Last Updated: Friday, 24 March 2017, 15:16 GMT

2005 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Peru

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 29 August 2006
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2005 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Peru, 29 August 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d7490313.html [accessed 25 March 2017]
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 Child Labor Measures Adopted by Governments
Ratified Convention 138     11/13/2002
Ratified Convention 182     1/10/2002
ILO-IPEC Member
National Plan for Children
National Child Labor Action Plan 
Sector Action Plan (Commercial Sexual Exploitation)

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

An estimated 16.5 percent of children ages 6 to 14 were counted as working in Peru in 1994. Approximately 18.7 percent of all boys 6 to 14 were working compared to 14.4 percent of girls in the same age group.3741 Children are employed in the agricultural sector, mining and brickmaking.3742 In urban areas, children work as domestics and often sell goods and services in the streets and in markets.3743 Child labor is one of many problems associated with poverty. In 2000, 18.1 percent of the population in Peru were living on less than USD 1 a day.3744

Many children, particularly girls, move from rural to urban areas to work as domestic servants in third-party homes.3745 Boys and girls are also exploited in prostitution.3746 Demand for child prostitutes is most prevalent along commercial routes and in tourist locations, such as beaches, markets, cinemas, theaters, and restaurants.3747 Children are trafficked internally for commercial sexual exploitation and domestic service in Peru.3748 There is little information available on the incidence of external trafficking of children.3749 However, Peruvian children may be among the victims trafficked internationally for commercial sexual exploitation to the United States, Europe and Japan.3750

The General Education Law establishes free and compulsory public education through secondary school.3751 Despite the legal guarantee for free education, some primary school fees continue to be charged.3752 In 2002, the gross primary enrollment rate was 118 percent and the net primary enrollment was 100 percent.3753 Gross and net enrollment ratios are based on the number of students formally registered in primary school and therefore do not necessarily reflect actual school attendance. In 1994, 93.6 percent of children ages 5 to 14 years were attending school.3754 As of 2001, 84 percent of children who started primary school were likely to reach grade five.3755 Girls attend school at a lower rate than boys, and school attendance is lower in rural than in urban areas.3756 Indigenous children and those from rural areas lack access to the education system.3757 Therefore, the average total number of years of schooling and student performance are also sharply lower in rural areas than in urban areas.3758 The Child and Adolescent Code does, however, provide for special arrangements and school timetables so that working children and adolescents can attend school regularly.3759

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

According to the legislation modifying Article 51 of the Child and Adolescent Code, the minimum age for employment is 15 years in non-industrial agricultural work, 16 years for work in the industrial, commercial, and surface mining sectors; and 17 years for work in the industrial fishing sector.3760 Children ages 12 to 14 may perform certain jobs, subject to restrictions, only if they obtain legal permission from the Ministry of Labor and can certify that they are attending school.3761 Children aged 12 to 14 years are prohibited from working more than 4 hours a day, or over 24 hours a week, and adolescents between 15 and 17 years may not work more than 6 hours a day, or over 36 hours a week.3762 In January 2005, the Ministry of Labor created the Office of Labor Protection for Minors to oversee the Ministry's practice of issuing permits to children under 18 years of age to work legally.3763 Work that might harm a child's physical or mental health and development, including underground work or work that involves heavy lifting, night work, or work that might serve as an obstacle to continued school attendance, is prohibited for children under 18 years of age.3764 Working children must be paid at the same rate as adult workers in similar jobs.3765 Regulations require that underage children working in domestic service must have access to education.3766

Various statutes prohibit the worst forms of child labor in Peru. The Child and Adolescent Code prohibits forced and slave labor, economically exploitative labor, prostitution, and trafficking.3767 In 2004, Peru's Congress enacted legislation that increased punishments against clients and others who benefit economically from the prostitution of minors.3768 Updated statutes prohibit trafficking in persons and provide penalties for those who move a person, either within the country or to an area outside the country, for the purposes of sexual exploitation (including prostitution, sexual slavery, and pornography) from 5 to 10 years' imprisonment.3769 If the trafficking victim is under 18 years of age, the punishment is 10 to 15 years' imprisonment.3770 Military service is voluntary and prohibited for children under the age of 18. The Law on Military Service prohibits forced recruitment.3771 Since 1999, the Government of Peru has submitted to the ILO a list or an equivalent document identifying the types of work that it has determined are harmful to the health, safety or morals of children under Convention 182 or Convention 138.3772

