Birth Registration: Citizenship can be derived by birth within the country or from one’s parents. The government has a network of services, such as notary and civil identification records offices in all municipalities, and the Birth Registration Project located in hospitals and health centers. Failure to register births did not result in denial of public services. The government attributed the nonregistration of births to uncertainty as to the identity of fathers, parental neglect, and a lack of information on registration in the poorest communities.
Education: The government provided tuition-free and universal education for all children between the ages of six and 12. Education is compulsory until the age of 15. Secondary education was free only to children whose families had an annual income below 147,000 escudos ($1,482).
Child Abuse: Violence against children remained a problem. The government tried to combat it through a national network that included the Cabo Verdean Institute of Childhood and Adolescence (ICCA), various police forces, the Attorney General’s Office, hospitals, and health centers. The government attempted to reduce sexual abuse and violence against children through several programs such as Dial a Complaint, the Children’s Emergency Program, Project Our House, Welcome Centers for Street Children, Project Safe Space, Project Substitute Family, and the creation during 2014 of five ICCA offices.
Data from the Children’s Emergency Program and the Local Social Service programs indicated that during the first six months of the year, there were 126 reported cases of violence and aggression and 72 reported cases of sexual abuse of children. Actual prevalence was higher; not every case was reported because perpetrators were often relatives of the child.
Early and Forced Marriage: The legal minimum age of marriage is 18 years.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: The law punishes those that foment, promote, or facilitate prostitution or sexual exploitation of children age 16 and under with a penalty of four to 10 years in prison. If the victim is age 17 to 18, the penalty is two to six years in prison, which is inconsistent with international law on trafficking in persons. The law punishes those that induce, transport, or provide housing or create the conditions for sexual exploitation and prostitution of children age 16 and under in a foreign country with a penalty of five to 12 years in prison. If the victim is age 17 to 18, the penalty is two to eight years in prison. The law prohibits the use of children under 18 in pornography, with penalties of up to three years in prison. The minimum age for consensual sex is 14. The law also prohibits pedophilia. During the year there were no reported cases of child pornography, but there were cases of children in prostitution. Sex tourism, at times involving children in prostitution, was a problem, particularly on the tourism-focused islands of Sal and Boa Vista. Sexual abuse was more common in the poorest neighborhoods. Children were exploited in sex trafficking in Santa Maria, Praia, and Mindelo.
New amendments to the penal code, published in November 2015, increase penalties for those who engage in the sexual abuse and exploitation of minors or promote the prostitution of minors. These amendments also strengthen penalties for sexual assault, with imprisonment of two to eight years; sexual abuse of children, with penalties from two to eight years; and sexual abuse of minors between 14 and 16 years old, with penalties from two to eight years. Prison sentences increased for the crimes of pimping and the exploitation of minors for pornographic purposes. The new amendments also focus on crimes related to trafficking in persons, penalizing those who offer, deliver, accept, carry, or accommodate a child or other person for the purpose of sexual exploitation, labor exploitation, or extraction of organs. The amendments mandate several penalties, ranging from one to 12 years in prison for such crimes. Despite the amendments, there were no confirmed cases, prosecutions, or arrests related to trafficking in persons during the year.
The government also continued efforts to prevent the sexual exploitation of children through the creation of a national coordinating committee and the development of a code of ethics for the tourism industry.
Institutionalized Children: During the year there were reports of physical abuse of children in a foster care facility managed by the Reformed Congregation of Seventh-day Adventists in Praia. Eight children who spent time at this orphanage were transferred to ICCA’s Children Emergency Center in Praia. The eight minors, six male and two female, were between ages seven and 17. All children were expected to remain at the ICCA center until an investigation was completed.
International Child Abductions: The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. See the Department of State’s Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction at travel.state.gov/content/childabduction/en/legal/compliance.html.