Last Updated: Monday, 22 December 2014, 11:20 GMT

2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Suriname

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 - Suriname, 31 August 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d7495450.html [accessed 22 December 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:Unavailable
Minimum age for admission to work:143906
Age to which education is compulsory:123907
Free public education:Yes3908*
Gross primary enrollment rate in 2003:120%3909
Net primary enrollment rate in 2003:92%3910
Percent of children 5-14 attending school:Unavailable
Percent of primary school entrants likely to reach grade 5:Unavailable
Ratified Convention 138:No3911
Ratified Convention 182:4/12/20063912
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes, associated3913
* Must pay for school supplies and related items.

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

According to an ILO survey, children in Suriname work in agriculture, mining, fishing, timber production, domestic service, construction, the furniture industry, and as street vendors, rice and lumber mill workers, and shop assistants.3914 A large proportion of working children work more than 5 hours per day without adult supervision.3915 Informal sector child labor also occurs in such areas as Nickerie and Saramacca.3916 Children are victims of commercial sexual exploitation in Suriname, especially in gold mining areas in the interior.3917 Boys in particular are being targeted by the sex tourism industry.3918 Children are reported to be trafficked internally for sexual exploitation.3919

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.3920 Children under 15 years are prohibited from working on fishing boats.3921 Children under 18 years are prohibited from night work and hazardous work, defined as work dangerous to their life, health, and decency.3922 The Minister of Labor is authorized to determine what constitutes hazardous work. Employers are required to maintain a Register of Young Persons.3923 The minimum age for work is inconsistent with the age to which schooling is compulsory (12).3924 This inconsistency may result in children being employed illegally. Employing a child under 14 is punishable by fines and up to 12 months in prison.3925 Parents who permit their children to work, in violation of child labor laws, may be prosecuted.3926

The law prohibits forced labor, slavery, and practices similar to slavery.3927 The penalty for trafficking of children under age 16 was increased in 2006 to a minimum of 10 years imprisonment.3928 Sexual offenses against girls under 12 years of age are punishable with 12 years imprisonment and with 8 years imprisonment for the same offense against girls ages 12 to 14.3929 Procurement of a minor for illicit sexual purposes is prohibited and is punished by up to 3 years imprisonment. The penalty is increased when the perpetrator makes a living by committing the offense or when the perpetrator is the parent, guardian, or employer of the minor.3930 The law also prohibits brothel operation.3931

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.3932 Police officers are responsible for enforcing child labor laws in the informal sector.3933 According to the U.S. Department of State, the Ministry of Labor and the police sporadically enforce child labor laws.3934 No investigations of exploitive child labor cases were done in rural areas during 2006.3935 Laws concerning worst forms of child labor are considered crimes and, as such, are enforced by the Ministry of Justice and Police, in conjunction with the Youth Police Department.3936 The Youth Police are authorized to remove children from the worst forms of child labor and prosecute offenders.3937 Although the U.S. Department of State reports that the country's law against brothels is not enforced, a special police anti-trafficking unit has conducted limited investigations and raids, including random checks of brothels, to ensure that minors are not working on those premises.3938

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

In late 2006, the Government of Suriname established a National Commission on Child Labor, consisting of representatives from various ministries, labor unions, the private sector, and NGOs.3939 The Commission is tasked to guide the government on the issue of child labor, review labor legislation, make recommendations, and develop a list of worst forms of child labor.3940 The Government continues to participate in ILO-IPEC's initiatives to address child domestic labor, commercial sexual exploitation, and child labor in agriculture.3941

According to the U.S. Department of State, the Ministries of Labor and Social Affairs refer to reducing child labor in their annual policy documents. Also, Suriname government officials often emphasized the importance of reducing this problem.3942


3906 U.S. Department of State, "Suriname," in Country Report on Human Rights Practices – 2006, Washington, DC, March 6, 2007, Section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78906.htm.

3907 Ibid., Section 5. See also U.S. Embassy – Paramaribo, reporting, December 21, 2006.

3908 Constitution of Suriname 1987, with 1992 Reforms, Article 39; available from http://www.georgetown.edu/pdba/Constitutions/Suriname/english.html. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Suriname," Section 5.

3909 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Gross Enrolment Ratio. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/.

3910 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Net Enrolment Rate. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/.

3911 ILO, Ratifications by Country, accessed October 18, 2006; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/cgi-lex/ratifce.pl?Suriname.

3912 ILO, Ratifications by Country, [cited October 18, 2006]; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/cgi-lex/ratifce.pl?El+Salvador.

3913 ILO, IPEC Action Against Child Labor – Highlights 2006, [online] February, 2007 [cited March 29 2007], 29; available from http://www.ilo.org/iloroot/docstore/ipec/prod/eng/20070228_Implementationreport_en_Web.pdf.

3914 Marten Schalkwijk and Wim van den Berg, Suriname-The Situation of Children in Mining, Agriculture, and other Worst Forms of Child Labour: A Rapid Assessment, ILO Subregional Office for the Caribbean, Port-of-Spain, November 2002, 30, 46, 52; available from http://www.ilocarib.org.tt/system_links/link6tst.html. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Suriname," Section 6d. Also see U.S. Embassy – Paramaribo, reporting, December 21, 2006.

3915 Schalkwijk and van den Berg, Suriname – The Situation of Children, 49.

3916 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Suriname."

3917 Ibid., Section 5. See also ECPAT International CSEC Database, Suriname, accessed September 13, 2006; available from http://www.ecpat.net.

3918 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Suriname," Section 5.

3919 U.S. Department of State, "Suriname (Tier 2)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006, Washington, DC, June 5, 2006; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2006/65990.htm.

3920 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 – 2006: Suriname," Section 5.

3921 Clive Pegus, A Review of Child Labour Laws of Suriname, 25.

3922 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Suriname," Section 6d.

3923 Clive Pegus, A Review of Child Labour Laws of Suriname, 27.

3924 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Suriname," Section 5.

3925 U.S. Embassy – Paramaribo, reporting, August 27 2004.

3926 Ibid.

3927 Constitution of Suriname, Article 15. See also Clive Pegus, A Review of Child Labour Laws of Suriname, 29.

3928 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.

3929 Clive Pegus, A Review of Child Labour Laws of Suriname, 29. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Committee on the Rights of the Child: Consideration of Reports Submitted by Suriname, CRC/C/SUR/2, prepared by Government of Suriname, November 24, 2005, 19.

3930 Protection Project, 2005 Human Rights Report on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, [online]; available from http://www.protectionproject.org/.

3931 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Suriname," Section 5.

3932 Ibid., Section 6d. See also Clive Pegus, A Review of Child Labour Laws of Suriname, 33. See also U.S. Embassy – Paramaribo, reporting, December 21, 2006.

3933 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Suriname," Section 6d.

3934 Ibid.

3935 Ibid.

3936 Clive Pegus, A Review of Child Labour Laws of Suriname, 33.

3937 Ibid.

3938 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Suriname."

3939 U.S. Embassy – Paramaribo, reporting, December 21, 2006.

3940 Ibid.

3941 ILO-IPEC, ¿Dónde Trabaja IPEC?, [online] 2005 [cited October 22, 2006]; available from http://www.oit.org.pe/ipec/pagina.php?seccion=27&pagina=164. See also ILO-IPEC official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, November 16, 2006.

3942 U.S. Embassy – Paramaribo, reporting, December 21, 2006.

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