The Ministry of Labor is responsible for enforcing child labor laws and its inspectors have legal authority to investigate reports of illegal child labor practices. In 2005, the Ministry had 236 labor inspectors, a 30 percent increase from previous years.3773 The National Police and local prosecutors have law enforcement authority over child labor violations,3774 and the National Police operate a Division for Matters Concerning Children and Adolescents to address cases concerning the rights of children and adolescents.3775 The Municipal Child and Adolescent Defender Centers work with local governments to supervise investigations, apply punishments, and monitor compliance of child labor laws.3776 Although more than one-half of the economically active population in Peru works in the informal sector, inspections are conducted primarily in the formal sector.3777

The Ministry of the Interior and the National Police are the entities responsible for addressing domestic trafficking, while the Foreign Ministry and Immigration authorities work on international trafficking issues.3778 The U.S. Department of State reports that the National Police undertook various raids in 2005, but few perpetrators have been prosecuted. In addition, the government lacks a statistical system to track trafficking cases at the national level.3779

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

The Ministry of Labor and Employment Promotion heads the National Committee to Prevent and Eradicate Child Labor, an organization composed of representatives from various ministries, NGOs, labor unions, and employers' organizations3780 that aims to address child labor issues and fulfill Peru's international commitments to fight child labor.3781 In October 2005, the Committee launched its National Plan for the Prevention and Eradication of Child Labor. The Plan proposes the following actions: raise awareness; develop a judicial framework to combat the commercial exploitation of children and protect the adolescent worker; generate credible statistics; develop social policy on children's rights; and strengthen institutional capacities.3782 The Ministry of Women and Social Development (MIMDES) has a National Action Plan for Children and Adolescents 2002-2010. The plan focuses on providing quality, intercultural basic education, eliminating the worst forms of child labor for children ages 6 to 11 years, and improving working conditions for adolescents at or above the legal working age as part of its strategic objectives.3783 The Ministries of Labor and Employment Promotion; Health; Energy and Mines; and Education operate a system that will allow the government to monitor and verify progress in the elimination of child labor in small-scale mining for a 10-year period (2002-2012).3784

The Government of Peru supports and contributes to a USD 5.5 million regional USDOL-funded ILOIPEC program to eliminate exploitative child labor in the domestic service and commercial sex sectors.3785 The government participated in a USD 1.6 million regional ILO-IPEC project to eliminate child labor in small-scale mining in the Andean region, which ended in February 2005,3786 and continued to participate in a USD 1.5 million 4-year project to improve access to and quality of basic education for children engaged in mining in Peru.3787

With technical assistance from the ILO, MIMDES is implementing a 10-year plan to eliminate child sexual exploitation called Network Now Against Child Sexual Exploitation.3788 The plan includes coordinating with various NGOs to combat commercial sexual exploitation of minors in Iquitos, a popular tourist spot where child prostitution occurs.3789 MIMDES supports an urban program called Street Educators, which provides education and services to children in the streets and markets. MIMDES also supports a Working Group on Children at Risk of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, with assistance from UNICEF and Save the Children.3790 In addition, MIMDES is raising awareness on legislation regarding the commercial sexual exploitation of minors through radio broadcasts and other means.3791 The Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Commerce and Tourism has initiated anti-trafficking campaigns.3792 The government supported NGOs that provided services to sexually exploited and trafficked minors.3793 The Ministry of the Interior is working with its counterparts in the Chilean Government to develop a joint policy on the prevention and protection of children and adolescents in the border regions between the two countries.3794 The Government of Peru, with support from the U.S. Government, receives specialized training in trafficking in persons, including providing aid to victims, collecting credible statistical data on trafficking cases, and aiding government officials outside of the capital in recognizing cases.3795

The National Institute of Family Well-Being has a program that provides a variety of services to working youth, including school support, school reinsertion, reintegration into the family, and vocational training.3796

