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Madagascar

2013 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Moderate Advancement

In 2013, Madagascar made a moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The former de facto Government developed a hazardous work list for children, conducted forced child labor and child trafficking-related investigations, and prosecuted seven perpetrators of child sex trafficking. National and regional committees on child labor continued their work, and the Government funded a center to provide services to children withdrawn from child labor. However, children in Madagascar continue to engage in child labor in agriculture and in the worst forms of child labor in mining. Moreover, implementation of policies was limited, labor inspections on child labor violations were lacking, and the number of social programs was inadequate to address the scope of the problem.

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I. Prevalence and Sectoral Distribution of Child Labor

Children in Madagascar are engaged in child labor in agriculture and in the worst forms of child labor in mining.(1, 2) Table 1 provides key indicators on children's work and education in Madagascar.

Table 1. Statistics on Children's Work and Education
Working children, ages 5 to 14 (% and population): 22.1 (1,206,992)
Working children by sector, ages 7 to 14 (%)  
Agriculture 87.4
Industry 4.2
Services 8.4
School attendance, ages 5 to 14 (%): 69.1
Children combining work and school, ages 7 to 14 (%): 15.4
Primary completion rate (%): 69.5

Source for primary completion rate: Data from 2012, published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2014. (3)

Source for all other data: Understanding Children's Work Project's analysis of statistics from the National Survey of Child Labor (Enquete Nationale sur le Travail des Enfants) , 2007.(4)

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 Production of tea,* grapes,* wine,* cocoa,* sisal,* copra (dried meat of the coconut),* hemp,* and cotton* (1, 5-7)
Hand-pollinating flowers, and working in the triage and drying process in the production of vanilla (1, 2, 8-10)
Fishing*†and deep-sea diving,*†including for crabs,* sea cucumbers,* shrimp,* and oysters* (1, 11-16)
Herding cattle (zebu),* goats,* and sheep* (1, 7, 11, 15, 17, 18)
Industry Mining†gold,* sapphires, crystal,* quartz,* and tourmaline* (1, 11-14, 16, 19-22)
Transporting blocks,†stones,†and water at mining sites (16, 19)
Crushing and sieving, and digging holes†at mining sites
Production of salt* (1, 14)
Quarrying and crushing stone and making gravel†(1, 14, 19, 22)
Manufacturing, activities unknown (21)
Production of charcoal* (1, 11)
Services Work in bars, activities unknown†
Transporting bricks* to trucks or construction sites (23)
Street work, including market vending, transporting goods by rickshaw, guarding vehicles, and fetching water for restaurants (1, 13, 24)
Domestic service†(18, 25, 26)
Categorical Worst Forms of Child Labor‡ Commercial sexual exploitation (1, 27-30)
Forced labor, activities unknown (1, 32)
Commercial sexual exploitation sometimes as a result of human trafficking (1, 13, 31, 32)
Forced begging* (1, 33, 34)
Debt bondage, activities unknown (19, 22)

*Evidence of this activity is limited and/or the extent of the problem is unknown.
†Determined by national law or regulation as hazardous and, as such, relevant to Article 3(d) of ILO C. 182.
‡Child labor understood as the worst forms of child labor per se under Article 3(a) - (c) of ILO C. 182.

Girls are trafficked from Madagascar to the Middle East for forced domestic service and commercial sexual exploitation.(35, 36) Informal employment agencies recruit children into domestic service who are subsequently subjected to forced labor within Madagascar.(32) Trafficking for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation occurs in coastal cities, such as Toamasina , Nosy Be, Toliary, Antsiranana, and Mahajunga, as well as in the capital, Antananarivo.(36) Most child sex trafficking occurs with the involvement of family members, but friends, transport operators, tour guides, and hotel workers also facilitate the trafficking of children.(32, 36, 37) During the reporting period, limited evidence suggests child sex tourism increased, particularly in the coastal cities and in the capital.(27, 32) Parents may force their children into various forms of commercial sexual exploitation to earn money to support their families, in some cases, directly negotiating prices with clients.(32, 36, 37) Some children are fraudulently recruited for work in the capital as waitresses, maids, and masseuses before being coerced into commercial sexual exploitation. In some cases, the traditional practice of tsenan'ampela (girl markets), in which girls are sent to markets to attract a husband and arrange marriages, has led girls into commercial sexual exploitation.(19)

Children in the mining sector suffer from respiratory problems and diseases such as diarrhea and malaria.(19) Children are also at risk of injury from collapsing mines.(19) A growing number of children are involved in gold mining in the regions of Ilakaka, Anlamanga, Vakinankaratra, and Anosy.(11, 12, 17, 19, 20) Children dig mining holes, up to 15 meters deep and carry plastic sacks filled with air in order to be able to breathe. Boys as young as 10 go down the holes to collect earth that is sifted at nearby rivers.(19)

Children are particularly vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, less likely to attend school, and vulnerable to the worst forms of child labor due to the 2009-2014 economic and political crisis, ignited by a military-backed coup.(1, 21, 26) During the reporting period, credible presidential and legislative elections were held, resulting in an elected president and National Assembly taking office in January 2014.

