Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Botswana

Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

Botswana

2016 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

Moderate Advancement

In 2016, Botswana made a moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The Government’s Orphan Care Program provided 29,828 orphans with meals and subsidized the cost of school. In addition, the Government continued its Stay-in-School Program, which trains teachers and social workers on how to talk to parents about the importance of education. However, children in Botswana perform dangerous tasks in cattle herding. Key gaps remain in the country’s legal framework, including the lack of minimum age for compulsory education and insufficient prohibitions for hazardous work. In addition, social programs do not always reach intended child labor victims, especially those engaged in domestic work and cattle herding.

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Although research is limited, there is evidence that children in Botswana perform dangerous tasks in cattle herding.(1-3) Table 1 provides key indicators on children’s work and education in Botswana. Data on some of these indicators are not available from the sources used in this report.

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 (%)

 

99.7

Source for primary completion rate: Data from 2013, published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2016.(4)
Data were unavailable from Understanding Children’s Work Project’s analysis, 2016.(5)

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

Farming, activities unknown (3, 6, 7)

Herding cattle (1-3, 8-10)

Services

Street work, including vending (1)

Domestic work (1, 3, 9, 10)

Work in informal bars, activities unknown (10)

Truck driver assistance, including unloading goods (11)

Work outside supermarkets, including carrying bags for customers (11)

Categorical Worst Forms of Child Labor‡

Forced labor in herding cattle and domestic work, each sometimes as a result of human trafficking (9, 10)

Commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking (8, 10)

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

Children in Botswana are possibly trafficked within the country for commercial sexual exploitation along major highways by truck drivers.(10) Two NGOs reported that children are engaged in cattle herding in remote rural villages, especially among the San population.(2, 8) UNICEF data published in 2016 reported that 9 percent of children in Botswana are engaged in child labor.(12)

Primary education is free, and poor families receive free meals, toiletries, and school uniforms.(6, 13) Secondary school costs between $38 and $43 per year; however, poor families may receive a tuition exemption.(13, 14) According to UNICEF, 16 percent of children of primary school age are not attending school.(12) The Government has yet to collect and publish child labor data to inform policies and social programs.

Botswana 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 Botswana’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

Articles 2 and 107 of the Employment Act (15)

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

Yes

18

Articles 2 and 110 of the Employment Act (15)

Identification of Hazardous Occupations or Activities Prohibited for Children

Yes

 

Articles 2 and 108 of the Employment Act; Section 24 of the Children’s Act (15, 16)

Prohibition of Forced Labor

Yes

 

Articles 2 and 71 of the Employment Act; Articles 175 and 262 of the Penal Code; Section 114 of the Children’s Act; Articles 9 and 10 of the Anti-Human Trafficking Act (15-18)

Prohibition of Child Trafficking

Yes

 

Article 175 of the Penal Code; Section 114 of the Children’s Act; Articles 9 and 10 of the Anti-Human Trafficking Act (16-18)

Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Yes

 

Sections 25 and 57–59 of the Children’s Act (16)

Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities

Yes

 

Section 60 of the Children’s Act (16)

Minimum Age for Military Recruitment

 

 

 

State Compulsory

N/A*

 

 

State Voluntary

Yes

18

Section 17 of the Botswana Defence Force Act (19)

Non-state Compulsory

Yes

 18

Section 26(2) of the Children’s Act (16)

Compulsory Education Age

No

 

 

Free Public Education

Yes

 

Revised National Policy in Education, White Paper No. 12 of 1994; Section 18 of the Children’s Act (16, 20)

* No conscription (21)

Under Botswanan law, children working without a contract do not benefit from minimum age protections. Although the Employment Act allows children at age 14 to conduct light work activities, the Government has yet to determine the types of light work activities permitted for children.(22) In addition, the Employment Act prohibits night work and hazardous underground work for children but fails to prohibit other types of hazardous work, including work with dangerous machinery, equipment, and tools.(15) Although the Government has made efforts to compile a comprehensive list of hazardous occupations in recent years, the list has yet to be approved.(23-25)

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 Home Affairs

Enforce child labor laws and policies. In the case of the Commissioner of Labor, authorized by the Employment Act to conduct labor inspections.(6, 15, 23) Facilitate coordination with local leaders and law enforcement officers; posts labor inspectors to District Council offices to carry out their duties.(26)

District and Municipal Council Child Welfare Divisions

Enforce child labor laws at the local levels.(6) Met quarterly during the year.(27)