The Ministry of Education implements a basic education program that aims to improve the quality of education throughout the country by strengthening teachers' skills and providing them with free educational materials, especially in rural areas.3797 The Ministry also operates a tutoring program for children formerly excluded from the public system, including working children.3798 In addition, the Ministry has established night classes and lengthened matriculation periods for youth employed as domestic servants in third-party homes.3799 Finally, the Ministry oversees Proyecto Materiales Educativos (Teaching Materials Project), which strengthens national capacity to develop innovative teaching materials.3800

The Government of Peru, in collaboration with other public and private institutions, has a National Plan for Education for All that is being executed from 2004-2015. The Plan aims to improve rural girls' access to a quality bilingual education with a gender focus.3801 USAID, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, is expanding a girls' education initiative to provide technical assistance, develop models of educational decentralization, and strengthen local educational capacity.3802 The Government's National Nutrition Assistance Program provides nutritious school snacks to children and adolescents in areas with high malnutrition rates.3803

The IDB is providing a social development loan to the Government of Peru that includes an infrastructure component for kindergarten and primary schools in rural areas.3804 The IDB is also providing a loan to the Ministry of Labor and Employment Promotion to develop training activities and facilitate work opportunities and labor market access to youth between the ages of 16 and 24 years. The IDB provided a new loan in May 2005 to the Ministry of Economy and Finance which aims to provide support to social sector reforms in education, labor and other areas.3805 With financing from the World Bank, the Ministry implements a project to extend access to rural basic education, improve teacher quality and motivation in rural areas, and strengthen education management.3806


3741 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates, October 7, 2005. Reliable data on the worst forms of child labor are especially difficult to collect given the often hidden or illegal nature of the worst forms, such as the use of children in the illegal drug trade, prostitution, pornography, and trafficking. As a result, statistics and information on children's work in general are reported in this section. Such statistics and information may or may not include the worst forms of child labor. For more information on the definition of working children and other indicators used in this report, please see the section in the front of the report titled "Data Sources and Definitions."

3742 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2005, section 6d.

3743 Dirección Técnica de Demografía e Indicadores Sociales, Visión del Trabajo Infantil y Adolescente en el Perú, 2001, Institución Nacional de Estadistica e Informatica, Lima, October 2002, 39; available from http://www.oit.org.pe/ipec/tid/docs/la_ninez_en_el_peru.pdf.

3744 World Bank, World Development Indicators 2005 [CD-ROM], Washington, DC, 2005.

3745 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, section 6d.

3746 ECPAT International, Peru, [database online] [cited July 1, 2005], Child Prostitution; available from http://www.ecpat.net/eng/Ecpat_inter/projects/monitoring/online_database/index.asp. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, Section 5.

3747 ECPAT International, Peru, Child Prostitution.

3748 U.S. Department of State, Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000: Trafficking in Persons Report, June 3, 2005; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2004.

3749 ECPAT International, Peru, Trafficking.

3750 U.S. Department of State, Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000: Trafficking in Persons Report, June 3, 2005; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2004. See also U.S. Embassy – Lima, reporting, 2005.

3751 El Presidente de la República, Ley General de Educación, 28044, Lima, July 17, 2003, articles 4 and 12. The General Education Law was passed on July 17, 2003 and includes articles on bilingual, intercultural, and vocational education, as well as on regular and alternative basic education for working children and adolescents. See El Presidente de la República, Ley General de Educación, articles 20, 36 and 37.

3752 UNESCO, Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2006, 2006; available from http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/file_download.php/8c9181640dbf683c9cd900051897900f4accessprimaryeducation.pdf.

3753 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, http://stats.uis.unesco.org/TableViewer/tableView.aspx?ReportId=51 (Gross and Net Enrolment Ratios, Primary; accessed October 2005). For an explanation of gross primary enrollment and/or attendance rates that are greater than 100 percent, please see the definitions of gross primary enrollment rate and gross primary attendance rate in the glossary of this report.

3754 SIMPOC, MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates.

3755 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, http://stats.uis.unesco.org/TableViewer/tableView.aspx?ReportId=51 (School life expectancy, % of repeaters, survival rates; accessed December 2005).

3756 International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, Peru: Report on Core Labour Standards for the WTO: ICFTU Report for the WTO General Council Review of the Trade Policies of Peru, Geneva, May 30-31, 2000; available from http://www.icftu.org.

3757 Ibid.

3758 World Bank, Peru-Rural Education and Teacher Development Project, project information document, PID10829, Washington, D.C., April 1, 2002; available from http://www wds.worldbank.org/servlet/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2001/12/21/000094946_01122104030511/Rendered/PDF/multi0pa ge.pdf.

