2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Argentina

Selected Statistics and Indicators on Child Labor
Percent of children 10-14 estimated as working in 1997:20.7%181
Minimum age for admission to work:14182
Age to which education is compulsory:18183
Free public education:Yes184
Gross primary enrollment rate in 2003:112%185
Net primary enrollment rate in 2003:99%186
Percent of children 5-14 attending school in 1997:96.6%187
As of 2002, percent of primary school entrants likely to reach grade 5:84%188
Ratified Convention 138:11/11/1996189
Ratified Convention 182:2/5/2001190
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes, associated191

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 1997, approximately 25.4 percent of boys and 16 percent of girls ages 10 to 14 were working in Argentina.192 In rural areas, children work with pesticides in family and third-party farms in the production of flowers, tomatoes and strawberries.193 In urban areas, children are engaged in domestic service, food preparation, street sales, and trash recycling.194 They also work in small and medium businesses and workshops, and they perform odd jobs such as opening taxi doors, washing car windshields, and shining shoes.195

Some children in Argentina are exploited in prostitution, sex tourism, and drug trafficking.196 According to a 2001 report from UNICEF, children are exploited in prostitution in a variety of situations, including in massage parlors, brothels, and on the street.197 Girls exploited in prostitution are sometimes denied contact with the outside world, threatened, or beaten.198

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age for employment at 14 years. The law allows children under 14 to work in family businesses in a limited number of job categories, as long as such work is not hazardous.199 Children ages 14 to 18 must present medical certificates that attest to their ability to work and must undergo periodical medical checkups.200 In addition, a government regulation specifically prohibits the employment of children under 14 in domestic service.201 Children who have not completed compulsory schooling may obtain permission to work in cases in which their income is necessary for family survival, as long as they continue their studies.202 Such children are prohibited from working more than six hours a day and 36 hours a week and between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. In some cases, however, children ages 16 to 18 can work additional hours.203

The law provides for six to 15 years of imprisonment for facilitating the prostitution of children under 13, and four to 10 years when it involves children 13 to 17.204 The publication and distribution of pornography that features minors carry penalties of six months to four years of imprisonment.205 Argentine law establishes penalties for the smuggling of minors that range from five to 20 years.206 Forced labor is also prohibited under Argentine law.207 In December 2006, the Senate approved an anti-trafficking law that criminalizes trafficking for prostitution and forced labor. Trafficking, or intending to traffic minors, is punishable by prison terms up to 15 years.208 Argentine law sets the minimum age for volunteering for the Argentine armed forces at 18 years.209

The government has trained 365 labor inspectors and other social actors in identifying child labor and in developing an interdisciplinary approach to the issue.210 According to the U.S. State Department, Argentina made some progress in its actions against trafficking, mostly in the prevention area. One conviction occurred in September 2006 of a former police officer who was sentenced to 14 years in prison for a trafficking-related prostitution case involving a minor.211

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

The National Commission for the Eradication of Child Labor (CONAETI), headed by the Government of Argentina, completed the first national child labor survey conducted in the country.212 Argentina also participates in a USD 2.1 million regional ILO-IPEC child labor survey funded by Canada.213 During 2006, CONAETI's National Plan to Combat Child Labor was approved and enacted by executive decree.214 The plan calls for the national consolidation of data, awareness raising, inter-institutional collaboration, stronger inspection mechanisms, mainstreaming of child laborers into the formal education system, research, coordination of child labor laws, and a national program for the prevention and eradication of child labor in rural and urban settings.215 CONAETI provides technical assistance to action programs implemented by NGOs addressing child labor in the tobacco and trash-picking sectors, including workshops with tobacco producers to encourage corporate social responsibility on child labor issues.216

The Public Ministry established the Unit for the Crime Investigation Against Sexual Integrity and Human Trafficking to coordinate national efforts on trafficking issues.217 At the time of this report, this Unit's work was focused principally in the Federal City of Buenos Aires.218

The Ministry of Education's Integral Program for Educational Equality strengthens the provision of basic education in urban schools that serve vulnerable populations.219

181 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates, October 7, 2005.

182 Government of Argentina, Ley de Contrato de Trabajo, Ley No. 20.744, (May 13, 1976), Article 189; available from http://www.trabajo.gov.ar/legislacion/ley/index.html.

