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Dominica


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2012 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

In 2012, Dominica made no advancement in efforts to prevent the worst forms of child labor. Although no information suggests that the worst forms of child labor are a problem, and the Government has several programs in place to encourage children to remain in school, critical gaps exist in the legal framework to prevent children from involvement in the worst forms of child labor. 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. Dominica likewise lacks prohibitions on trafficking.

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Learn More: Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor | Previous Reports:



Prevalence and Sectoral Distribution of the Worst Forms of Child Labor

No information suggests that the worst forms of child labor are a problem in Dominica.(3)



Laws and Regulations on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

According to the Employment of Children (Prohibition) Act, the minimum age for employment is 12, but according to the Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children Act, it is age 14. During the school year, the Education Act prohibits employing any child under age 16.(4-6) The ILO Committee of Experts has urged the Government to raise the statutory minimum age to 15, as it specified it would do when it ratified ILO Convention 138.(7) In addition, the minimum age for hazardous work is 14, which does not comply with international standards, leaving children age 14 and above vulnerable to the worst forms of child labor.(7-10) Dominica does not have a list of work considered hazardous; the Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children Act prohibits children under age 14 from working in certain industries, including mining, construction, and transportation.(5, 9, 11) The different minimum ages for work may create confusion over what protections apply to working children and make the law difficult to enforce.

The law prohibits forced labor.(8) The Children and Young Persons Act provides for the care, supervision, and protection of all children, and the Sexual Offenses Act protects children from commercial sexual exploitation and sexual offenses, including abduction with the intent of sexual intercourse.(3, 12-14) However, there are no laws or regulations explicitly prohibiting trafficking in persons or child pornography.(3, 15)

Dominica has no military force, and the minimum age for voluntary recruitment to the police force is 18.(16)

The Education Act establishes compulsory and free education to age 16.(3, 6)



Institutional Mechanisms for Coordination and Enforcement

The Ministry of Labor is the main agency tasked with enforcing laws related to child labor, while the Welfare Division of the Ministry of Social Services, Community Development, and Gender Affairs is responsible for the welfare aspects of child labor cases.(3) Because there is no documented evidence of the existence of the worst forms of child labor in Dominica, there does not appear to be a need for a coordinating mechanism to address the worst forms of child labor.

The Government of Dominica employs six labor inspectors who inspect for compliance with all labor laws, including child labor. The Ministry of Health’s 19 inspectors may also inspect labor violations.(3) Inspectors did not receive any training on child labor issues and because there were no reported cases of child labor violations during the reporting period, no child labor investigations were conducted.(3)



Government Policies on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

As there is no evidence that a problem exists, there are no policies to address the worst forms of child labor directly. However, the Government’s third medium-term Growth and Social Protection Strategy has an overall goal of poverty reduction.(3, 10)



Social Programs to Eliminate or Prevent the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Likewise, there appears to be no need for programs to address the worst forms of child labor, because no evidence of a problem exists. The Government operates programs to ensure that quality education is a viable alternative to work for all children. The Government sponsors an Education Trust Fund to provide financial assistance to students in secondary school who would not otherwise be able to complete their education.(3, 17) The School Textbook Provision Scheme subsidizes the cost of textbooks for primary and secondary school students, and a school feeding program provides lunch to primary school students in targeted areas.(3, 18, 19)



Based on the reporting above, the following actions would advance the elimination of the worst forms of child labor in Dominica:

Area

Suggested Actions

Year(s) Action Recommended

Laws and Regulations

Harmonize all laws governing the minimum age to work to raise the statutory minimum age for employment to at least 15.

2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

Raise the minimum age for hazardous work to comply with international standards.

2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

Adopt a list of hazardous work.

2011, 2012

Amend the legislation to expressly prohibit child prostitution and trafficking in persons, as well as the use, procuring, or offering of a child for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances.

2011, 2012



1. UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary. Total.; accessed February 4, 2013; 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.

2. UCW. Analysis of Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Statistics from National Household or Child Labor Surveys. February 5, 2013. 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.

3. U.S. Embassy- Bridgetown. reporting, February 19, 2013.

4. Government of Dominica. Employment of Children (Prohibition) Act, L.I. 5 of 1939, enacted December 29, 1939. http://www.dominica.gov.dm/laws/chapters/chap90-05.pdf.

5. Government of Dominica. Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children Act, L.I. 5 of 1938, enacted February 1, 1939. http://www.dominica.gov.dm/laws/chapters/chap90-06.pdf.

6. Government of Dominica. Education Act, No. 11 of 1997, enacted November 7, 1997. http://www.dominica.gov.dm/laws/1997/act11-1997.pdf.

7. ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Observation concerning Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) Dominica (ratification: 1983) Published: 2011; accessed February 1, 2012; http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/iloquery.htm.

8. U.S. Department of State. "Dominica," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2012. Washington, DC; April 19, 2013; http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm#wrapper.

9. ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Observation concerning Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) Dominica (ratification: 1983) Published: 2012; accessed November 5, 2012; http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:20010:0::NO:20010::.

10. U.S. Embassy- Bridgetown official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. March 26, 2013.

11. International Labour Office. Children in hazardous work: What we know, what we need to do. Geneva, International Labour Organization; 2011. http://bit.ly/lQnm8k.

12. Government of Dominica. Children and Young Persons Act, enacted 1970, amended 1990. http://bit.ly/ykmffT.

13. Government of Dominica. Sexual Offenses Act, enacted 1998. http://bit.ly/ACox83.

14. U.S. Embassy- Bridgetown official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. June 4, 2012.

15. ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Direct Request concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Dominica (ratification: 2001) Published: 2012; accessed November 14, 2012; http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:20010:0::NO:20010::.

16. Child Soldiers International. "Appendix 2: Data Summary Table on Recruitment Ages of National Armies," in Louder than Words: An Agenda for Action to End State Use of Child Soldiers. London; 2012; http://www.child-soldiers.org/global_report_reader.php?id=562.

17. Government of Dominica. Education Trust Fund Act, 17 of 1981, enacted May 7, 1981. http://www.dominica.gov.dm/laws/chapters/chap28-02.pdf.

18. Government of Dominica. Economic and Social Review for Fiscal Year 2009/2010. Roseau; July 2010. http://dominica.gov.dm/images/documents/economic_social_review.pdf.

19. Global Literacy Project. Overview: The Commonwealth of Dominica, Global Literacy Project, [online] [cited February 3, 2012]; http://bit.ly/w1MRkA.