3759 ILO, The Effective Abolition of Child Labor: Peru, January 2001, 344 [cited July 1, 2005]; available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/relm/gb/docs/gb280/pdf/gb-3-2-abol.pdf.

3760 Government of Peru, Ley que Modifica el Artículo 51 de la Ley No. 27337, Código de los Niños y Adolescentes; available from http://www.cajpe.org.pe/rij/bases/legisla/peru/27571.htm.

3761 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, section 6d. See also Ley que Modifica el Artículo 51. Working adolescents are not required to register with the Ministry of Labor if they are performing unpaid family work; however, the head of the household for which they work must register them in the municipal labor records. See also Government of Peru, Comisión Andina de los Juristas, Red de Información Judicial Andina, Ley que Aprueba el Nuevo Código de los Niños y Adolescentes, Ley no. 27337; available from http://www.cajpe.org.pe/rij/bases/legisla/peru/ley1.html.

3762 Ley que Aprueba el Nuevo Código de los Niños y Adolescentes, Ley no. 27337.

3763 U.S. Embassy – Lima, reporting, 2005.

3764 U.S. Embassy – Lima, reporting, August 15, 2003. See also Inter-American Development Bank, Peru: Stage Three of the National Program to Support Operations of the Compensation and Social Development Fund (FONCODES III), PE-0193, The Inter-American Development Bank, September 11, 2002; available from http://www.iadb.org/exr/doc98/apr/pe1421e.pdf.

3765 Ley que Aprueba el Nuevo Código de los Niños y Adolescentes, Ley no. 27337. 3766 U.S. Embassy – Lima, reporting, August 2004.

3767 Ley que Aprueba el Nuevo Código de los Niños y Adolescentes, Ley no. 27337.

3768 Perpetrators are punished with 4-8 years of imprisonment. The statute also made internet pornography illegal. U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, section 5.

3769 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Peru, section 5.

3770 Ibid.

3771 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, Child Soldiers Global Report 2004-Peru, electronic, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/resources/global-reports?root_id=159&category_id=165.

3772 ILO-IPEC official, email communication to USDOL official, November 14, 2005.

3773 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2005, Section 6d.

3774 U.S. Embassy – Lima, reporting, October 7, 2002.

3775 Estudio Torres y Torres Lara, Directiva No. 19-95-DIVIPOLNA Sobre Atención y Intervención Policial con Niños y Adolescentes (25 de abril de 1995), [cited July 1, 2005]; available from http://www.asesor.com.pe/teleley/direc-19-95.htm.

3776 U.S. Embassy – Lima, reporting, August 25, 2004. See also Inter-American Development Bank, FONCODES III, Artículo 70. See also Ministry of Women and Social Development, Defensoría del Niño y del Adolescente, [online] [cited July 1, 2005]; available from http://www.mimdes.gob.pe/dgnna/dna/.

3777 U.S. Embassy – Lima, reporting, August 25, 2004.

3778 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, section 5.

3779 Ibid.

3780 U.S. Embassy – Lima, reporting, August 25, 2004.

3781 Ibid.

3782 ILO-IPEC, "Perú presentó Plan Nacional contra el trabajo infantil," Boletín Encuentros (October 2005); available from http://www.oit.org.pe/ipec/boletin/noticia_imprimir.php?notCodigo=748. See also Comité Directivo Nacional para la Prevención y Erradicación del Trabajo Infantil (CPETI), Plan Nacional de Prevención y Erradicación del Trabajo Infantil, 2005.

3783 Government of Perú, Plan Nacional de Acción para la Infancia y la Adolescencia 2002-2010: Construyendo un Perú Mejor para la Niñas, Niños y Adolescentes, 2002, 12-13, [previously online]; available from http://www.minmimdes.gob.pe/indiceorg.htm [hard copy on file].

3784 U.S. Embassy – Lima, reporting, August 15, 2003.

3785 See also U.S. Department of Labor – International Child Labor Program, Prevention and Elimination of Child Domestic Labor (CDL) and of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) in Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru, Project Summary, Project Summary, 2004.

