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2013 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Moderate Advancement

In 2013, Mali made a moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. In early 2013, children were recruited and used for military purposes by non-state groups and independently acting pro-government militias. Some recruited combatants were also detained and charged with crimes for their association with the armed conflict. During the reporting period, the Government signed an inter-ministerial circular to provide legal protection to children involved in armed conflict; signed and implemented a protocol agreement to provide social protection to children associated with armed conflict; disbanded some pro-government militias that were using child soldiers; and funded the National Unit to Fight against Child Labor. Children in Mali continue to engage in the worst forms of child labor as child soldiers and in agriculture and gold mining. Laws relating to the worst forms of child labor do not provide adequate coverage and gaps in enforcement have left children unprotected.


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Previous Reports:

I. Prevalence and Sectoral Distribution of Child Labor

Children in Mali are engaged in child labor, including in agriculture and gold mining.(1-8) Table 1 provides key indicators on children's work and education in Mali.

Table 1. Statistics on Children's Work and Education
Working children, ages 7 to 14 (% and population): 46.4 (1,700,782)
Working children by sector, ages 7 to 14 (%)  
Agriculture 82,6
Industry 2.7
Services 14.1
Other 0.6
School attendance, ages 5 to 14 (%): 42.0
Children combining work and school, ages 7 to 14 (%): 20.5
Primary completion rate (%): 58.7

Source for primary completion rate: Data from 2012, published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2014. ( 9 )
Source for all other data: Understanding Children's Work Project's analysis of statistics from SIMPOC Survey, 2005. ( 10 )
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 Seeding, weeding, plowing, harvesting, transporting, and applying chemical fertilizers in agriculture,† particularly in the production of rice and cotton (1, 5, 8, 11, 12)
Raising livestock, including oxen,* and small ruminants,* (1, 12, 13)
Capturing and processing fish,*† activities unknown (14)
Industry Gold mining,†including digging shafts, extracting ore from underground tunnels, crushing ore, and amalgamating ore with mercury (5, 6, 8, 11, 15-19)
Services Domestic service in third-party homes (1, 5, 11, 20-23)
Categorical Worst Forms of Child Labor‡ Hereditary slavery, particularly in agriculture and domestic service (5, 8, 11, 24-26)
Work in mining, domestic service, begging, commerce, and the production of agriculture, including rice, as a result of human trafficking (5, 8, 11, 27)
Commercial sexual exploitation sometimes as a result of forced labor or human trafficking (5, 6, 8, 11, 28-32)
Child soldiers, sometimes as forced labor (2-4, 33-46)
Debt bondage in salt mines (8, 11, 14)
Forced begging and forced labor in the agricultural sector as a result of recruitment by Koranic teachers (1, 5, 11, 12, 27, 47, 48)

*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.

Children, especially of the Bellah community (also known as black Tuaregs, who were former slaves), are subject to hereditary slavery in northern Mali.(11, 22, 24) In addition, children, particularly those of the Songhai ethnicity, work in debt bondage in the northern salt mines of Taoudenni.(8, 49) Boys, placed in the care of Koranic teachers for the purpose of education, are forced by their teachers to beg on the street or to work in fields; they must then surrender the money they have earned to their teachers.(1, 5, 8, 27) Other Koranic teachers force the boys to work their land for free.(12, 27, 47)

In January 2012, attacks against the Malian army were carried out by the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Ansar al-Dine, and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO). From April 2012 to early 2013, these groups claimed control of northern Mali.(22, 39) In January 2013, with the assistance of a French-led international military intervention, the Government took back key areas of northern Mali. In June 2013, the Government signed a preliminary peace accord with the armed groups of Northern Mali, who had taken over the northern region of Kidal after the French had ousted the extremists.(50-53) The Government of Mali remained in a State of Emergency through July 2013.(8) Despite some progress, intermittent fighting and violence continued throughout 2013.(51, 54-57)

