Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

Afghanistan

Bricks
Bricks
Child Labor Icon
Forced Child Labor Icon
Forced Labor Icon
Carpets
Carpets
Child Labor Icon
Coal
Coal
Child Labor Icon
Poppies
Poppies
Child Labor Icon
Salt
Salt
Child Labor Icon
Afghanistan
2020 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

Minimal Advancement – Efforts Made but Continued Practice that Delayed Advancement

In 2020, Afghanistan made minimal advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The National Security Council approved a National Anti-Trafficking in Persons Action Plan, which mandates steps to eliminate the criminal practice of bacha bazi—a form of commercial sexual exploitation of boys—by those in positions of power. In addition, it achieved its first indictment of a government employee, a school headmaster, for bacha bazi crimes uncovered in investigations of the Logar province school system in 2019 and 2020. This indictment, along with numerous other prosecutions, convictions, and stringent prison sentences achieved during the year, are indicative of a nascent shift away from a culture of impunity toward one of greater accountability for these crimes. Furthermore, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs established 10 new Child Protection Action Network units, and Child Protection Units within the Afghan National Police recruitment centers operated in all provinces. However, despite new initiatives to address child labor, Afghanistan is assessed as having made only minimal advancement because it continued a practice that delays advancement to eliminate child labor. In 2020, the government arrested, detained, and prosecuted children for terrorism-related crimes, including some younger than age 12, who had been forcibly recruited by non-state armed groups. Furthermore, authorities considered some child trafficking victims, especially those engaged in bacha bazi or armed conflict, as criminals, housing them in juvenile detention centers and subjecting them to torture and other forms of ill treatment rather than referring them to victim support services. Children in Afghanistan are subjected to the worst forms of child labor, including in commercial sexual exploitation, armed conflict, and forced labor in the production of bricks and carpets, each sometimes as a result of human trafficking. Afghanistan’s labor inspectorate is not authorized to impose penalties for child labor violations, and the government lacks sufficient programs to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. In addition, Afghan law does not sufficiently criminalize forced labor, debt bondage, or the commercial sexual exploitation of girls.

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