Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Bahrain

Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

Bahrain

2016 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

Moderate Advancement

In 2016, Bahrain made a moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The Government shared labor and criminal law enforcement data, as well as information regarding the coordination activities of the Child Protection Center. In addition, the Labor Market Regulatory Authority posted inspectors at the airport to prevent migrant children from working in domestic service, mandated using only the recruitment agencies that have been vetted by the Government, and more than doubled the number of labor inspectors. Although the problem does not appear to be widespread, children in Bahrain engage in the worst forms of child labor, including in commercial sexual exploitation. The Government has not conducted research to determine the nature and extent of the worst forms of child labor in the country, and it also lacks a policy to address the worst forms of child labor.

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Although the problem does not appear to be widespread, children in Bahrain engage in the worst forms of child labor, including in commercial sexual exploitation.(1) Data on key indicators on children’s work and education are not available from the sources used in this report (Table 1).

Table 1. Statistics on Children’s Work and Education

Children

Age

Percent

Working (% and population)

5 to 14

Unavailable

Attending School (%)

5 to 14

Unavailable

Combining Work and School (%)

7 to 14

Unavailable

Primary Completion Rate (%)

 

Unavailable

Primary completion rate was unavailable from UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2016.(2)
Data were unavailable from Understanding Children’s Work Project’s analysis, 2016.(3)

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

Services

Selling products on the street (1)

Domestic work (1, 4)

Categorical Worst Forms of Child Labor‡

Commercial sexual exploitation (1)

‡ Child labor understood as the worst forms of child labor per se under Article 3(a)–(c) of ILO C. 182.

The Government of Bahrain has not conducted or participated in research to determine the extent to which children are engaged in child labor, including its worst forms.(5)

In Bahrain, citizenship is derived from the father. As a result, children of Bahraini mothers and non-Bahraini fathers may be stateless.(6) In a limited number of cases, stateless children who lack legal documents, such as birth certificates, have been prevented from enrolling in schools.(7, 8)

Bahrain 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 laws and regulations related to child labor, including its worst forms (Table 4). However, gaps exist in Bahrain’s legal framework to adequately protect children from child labor.

Table 4. Laws and Regulations on Child Labor

Standard

Meets International Standards: Yes/No

Age

Legislation

Minimum Age for Work

No

15

Article 24 of the Labor Law (9)

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

Yes

18

Article 27 of the Labor Law (9)

Identification of Hazardous Occupations or Activities Prohibited for Children

Yes

 

Articles 1 and 2 of Ministerial Order No. 23 of 2013 (10)

Prohibition of Forced Labor

Yes

 

Article 1 of the Law on Combating Trafficking in Persons (11)

Prohibition of Child Trafficking

No

 

Article 1 of the Law on Combating Trafficking in Persons (11)

Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

No

 

Article 1 of the Law on Combating Trafficking in Persons; Article 39 of the Child Law (11, 12)

Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities

Yes

 

Articles 59 and 68 of the Child Law; Article 30 of the Law on Hallucinogenic Substances and Drugs (12, 13)

Minimum Age for Military Recruitment

 

 

 

State Compulsory

N/A*

 

 

State Voluntary

Yes

18

Article 24 of the Defense Force Act (14)

Non-state Compulsory

Yes

18

Article 59 of the Child Law; Article 113 of the Penal Code (12, 15)

Compulsory Education Age

Yes

15

Article 1 of the Education Act (16)

Free Public Education

Yes

 

Article 7 of the Education Act (16)

* No conscription (14)

The minimum age protection in the Labor Law does not apply to children in certain sectors, such as domestic work in third-party homes.(9) Laws related to child trafficking are not sufficient as trafficking for the purposes of child commercial sexual exploitation is not criminally prohibited.

The law does not sufficiently prohibit commercial sexual exploitation, as the use of children for prostitution, and the offering, procuring, and use of children for production of pornography and pornographic performances are not criminally prohibited.

The Government has established institutional mechanisms for the enforcement of laws and regulations on child labor, including its worst forms (Table 5). However, gaps in labor law and criminal law enforcement remain and some enforcement information is not available.

Table 5. Agencies Responsible for Child Labor Law Enforcement

Organization/Agency

Role

Ministry of Labor and Social Development

Enforce child labor laws, along with the Labor Market Regulatory Authority. Take the lead role in initial mediation to resolve violations of the Labor Law.(1) Refer violations that are not resolved through mediation to the Public Prosecutor’s Office. Maintain a hotline to receive criminal complaints of child labor, including its worst forms.(1)

Labor Market Regulatory Authority

Issue work visas to ensure that individuals coming to Bahrain as migrant workers are at least age 18.(5) Enforce the Law on Combating Trafficking in Persons.(1) Maintain a hotline to assist migrant workers.(17)

Police Department of the Ministry of Interior

Enforce criminal laws that prohibit the worst forms of child labor. Oversee the 12‑person Criminal Investigations Directorate that investigates potential cases of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation.(18) Refer any identified child victims of human trafficking or illicit activities to the Center for Child Protection.(5) Maintain a hotline to receive criminal complaints of child trafficking.(19)

Public Prosecutor’s Office

Prosecute crimes related to child labor and human trafficking.(20)

 

Labor Law Enforcement

In 2016, labor law enforcement agencies in Bahrain took actions to combat child labor, including its worst forms (Table 6).