183 U.S. Department of State, "Argentina," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2006, Washington, DC, March 6, 2007, Section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78877.htm.

184 Government of Argentina, Ley Federal de Educación, No. 24.195, (1993), Article 39; available from http://www.me.gov.ar/leyfederal/.

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

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

187 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates.

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

189 ILO, Ratifications by Country, accessed December 27, 2006; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/docs/declworld.htm. See also ILO Convention 138; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/cgi-lex/convde.pl?C138.

190 ILO, Ratifications by Country. See also ILO Convention 182; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/cgi-lex/convde.pl?C182.

191 ILO, Ficha Pais: Argentina, Lima; available from http://www.oit.org.pe/spanish/260ameri/oitreg/activid/proyectos/ipec/do….

192 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates.

193 CONAETI, Trabajo infantil rural, [online] [cited January 26, 2007]; available from http://www.trabajo.gov.ar/conaeti/que_es/rural.htm.

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

195 CONAETI, Trabajo infantil urbano, [online] July 14, 2003 [cited May 25, 2005]; available from http://www.trabajo.gov.ar/conaeti/que_es/urbano.htm.

196 Ibid. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Argentina," Section 6d. See also ECPAT International CSEC Database, Argentina, accessed January 26, 2006; available from http://www.ecpat.net/.

197 UNICEF, La niñez prostituida: Estudio sobre la explotación sexual comercial infantil en la Argentina, Buenos Aires, October 2001, 35.

198 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Argentina," Section 5.

199 Ibid., Section 6d.

200 Ley de Contrato de Trabajo, Articles 187, 188, and 189.

201 Decreto Ley 326/56, Article 2; available from http://www.trabajo.gov.ar/asesoramiento/files/decreto_%20ley%20_326_56….

202 Ley de Contrato de Trabajo, Article 189.

203 Ibid., Article 190.

204 Government of Argentina, Código Penal, Título III, (1921), Article 125 bis; available from http://www.justiniano.com/codigos_juridicos/codigos_argentina.htm.

205 Ibid., Article 128.

206 Government of Argentina, Ley de Migraciones, Ley 25.871, (January 1, 2004), Article 121; available from http://www.jusneuquen.gov.ar/share/legislacion/leyes/leyes_nacionales/l….

207 U.S. Department of State, "Argentina," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2005, Washington, DC, March 8, 2006, Section 6c; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61713.htm.

208 Página 12, "La trata ya es un nuevo delito federal," Página 12, December 7, 2006; available from http://www.pagina12.com.ar/diario/sociedad/3-77363-2006-12-07.html.

209 Government of Argentina, Ley del Servicio Militar Voluntario, (1994), Article 8; available from http://www.resdal.org.ar/Archivo/d000000a.htm.

210 Ministerio de Trabajo Empleo y Seguridad Social, Programa de formación e información sistemática en materia de prevención y erradicación del trabajo infantil.

211 U.S. Department of State, E-mail communication to USDOL official, August 3, 2007.

212 Página 12, "Los chicos ocupados en perder su futuro," Página 12, September 4, 2006; available from http://www.pagina12.com.ar/imprimir/diario/elpais/1-72495-2006-09-04.ht….

213 ILO-IPEC, IPEC Projects from All Donors Except USDOL, November 3, 2006.

214 U.S. Department of State official, Letter to USDOL official, August 2006.

215 CONAETI, Plan Nacional para la Prevención y Erradicación del Trabajo Infantil, October 31, 2002; available from http://www.trabajo.gov.ar/conaeti/actividades/files/plan_nacional_conse….

216 CONAETI, Informe de gestión anual, 2005. See also CONAETI, Report on the basic fundamental norms on the worst forms of child labor and its erradication.

217 Public Ministry, Resolución del Procurador General, June 3, 2005; available from http://www.mpf.gov.ar/Novedades/Resolucion%20UFI%20INTEGRIDAD%20SEXUAL….

218 U.S. Department of State, E-mail communication to USDOL official, August 3, 2007.

219 Ministry of Education, Programa Integral para la Igualdad Educativa, [online] [cited October 19, 2006]; available from http://redteleform.me.gov.ar/piie/.


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