Last Updated: Thursday, 17 April 2014, 13:11 GMT

2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Jamaica

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 - Jamaica, 31 August 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d7493b5a.html [accessed 18 April 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 2002:0.9%2211
Minimum age for admission to work:152212
Age to which education is compulsory:112213
Free public education:Yes2214*
Gross primary enrollment rate in 2004:95%2215
Net primary enrollment rate in 2004:91%2216
Percent of children 5-14 attending school in 2002:98.9%2217
As of 2002, percent of primary school entrants likely to reach grade 5:89%2218
Ratified Convention 138:10/13/20032219
Ratified Convention 182:10/13/20032220
ILO-IPEC Member:Yes2221
* Must pay for school supplies and related items.

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 2002, approximately 1.2 percent of boys and 0.6 percent of girls ages 5 to 14 years were working in Jamaica.2222 The majority of working children were found in the services sector (52.4 percent), followed by agriculture (30.6 percent), manufacturing (7.6 percent), and other sectors (9.4 percent).2223 According to a joint ILOIPEC Government of Jamaica survey, children work on plantations, farms, gardens, and construction sites, as well as in commercial fishing, shops, and markets.2224 Teenage girls as young as 14 are reported to engage in prostitution, especially in tourist areas such as Montego Bay, Kingston, Port Antonio, Ocho Rios, and Negril.2225 Young girls are exploited in bars, casinos, and "go-go" dance clubs.2226

Jamaica is principally a source country for women and children trafficked within the country for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. The majority of victims are Jamaican women and girls, and increasingly boys, who are trafficked from rural to urban and tourist areas for sexual exploitation. Some children are subjected to conditions of forced labor as domestic servants.2227

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law prohibits the employment of children under 15 years, except by parents or guardians in domestic, agricultural, or horticultural work.2228 Children between 12 and 14 are allowed to work in family businesses; however, they are limited to work no more than 28 hours per week.2229 Children between 13 and 15 are permitted to engage in "light work," defined as nonhazardous work that will not interfere with their education, health, or with physical, mental, spiritual, or social development.2230 The law also prohibits children under 15 from working at night or in any industrial undertaking.2231 The law provides for fines and 6 months to 1 year of imprisonment for the violation of child labor laws.2232 Children under 18 are prohibited from working in nightclubs, establishments that sell or serve alcohol or tobacco, and from begging on the streets.2233 The employment of children in nightclubs, or knowingly renting or allowing one's premises to be used for "immoral purposes," is subject to fines or 1 year of imprisonment. Nightclubs employing children are also subject to the revocation of their operating licenses.2234 The law prohibits procuring a child younger than 18 years for the purpose of prostitution and allows for punishments up to 3 years of imprisonment.2235 It also subjects those "carnally knowing" a girl under 12 years to punishment of imprisonment for life.2236 The law prohibits the sale or trafficking of any child and penalizes violators with a fine and or imprisonment up to ten years.2237 Minors of at least 17.5 years may voluntarily enlist for military training with parental consent, but they must be 18 years old upon graduating from training.2238 In 2007, the government passed comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation that specifically prohibits the trafficking of children for labor or commercial sexual exploitation. Penalties include fines and up to 10 years imprisonment.2239

The police are authorized to conduct child labor inspections.2240 However, the lack of officers dedicated to this task contributes to the challenge of effective enforcement, as does the fact that child labor is likely to occur more often in informal sectors. The Child Development Agency (CDA) is responsible for carrying out investigations of abuse and finding places of safety for children subject to exploitation; it makes efforts to prevent child labor violations by conducting public education and community outreach.2241 A police anti-trafficking unit has been established to oversee trafficking policy coordination, and an anti-trafficking coordinator has been appointed in the Office of the Prime Minister. The government is conducting investigations of several trafficking cases and has charged a night club owner for operating a brothel employing children for sexual exploitation.2242 While the police have conducted raids of night clubs, few convictions have resulted.2243

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

The Government of Jamaica has undertaken a high-profile anti-trafficking campaign to coincide with the 2007 Cricket World Cup.2244 In addition, a comprehensive assessment of trafficking is being implemented to ascertain the extent of the problem.2245 Moreover, in conjunction with the IOM, the government has trained police officers, immigration officers, and other government employees on trafficking investigations.2246 The CDA has been operating shelters for child trafficking victims and has established a mechanism for reporting exploitation.2247


2211 UNICEF MICS UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates, March 1, 2007, Article 10.

2212 Government of Jamaica, Child Care and Protection Act of 2004, (2004); available from http://www.cda.gov.jm/downloads/Child_Care_and_Protection_Act_2004.pdf.

