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Algeria

2013 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Minimal Advancement

In 2013, Algeria made a minimal advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The Government's Intersectoral Commission Relative to the Prevention of and Fight against Child Labor met during the year and the Government continued to participate in a regional project to combat child domestic labor. However, children in Algeria continue to engage in child labor in street work and domestic service. The Government has yet to adopt the child protection law drafted in 2007, which includes a hazardous work list. Algerian law does not clearly establish 18 as the minimum age for hazardous work, and the law does not prohibit the use of children in illicit activities. Algeria does not make data on enforcement efforts publicly available, and programs for working children are limited.

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I. Prevalence and Sectoral Distribution of Child Labor

Children in Algeria engage in child labor, including in street work and domestic service.(1-4) The Government collects data on child labor, but does not make such data publicly available.(5) This lack of data makes an understanding of the child labor situation difficult. Table 1 provides key indicators on children's work and education in Algeria. Data on some of these indicators are not available from the sources used in this report.

Table 1. Statistics on Children's Work and Education
Working children, ages 5 to 14 (%): Unavailable
School attendance, ages 5 to 14 (%): Unavailable
Children combining work and school, ages 7 to 14 (%): Unavailable
Primary completion rate (%): 100.2

Source for primary completion rate: Data from 2012, published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2014. (6)
Source for all other data: Understanding Children's Work Project's analysis, 2014. (7)

Based on a review of available information, Table 2 provides an overview of children's work by sector and activity.

Table 2. Overview of Children's Work by Sector and Activity
Sector/Industry Activity
Agriculture Activities unknown (3, 4, 8)
Industry Construction, activities unknown (4, 8, 9)
Services Street work, including vending and collection of plastics (1-4)
Domestic service (3, 4, 8)
Work in small shops and mechanics shops* (10, 11)
Categorical Worst Forms of Child Labor‡ Commercial sexual exploitation as a result of trafficking* (12)

*Evidence of this activity is limited and/or the extent of the problem is unknown.
‡Child labor understood as the worst forms of child labor per se under Article 3(a) - (c) of ILO C. 182.

Current evidence suggests that children, primarily sub-Saharan migrants, are trafficked into prostitution in bars and informal brothels in Tamanrasset and Algiers.(12, 13) Large-scale migration occurs at the Algerian border with Mali.(13) Algerian officials have indicated it is difficult to distinguish trafficking victims from regular migrants in this context.(13)



II. Legal Framework for the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Algeria has ratified all key international conventions concerning child labor (Table 3).

Table 3. Ratification of International Conventions on Child Labor
Convention Ratification
ILO C. 138, Minimum Age
ILO C. 182, Worst Forms of Child Labor
UN CRC
UN CRC Optional Protocol on Armed Conflict
UN CRC Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
Palermo Protocol on Trafficking in Persons

The Government has established relevant laws and regulations related to child labor, including its worst forms (Table 4).

Table 4. Laws and Regulations Related to Child Labor
Standard Yes/No Age Related Legislation
Minimum Age for Work Yes 16 Article 15 of the Labor Code, Section 5 of the Commerce Code (14, 15)
Minimum Age for Hazardous Work No    
List of Hazardous Occupations Prohibited for Children No    
Prohibition of Forced Labor Yes   Penal Code (16, 17)
Prohibition of Child Trafficking Yes   Penal Code (18)
Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Yes   Articles 343 and 344 of the Penal Code (8, 17)
Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities No    
Minimum Age for Compulsory Military Recruitment Yes 19 Legislation title unknown (19, 20)
Minimum Age for Voluntary Military Service Yes 17 Legislation title unknown (19, 20)
Compulsory Education Age Yes 16 Article 12 of the Law No. 08-04 of January 27, 2008 (11)
Free Public Education Yes   Article 13 of the Law No. 08-04 of January 27, 2008 (11)

Algeria does not have a clear minimum age for hazardous work or a list of hazardous occupations prohibited to all children.(14, 15) In 2007, the Ministry of Justice announced that it had drafted a child protection law that contained a hazardous work list; however, as of this reporting period, the Parliament has not yet adopted the legislation.(10, 15)

Research found no indication that Algerian law prohibits the use of a child in illegal activities. Moreover, the ILO Committee of Experts has also noted that there is no law in Algeria that prohibits use of a child in the production, sale, and trafficking of illegal drugs.(21)



III. Enforcement of Laws on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

The Government has established institutional mechanisms for the enforcement of laws and regulations on child labor, including its worst forms (Table 5).

Table 5. Agencies Responsible for Child Labor Law Enforcement
Organization/Agency Role
Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare's Labor Inspection Directorate Investigate labor violations, including involving child labor, and issue citations and fines for labor violations. Demand safety and health problems be addressed if workers' health and safety are at risk.(4, 11, 22, 23) Authorized to conduct regular inspections or special visits to investigate general labor conditions or a specific issue.(4, 23, 24)
Ministry of Interior's National and Border Police Enforce criminal laws relating to child labor violations.(10)
Ministry of Defense's Gendarmerie Police Force Enforce criminal laws relating to child labor violations. Operate in rural areas.(8, 10)
Ministry of Justice's Office of Criminal Affairs and Amnesty Procedures Serve as lead agency in enforcement efforts with regard to trafficking in persons.(13)

Research found no evidence that law enforcement agencies took actions to combat child labor, including its worst forms.