From early 2012 to early 2013, armed rebel and extremist Islamic militia groups including the MNLA, Ansar al-Dine, the MUJAO, and AQIM recruited and used child soldiers in northern Mali.(2-4, 7,33, 35-41, 58) More than 1,000 Malian children, including Malian children in neighboring refugee camps, were forcibly recruited or sold, or were willingly paid by extremist groups to fight.(2, 4, 33,36, 39, 58, 59) Reports indicate that some families were forced to sell their children, or willingly received as much as $2,000 per recruited child, while other children received up to $30 per day to fight.(4, 33,36, 39, 59, 60) Limited evidence indicates that some children held in traditional slavery were sold by their masters to Islamic extremists to fight. Limited evidence indicates that Koranic teachers recruited their students to serve as soldiers for extremist groups.(2, 58) Children as young as age 9 carried assault rifles, staffed checkpoints, gathered intelligence, guarded prisoners, conducted foot patrols, and participated in looting and extortion.(2-4, 58, 61) Limited evidence indicates that children were used as mine sweeps, servants, and human shields. Some girls were used by armed groups for sexual exploitation.(3, 58, 62) Limited evidence indicates that a disproportional number of child recruits were of Arab, Songhai, Peul, and Tuareg ethnicities.(34, 58)Although the prevalence of child soldiers was reduced during the reporting period, children continued to participate in armed conflict throughout the year.(63)

Children were also recruited by, trained by, and fought in combat with pro-government counterinsurgent militias, including the Liberation Front of the North, Gando Koy, and Gando Izo.(4, 39, 41, 58) In some instances, these pro-government militias, without the consent of the Government, trained on Government land. Soldiers within the army, acting independently, provided training to these militias.(4, 8, 39, 41, 58, 64-66)

In northern Mali, access to education, which can be a critical component in preventing the economic exploitation of children, has been significantly hindered by violence, displacement, and school closures.(38, 40, 56, 58) During the occupation, schools were vandalized, destroyed and pillaged; computers and books were burned; and teachers and students were displaced.(56, 67-69) In addition, Koranic schools, taken over by extremists were used to recruit child soldiers. Other schools were used as military storage and training bases.(34, 35, 39, 56, 58, 61) Although the Government made progress returning 80 percent of children to school in 2013, educational infrastructure was damaged during the conflict; many teachers and students remain displaced; some teachers in insecure areas feel it is unsafe to return to school; and schools in some areas have not provided teacher payment, housing, or travel allowances.(56, 67, 69-71) A UN Mission conducted in October 2013 noted that schools in the northern region were barely functioning.(67)

Access to education nationwide is hindered by a chronic shortage of teachers, school materials, and infrastructure, and transportation.(8, 38, 48, 72) In addition, evidence suggests that incidences of physical, psychological, and sexual abuse, including corporal punishment and the rape of students by teachers, prevent some children from remaining in school.(73, 74) Due to societal discrimination at the local level, some Arab, Peul, and Bellah children are denied access to school based on their ethnicity.(22, 75)

II. Legal Framework for the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Mali 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 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 14 Articles 189 and L.2 of the Labor Code (76)
Minimum Age for Hazardous Work Yes 18 Hazardous occupation list; Article 189.14 of the Labor code (76, 77)
List of Hazardous Occupations Prohibited for Children Yes   Hazardous occupation list; Article 189 of the Labor Code (76, 77)
Prohibition of Forced Labor Yes   Article L.6 of the Labor Code (76)
Prohibition of Child Trafficking Yes   Penal Code; Trafficking in Persons Law (78, 79)
Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Yes   Article 228 of the Penal Code (78)
Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities No    
Minimum Age for Compulsory Military Recruitment Yes 18 Article 17 of the Child Protection Code; Articles 31.23 and 31.31 of the Penal Code (78, 80)
Minimum Age for Voluntary Military Service Yes 18 Article 17 of the Child Protection Code; Articles 31.23 and 31.31 of the Penal Code (80, 81)
Compulsory Education Age Yes 16 Article 18 of the Constitution (82, 83)
Free Public Education Yes   Article 18 of the Constitution (82)