3786 The project included Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru. Phase I of this project, funded at USD 2.9 million, began in 2000. See ILO IPEC, Phase I: Program to Prevent and Progressively Eliminate Child Labor in Small-scale Traditional Gold Mining in South America, project document, (ILO) LAR/00/05/050, Geneva, April 1, 2000. See also ILO-IPEC, Phase II: Prevention and Progressive Elimination of Child Labor in Small-scale Traditional Gold Mining in South America, project document, RLA/02/P50/USA, Geneva, September 3, 2002.

3787 See also World Learning Inc., EduFuturo: Educating Artisanal Mining Children in Peru for a Dignified Future, project document, SB 501-000, September 16, 2002.

3788 U.S. Embassy – Lima, reporting, August 25, 2004.

3789 U.S. Embassy – Lima, reporting, 2005.

3790 MIMDES official, "interview" with USDOL official, September 9, 2005.

3791 U.S. Embassy – Lima, reporting, August 25, 2004.

3792 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, section 5.

3793 Centers offered self-esteem workshops, medical attention and job training. Ibid.

3794 ILO-IPEC, "Perú-Chile: dialogo fronterizo para enfrentar el tráfico de niñas, niños y adolescentes," Boletín Encuentros (April 2005); available from http://www.oit.org.pe/ipec/boletin/noticia.php?notCodigo=677.

3795 U. S. Department of State, reporting, January 27, 2005.

3796 National Institute of Family Welfare, Educadores de calle, [online] [cited July 1, 2005]; available from http://www.inabif.gob.pe/web/.

3797 This project includes public schools in marginal urban, rural, border and emergency zones at the pre-school, primary and secondary levels. See Ministry of Education, Programa de educación básica para todos, [online] [cited July 1, 2005]; available from http://www.minedu.gob.pe/secretaria_general/of_administracion/proyectos/educ_basic.htm.

3798 U.S. Embassy – Lima, reporting, August 25, 2004.

3799 U.S. Embassy – Lima, reporting, August 15, 2003.

3800 Ministry of Education, Proyecto Materiales Educativos, [formerly online] [cited May 26, 2004]; available from http://www.minedu.gob.pe/gestion_pedagogica/dir_edu_inicial_primaria/proyectos/materiales_edu/materiales_educa.htm [hard copy on file].

3801 The National Forum on Education for All was formed in October 2002 within the Ministry of Education, with support from UNESCO, UNICEF, UNFPA, UNDP and other public institutions. Ministry of Education, Plan Nacional de Educación para Todos, San Borja, April 7, 2003, 1, 88; available from http://www.minedu.gob.pe/educacionparatodos/plan_nacional/dir.php?obj=dbase.htm.

3802 USAID, Peru: Program Data Sheet 527-006, USAID, [online] 2002 [cited October 14, 2005]; available from http://www.usaid.gov/pubs/cbj2003/lac/pe/527-006.html.

3803 This program includes children and adolescents who work and go to school as target beneficiaries. MIMDES-Programa Nacional de Asistencia Alimentaria, Programas Ejecutados por el Programa Nacional de Asistencia Alimentaria, [online] 2005 [cited July 1, 2005]; available from http://www.pronaa.gob.pe/pronaa/programas_pronaa.htm.

3804 Inter-American Development Bank, FONCODES III, 11.

3805 Inter-American Development Bank, PE-L1009: Support to Social Sector Reforms, [online] July 1, 2005 [cited July 1, 2005]; available from http://www.iadb.org/projects/Project.cfm?project=PE-L1009&Language=English. See also Inter-American Development Bank, PE0241: Youth Training Program, [online] July 1, 2005 [cited July 1, 2005]; available from http://www.iadb.org/projects/Project.cfm?project=PE0241&Language=English.

3806 The project will be active through 2007. World Bank, Peru-Rural Education, project information document. Among other approaches, the project promotes non-formal education at the initial and pre-school levels, including family and community participation, and cost-effective, distance secondary education. In addition, the project supports the rehabilitation of classrooms, rural teacher professional development, and the distribution of multi-grade and bilingual instruction materials. See World Bank, Peru-Rural Education Project, [online] 2003 [cited October 17, 2005]; available from http://web.worldbank.org/external/projects/main?pagePK=64283627&piPK=73230&theSitePK=40941&menuPK=228424&Proje ctid=P055232.

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