Labor Law Enforcement

There are 27 Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare inspection offices throughout the country. Some cover one wilaya, or governorate, while others cover more than one. According to the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, the Labor Inspectorate had more than 600 operational inspectors as of February 2014.(4, 11) There are more inspectors in urban than in rural areas, although past reports indicate higher levels of child labor in rural areas.(11, 17) The Government indicated that inspections were carried out during 2013, but has declined to make this information available.(4) In its most recent reporting, the ILO Committee of Experts has emphasized that the number of inspections conducted and the number of child labor violations found in recent years in Algeria is not known.(21)

Criminal Law Enforcement

Although there is only limited evidence to suggest a problem with worst forms of child labor covered by criminal laws in Algeria, the Government has noted it is difficult to determine whether there are trafficking victims in the country.(13) Proactive investigations could serve an important role in shedding light on this issue. The Government of Algeria, however, has not made information publicly available on the number of investigations pertaining to trafficking or other worst forms of child labor covered by criminal laws during 2013.(4)



IV. Coordination of Government Efforts on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

The Government has established mechanisms to coordinate its efforts to address child labor, including its worst forms (Table 6).

Table 6. Mechanisms to Coordinate Government Efforts on Child Labor
Coordinating Body Role & Description
Intersectoral Commission Relative to the Prevention of and Fight Against Child Labor Work to prevent and eliminate child labor.(4) Led by the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare with members from NGOs and the following ministries: Health; Interior; Justice; Youth and Sports; Employment and National Solidarity; Family and the Female Condition; National Education, Training and Professional Teaching; Communication and Culture; as well as Agriculture and Rural Development.(25)
Inter-Ministerial Coordinating Committee on Trafficking Manage government efforts to address trafficking. Led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Directorate General for Political Affairs and International Security.(4, 13) Members are the Gendarmerie and the National Police as well as the Ministries of Justice; Health; Labor and Social Welfare; and Employment and National Solidarity.(13, 26)

In 2013, both the Intersectoral Commission and the Inter-Ministerial Coordinating Committee met monthly.(11) Although past reports indicate the Intersectoral Commission organized hundreds of open-door seminars on child labor and education programs and strengthened the labor inspection services, research found no evidence of such activities during 2013.(27)



V. Government Policies on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

The Government of Algeria has established policies related to child labor, including its worst forms (Table 7).

Table 7. Policies Related to Child Labor
Policy Description
An Algeria Fit for Children (National Plan of Action for Children 2008-2015)* Promotes child development and universal access to education.(3, 10, 15)

*The impact of this policy on child labor does not appear to have been studied.

As of June 2012, the Government had not met its timetable for reporting on the implementation of the National Plan of Action for Children. Moreover, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has raised concerns about insufficient funding and technical capacity to carry it out.(3, 18)



VI. Social Programs to Address the Worst Forms of Child Labor

In 2013, the Government of Algeria participated in programs that include the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor, including its worst forms (Table 8).

Table 8. Social Programs to Address Child Labor
Program Description
Combating child domestic labor in Africa and in the countries of the Mediterranean Union $1.3 million, Government of France-funded, 3-year regional project implemented by ILO-IPEC to combat child domestic labor.(28)
Strengthening the Framework of the Arab Region to Prevent and Combat Human Trafficking $650,000, EU-funded, 3-year regional project to strengthen the capacity of Algeria and other Arab governments to address human trafficking. Trained judges throughout Algeria on trafficking issues in 2013.(11, 29)

Despite Algeria's participation in regional efforts to combat child labor in domestic service and human trafficking, research found no evidence of other programs specifically targeting sectors in which children work, such as hazardous work in agriculture and construction as well as on the streets.



VII. Suggested Government Actions to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Based on the reporting above, suggested actions are identified that would advance the elimination of child labor, including its worst forms, in Algeria (Table 9).

Table 9. Suggested Government Actions to Eliminate Child Labor, Including Its Worst Forms
Area Suggested Action Year(s) Suggested
Laws Adopt the child protection law drafted by the Ministry of Justice, which would establish a list of hazardous occupations forbidden to all children. 2009 - 2013
Establish the minimum age for hazardous work as 18 in the Labor Code. 2009 - 2013
Prohibit the use of a child in the production, sale, and trafficking of drugs or in any other illegal activity. 2013
Enforcement Make publicly available enforcement statistics regarding child labor, including in its worst forms. 2009 - 2013
Ensure that child labor laws are enforced effectively in all geographic areas and sectors. 2009 - 2013
Coordination Ensure the Intersectoral Commission Relative to the Prevention of and Fight Against Child Labor remains active to ensure proper coordination. 2011 - 2013
Government Policies Conduct research on the impact of the National Plan of Action for Children on child labor, including its worst forms. 2012 - 2013
Report on the progress of the National Plan of Action for Children according to the agreed-upon timetable and provide adequate funding and capacity building to ensure objectives are met. 2011 - 2013
Social Programs Institute programs to address child labor in agriculture, construction, and street work. 2009 - 2013
Make data on the prevalence and nature of child labor publicly available to inform policies and programs. 2009 - 2013