Botswana Police Service

Investigate cases of the worst forms of child labor, including commercial sexual exploitation of children and child trafficking.(3)

Ministry of Defense, Justice, and Security (MDJS)

Monitor suspected human trafficking cases and lead the Human Trafficking (Prohibition) Committee.(28, 29)

 

Labor Law Enforcement

In 2016, labor law enforcement agencies in Botswana 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* (26)

$46,000 (30)

Number of Labor Inspectors

Unknown* (26)

108 (30)

Inspectorate Authorized to Assess Penalties

No (3)

No (3)

Training for Labor Inspectors

 

 

Initial Training for New Employees

Unknown* (26)

Unknown (3)

Training on New Laws Related to Child Labor

Unknown* (26)

Unknown (3)

Refresher Courses Provided

No (26)

Unknown (3)

Number of Labor Inspections

250† (26)

4,999‡ (3)

Number Conducted at Worksite

250† (26)

4,999‡ (3)

Number Conducted by Desk Reviews

Unknown* (26)

Unknown (3)

Number of Child Labor Violations Found

0 (26)

Unknown (3)

Number of Child Labor Violations for Which Penalties Were Imposed

N/A (26)

Unknown (3)

Number of Penalties Imposed That Were Collected

N/A (26)

Unknown (3)

Routine Inspections Conducted

Yes (26)

Yes (3)

Routine Inspections Targeted

Yes (26)

Yes (3)

Unannounced Inspections Permitted

Yes (26)

Yes (3)

Unannounced Inspections Conducted

Yes (26)

Yes (3)

Complaint Mechanism Exists

Yes (26)

Yes (3)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Labor Authorities and Social Services

Yes (26)

Yes (3)

* The Government does not publish this information.

Criminal Law Enforcement

In 2016, criminal law enforcement agencies in Botswana 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* (26)

N/A (3)

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

Yes (31)

Yes (3)

Refresher Courses Provided

Yes (31)

Yes (3)

Number of Investigations

Unknown* (26)

9 (3)

Number of Violations Found

Unknown* (26)

14 (3)

Number of Prosecutions Initiated

Unknown* (26)

14 (3)

Number of Convictions

Unknown* (26)

Unknown (3)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Criminal Authorities and Social Services

Yes (26)

Yes (3)

* The Government does not publish this information.

In 2016, the Botswana Police Service launched an investigation into the sex worker population at the Kazungula border with Zambia and Zimbabwe for possible victims of human trafficking; no human trafficking cases were found.(29) The Ministry of Defense, Justice, and Security (MDJS) contributed to training and workshops on human trafficking with religious groups, students, and recruitment agencies. In September, MDJS hosted a session at Materspei College to educate students about the dangers of human trafficking and methods that transnational criminals use to lure victims, including via cybercrime.(32) Reports indicate that police are sometimes insensitive when handling cases of violence against women and children and lack investigative training to identify, prosecute, and prevent human trafficking violations.(24, 28, 33)

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

Human Trafficking (Prohibition) Committee

Establish a reporting and referral mechanism for children subjected to human trafficking. Created by the 2014 Anti-Human Trafficking Bill and led by the MDJS.(1) Met during the year to develop a draft Human Trafficking National Action Plan.(29)

Advisory Committee on Child Labor

Oversee child labor issues and report to the Government three to four times per year. Includes representatives from government agencies, various NGOs, worker federations, and employer organizations.(3, 11, 23)

Child Labor Committees

Identify child laborers at the village level. Includes social workers; school teachers; members of the Village Development Committees, which are local government structures; labor inspectors; and community leaders, including chiefs and priests.(3, 13)

The Government has established policies related to child labor, including its worst forms (Table 9).

Table 9. Key Policies Related to Child Labor‡

Policy

Description

National Action Plan on the Elimination of the Worst Kinds of Child Labor

Outlines the Government’s plan to address child labor through legislation and policy and includes awareness-raising programs and training on child labor and its worst forms for relevant stakeholders and implementers.(1)

Ministry of Labor and Home Affairs Sustainability Plan

Aims to incorporate addressing child labor issues into the regular duties of labor inspectors. Calls on local leaders and volunteers to identify and refer cases of child labor to social workers and school teachers to monitor attendance and promote retention.(34)

Ministry and Department Action Plans

Includes plans to address child labor through the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Gender and Child Welfare, the Department of Social Services, and the Police.(35) Contains implementation strategies that aim to improve the safety and protection of children and to identify and help vulnerable children in need.(35)

‡ The Government had other policies that may have addressed child labor issues or had an impact on child labor.(36, 37)

Child labor elimination and prevention strategies are not included in the following policies: National Plan of Action for Orphans and Vulnerable Children, Botswana National Youth Policy, and National Action Plan for Youth.(13, 38-40) In December, the Government approved spending under National Development Plan 11 to address human trafficking by setting up mechanisms to protect the interests of witnesses and victims.(41)

In 2016, the Government funded and participated in programs that include the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor, including its worst forms (Table 10).