In addition, children in Madagascar face significant barriers to education, including a lack of school infrastructure (especially in rural areas), vocational and technical training opportunities, and issuance of birth certificates needed for children to officially enroll in school.(19, 36) While the right to free education is enshrined in the constitution, with decreased donor funding due to the political crisis, the Malagasy government was unable to fully subsidize students' school fees, food, and school supplies.(33, 38) Families unable to pay these additional costs kept their children at home or sent them to work.(19, 30)



II. Legal Framework for the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Madagascar 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 15 Article 100 of the Labor Code (39)
Minimum Age for Hazardous Work Yes 18 Article 101 of the Labor Code (16, 39)
List of Hazardous Occupations Prohibited for Children Yes   Articles 101 and 103 of the Labor Code, Articles 10 and 17-22 of Decree N2007-563 (39, 40)
Prohibition of Forced Labor Yes   Article 4 of the Labor Code; Article 15 of Decree N2007-563 (39, 40)
Prohibition of Child Trafficking Yes   Article 15 of Decree N2007-563;Article 333 and 335 of Law 2007-038 (40, 41)
Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Yes   Article 13 of Decree N2007-563; Article 335 of Law 2007-038 (40, 41)
Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities Yes   Article 11 of Decree N2007-563 (40)
Minimum Age for Compulsory Military Recruitment N/A*    
Minimum Age for Voluntary Military Service Yes 18 Ordinance No. 78-002 of 1978 (42)
Compulsory Education Age Yes 16 Article 24 of the Constitution; Law 2008-011 (43, 44)
Free Public Education Yes   Article 24 of Constitution (43)

*No conscription or no standing military.

In 2013, the Government developed a hazardous child labor list; however, it requires cabinet approval and may be subject to change.(45, 46)



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 Civil Services and Labor's Division for the Prevention, Abolition, and Monitoring of Child Labor (PACTE) Enforce child labor laws and coordinate, communicate, train, engage in research and development, administer, finance, and evaluate all activities in the context of the elimination of child labor.(1, 13, 47, 48)
Ministry of Justice Enforce all laws pertaining to violence against children, including trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children.(1)
National Police Force's Morals and Minors Brigade Investigate criminal cases involving minors, including issues of trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children.(1)
Department-level courts Prosecute child labor convictions.(1)

Law enforcement agencies in Madagascar took actions to combat child labor, including its worst forms.

Labor Law Enforcement

In 2013, the Ministry of Labor had approximately 90 inspectors in the field and 30 in training.(4, 13) Although labor inspectors are generalists, they receive training on child labor and can conduct child labor inspections. Ministry of Civil Services and Labor's Division for the Prevention, Abolition, and Monitoring of Child Labor (PACTE) staff includes four labor inspectors and one researcher.(4, 46) However, PACTE does not have program funding, following budget cuts to the Ministry of Civil Services and Labor, whose total annual funding allocation in 2013 was 0.42 percent of the national budget.(1) No child labor inspections took place during the reporting period.(1)

Criminal Law Enforcement

In 2013, child victims of various forms of abuse were referred to the Ministry of Population's 450 child protection networks, which provided protection and social services for children.(1) There were 68 trafficking-related investigations reported in 2013, a majority of these cases resulted in prosecutions, though the exact number was not available.(36) Reports indicate that a majority of these cases involved minors forced into domestic service. The National Police's Morals and Minors Brigade (PMPM) has a headquarters and 15 regional units across Madagascar.(36) Law enforcement officials estimated there were 68 trafficking and forced labor investigations in 2013.

The Brigade lacks sufficient resources, basic tools, and training for staff.(1, 36) Law enforcement officials reported that overall funding, human resources, transportation, and other necessities prevented proper enforcement of criminal laws related to the sexual exploitation of children.(1)

During the reporting period, the court in Nosy Be reported seven child sex trafficking convictions prosecuted under Madagascar's anti-trafficking legislation.(1, 36) The penalties imposed in these convictions ranged from 12 months to five years of imprisonment.



