2013 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor
In 2013, Dominica made a minimal advancement in efforts to prevent the worst forms of child labor. The Government ratified the Palermo Protocol, passed the Transnational Organized Crime (Prevention and Control) Act, and continued to implement programs to reduce poverty and ensure that education is a viable alternative to work for all children. Although no information suggests that the worst forms of child labor are a problem, critical gaps exist in the legal framework to prevent children from involvement in the worst forms of child labor. National legislation still does not prohibit child pornography, the minimum age for hazardous work falls below international standards, and the country lacks a comprehensive list of hazardous work prohibited to children, which leaves children vulnerable to the worst forms of child labor.
Research found no evidence that child labor exists in Dominica.(1) Table 1 provides key indicators on children's work and education in Dominica. Data on some of these indicators are not available from the sources used in this report.
|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 (%):||104.0|
Dominica has ratified all key international conventions concerning child labor (Table 2).
Table 2. Ratification of International Conventions on Child Labor
|ILO C. 138, Minimum Age||✅|
|ILO C. 182, Worst Forms of Child Labor||✅|
|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 3).
Table 3. Laws and Regulations Related to Child Labor
|Minimum Age for Work||Yes||12/14/16||Employment of Children (Prohibition) Act, Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children Act, Education Act (4-6)|
|Minimum Age for Hazardous Work||Yes||14||Employment of Women, Young Persons, and Children Act (5, 7-9)|
|List of Hazardous Occupations Prohibited for Children||No|
|Prohibition of Forced Labor||Yes||Article 4 of the Constitution (11)|
|Prohibition of Child Trafficking||Yes||Transnational Organized Crime (Prevention and Control) Act (12, 13)|
|Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children||Yes||Children and Young Persons Act, Sexual Offenses Act (1, 14-17)|
|Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities||No|
|Minimum Age for Compulsory Military Recruitment||N/A*|
|Minimum Age for Voluntary Military Service||N/A*|
|Compulsory Education Age||Yes||16||Education Act (1, 6, 17)|
|Free Public Education||Yes||Education Act (1, 6, 17)|
*No conscription or no standing military.
The Government of Dominica ratified the Palermo Protocol and passed the Transnational Organized Crime (Prevention and Control) Act during the reporting period, but has yet to enact laws or regulations explicitly prohibiting child pornography.(12, 17, 19, 20)
The Employment of Women, Young Persons, and Children Act prohibits children under age 14 from working in certain industries, including mining, construction, and transportation, and it bars children under the age of 16 from working in those industries at night. However, Dominica does not have a list of work considered hazardous for children.(5, 9, 20)
The Government specified that it would raise the statutory minimum age to 15 when it ratified ILO C. 138, but has not done so.(8) The three different minimum ages for work in the two relevant statutes may create confusion over which protections apply to working children and may make the law difficult to enforce. In addition, the minimum age for hazardous work of 14 does not comply with international standards and leaves children age 14 and above vulnerable to the worst forms of child labor.(7-10)
Dominica has no national army.(18)
The Government has established institutional mechanisms for the enforcement of laws and regulations on child labor, including its worst forms (Table 4).
Table 4. Agencies Responsible for Child Labor Law Enforcement
|Ministry of National Security, Labor, and Immigration (MNSLI)||Conduct inspections and enforce laws related to child labor. Inspectors report children found in exploitative labor situations to police and social services. In 2013, the MNSLI employed four labor inspectors.(1)|
|Welfare Division, Ministry of Social Services, Community Development, and Gender Affairs||Address the welfare aspects of child labor cases.(1)|
|Ministry of Health (MOH)||Enforce labor laws by reporting children found in exploitative labor situations to police and social services. In 2013, the MOH employed 19 health inspectors.(1)|
|Police Force||Enforce criminal laws, including those related to child labor.(1)|
As there is no evidence of a problem, there appears to be no need for labor law enforcement actions to address child labor, including its worst forms.
As there is no evidence of a problem, there appears to be no need for criminal law enforcement actions to address child labor, including its worst forms.
As there is no evidence of a problem, there appears to be no need for coordinating mechanisms to address child labor, including its worst forms.
As there is no evidence of a problem, there appears to be no need for policies to address child labor. However, the Government has a policy that may have an impact on child labor, including its worst forms (Table 5).
Table 5. Policies Related to Child Labor
|Third Mid-Term Growth and Social Protection Strategy (2012-2014)||Includes goal of overall poverty reduction.(1, 7, 17)|
In 2013, the Government of Dominica funded programs that include the goal of preventing child labor, including its worst forms (Table 6).
Table 6. Social Programs to Address Child Labor