Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 October 2014, 09:41 GMT

2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Suriname

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 27 August 2008
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Suriname, 27 August 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48caa491c.html [accessed 21 October 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 Labor3210
Working children, 5-14 years (%):
Working boys, 5-14 years (%):
Working girls, 5-14 years (%):
Working children by sector, 5-14 years (%):
     – Agriculture
     – Manufacturing
     – Services
     – Other
Minimum age for work:14
Compulsory education age:12
Free public education:Yes*
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:120
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:94
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%):
Survival rate to grade 5 (%):
ILO-IPEC participating country:Associated
* Must pay for miscellaneous school expenses

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children in Suriname work in agriculture, rice production, and as street vendors, packers, and shop assistants.3211 Children work in sawmills, in gold mining areas in the interior, and in the commercial sex industry.3212 Trafficking of minors is a problem. Reports have indicated an increase in sex tourism leading to a higher incidence of sexual exploitation of children, particularly young boys.3213

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age for employment at 14 years, although children from 12 to 14 years may work in family or special vocational settings if the work is not too physically or mentally demanding or hazardous.3214 Children under 15 years are prohibited from working on fishing boats.3215 Children under 18 years are prohibited from night work, which is defined as the hours between 7:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., and hazardous work, which is defined as work that endangers life, health, and decency, or as determined by the Minister of Labor.3216 Employers are required to maintain a Register of Young Persons that includes each employee's name, address, date of birth, and the occupational starting and ending dates.3217 Employing a child under 14 years is punishable by fines and up to 12 months in prison. Parents who permit their children to work in violation of child labor laws may be prosecuted3218

The law prohibits forced labor, slavery, and practices similar to slavery.3219 The penalty for trafficking children under 16 is a minimum of 10 years imprisonment.3220 Procuring, using or offering a girl under 12 years of age for prostitution, pornography, or pornographic performances is punishable with 12 years imprisonment, and 8 years imprisonment for the same offense against girls ages 12 to 14. There is no specific penalty for those ages 14 to 18.3221 The law also prohibits brothel operation.3222 Military service is not compulsory, although the minimum age for voluntary recruitment into the Armed Forces is not available.3223

The Ministry of Labor's Department of Labor Inspections enforces laws relating to the minimum age for employment and hazardous work through its 40 inspectors in the formal sector.3224 Police officers are responsible for enforcing child labor laws in the informal sector. USDOS reports that there were no investigations of exploitive child labor cases conducted in rural areas during 2007.3225 USDOS reports that both Government action and necessary resources need to increase in order to expand beyond urban areas and into the hinterland.3226 The laws consider the worst forms of child labor crimes and, as such, they are enforced by the Ministry of Justice and Police, in conjunction with the Youth Police Department. The Youth Police are authorized to remove children from the worst forms of child labor and prosecute offenders.3227 Although USDOS reports that the country's law against brothels is not enforced, a special police antitrafficking unit of 5 members has conducted limited investigations and raids, including random checks of brothels, to ensure that minors are not working on those premises.3228 Although there are no Government social programs to prevent and withdraw children from the worst forms of child labor, the Government does support vocational programs for children who are no longer in school.3229

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

The Ministries of Labor and Social Affairs refer to reducing child labor in their annual policy documents.3230 In January 2007, the Government of Suriname installed a working group to address child labor, consisting of representatives from various ministries, labor unions, the private sector, and NGOs. The objective of the working group is to establish a National Commission on child labor, which is tasked with guiding the Government on the issue of child labor, reviewing labor legislation, making recommendations, and developing a list of worst forms of child labor.3231 In early 2007, the Government's trafficking in persons working group launched a new awareness-raising campaign and hosted informational meetings in border areas where trafficking is significant.3232

The Government of Suriname participated in the second phase of a USD 750,000 regional project to combat the worst forms of child labor in the Caribbean, funded by the Government of Canada and implemented by ILO-IPEC.3233


3210 For statistical data not cited here, see the Data Sources and Definitions section. For data on ratifications and ILO-IPEC membership, see the Executive Summary. For minimum age for admission to work, age to which education is compulsory, and free public education, see U.S. Department of State, "Suriname," in Country Report on Human Rights Practices – 2007, Washington, DC, March 11, 2008, section 5, 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100654.htm. See also U.S. Embassy – Paramaribo, reporting, December 6, 2007. See also Government of Suriname, Constitution, articles 38-39; available from http://www.georgetown.edu/pdba/Constitutions/Suriname/english.html.

3211 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Suriname," section 6d. See also U.S. Embassy – Paramaribo, reporting, December 6, 2007. See also U.S. Embassy – Paramaribo, reporting, December 21, 2006.

3212 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Suriname," section 6d. See also U.S. Embassy – Paramaribo, reporting, December 6, 2007. See also U.S. Embassy – Paramaribo official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, July 24, 2008.

3213 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Suriname," section 5. See also U.S. Embassy – Paramaribo official, E-mail communication, July 24, 2008.

3214 Clive Pegus, A Review of Child Labour Laws of Suriname – A Guide to Legislative Reform, ILO Subregional Office for the Caribbean, June 2005, 25. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Suriname," section 6d.

3215 Clive Pegus, A Review of Child Labour Laws of Suriname – a Guide to Legislative Reform, ILO Subregional Office for the Caribbean, June 2005, 25.

3216 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Suriname," section 6d. See also Clive Pegus, A Review of Child Labour Laws of Suriname, 27.

3217 Clive Pegus, A Review of Child Labour Laws of Suriname, 27.

3218 U.S. Embassy – Paramaribo, reporting, August 27, 2004.

3219 Government of Suriname, Constitution, article 15. See also Clive Pegus, A Review of Child Labour Laws of Suriname, 29.

3220 Government of Suriname, Written Replies by the Government of the Suriname Concerning the List of Issues Received by the Committee on the Rights of the Child Relating to the Consideration of the Second Periodic Report of Suriname, CRC/C/SUR/Q/2/Add.1, November 29, 2006, 31; available from http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G06/458/35/PDF/G0645835.pdf?OpenElement. See also Clive Pegus, A Review of Child Labour Laws of Suriname, 29.

3221 Clive Pegus, A Review of Child Labour Laws of Suriname, 29.

3222 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Suriname," section 5.

3223 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Suriname," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=837.

3224 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Suriname," section 6d. See also Clive Pegus, A Review of Child Labour Laws of Suriname, 33. See also U.S. Embassy – Paramaribo, reporting, December 6, 2007.

3225 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Suriname," section 6d.

3226 U.S. Embassy – Paramaribo, reporting, December 6, 2007.

3227 Clive Pegus, A Review of Child Labour Laws of Suriname, 33.

3228 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Suriname," section 6d. See also U.S. Department of State, "Suriname," in Country Report on Human Rights Practices-2006, Washington, DC, March 6, 2007, section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78906.htm. See also Government of Suriname, Written communication, submitted in response to U.S. Department of Labor Federal Register Notice (November 8, 2007) "Request for Information on Efforts by Certain Countries to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor", Washington, DC, February 8, 2008, 4.

3229 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Suriname," section 6d. See also Clive Pegus, A Review of Child Labour Laws of Suriname, 33.

3230 U.S. Embassy – Paramaribo, reporting, December 6, 2007. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Suriname," section 6d.

3231 U.S. Embassy – Paramaribo, reporting, December 6, 2007. See also Government of Suriname, Written communication, 2.

3232 U.S. Department of State, "Suriname (Tier 2)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007, Washington, DC, 2007; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2007/82807.htm.

3233 ILO-IPEC Geneva official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, December 12, 2007.

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