Table 10. Key Social Programs to Address Child Labor‡

Program

Description

Government-Funded Programs to Combat Child Labor†

NGO-run shelters, with financial support from the Government, that caters to human trafficking victims, including children. The Kagisano Society Women’s Shelter that provides temporary shelter to women; in 2016, provided care to four girls who were victims of commercial sexual exploitation. Stay-in-School Program trains teachers and social workers to communicate with parents about the importance of education. National School Feeding Program focuses on providing meals to children (grades 1–7) in all public primary schools in the country, serving over 330,000 school children and Remote Area Dweller Program provides a second meal to schoolchildren in remote, marginalized communities. Orphan Care Program provides orphans with meals and subsidizes the cost of school fees and transportation costs. In 2016, President Khama said 29,828 orphans received aid monthly under the program.(6, 29, 42)

† Program is funded by the Government of Botswana.
‡ The Government had other social programs that may have included the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor, including its worst forms.(43-45)

Although Botswana has programs that target child labor, the scope of these programs does not always reach the intended targets, especially in domestic work and cattle herding in which children have been found working.

Based on the reporting above, suggested actions are identified that would advance the elimination of child labor, including its worst forms, in Botswana (Table 11).

Table 11. Suggested Government Actions to Eliminate Child Labor, Including its Worst Forms

Area

Suggested Action

Year(s) Suggested

Legal Framework

Ensure that the law’s light work provisions are specific enough to prevent children from involvement in child labor.

2016

Ensure that the law prohibits hazardous work for children younger than age 18 in all relevant sectors, including in agriculture.

2009 – 2016

Ensure that the law’s minimum age protections apply to children working without a contract.

2010 – 2016

Establish a compulsory education age equal to or higher than the minimum age of employment.

2010 – 2016

Enforcement

Publish information about the labor inspectorate’s training of labor inspectors on child labor issues, the amount of labor violations found and penalties imposed, and the number of convictions related to the worst forms of child labor.

2016

Authorize labor inspectors to assess penalties for child labor violations.

2016

Government Policies

Integrate child labor elimination and prevention strategies into the existing youth policies.

2011 – 2016

Social Programs

Collect and publish data on child labor, including its worst forms, to inform policies and programs.

2013 – 2016

Develop programs to address child labor in domestic work and cattle herding.

2012 – 2016

1.         U.S. Embassy- Gaborone. reporting, January 21, 2015.

2.         Humana People to People official. Interview with USDOL consultant. September 23, 2015.

3.         U.S. Embassy- Gaborone. reporting, January 23, 2017.

4.         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.

5.         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.

6.         U.S. Embassy- Gaborone. reporting, January 17, 2014.

7.         Mosinyi, T. "Botswana: Child Labour Illegal." allafrica.com [online] September 22, 2015 [cited October 26, 2016]; http://allafrica.com/stories/201509230058.html.

8.         Botswana NGO official. Interview with USDOL consultant. September 23, 2015.

9.         U.S. Department of State. "Botswana," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2015. Washington, DC; April 13, 2016; http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/252865.pdf.

10.       U.S. Department of State. "Botswana," in Trafficking in Persons Report- 2016. Washington, DC; June 30, 2016; http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/258878.pdf.

11.       U.S. Department of State. "Botswana," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2014. Washington, DC; June 25, 2015; http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/236542.pdf.

12.       UNICEF Data. Botswana; accessed October 23, 2016; https://data.unicef.org/country/bwa/.

13.       U.S. Department of State official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. May 28, 2013.

14.       UNESCO. Education for All 2000-2015: Achievements and Challenges. Paris; 2015. http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002322/232205e.pdf.

15.       Government of Botswana. Employment Act, enacted 1982. http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/WEBTEXT/842/64792/E82BWA01.htm.

16.       Government of Botswana. Children's Act, No. 8, enacted 2009. http://www.santac.org/eng/Media/Files/Botswana-Children%27s-Act-2009.

