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Dominica

2013 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Minimal Advancement

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.

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I. Prevalence and Sectoral Distribution 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.

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 (%): 104.0

Source for primary completion rate: Data from 2012 published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2014. (2)
Source for all other data: Understanding Children's Work Project's analysis, 2014. (3)



II. Legal Framework for the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Dominica has ratified all key international conventions concerning child labor (Table 2).

Table 2. Ratification of International Conventions on Child Labor

Table 2. Overview of Children's Work by Sector and Activity
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 3).

Table 3. Laws and Regulations Related to Child Labor

Table 3. Ratification of International Conventions on Child Labor
Standard Yes/No Age Related Legislation
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)



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 4).

Table 4. Agencies Responsible for Child Labor Law Enforcement

Table 4. Laws and Regulations Related to Child Labor
Organization/Agency Role
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.



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

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.



V. Government Policies on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

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

Policy Description
Third Mid-Term Growth and Social Protection Strategy (2012-2014) Includes goal of overall poverty reduction.(1, 7, 17)



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

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

Program Description
Basic Needs Trust Fund Caribbean Development Bank-implemented program to reduce poverty through livelihood services, improved infrastructure, capacity-building projects, and technical services.(1, 21)
Dominica Social Investment Fund ALBA-funded program that includes the goal of poverty reduction.(1, 20)
Education Trust Fund‡ Government program that provides financial assistance to students in secondary school who would otherwise not be able to complete their education.(17, 22)
School Textbook Provision Scheme‡ Government program that subsidizes the cost of textbooks for primary and secondary school students.(17, 23, 24)
School Feeding Program‡ Government program that provides lunch to primary school students in targeted areas.(17, 23)
Shelter for Abused and Neglected Children‡ Government shelter that may accept children who are victims of the worst forms of child labor.(1)

‡Program is funded by the Government of Dominica



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 continued prevention of child labor, including its worst forms, in Dominica (Table 7).

Table 7. Suggested Government Actions to Prevent Child Labor, Including its Worst Forms

Area Suggested Action Year(s) Suggested
Laws Harmonize all laws governing the minimum age to work to set the statutory minimum age for employment to at least 15. 2009 - 2013
Raise the minimum age for hazardous work to comply with international standards. 2009 - 2013
Adopt a list of hazardous work prohibited to children. 2011 - 2013
Enact legislation to expressly prohibit child prostitution, as well as the use, procuring, or offering of a child for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances. 2011 - 2013



1. U.S. Embassy- Bridgetown. reporting, January 16, 2014.

2. 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.

3. 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.

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

8. ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Observation concerning Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) Dominica (ratification: 1983) Published: 2011; accessed January 9, 2014; http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/iloquery.htm.

9. ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Observation concerning Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) Dominica (ratification: 1983) Published: 2012; accessed January 9, 2014; http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:20010:0::NO:20010::.

10. U.S. Department of State. "Dominica," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2013. Washington, DC; February 27, 2014; http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm#wrapper.

11. Government of Dominica. Constitution of the Commonwealth of Dominica, enacted 1978. http://pdba.georgetown.edu/Constitutions/Dominica/constitution.pdf.

12. ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Direct Request concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Dominica (ratification: 2001) Published: 2012; accessed January 9, 2014; http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:20010:0::NO:20010::.

13. U.S. Embassy- Bridgetown official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. May 16, 2014.

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

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

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

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

18. Child Soldiers International. Louder Than Words: An agenda for action to end state use of child soldiers. London; September 2012. http://www.child-soldiers.org/global_report_reader.php?id=562.

19. United Nations Treaty Collection. Signatories to the CTOC Trafficking Protocol; accessed January 9, 2014; https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=IND&mtdsg_no=XVIII-12-a&chapter=18&lang=en.

20. U.S. Embassy- Bridgetown official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. May 21, 2014.

21. Caribbean Development Bank. Basic Needs Trust Fund, Caribbean Development Bank, [online] [cited March 14, 2014]; http://www.caribank.org/programmes/basic-needs-trust-fund.

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

23. 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.

24. Global Literacy Project. Overview: The Commonwealth of Dominica, Global Literacy Project, [online] [cited January 9, 2014]; http://www.glpinc.org/Graphics/Project_Sites/Caribbean/Dominica/Dominica_Overview.htm.