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
National Committee on the Fight Against Child Labor Coordinate programs, advise on child labor legislation and regulations, and monitor and pursue the implementation of the National Action Plan to Fight Child Labor. Led by the Ministry of Civil Services and Labor, with representatives from the Ministries of Education, Health, and Justice.(1, 17, 21, 47)
Regional Child Labor Observatories Coordinate, monitor, and evaluate all activities relating to the elimination of child labor at the regional level, identify activities to promote child labor elimination, and compile and analyze data gathered to report it to the PACTE.(17, 47)
Regional Child Labor Committees Coordinate child welfare policies and legislation.(1, 25)
National Child Protection Committee Guide national child protection policy and programs, and coordinate child protection activities. Chaired by the Minister of Population and Social Affairs and made up of a steering committee and a technical commission of specialists.(1)
National Statistics Institute Collect and process data to monitor implementation of the UN CRC.(15, 49)
Inter-Ministerial Anti-Trafficking Committee Coordinate anti-trafficking efforts in Madagascar.(1, 32)

The effectiveness of the mechanisms to coordinate government efforts on child labor were hampered by budget constraints. The National Child Protection Committee, which was established in 2012, made no clear achievements during the reporting period.(1) The National Committee on the Fight Against Child Labor met throughout the year and committee members traveled to the Ihosy, Vakinankaratra, and Betsiboka regions to assess child labor.(1) Regional committees were active to various extents; for example, the regional child labor committee in the Sava region was appointed, received training, and developed its own action plan, primarily to address child labor in the vanilla sector.(1) Due to lack of funds, however, this committee faced severe limits on its ability to follow its action plan during the reporting period.(1)



V. Government Policies on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

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

Table 7. Policies Related to Child Labor
Policy Description
National Action Plan to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor (NAP) (2004-2019) Aims to improve legal frameworks, increase awareness-raising campaigns, mobilize funds to extend action against child labor, and update databases on child labor.(19, 21, 48, 50)
Education for All Program (2013-2015)† Sets out a comprehensive map to improve the quality of, and access to, basic education and includes child labor concerns.(19, 45) In 2013, the Government of Madagascar launched the new Education for All Program and the Provisional Education Plan.(43)
Provisional Education Plan (2013-2015)† Integrates child labor issues into education policies.(45)
Decent Work Country Program (2008-2013) Includes strategies to combat child labor, including through the promotion of social dialogue, principles, and fundamental rights of work and social protection.(51, 52)
United Nations Development Assistance Framework (2012-2014) Includes strategies, such as training judiciary and police on child labor laws, to protect children from trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, hazardous labor, and child domestic work; and to promote school inclusion.(53, 54)

†Policy was launched during the reporting period.