17.       Government of Botswana. Penal Code, enacted 1964. http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=238601.

18.       Government of Botswana. Anti-Human Trafficking Act, enacted 2014. [source on file].

19.       Government of Botswana. Botswana Defence Force, No. 23, enacted 1977. http://www.elaws.gov.bw/law.php?id=883.

20.       U.S. Embassy Gaborone official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. April 13, 2015.

21.       Child Soldiers International. "Appendix II: Data Summary on Recruitment Ages of National Armies," in Louder than words: An agenda for action to end state use of child soldiers. London; 2012; http://www.child-soldiers.org/user_uploads/pdf/appendix2datasummarytableonrecruitmentagesofnationalarmies9687452.pdf.

22.       ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Direct Request Concerning Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) Botswana (ratification: 1997) Published: 2015; accessed November 11, 2015; http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:13100:0::NO:13100:P13100_COMMENT_ID:3180120:NO.

23.       U.S. Embassy- Gaborone. reporting, January 31, 2013.

24.       U.S. Embassy Gaborone official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. March 21, 2013.

25.       ILO Committee of Experts. Observation (CEACR) - adopted 2014, published 104th ILC session (2015) Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) - Botswana (ratification: 2000); accessed June 19, 2015; http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:13100:0::NO:13100:P13100_COMMENT_ID:3180142:NO.

26.       U.S. Embassy- Gaborone. reporting, February 23, 2016.

27.       U.S. Embassy- Gaborone official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. April 29, 2016.

28.       U.S. Embassy- Gaborone. reporting, February 21, 2012.

29.       U.S. Embassy- Gaborone. reporting, March 10, 2017.

30.       U.S. Embassy- Gaborone. reporting, March 1, 2017.

31.       Ministry of Defense Justice and Security official. Interview with USDOL consultant. September 23, 2015.

32.       Mathala, S. "Human trafficking raises red flags." mmegi.bw [online] October 14, 2016 [cited January 10, 2017]; http://www.mmegi.bw/index.php?aid=63836&dir=2016/october/14.

33.       U.S. Embassy- Gaborone. reporting, February 15, 2013.

34.       ILO-IPEC. Botswana, Namibia and South Africa (TECL II) April 2012. Technical Progress Report. Geneva; 2012.

35.       ILO-IPEC. TECL- (Phase II) TPR-October 2011. Technical Progress Report. Geneva; 2011.

36.       Government of Botswana and the United Nations System in Botswana. United Nations Development Assistance Framework 2010-2016 Botswana. Gabarone; March 2009. http://botswana.unfpa.org/drive/BotswanaUNDAF(2010-2016).pdf.

37.       Government of Botswana. Vision 2016 Booklet: A Framework for a Long Term Vision for Botswana. Botswana Vision 2016 Council, [online]. Gabarone; March 7, 2011. http://www.vision2016.co.bw/vision-publications.php?flag=pub.

38.       Government of Botswana, Ministry of Labor and Home Affairs. National Youth Policy. Gabarone; February 1996. http://www.ub.bw/ip/documents/1996_National%20Youth%20Policy.pdf.

39.       U.S. Department of State official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. May 7, 2012.

40.       National AIDS Coordinating Agency. Botswana 2012 Global AIDS Response Report. Progress Report of the National Response to the 2011 Declaration of Commitments on HIV and AIDS. Geneva; March 31, 2012. http://www.bw.undp.org/content/dam/botswana/docs/HIVAIDS/Botswana%20Global%20Progress%20report_2012.pdf?download.

41.       U.S. Embassy- Gaborone. reporting, May 23, 2017.

42.       Lesley Drake, Alice Woolnough, Carmen Burbano, and Donald Bundy. Global School Feeding Sourcebook: Lessons from 14 Countries. London, Imperial College Press; 2016. https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/24418.

43.       US Fund for UNICEF. Digital Diarist Tsholofelo Selufaro, 19, speaks about the issue of child labor in Botswana [Audio]: Teach UNICEF, https://www.unicef.org/videoaudio/ramfiles/ur7651a_botswanatsholo.ram.

44.       ILO. Decent Work Country Programmes, [online] February 15, 2016 [cited April 6, 2016]; http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/program/dwcp/countries/index.htm.

45.       Government of Botswana. Decent Work Country Programme for Botswana 2011 to 2015. Gabarone; February 2011. http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/program/dwcp/download/botswana.pdf.

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