2213 U.S. Embassy – Kingston, reporting, January 9, 2007. See also U.S. Department of State, "Jamaica," in Country Report on Human Rights Practices – 2005, Washington, D.C., March 8, 2006, Section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61733htm.

2214 U.S. Embassy – Kingston, reporting, January 9, 2007.

2215 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Gross Enrollment Ratios, Primary; accessed December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org.

2216 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Net Enrolment Rates. Primary. , December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org.

2217 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates.

2218 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Survival Rate to Grade 5. Total, accessed December 18, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org.

2219 ILO, Ratifications by Country, [cited October 18, 2006]; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/cgi-lex/ratifce.pl?Jamaica.

2220 Ibid.

2221 ILO, Alphabetical list of ILO member countries, October 5, 2006 [cited October 18, 2006]; available from http://www.oit.org/public/english/standards/relm/country.htm.

2222 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates.

2223 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Survival Rate to Grade 5. Total.

2224 Kristin Fox, Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), Statistical Information and Monitoring Program and Child Labour (SIMPOC) of ILO, and UNICEF, Report of Youth Activity Survey 2002, June 2004., vii.

2225 U.S. Department of State, "Jamaica," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2006, Washington, D.C., March 6, 2007, Section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78897.htm. See also ECPAT International, Jamaica, [database online] [cited September 13, 2006]; available from http://www.ecpat.net/eng/Ecpat_inter/projects/monitoring/online_database/index.asp.

2226 ECPAT International, Jamaica.

2227 U.S. Department of State, E-mail communication to USDOL official, July 26, 2007.

2228 The Education Act available from http://www.moj.gov.jm/laws/statutes/The%20Education%20Act.pdf. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Jamaica," Section 6d.

2229 U.S. Embassy – Kingston, reporting, January 9, 2007.

2230 Ibid.

2231 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Jamaica," Section 6d. See also U.S. Embassy – Kingston, reporting, January 9, 2007.

2232 U.S. Embassy – Kingston, reporting, January 9, 2007.

2233 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Jamaica," Section 5. See also U.S. Embassy – Kingston, reporting, January 9, 2007.

2234 U.S. Embassy – Kingston, reporting, January 9, 2007.

2235 Offenses Against the Person Act, Article 58.

2236 Ibid., Article 48.

2237 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Jamaica," Section 5. See also U.S. Embassy – Kingston, reporting, March 2, 2005. See also Child Care and Protection Act Article 10.

2238 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Jamaica," in Global Report 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=831.

2239 U.S. Department of State, E-mail communication, July 26, 2007.

2240 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Jamaica." Section 6d. See also Labour Officers (Powers) Act, Section 3.

2241 Jamaica Information Service, CDA Holds Community Outreach in Rocky Point, [online] September 25, 2006 [cited October 21, 2006]; available from http://www.jis.gov.jm/. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Jamaica," Section 6d. See also Jamaica Information Service, Jamaica Making Strides in Safeguarding Children's Rights, [online] February 22, 2005 [cited October 21, 2006]; available from http://www.jis.gov.jm/.

2242 U.S. Embassy – Kingston, reporting, February 28, 2006.

2243 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Jamaica," Section 5.

2244 U.S. Embassy – Kingston, reporting March 1, 2007.

2245 Ibid.

2246 Ibid.

2247 Office of the Press Secretary White House Press Release, "Presidential Determination with Respect to Foreign Governments' Efforts Regarding Trafficking in Persons," (Washington, DC), September 21, 2005. See also U.S. Embassy – Kingston, reporting, March 2, 2005.

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