Against the backdrop of instability and violence, areas of northern Mali remained under rebel control through early 2013. These areas were therefore ungovernable by the Government of Mali.(50,51,53, 84, 85) During that time, the Government of Mali was unable to enforce laws in these northern rebel-controlled zones.(50,51,53, 84, 85)

Malian law is not completely consistent with international standards regarding child labor. For example, Article 189.35 of the Labor Code allows children under the minimum age to work with the approval of the Minister of Labor.(76, 86) In addition, children working in the informal sector, including in non-contractual agricultural and domestic work, do not benefit from the same protections under the Labor Code as children working in the formal sector.(87)

Although Mali has a list of hazardous activities prohibited to children under age 18, a decree from 1996 that is still in force permits children ages 16 to 17 to perform certain hazardous activities. The decree conflicts with the protections provided in the hazardous list.(77, 86) This gap could expose these children to increased risks.

The Child Protection Code provides protection for children under age 18, while the Penal Code establishes criminal penalties for several of the worst forms of child labor.(78, 80) For example, Articles 50 and 58 of the Child Protection Code identify begging as a form of economic exploitation of children, while Article 183 of the Penal Code provides for punishment for engaging a child in begging. However, the Penal Code does not provide penalties for some of the prohibitions enumerated in the Child Protection Code.(78, 80) For example, although Article 17 of the Child Protection Code prohibits children under age 18 from participating in armed conflicts or joining the armed forces, Articles 31.23 and 31.31 of the Penal Code only provide penalties for those recruiting and enlisting children under age 15.(78, 80) Moreover, although Article 18 of the Child Protection Code prohibits the use of children in organized crime, no law prohibits the use of a child for illicit activities.(80, 88, 89)

Article 228 of the Penal Code prohibits the debauchment of children. However, the prohibition of the debauchment of children only applies to children under age 13.(78) Article 225 of the Penal Code forbids third-party involvement in prostitution (pimping) and the sexual slavery of children. However, the law that prohibits these acts is only applicable to girls.(78) Furthermore, since provisions of the Penal Code only apply to cases of pimping, those soliciting or purchasing sex from minors are not punishable under this law. Article 57 of the Child Protection Code explicitly broadens the definition of sexual exploitation, including prostitution, to both girls and boys.(78, 80) However, there are no penalties prescribed by this Code.(78)

Although the Penal Code bans slavery, no penalties are outlined for the offense.(78) Forced labor is prohibited under the Labor Code. However, the punishment for forced labor is only a fine and/or imprisonment for 15 days to 6 months.(76) Although the exploitation of children, including slavery and commercial sexual exploitation is prohibited by the trafficking in persons law, it is unclear if they are prohibited as standalone offenses, outside of the context of trafficking.(79)

By law, education is free and compulsory in Mali.(8, 80) However, parents are expected to pay school fees for registration, uniforms, books, and materials. These expenses may deter families from sending their children to school.(22, 49, 75)

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 Youth, Labor, Employment, and Professional Training/ National Directorate of Labor Receive and investigate complaints and perform unannounced labor inspections in the formal labor sector.(5, 62, 90)
The Ministry of Justice Initiate and coordinate the implementation of child labor laws, together with the Ministries of Internal Security, Defense, Territorial Administration, and the Promotion of Children.(62, 91)
The Morals Brigade of the National Police Enforce laws relating to trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Housed under the Ministry of Internal Security.(5, 62)
Judicial Police Enforce laws relating to the use of children in illicit activities. Housed under the Ministry of Internal Security.(5, 62)
The Ministry for the Promotion of Women, Children, and the Family Provide support to victims of trafficking.(92)

Criminal law enforcement agencies in Mali took actions to combat child labor, including its worst forms. However, research found no evidence that labor law enforcement agencies took such actions.