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

In 2013, the Government of Madagascar participated in and funded 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
Tackling Child Labor through Education (TACKLE) project Jointly launched by the European Commission and the ILO to combat child labor through education in 12 African and Caribbean countries and the Pacific group of states (ACP). (3, 55) Aims to strengthen institutional capacity to formulate and implement child labor strategies, including boosting family incomes through the provision of inputs to increase agricultural productivity in Madagascar. In 2013, the project included direct action programs targeting children in Vakinankaratra, Analanjirofo, Fénérive Est, and Marovoay.(45, 56)
Manjary Soa Center‡ Government program that provides support and services to child laborers in Antananarivo, reintegrates children under 16 in the public education system, and provides tradecraft training to older children.(48, 57) In 2013, the Government provided $35,797 to the Center for medical expenses, school kits, meals, and salaries for the Center's two instructors, doctor, and supervisor. The Center also removed 30 children from exploitative child labor.(1, 7, 21, 58)
Agir contre le travail domestique des enfants en Afrique et dans les pays de l'Union pour la Méditerranée $1.3 million, Government of France-funded, 3-year project that aims to combat child domestic labor in specific regions.(7, 59) In 2013, the project removed or prevented an estimated 230 children from engaging in domestic work in Antsirabe and provided them with professional training and assistance in finding decent work.(1)
UNICEF Education Support $30 million UNICEF-funded program to support the Government's interim plan on education.(46) The investment targets supporting data collection and development of an action plan in schools, building classrooms, distributing school kits and payments to teachers, training teachers (on how to reduce risk of child labor), and emergency response.
National Database UNICEF-funded, national database managed by the Ministry of Population gathers data from nine regional, child protection networks.(36) In 2013, 2,837 cases of child exploitation were documented, including an estimated 182 cases that involved child trafficking.
Green Line UNICEF-funded, Minor's Brigade-managed toll-free number received reports of child exploitation cases. The line received 741 reported calls; however, specific data on child- trafficking incidents was unavailable.(36)
Awareness Raising in Sakahara*‡ Program that raises awareness about the hazards faced by children working in mines using radio announcements and talks with the fokontany (local chief). (19)
Public Investment Program for Social Action (PIP)‡ Government program that supports school attendance and training for street children and aims to remove 40 children a year from the worst forms of child labor.(21, 57)
Inclusive education support*‡ Government programs to provide back-to-school grants, awareness raising activities, in-kind support to schools, and access to income-generating activities that target children traditionally excluded from schools.(53)
Center for Socioeconomic promotion in Ambositra, Rakingaskara*‡ Vocational training in carpentry for young boys.(19)
Training sessions and awareness-raising on the rights of children Ministry of Justice and UNICEF conducted trainings that included a specific module on human trafficking, as well as interviewing and listening techniques for police and gendarmes. In Antsirabe and Ambositrahe, the Government conducted awareness-raising workshops and trainings on child labor.(19)
Vocational Training and Agricultural Productivity Improvement Program (FORMAPROD) $33 million and $2 million IFAD-funded loan and grant program that provides vulnerable groups, including uneducated young people and young women who are heads of households, with professional and vocational training to improve productivity and market agricultural products to increase household incomes. Estimated government contribution is $7.9 million.(60, 61)
World Food Program School Feeding World Food Program-implemented school feeding support.(62)

*The impact of this program on child labor does not appear to have been studied.
‡Program is funded by the Government of Madagascar.

Pending democratic elections, much of the donor funding for social programs in Madagascar remained suspended during the reporting period.(1)

In 2013, the Government allocated 0.1 percent of the state budget to the Ministry of Population's Child and Family Protection Division, which is responsible for providing social services to children and families,.(1) Although Madagascar has programs that target child labor, the scope of these programs is insufficient to fully address the extent of the problem.

The Government does not have programs that address the traditional practice of tsenan'ampela, which in some cases has led girls into commercial sexual exploitation. Existing child labor databases are not fully funded.



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 Madagascar (Table 9).

Table 9. Suggested Government Actions to Eliminate Child Labor, Including Its Worst Forms
Area Suggested Action Year(s) Suggested
Laws Approve hazardous labor list 2013
Enforcement Investigate and prosecute child labor and worst forms of child labor violations and ensure adequate funding, human resources, and transportation for enforcement. 2009 - 2013
Clarify and ensure that information on prosecutions is publicly available. 2013
Government Policies Reinvigorate efforts to implement existing policies, including by requiring regular meetings of the National Child Protection Committee. 2010 - 2013
Social Programs Assess the impact of existing social programs on addressing child labor. 2010 - 2013
Increase the scope of child labor and anti-trafficking programs to reach more children at risk of the worst forms of child labor. 2010 - 2013
Provide funding for subsidies for school fees, food, and school supplies. Establish and implement a program to address the lack of school infrastructure, vocational and technical training opportunities, and birth registration, which impede children's access to education. 2011 - 2013
Conduct research to determine the activities carried out by children working in manufacturing, bars, forced labor, and debt bondage to inform policies and programs. 2013
Disaggregate complaints made by child-protection hotlines by number of children exploited in child labor. 2013
Increase awareness on the possible use of traditional cultural practices that might lead to commercial sexual exploitation of children. 2013
Fully fund activities, such as the existing child labor databases. 2009 - 2013



1. U.S. Embassy- Antananarivo. reporting, January 24, 2014.

2. ILO-IPEC. Etat des lieux du Travail des Enfants dans la Filiere Vanille dans la Region de la Sava. Report. Antananarivo; November 2011. http://www.ilo.org/public/french/region/afpro/antananarivo/info/publ/vanisava.htm.

3. 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.

4. UCW. Analysis of Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Statistics from National Household or Child Labor Surveys. Original data from Enquete Nationale sur le Travail des Enfants, 2007. 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.

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26. ILO-IPEC. La problématique du travail domestique des enfants au centre des discussions de l'Atelier de formation et d'échanges des Inspecteurs du Travail de Madagascar . Antananarivo; November 23, 2011. http://www.ilo.org/public/french/region/afpro/antananarivo/pdf/forminsp.pdf.

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