Table 6. Labor Law Enforcement Efforts Related to Child Labor

Overview of Labor Law Enforcement

2015

2016

Labor Inspectorate Funding

Unknown

Unknown

Number of Labor Inspectors

33 (5)

70 (4)

Inspectorate Authorized to Assess Penalties

Yes (21)

Yes (4)

Training for Labor Inspectors

 

 

Initial Training for New Employees

Unknown

Unknown

Training on New Laws Related to Child Labor

N/A

N/A

Refresher Courses Provided

Yes (1)

Yes (4)

Number of Labor Inspections

Unknown (1)

8,212‡ (4)

Number Conducted at Worksite

Unknown

Unknown

Number Conducted by Desk Reviews

Unknown

Unknown

Number of Child Labor Violations Found

Unknown (1)

0 (4)

Number of Child Labor Violations for Which Penalties Were Imposed

Unknown (1)

N/A

Number of Penalties Imposed That Were Collected

Unknown (1)

N/A

Routine Inspections Conducted

Unknown

Yes (4)

Routine Inspections Targeted

Unknown

Yes (4)

Unannounced Inspections Permitted

Yes (22)

Yes (4)

Unannounced Inspections Conducted

Unknown

Yes (4)

Complaint Mechanism Exists

Yes (19)

Yes (4)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Labor Authorities and Social Services

Unknown

Yes (4)

‡ Data are from January 1, 2016, to October 30, 2016.(4)

 

Criminal Law Enforcement

In 2016, criminal law enforcement agencies in Bahrain took actions to combat the worst forms of child labor (Table 7).

Table 7. Criminal Law Enforcement Efforts Related to the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Overview of Criminal Law Enforcement

2015

2016

Training for Investigators

   

Initial Training for New Employees

Unknown

Unknown

Training on New Laws Related to the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Unknown

N/A

Refresher Courses Provided

Yes (1)

Yes (4)

Number of Investigations

Unknown (1)

1 (4)

Number of Violations Found

Unknown

0 (4)

Number of Prosecutions Initiated

Unknown (1)

0 (4)

Number of Convictions

Unknown (1)

N/A

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Criminal Authorities and Social Services

Yes (5)

Yes (5)

 

In 2016, the Labor Market Regulatory Authority employed 70 inspectors to conduct 15,000 to 17,000 inspections to ensure compliance with laws, including the Law on Combating Trafficking in Persons. No cases of worst forms of child labor were detected in the reporting period.(4)

The Government has established mechanisms to coordinate its efforts to address child labor, including its worst forms (Table 8).

Table 8. Key Mechanisms to Coordinate Government Efforts on Child Labor

Coordinating Body

Role & Description

Child Protection Center

Meet weekly and coordinate efforts of five government ministries to address cases of child abuse, including child trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. Led by the Ministry of Labor and Social Development.(4)

National Committee on Combating Trafficking in Persons

Coordinate policies and laws to combat human trafficking and organize educational and outreach campaigns to raise awareness on trafficking in persons.(23) Led by the Labor Market Regulatory Authority; other members include representatives from eight state entities, plus NGOs.(1)

Research found no evidence that the Government has established policies to address child labor, including its worst forms.

In 2016, the Government of Bahrain funded programs that include the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor, including its worst forms (Table 9).

Table 9. Key Social Programs to Address Child Labor

Program

Description

Child Protection Center†

In charge of coordination; also provides services, including educational and psychological services and, in extreme cases, placement in foster care.(24)

† Program is funded by the Government of Bahrain.

The Labor Market Regulatory Authority has detected isolated cases of children entering Bahrain with falsified documents to work as domestic workers. In response, this agency posted inspectors at the Bahrain airport to monitor migrant workers and prevent suspected cases of child recruitment.(4) It also mandated using 1 of the 120 preferred recruitment agencies to ensure compliance with laws and regulations.(4, 25)

Based on the reporting above, suggested actions are identified that would advance the elimination of child labor, including its worst forms, in Bahrain (Table 10).

Table 10. Suggested Government Actions to Eliminate Child Labor, Including its Worst Forms

Area

Suggested Action

Year(s) Suggested

Legal Framework

Ensure that the law’s minimum age provisions do not exclude children in certain sectors, including in domestic work.

2014 – 2016

Ensure that child trafficking laws criminally prohibit the trafficking of children for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation.

2016

Ensure that laws criminally prohibit all aspects of commercial sexual exploitation of children.

2016

Enforcement

Publish data on the labor inspectorate funding, the initial training for new inspectors, and the number of inspections conducted at worksites.

2009 – 2016

Publish data on the initial training for new criminal investigators.

2013 – 2016

Government Policies

Adopt a policy that addresses all relevant worst forms of child labor, such as commercial sexual exploitation.