Labor Law Enforcement

In 2013, the National Directorate of Labor employed 54 labor inspectors.(5) Given the prevalence of child labor in the country, the number of labor inspectors is inadequate.(5) In addition to inspection duties, inspectors provide dispute settlement and conciliation. These additional responsibilities detract from labor inspectors' abilities to complete workplace inspections.(93) The additional responsibilities also make it difficult for the small number of labor inspectors to effectively enforce child labor laws.(76, 86, 90) None of the labor inspectors specialize in child labor. However, one person in each region is designated as the point of contact for the National Unit to Fight Against Child Labor.(5) Due to the continued violence in northern Mali, labor inspectors do not operate in the northern region.(5, 90) The budget for the National Directorate of Labor is unknown. However, research shows that, despite decentralization efforts, funds are rarely allocated to regional offices.(5) The number of inspections carried out, violations cited, fines assessed, or fines collected during the reporting period is unknown.

Criminal Law Enforcement

In 2013, the Morals Brigade employed seven investigators and two commissioners.(5) Morals Brigade officers did not receive training on the worst forms of child labor in 2013. However, some police officers and magistrates were trained on children's rights.(5) The Morals Brigade does not have national coverage.(94) Although the Morals Brigade was created to handle criminal affairs involving children, the main police force has no explicit obligation to turn children's cases over to the morals Brigade. As a result, many children's issues are handled by members of the general police force who may not have received special training on children's affairs.(94) In 2013, the Morals Brigade received 120 liters of fuel every three months and a budget of $1,200. Provisions were insufficient. For example, the 120 liters of fuel typically covered two weeks of transportation.(5)

In 2013, the Morals Brigade reported 23 cases of child forced labor in mining and 5 cases of child sexual exploitation. Three arrests were made for the facilitation of prostitution.(5) Law enforcement officials also arrested 5 individuals who forced 22 Malian girls ages 10-15 into prostitution.(63) The Morals Brigade repatriated 27 foreign children who were victims of forced labor perpetrated by five Koranic teachers, and 29 Nigerian girls who were trafficked to Mali for sexual exploitation.(5) Other victims of the worst forms of child labor were referred to NGOs for repatriation.(5) According to prosecutors in Mali, almost all of the individuals arrested for the crimes listed above are awaiting trial. Some individuals facing trafficking charges were released for a lack of evidence.(5, 63) The Government of Mali undertook few criminal investigations, the quality of which were limited, due to a lack of resources and continued political instability.(63) As a result, prosecutions were limited.(63) In addition, the trafficking in person's law, adopted in 2012, has yet to be distributed to judges to ensure their knowledge of the law.(63) Reports indicate that, because of the political instability hindering law and judicial enforcement in northern Mali, the prevalence of hereditary slavery has worsened since the conflict began.(95)

Mali maintains an informal system through which the police transfer and record the transfer of children to NGOs. However, Mali does not have a formal method for transferring vulnerable children who are detained by the police and the Morals Brigade to NGOs.(11, 48, 92) The Ministry of Women, Children and the Family participates in a network of NGOs, and UN bodies that coordinate to provide care specifically to trafficking victims. Organizations within the network provide transportation, food, housing, counseling, training, repatriation, and reintegration services.(63) In 2013, the network provided services to 79 child and adult victims of trafficking.(63)

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
The National Unit to Fight Against Child Labor (Cellule Nationale de Lutte Contre le Travail des Enfants (CNLTE)) Coordinate Mali's efforts to eliminate child labor.(96, 97) Reduce the worst forms of child labor by collecting statistics, coordinating programs, and acting as a liaison with partners.(98) Comprises seven members.(96, 98)
The National Coordinating Committee for the Fight Against Trafficking in Persons and Associated Practices Coordinate Government efforts to combat trafficking. Has 43 members, comprising various Government agencies, civil society groups, and NGOs.(5, 47, 49)
Inter-Ministerial Committee to Prevent Grave Violations Against Children. Conduct awareness-raising campaigns to prevent the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict. Conduct joint missions with international partners to determine the presence of children in self-defense militias.(58)

