2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Barbados

Selected Statistics and Indicators on Child Labor
Population, children, 5-14 years:
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:16
Compulsory education age:16
Free public education:Yes
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2007:105.1
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2007:96.9
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%):
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2006:94.4
ILO Convention 138:1/4/2000
ILO Convention 182:10/23/2000
ILO-IPEC participating country:Associated

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

There have been some reports of children in Barbados being trafficked internally for the purpose of sexual exploitation. In some instances, children have been compelled by their parents to become prostitutes in the capital of Bridgetown's red light district.

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for employment in Barbados is 16 years. Children under 16 years, however, are allowed to work under certain restrictions. Such children may not work between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m. or during school hours. The work of a young person, defined as between 16 and 18 years old, is also subject to certain restrictions. Young persons may not work in industrial undertakings during the night – from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. – or participate in work that is likely to cause injury to their health, safety, or morals. For the purposes of apprenticeship or vocational training, authorization may be granted to allow young persons to work during the night. Young persons participating in an apprenticeship or vocational training must first obtain a certificate from a medical practitioner confirming that they are fit to be employed, along with consent from a parent or guardian.

The law prohibits forced or compulsory labor. The minimum age for voluntary military services is 18 years, or earlier with parental consent. The law prohibits the removal of persons under 17 years from the island for the purpose of forced labor in foreign countries. Punishment for those involved in this crime is up to 1 year of imprisonment. Procurement of a child for the purpose of prostitution is punishable by up to 15 years of imprisonment. The production, possession, or distribution of child pornography is punishable by 2 to 5 years of imprisonment.

The Child Care Board and the Labor Department are responsible for monitoring and investigating cases of child labor. The Labor Department has a small staff of labor inspectors who conduct spot investigations and verify records to ensure compliance with the law. These inspectors are authorized to take legal action against employers who are found to use underage workers.

USDOS reports that the Government of Barbados has been proactive in prosecuting trafficking suspects and preventing trafficking in persons.

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

The Government of Barbados launched a child labor media campaign in June 2008. The campaign involves print, radio, and television ads to inform the public about child labor and its worst forms.


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