1959, Decreto No. 189; available from http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/WEBTEXT/29076/64849/S59HND01.htm.

2023 U.S. Department of State, "Honduras," 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/2006/78896.htm.

2024 Constitución de la República de Honduras, 1982, Article 171; available from http://www.georgetown.edu/pdba/Constitutions/Honduras/hond82.html.

2025 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Gross Enrolment Ratio. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/.

2026 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Net Enrolment Rate. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/.

2027 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates.

2028 ILO, Ratifications by Country, accessed December 28, 2006; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/docs/declworld.htm. See also ILO-IPEC, Combating Child Labor in the Commercial Agriculture Sector in Central America and the Dominican Republic, technical progress report, RLA/00/P54/USA, ILO-IPEC, Geneva, March 2004.

2029 ILO, Ratifications by Country. See also USAID Development Indicators Service, Global Education Database, [online] 2004 [cited October 10, 2004]; available from http://qesdb.cdie.org/ged/index.html.

2030 ILO-IPEC, Ficha Pais: Honduras, 2006; available from http://www.oit.org.pe/ipec/documentos/ficha_pais_hon.pdf.

2031 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates.

2032 Ibid.

2033 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Honduras," Section 6d.

2034 National Commission for the Eradication of Child Labor, Plan de Acción Nacional Para la Erradicación Gradual y Progresiva del Trabajo Infantil en Honduras, Tegucigalpa, December 2001, 97.

2035 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Honduras," Section 5.

2036 U.S. Department of State, "Honduras (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/2006/65989.htm.

2037 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Honduras," Section 5.

2038 Codigo de Trabajo de la República de Honduras y sus Reformas, 1959, Decreto No. 189, Articulos 128-129; available from http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/WEBTEXT/29076/64849/S59HND01.htm. See also Constitución de la República de Honduras, 1982, Capitulo 5, Articulo 128, Numero 7.

2039 Codigo de Trabajo, Articulos 133 and 128. See also Código de la Niñez y de la Adolescencia, 1996, Articulo 119; available from http://www.bvs.hn/bva/fulltext/Leyes_honduras.PDF. See also Constitución de la República de Honduras, 1982, Capitulo 5, Articulo 128, Numero 7.

2040 Código de la Niñez y de la Adolescencia, 1996, Articulos 119 and 120.

2041 Codigo de Trabajo, Articulo 133.

2042 Código de la Niñez y de la Adolescencia, 1996., Articulo 134.

2043 Codigo de Trabajo, Articulos 128 and 129.

2044 U.S. Embassy – Tegucigalpa, reporting, August 25, 2004.

2045 Constitución de la República de Honduras, 1982, Capitulo 5, Articulo 128, Numero 7.

2046 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Honduras." Section 6d.

2047 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Honduras," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=830.

2048 Código de la Niñez y de la Adolescencia, 1996, Articulos 134 and 141.

2049 Government of Honduras, Legislation of Interpol member states on sexual offences against children: Honduras, [database online] 2004 [cited June 22, 2005], Article 148; available from http://www.interpol.int/Public/Children/SexualAbuse/NationalLaws/csaHonduras.asp.

2050 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Honduras," Section 6d.

2051 ILO-IPEC, Stop the Exploitation: Contribution to the Prevention and Elimination of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Central America, Panama and the Dominican Republic, technical progress report, March 15, 2006.

2052 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Honduras," Section 5.

2053 Ibid., Section 5.

2054 ILO-IPEC, Ficha Pais: Honduras.

2055 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Honduras."

2056 ILO-IPEC, Stop the Exploitation: Contribution to the Prevention and Elimination of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Central America, Panama and the Dominican Republic, 2002.

2057 Social Accountability International, Project CULTIVAR: Advancing Labor Rights in Agriculture in Central America, project document, New York, August 8, 2007.

2058 ILO-IPEC, IPEC Projects from All Donors Except USDOL, November 3, 2006.

2059 U.S. Department of Labor, Project Primero Aprendo, project summary. , 2004.

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