Last Updated: Monday, 14 July 2014, 11:42 GMT

2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - East Timor

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 - East Timor, 31 August 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d7492f4f.html [accessed 14 July 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 ages 5-14 estimated as working:Unavailable
Minimum age for admission to work:151380
Age to which education is compulsory:Not defined1381
Free public education:Yes1382*
Gross primary enrollment rate in 2003:146%1383
Net primary enrollment rate:Unavailable
Percent of children 5-14 attending school:Unavailable
Percent of primary school entrants likely to reach grade 5:Unavailable
Ratified Convention 138:No1384
Ratified Convention 182:No1385
ILO-IPEC participating country:No1386
* Guaranteed by law, but no system has been established to ensure that education is available.

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In East Timor, many children work in agriculture;1387 some children work in the streets of the capital, Dili, selling items and washing cars.1388 There are unconfirmed reports of children used to smuggle goods across the border into Indonesia.1389

Authorities have recognized that child trafficking is a problem, but there is little information about the nature of the trafficking. Most trafficked children are brought to East Timor for prostitution. There have been reports of girls trafficked into East Timor, but their countries of origin are unknown.1390 Although East Timor was not previously considered a source country, starting in 2006, there is evidence that East Timorese girls are targeted for trafficking.1391 There are reports of internal trafficking of girls from rural areas to the capital, Dili, for commercial sexual exploitation.1392

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age for employment at 15 years and prohibits work by a child between 15 and 18 years that would jeopardize their health, safety or morals. However, the official minimum age of 15 does not apply to family-owned businesses, and children working in vocational schools are exempted.1393 Further, the law allows for light work for children older than 12.1394 According to the U.S. Department of State, enforcement of the labor code is limited, especially outside of the capital, Dili.1395

The law forbids compulsory work.1396 Trafficking is prohibited, and the penalty for trafficking minors is imprisonment of 5 to 12 years.1397 The U.S. Department of State also reports no enforcement efforts or prosecutions of traffickers during 2006. In fact, the U.S. Department of State has stated that credible reports suggest that police and customs officials have colluded with traffickers.1398

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

Research has not identified any policies or programs by the Government of East Timor to address exploitive child labor.


1380 U.S. Department of State, "East Timor," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2006, Washington, DC, March 6,2007, section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78772.htm.

1381 Ibid., section 5. See also Government of East Timor, Constitution of the Democratic Republic of East Timor, (2002), article 59; available from http://www.eastimorlawjournal.org/LAWSINDEPENDENCE/ConstitutionofRDTLinEnglish.html.

1382 U.S. Department of State, "East Timor," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2005, Washington, DC, March 8, 2006, section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61607.htm. See also Government of East Timor, Constitution of East Timor, Article 59.

1383 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Gross Enrolment ratio. Primary. Total, December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/.

1384 ILO, Ratifications by Country, accessed March 21, 2007; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/newratframeE.htm.

1385 Ibid.

1386 ILO, IPEC Actions Against Child Labour: Highlights 2006, Geneva, October 2006; available from http://www.ilo.org/iloroot/docstore/ipec/prod/eng/20070228_Implementationreport_en_Web.pdf.

1387 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: East Timor," section 6d.

1388 ILO, East Timor: An New Labour Code for the World's Newest Country, [online] 2002 [cited February 6, 2007]; available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/inf/magazine/43/timor.htm.

1389 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2005: East Timor," section 6d.

1390 Ibid. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: East Timor," section 5.

1391 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: East Timor," section 5.

1392 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: East Timor," Washington, D.C., 2006; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2006/65988.htm.

1393 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2005: East Timor." See also Government of East Timor, Labour Code of the Democratic Republic of East Timor, (May 1, 2002), section 11.3; available from http://www.doingbusiness.org/Documents/LawLibrary/Timor-Leste-Labour-Code.pdf.

1394 Government of East Timor, Labour Code of East Timor, section 11.

1395 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: East Timor," section 5.

1396 Government of East Timor, Constitution of East Timor, secton 50.

1397 Government of East Timor, Immigration and Asylum Law (May 6, 2003), article 81; available from http://www.eastimorlawjournal.org/LAWSINDEPENDENCE/9of2004immigrationasylum.html.

1398 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: East Timor."

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