There is no evidence that the Inter-Ministerial Committee to Prevent Grave Violations Against Children conducted meetings, took action to implement awareness-raising campaigns or conducted joint missions to determine the presence of child labor in self-defense militias during the reporting period.(91) In 2013, the National Unit to Fight Against Child Labor (Cellule Nationale de Lutte Contre le Travail des Enfants (CNLTE)) received a budget of $150,000. This is the first year the unit has ever received funding dedicated specifically to its activities.(5, 91) Although the CNLTE is named the official coordinating body for child labor policy, the multiplicity of government structures sharing some of this responsibility leads to an inefficient and cumbersome system. Currently, the Ministry of Justice; the Ministry for Women; Children and the Family; the Ministry of Internal Security; and the Ministry of Labor share this responsibility.(5, 90)

V. Government Policies on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

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

Table 7. Policies Related to Child Labor
Policy Description
National Plan to Combat Child Labor (2011-2020) (NAP) Aims to eradicate the worst forms of child labor by 2015, and all exploitative child labor by 2020.(14, 99, 100) Calls for improving the judicial framework; increasing awareness on child labor; withdrawing children from the worst forms of child labor; providing these children with appropriate remediation services; and improving the livelihoods of families.(14) Falls under the direction of the National Unit to Fight Against Child Labor and is to be implemented in conjunction with 14 other ministries, including the Ministries of Education; Agriculture; Mining; Justice; and Women, Children, and the Family.(14)
PRSP (2012-2017)* Provides a framework for Mali's growth and poverty reduction agenda over the next five years.(101) Aims to improve access to and the quality of education; increase food security; increase employment opportunities for youth; and increase protection for and programs to assist women, children, and vulnerable groups. Contains specific plans to develop an emergency plan for children involved in armed conflict.(101)

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

Coordinating agencies under the National Plan to Combat Child Labor (NAP) held regular meetings. However, there is no evidence that implementation of the plan has begun.(5, 91)

In February 2013, an Inter-Ministerial Circular (Circular) was signed on the prevention, protection, and reintegration of children in armed conflict.(58) The Circular references Article 28 of the Penal Code, which states that penalties prescribed by the Penal Code are not applicable to crimes committed out of self-defense or under a force that could not be resisted. The Circular states that Article 28 of the Penal Code is applicable to children involved in armed conflict.(78, 102) However, the Circular does not define the age range of children it covers.(103) Given the discrepancy between the Penal Code and the Child Code regarding the definition of children involved in armed conflict, the lack of a defined age range in this Circular may leave children ages 16-17 unprotected. The Circular calls on families, local authorities, and child protection agencies to work together to ensure children withdrawn from armed forces are reintegrated or placed in another location of their choosing.(102)

On July 1, 2013, the Government of Mali and the UN signed a protocol agreement to protect children associated with armed conflict (Protocol). (5) The Protocol established a procedure to transfer these children to a UNICEF interim care center.(5, 61) In accordance with the Protocol, 19 children detained by the MNLA were released.(5) Following the signing of the Protocol, 25 child soldiers were placed in the UNICEF-supported center for care.(5, 63, 91, 104) However, four of the children in the shelter are facing charges for rebellion, criminal association, threatening state security, and conspiring against the state . ( 104 ) In addition, as of December 2013, nine children remained in detention. Some children were held in detention with adults.(61, 105, 106) During the reporting period, the Government disbanded Gando Izo and Gando Koy and placed the children trained by these groups into rehabilitation centers.(8) The fate of the remaining child soldiers is unknown.(56, 106) Evidence does not reveal any efforts made by the Government of Mali to prosecute offenders of or enforce laws relating to the use of child soldiers.