2009 – 2016

Social Programs

Conduct a comprehensive study of children’s activities to determine the extent to which children may be engaged in or at risk for involvement in child labor, including its worst forms.

2009 – 2016

Ensure universal access to education, particularly for stateless children.

2010 – 2016

1.         U.S. Embassy- Manama. reporting, January 17, 2016.

2.         UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary education, both sexes (%). Accessed December 16, 2016; http://data.uis.unesco.org/. Data provided is the gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary education. This measure is a proxy measure for primary completion. This ratio is the total number of new entrants in the last grade of primary education, regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the population at the theoretical entrance age to the last grade of primary education. A high ratio indicates a high degree of current primary education completion. The calculation includes all new entrants to the last grade (regardless of age). Therefore, the ratio can exceed 100 percent, due to over-aged and under-aged children who enter primary school late/early and/or repeat grades. For more information, please see “Children's Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions” in the Reference Materials section of this report.

3.         UCW. Analysis of Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Statistics from National Household or Child Labor Surveys. Analysis received December 15, 2016. 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, please see “Children's Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions” in the Reference Materials section of this report.

4.         U.S. Embassy- Manama. reporting, January 17, 2017.

5.         U.S. Embassy- Manama. reporting, January 29, 2015.

6.         U. S. Department of State. "Bahrain," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2014. Washington, DC; June 25, 2015; http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/236806.pdf.

7.         Migrant Workers Protection Society official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. December 13, 2014.

8.         Bahrain Center for Human Rights. Stateless in Bahrain. Copenhagen; September 24, 2014. http://bahrainrights.org/sites/default/files/Stateless%20in%20Bahrain%20-%20Final.pdf.

9.         Government of Bahrain. Law No. 36 of 2012 on the Promulgation of the Labor Law in the Private Sector, enacted August 2, 2012. http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/MONOGRAPH/91026/105342/F265276925/BHR91026%20Eng.pdf.

10.       Government of Bahrain. Ministerial Order No. 23 of 2013 determining the cases, circumstances and any other conditions, governing the employment of minors, and determining the occupations, industries and dangerous and hazardous works in which minors may not be employed or which may be harmful to their health, safety or ethical behavior in accordance with the various age stages, enacted June 13, 2013. http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/natlex4.detail?p_lang=en&p_isn=95260&p_country=BHR&p_count=323.

11.       Government of Bahrain. Law No. 1 of 2008 on Combating Trafficking in Persons, enacted 2008. http://www.unodc.org/res/cld/document/bhr/draft_law_no__1_of_2008_with_respect_to_trafficking_in_persons_html/Bahrain_TiP-Law_2008-ArEn.pdf.

12.       Government of Bahrain Law No. 37 of 2012 on the Promulgating the Child Law, enacted August 9, 2012. http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/natlex4.detail?p_lang=en&p_isn=92395&p_country=BHR&p_classification=04.

13.       Government of Bahrain. Law No. 15 of 2007 on Hallucinogenic Substances and Drugs, enacted August 10, 2007. http://www.legalaffairs.gov.bh/Media/LegalPDF/K1507.pdf.

14.       Government of Bahrain. Law No. 32 of 2002 on the Promulgation of Bahrain's Defense Force Act, enacted September 24, 2002. [Source on file].

15.       Government of Bahrain. Decree No. 15 of 1976 on the Promulgation of the Penal Code, enacted 1976. http://www.unodc.org/res/cld/document/bhr/1976/bahrain_penal_code_html/Bahrain_Penal_Code_1976.pdf.

16.       Government of Bahrain. Law No. 27 of 2005 on Education, enacted 2005. http://www.legalaffairs.gov.bh/LegislationSearchDetails.aspx?id=2416#.VIixS9LF-So.

17.       U.S. Embassy- Manama. reporting, December 29, 2015.

18.       U.S. Embassy- Manama. reporting, January 20, 2014.

19.       U.S. Embassy- Manama official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. March 8, 2015.

20.       U.S. Embassy- Manama. reporting, February 5, 2015.

21.       ILO. Labour Inspection in Arab States: Progress and Challenges. Beirut; 2014. http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---arabstates/---ro-beirut/documents/publication/wcms_325618.pdf.

22.       Government of Bahrain. Decision of the Minister of Labor No. 29 of 2013 on the organization of the labor inspection, enacted 2013. http://www.legalaffairs.gov.bh/LegislationSearchDetails.aspx?id=30300#.VOuM8tLF-So.

23.       National Committee to Combat Trafficking in Persons. The Plan of the National Committee to Combat Trafficking in Persons; 2014. [Source on file].

24.       Ministry of Labor and Social Development. Child Protection Centre, Kingdom of Bahrain, [online] January 9, 2016 [cited February 6, 2017]; http://www.social.gov.bh/node/348.

25.       The Free Library. LMRA lists 120 manpower firms, SyndiGate Media, [online] February 16, 2016 [cited February 6, 2017]; https://www.thefreelibrary.com/LMRA+lists+120+manpower+firms.-a0443440267.

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