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The Labor Relations Act prohibits retribution against strikers and provides for grievance procedures if needed. A special section of the Industrial Court handles mandatory arbitration cases. Arbitration agreements are enforceable and can be appealed only to the Industrial Court. Most observers considered this court to be impartial; it consisted of government, business, and labor representatives.
There were several export processing zones (EPZs). The same labor laws applied in the EPZs as in the rest of the country.
c. Prohibition of Forced or Bonded Labor.
The law does not prohibit specifically forced or bonded labor, but there were no reports that it was practiced. There were also no reports of forced or bonded labor by children.
d. Status of Child Labor Practices and Minimum Age for Employment.
The minimum legal age for workers is 12 years. Children from 12 to 14 years of age may work only in family businesses. Children under the age of 18 legally may work only during daylight hours, with the exception of 16- to 18-year-olds, who may work at night in sugar factories. The Ministry of Labor and Small and Micro-Enterprises was responsible for enforcing child labor provisions, but enforcement was lax because there were no established mechanisms for receiving, investigating, and addressing child labor complaints.
There was no organized exploitation of child labor, but a UNICEF study estimated that 1.2 percent of children from 5 to 14 years of age were engaged in paid work, and that 0.3 percent were engaged in unpaid work for someone other than a family member. An ILO study reported that children engaged in several types of work, including scavenging, agriculture, domestic work, street vending, and commercial sexual activity.
The Government has not ratified ILO Convention 182 on elimination of the worst forms of child labor.
e. Acceptable Conditions of Work.
The 1998 Minimum Wages Act established a minimum wage of about $1.10 (TT$7.00) per hour. Actual wages varied considerably among industries, and while the minimum wage did not provide a decent standard of living for a worker and family, most workers earned more than the minimum. The Ministry of Labor enforced the minimum wage regulations.
The Minimum Wages Act also established a 40-hour workweek, time-and-one-half pay for the first 4 hours of overtime on a workday, double pay for the next 4 hours, and triple pay thereafter. For Sundays, holidays, and off days, the act also provides for double pay for the first 8 hours and triple pay thereafter. Daily rest periods and paid annual leave formed part of most employment agreements.
The Factories and Ordinance Bill of 1948 sets requirements for health and safety standards in certain industries and provides for inspections to monitor and enforce compliance. The IRA protects workers who file complaints with the Ministry of Labor regarding illegal or hazardous working conditions. If it is determined upon inspection that hazardous conditions exist in the workplace, the worker is absolved for refusing to comply with an order that would have placed him or her in danger.
f. Trafficking in Persons.
While there were no laws that specifically address trafficking in persons, the illegality of such acts was covered broadly in a variety of laws that addressed kidnaping, labor conditions, pimping and prostitution, slavery, and indentured servitude.
Although child prostitution was illegal and the police reported no cases of it during the year, the ILO and some local officials provided anecdotal but unconfirmed reports of child prostitution in the recent past.
Prostitute in Port-of-Spain Woman
Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery.
In the early years of the 21st Century gvnet.com/humantrafficking/Trinidad&Tobago.htm.
Trinidad and Tobago has earned a reputation as an excellent investment site for international businesses and has one of the highest growth rates and per capita incomes in Latin America .
Trinidad and Tobago is the leading Caribbean producer of oil and gas, and its economy is heavily dependent upon these resources but it also supplies manufactured goods, notably food and beverages, as well as cement to the Caribbean region.
The Manning administration has benefited from fiscal surpluses fueled by the dynamic export sector; however, declines in oil and gas prices have reduced government revenues which will challenge his government’s commitment to maintaining high levels of public investment. [ The World Factbook , U.S.C.I.A. 2009]
Trinidad and Tobago is a destination and transit country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. In some instances, women and girls from Colombia , Venezuela , Guyana , Suriname , and the Dominican Republic have been identified as trafficking victims in Trinidadian brothels and casinos. Additional reporting suggests that men from China and Guyana may be trafficked to Trinidad and Tobago for labor exploitation in construction and other sectors. Trinidad and Tobago also is a transit point to Caribbean destinations such as Barbados and the Netherlands Antilles for traffickers and their victims. – U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009 [full country report]
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