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

Due to the 2012-2013 violence, child labor-related programs were withdrawn from Mali. Some child labor-related programming was reinstated towards the end of 2013.(107) The Government of Mali 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
Back to School Campaign†* $4 million, UNICEF-implemented project to return children and teachers to school following the 2012-2013 violence. Supports 200,000 students and 4,000 teachers with school kits and teacher training as they return to school.(107, 108)
Out of School Youth Program† $30 million, USAID-funded, 5-year project implemented by the Education Development Center. Provides education and technical and work readiness training to approximately 10,000 out-of-school youth (ages 14-25). Aims to improve youth employment prospects. Implemented in partnership with the private sector and the Ministries of Youth, Education, and Employment.(107, 109)
Action Plan for the prevention, the retrieval from, and the social and professional reinsertion of thousands of children at risk or victims of the worst forms of labor in small artisanal mining in the Sikasso region $120,000, 2-year, ILO-implemented project to partially implement one of six components of Mali's NAP. Targeted child labor in artisanal gold mining in the Sikasso region.(91)
Support Program to expand the observation and monitoring of the work and trafficking system of children in the Sikasso region of Mali $120,000, 2 year, ILO-implemented project that provides support to the CNLTE to support a CLMS in the districts of Bougouni, Kolondieba, and Sikasso. These funds complement the $150,000 provided by the Government of Mali for this purpose.(91)

*The impact of this program on child labor does not appear to have been studied.
†Program was launched during the reporting period.

Although Mali participates in some programs to reduce the worst forms of child labor, the scope of these programs is insufficient to fully address the scope of the problem. In addition, Mali does not fund or participate in programs to address child labor in agriculture, domestic service, fishing, forced begging, commercial sexual exploitation, domestic slavery, or debt bondage.

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 Mali (Table 9).

Table 9. Suggested Government Actions to Eliminate Child Labor, Including Its Worst Forms
Area Suggested Action Year(s) Suggested
Laws Remove exceptions in the law that allow children under age 14 to work outside of light work. 2013
Ensure that relevant child labor laws and regulations apply equally to children working in the formal and informal sectors. 2010 - 2013
Amend the decree that permits certain hazardous activities for children ages 16 and 17 so it aligns with the hazardous list. 2009 - 2013
Enact laws to provide penalties for violations of the worst forms of child labor, including for all children under age 18 who are involved in armed conflict and to ensure that the use, procurement, or offering of a child for prostitution is prohibited for both girls and boys. 2009 - 2013
Criminalize and provide appropriate penalties for child slavery and forced labor, the commercial sexual exploitation of children, forced begging, the recruitment and use of children ages 15 to 18 as child soldiers, and for the use of children in illicit activities. 2009 - 2013
Enforcement Ensure the labor inspectorate, including regional offices, have adequate staff and resources to conduct inspections. 2012 - 2013
Take measures to effectively enforce laws relating to child labor, particularly in northern Mali. 2013
Collect and make public information on the number of labor inspections and penalties assessed, as well as criminal investigations, prosecutions, and convictions related to the worst forms of child labor. 2010 - 2013
Ensure the Morals Brigade has adequate coverage and resources, that local police receive adequate training on the worst forms of child labor, and that the Morals Brigade and local police coordinate on the cases of minors with the intention of providing services in the best interest of the child. 2011 - 2013
Enforce laws relating to child soldiers and slavery, including hereditary slavery and forced labor. 2012 - 2013
Apply the provisions of the Circular and the Protocol to cases in which criminal charges have been brought against children involved in armed conflict and provide appropriate social protection services to these children. 2013
Distribute the anti-trafficking in persons law to judges so they are aware of the requirements of the law. 2013
Coordination Streamline coordination across agencies, including by ensuring coordination between the National Unit to Fight Against Child Labor and other overlapping agencies. 2010 - 2013
Ensure the Inter-Ministerial Committee to Prevent Grave Violations Against Children meets regularly and takes action to fulfill its mission. 2013
Government Policies Assess the impact that existing policies may have on addressing the worst forms of child labor. 2013
Take measures to implement the NAP. 2012 - 2013
Define the age of children protected by the Inter-Ministerial Circular on the Prevention, Protection, and Reintegration of Children in Armed Conflict and ensure the defined age range complies with international standards. 2013
Social Programs Conduct research to determine the activities carried out by children raising livestock and working in the fishing industry to inform policies and programs. 2013
Take measures to ensure children's safety in schools and to ensure all children have access to education, no matter their ethnicity or gender. 2010 - 2012
Develop, expand and improve programs to prevent children's involvement in child labor by developing and implementing effective model programs to withdraw children from the worst forms of child labor in agriculture, domestic service, fishing, forced begging, commercial sexual exploitation, domestic slavery, and debt bondage. 2009 - 2013
Expand and improve programs targeting children in armed conflict, including programs targeting the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of child soldiers. 2012 - 2013
Formalize Mali's system for transferring detained victims of trafficking to NGOs. 2010 - 2011
Expand efforts made under the protocol agreement to protect children associated with armed conflict. 2013
Create a formalized mechanism to ensure the Malian army does not support children serving in pro-government militias. 2012 - 2013
Assess the impact that existing social programs may have on addressing child labor. 2013