1. Hamatou R. "Exploitation des enfants a Batna." Liberte, El Achour, December 13, 2012; Algérie. http://www.liberte-algerie.com/algerie-profonde/les-nouveaux-miserables-exploitation-des-enfants-a-batna-190632.

2. SOS Children's Villages. General information on Algeria, SOS Children's Villages, [online] [cited January 15, 2014]; http://www.sos-childrensvillages.org/where-we-help/africa/algeria.

3. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention: Concluding Observations: Algeria. Geneva; July 18, 2012. http://tb.ohchr.org/default.aspx.

4. U.S. Embassy- Algiers. reporting, March 4, 2014.

5. Childinfo. Percentage of children aged 5-14 engaged in child labour, UNICEF, [online] January 2013 [cited January 6, 2014]; http://www.childinfo.org/labour_countrydata.php.

6. UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary. Total. [accessed February 10, 2014]; http://www.uis.unesco.org/Pages/default.aspx?SPSLanguage=EN . Data provided is the gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary school. This measure is a proxy measure for primary completion. For more information, please see the "Children's Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions" section of this report.

7. UCW. Analysis of Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Statistics from National Household or Child Labor Surveys. Analysis received February 13, 2014. Reliable statistical data on the worst forms of child labor are especially difficult to collect given the often hidden or illegal nature of the worst forms. As a result, statistics on children's work in general are reported in this chart, which may or may not include the worst forms of child labor. For more information on sources used, the definition of working children and other indicators used in this report, please see the "Children's Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions" section of this report.

8. U.S. Department of State. Algeria. In: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2013. Washington, DC; March 4, 2014; http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm#wrapper.

9. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Consideration of reports submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention: Summary Record: Algeria. Geneva; June 18, 2012. Report No.: CRC/C/SR.1715.

10. U.S. Embassy- Algiers. reporting, April 26, 2010.

11. U.S. Embassy- Algiers official. E-mail communication to. USDOL official. March 2, 2014.

12. U.S. Embassy- Algiers official. E-mail communication to. USDOL official. May 14, 2014.

13. U.S. Embassy- Algiers. reporting, February 19, 2014.

14. ILO NATLEX National Labor Law Database. Loi no 90-11 du 21 avril 1990 Relative aux Relations de Travail, Modifiée et Complétée au 11 janvier 1997; January 11, 2014; http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/WEBTEXT/9557/64805/F97DZA01.htm.

15. ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Observation concerning Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) Algeria (ratification: 1984) Published: 2012; January 11, 2014; http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:11003:0::NO:.

16. Law Library of Congress. Algeria- Prohibition of Forced Labor. Washington, DC; April 2011.

17. U.S. Embassy- Algiers. reporting, December 12, 2007.

18. U.S. Department of State. Algeria. In: Trafficking in Persons Report- 2013. Washington, DC; 2014; http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2013/index.htm.

19. U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. The World Factbook: Algeria, [online] January 13, 2014 [cited 2014]; https:// www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html.

20. Child Soldiers International. Louder Than Words. London; 2013. http://www.child-soldiers.org/global_report_reader.php?id=562.

21. ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Direct Request concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Algeria (ratification: 2001) Published: 2011; January 11, 2014; http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:11003:0::NO:.

22. U.S. Embassy- Algiers. reporting, February 6, 2011.

23. Ludek Rychly. Ministries of Labour: Comparative Overview Database, Organograms, ILO Action. Geneva; 2013. http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_dialogue/---lab_admin/documents/publication/wcms_216424.pdf

24. ILO Labor Administration and Inspection Program. Structure et organisation du système d'inspection du travail. Geneva; April 4, 2013. http://www.ilo.org/labadmin/info/WCMS_159112/lang--en/index.htm.

25. Government of Algeria. Decision no 006 du 16 mars 2003 portant creation, composition et fonctionnement de la commission intersectorielle relative a la prevention et a la lutte contre le travail des enfants , (March 16, 2003);

26. U.S. Embassy- Algiers. reporting, March 17, 2013.

27. U.S. Department of State official. E-mail communication to. USDOL official. June 6, 2012.

28. ILO-IPEC Geneva official. E-mail communication to. USDOL official. April 4, 2014.

29. Strengthening the Framework of the Arab Region to Prevent and Combat Human Trafficking, UNODC, [online] [cited January 27, 2014]; http://www.unodc.org/middleeastandnorthafrica/en/project-profiles/xmex19.html.