CAPSA - Capacity Strengthening of Governments to Address Child Labor and/or Forced Labor, and Violations of Acceptable Conditions of Work in Sub-Saharan Africa

Project Duration
December 2019
December 2024
Funding and Year

The CAPSA project seeks to build the capacity of the Governments of Kenya and Uganda to more effectively combat child labor, forced labor, and violations of acceptable conditions of work. It does this by helping the governments strengthen enforcement of their laws and regulations, improve assistance services for victims, and enhance coordination between law enforcement and social protection entities.

The Problem

In 2020, the International Labor Organization (ILO) estimated that there were 79 million child laborers in Sub-Saharan Africa. Forced labor in Sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to affect some 3.4 million people, according to the most recent estimates. Child laborers and victims of forced labor typically work in situations that fall outside internationally recognized acceptable conditions of work, such as in unsafe working conditions or being paid wages below the legal minimum wage. These often-illegal practices can enable producers to cut costs, providing them and the countries in which their goods are produced with an unfair economic advantage. These practices also may harm workers and businesses in the United States when they are competing with products made by children and/or workers in forced labor. 

In Kenya, children are engaged in child labor in agriculture, industry, and the informal sector, and some are exploited sexually for commercial gain. As a result, Kenya is a source, transit, and destination country for children and adults subjected to forced labor and trafficking for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Gaps in Kenya’s legal framework and policies, weak enforcement of labor laws, a lack of information on enforcement and coordination activities, and insufficient assistance services to victims all contribute to child labor, forced labor, and the inadequate protection of workers in the country. Relating to conditions of work, Kenya is susceptible to work-week and overtime violations, weak enforcement of occupational safety and health regulations, and insufficient fines to deter unsafe practices.

In Uganda, children are subjected to the worst forms of child labor in gold mining and commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking. The country also faces gaps in their legal framework, including inadequate laws regulating the minimum age for employment and hazardous work. In addition, the lack of a centralized supervisory authority along with inadequate funding, training, and resources has hampered the capacity of law enforcement agencies to conduct child labor inspections and investigations.

Our Strategy

The CAPSA project works to increase the capacity of host governments in Kenya and Uganda to reduce child labor and/or forced labor and violations of acceptable conditions of work by supporting host governments to: 

  • improve the enforcement of their legal frameworks and/or policies pertaining to child labor and/or forced labor and violations of acceptable conditions of work;  
  • improve assistance services for victims of child labor and/or forced labor; and 
  • strengthen partnerships to accelerate progress, including with the Eastern African Community (EAC), in addressing child labor and/or forced labor and violations of acceptable conditions of work in the region.  

This work involves identifying roles and responsibilities of government and other relevant stakeholders; mapping, improving, and/or assisting in the establishment of law enforcement and social protection programs and coordination systems, processes, and activities; and strengthening cross-country and in-country partnerships.


  1. Kenya: In collaboration with the project, Kenya’s Ministry of Labor has established a National Steering Committee on Child Labor and five County Child Labor Committees in Kajiado, Nairobi, Kwale, Bungoma, and Mombasa counties. These committees are intended to streamline reporting and monitoring processes and coordinate efforts with local actors to combat child labor.
  2. Kenya: The CAPSA project supported the Government of Kenya in developing its National Plan of Action for the Counter Trafficking in Persons policy, which was launched in June 2023.
  3. Uganda: Five Child Wellbeing Committees have been established and are functioning in the districts of Jinga, Bugiri, Iganga, Mbale and Masindi. Since the establishment of these committees, some 8,462 cases of child labor and child trafficking have been reported to authorities in these districts.
  4. Uganda: With assistance from the CAPSA project, the National Union of Plantation and Allied Workers (NUPAW) successfully established a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with sugar manufacturer Hoima Sugar, which included a component on child labor. In Uganda, child labor is prevalent in the sugar sector on small-scale outgrower sugarcane farms.
  5. Kenya and Uganda: As of September 2023, more than 1,700 law enforcement officers, union members, criminal justice stakeholders, and other frontline workers have been trained on child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking. These interactive trainings provided participants an opportunity to further their knowledge on human trafficking and the services available to victims and to share knowledge on the topic.
International Labor Organization (ILO)
Contact Information:
(202) 693-4843 / Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking (OCFT)
Child Labor
Acceptable Conditions of Work
Capacity Building
Forced Labor
FY19 Projects
Human Trafficking