1. UCW. Comprendre le Travail des Enfants au Mali. Rome; May 2009.

2. Human Rights Watch. Mali: War Crimes by Northern Rebels. New York; April 30, 2012.

3. Agence France Presse. "Mali Armed Groups Using Hundreds of Child Soldiers: NGO." [online] August 5, 2012 [cited January 30, 2013];

4. Integrated Regional Information Networks. "Mali: Children Take Up Guns." [online] October 8, 2012 [cited December 20, 2012];

5. U.S. Embassy- Bamako. reporting, January 17, 2014.

6. Human Rights Watch. A Poisonous Mix: Child Labor, Mercury, and Artisanal Gold Mining in Mali. Geneva; December, 2011.

7. UN News Center. "UN Envoy Speaks Out Against Reported Child Soldier Recruitment in Northern Mali." [online] April 13, 2012 [cited April 3, 2013];

8. U.S. Department of State. Mali. In: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2013. Washington, DC; February 27, 2014;

9. UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary. Total. [accessed February 10, 2014]; . 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.

10. UCW. Analysis of Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Statistics from National Household or Child Labor Surveys. Original data from Enquete National sur le Travail des Enfants, 2005. Analysis received 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.

11. U.S. Department of State. Mali. In: Trafficking in Persons Report- 2012. Washington, DC; June 19, 2012;

12. Ministere de l'Agriculture, and Institut d'Economie Rurale. Le Travail des Enfants dans l'Agriculture au Mali: Etude de Cas dans les Filieres Riz et Coton. Bamako; December, 2011.

13. FAO. Children's Work in the Livestock Sector: Herding and Beyond. Rome; 2013.

14. Government of Mali. Plan d'Action National pour l'Elimination du Travail des Enfants au Mali. Bamako; 2010.

15. Hilson G. "Family Hardship and Cultural Values: Child Labor in Malian Small-Scale Gold Mining Communities." World Development, 40(no. 8)(2012);

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21. Srikanthan S. "Out of School and at Risk: The Drought's Hidden Impact on Mali's Children." [online] June 7, 2012 [cited January 8, 2013];

22. U.S. Department of State. Mali. In: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2012. Washington, DC; April 19, 2013;

23. ILO. Fixing the Future of Mali's Child Workers; June 7, 2010.

24. Hicks C. "Families in Mali splintered by slavery as culture and conflict converge." The Guardian, London, April 3, 2013.

25. Temedt. Le Cas de Naleware Wallet Litni; 2013.

26. American Bar Association. Malian Program to Combat Descent-Based Slavery Gains Momentum; December, 2011

27. ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Observation concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Mali (ratification: 2000) Published: 2010; April 3, 2013;

28. Minstere de la Promotion de la Femme de l'Enfant et de la Famille, and UNICEF. Etude sur les connaissances, attitudes, et pratiques en matiere des droits de l'enfant et de la femme au Mali. Bamako; April, 2009.

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50. Sanongo I. "Mali Loses Control of North, as Sanctions Imposed." USA Today, Arlington, VA, April 2, 2012.

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89. ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Observation concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Mali (ratification: 2000) Published: 2012; February 7, 2013;

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92. U.S. Embassy- Bamako. reporting, February 3, 2010.

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104. Integrated Regional Information Networks. "Mali takes baby steps toward protecting former child soldiers." [online] October 11, 2013 [cited January 1, 2014];

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106. Amnesty International. Children in Mali Forced to be Soldiers, Now Being Held with Adults and Tortured. London; June 14, 2013.

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