Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Botswana

Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

Botswana

2017 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

Minimal Advancement

In 2017, Botswana made a minimal advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. During the year, the government’s primary school feeding program served 755 primary schools with an enrollment of 354,317 students. The government also finalized the Anti-Human Trafficking National Action Plan. However, children in Botswana engage in the worst forms of child labor in commercial sexual exploitation. Children also engage in child labor in cattle herding and domestic work. 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 cattle herding and domestic work.

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Children in Botswana engage in the worst forms of child labor in commercial sexual exploitation. Children also engage in child labor in cattle herding and domestic work. (1; 2; 3; 4; 5) 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 (%)

 

69.2

Source for primary completion rate: Data from 2013, published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2018. (6)
Data were unavailable from Understanding Children’s Work Project’s analysis, 2018. (7)

 

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, including picking beans (2; 8; 9; 10)

Herding cattle (4; 2; 3; 10)

Services

Street work, including vending (1)

Domestic work (1; 2; 4; 5)

Categorical Worst Forms of Child Labor‡

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

Commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking (3; 5; 10)

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

 

According to UNICEF data published in 2016, approximately 9 percent of children in Botswana are engaged in child labor. However, the data did not provide information about the sectors, types of activities, and hazards children encounter as child laborers. (11) Reports also indicate that children in Botswana are victims of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor, sometimes as a result of human trafficking. In addition, children of San ethnic minority groups may be subjected to forced labor conditions on private farms and cattle posts. (5; 4; 3)

Furthermore, UNICEF’s data indicated that 16 percent of children of primary school age are not attending school, although the data did not reveal the direct cause. (11) In its 2017 and 2018 budget, the Government of Botswana allocated 17.2 percent of total government spending ($672 million) to education. (10) Primary education is free, and poor families receive free meals, toiletries, and school uniforms. (8; 10; 12) However, secondary school costs between $38 and $43 per year; some poor families may receive a tuition exemption. (12; 13) Research was unable to determine the number of families that benefitted from the tuition exemption during the year.

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 (Table 4). However, gaps exist in Botswana’s legal framework to adequately protect children from child labor, including a lack of a compulsory education age that is consistent with the minimum age for work.

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 (14)

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

Yes

18

Articles 2 and 110 of the Employment Act (14)

Identification of Hazardous Occupations or Activities Prohibited for Children

Yes

 

Articles 108 and 109 of the Employment Act (14)

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 (14; 15; 16; 17)

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 (15; 16; 17)

Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Yes

 

Sections 25 and 57–59 of the Children’s Act (15)

Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities

Yes

 

Section 60 of the Children’s Act (15)

Prohibition of Military Recruitment

 

 

 

State Compulsory

N/A*

 

 

State Voluntary

Yes

18

Section 17 of the Botswana Defence Force Act (18)

Non-state

Yes

18

Section 26 (4) of the Children’s Act (15)

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 (15; 19)

* No conscription (18)

 

Under Botswana 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. (20) 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. (14) Although the government compiled a comprehensive list of hazardous occupations in 2013, the list has yet to be approved. (21; 22; 23)

The government has established institutional mechanisms for the enforcement of laws and regulations on child labor (Table 5). However, gaps exist within the operations of the Ministry of Labor of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Defense, Justice, and Security that may hinder adequate enforcement of their child labor laws.

Table 5. Agencies Responsible for Child Labor Law Enforcement

Organization/Agency

Role

Ministry of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development

Enforce child labor laws and policies. In the case of the Commissioner of Labor, authorized by the Employment Act to conduct labor inspections. (8; 14; 21) Facilitate coordination with local leaders and law enforcement officers. Post labor inspectors to District Council offices to carry out their duties. (24)

District and Municipal Council Child Welfare Divisions

Enforce child labor laws at the local levels. (8)

Botswana Police Service

Investigate cases of the worst forms of child labor, including commercial sexual exploitation of children and child trafficking. (2)

Ministry of Defense, Justice, and Security

Monitor suspected human trafficking cases and lead the Human Trafficking (Prohibition) Committee. (25; 26) In 2017, launched a booklet used as a reference document on Prevention and Combating Trafficking in Persons: Lessons from the SADC Region. (27)

 

Labor Law Enforcement

In 2017, labor law enforcement agencies in Botswana took actions to combat child labor (Table 6). However, gaps exist within the operations of the Ministry of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development that may hinder adequate labor law enforcement, including the lack of authority to assess penalties.

Table 6. Labor Law Enforcement Efforts Related to Child Labor

Overview of Labor Law Enforcement

2016

2017

Labor Inspectorate Funding

$46,000 (28)

Unknown (10)

Number of Labor Inspectors

108 (28)

Unknown (10)

Inspectorate Authorized to Assess Penalties

No (2)

No (10)

Training for Labor Inspectors

 

 

Initial Training for New Employees

Unknown (2)

Unknown (10)

Training on New Laws Related to Child Labor

Unknown (2)

Unknown (10)

Refresher Courses Provided

Unknown (2)

Unknown (10)

Number of Labor Inspections Conducted

4,999† (2)

2,335‡ (10)

Number Conducted at Worksites

4,999† (2)

Unknown (10)

Number of Child Labor Violations Found

Unknown (2)

Unknown (10)

Number of Child Labor Violations for Which Penalties were Imposed

Unknown (2)

Unknown (10)

Number of Child Labor Penalties Imposed that were Collected

Unknown (2)

Unknown (10)

Routine Inspections Conducted

Yes (2)

Yes (10)

Routine Inspections Targeted

Yes (2)

Yes (10)

Unannounced Inspections Permitted

Yes (2)

Yes (10)

Unannounced Inspections Conducted

Yes (2)

Yes (10)

Complaint Mechanism Exists

Yes (2)

Yes (10)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Labor Authorities and Social Services

Yes (2)

Yes (10)

† Data are from April 1, 2016, to March 31, 2017.
‡ Data are from April 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018.

 

Although the government did not release information regarding its enforcement actions, an NGO reported that two children were found in child labor in domestic work. (10)

Criminal Law Enforcement

In 2017, criminal law enforcement agencies in Botswana took actions to combat the worst forms of child labor (Table 7). However, gaps exist in the operations of the Ministry of Defense, Justice, and Security (MDJS) that may hinder adequate criminal law enforcement, including training for criminal investigators.

Table 7. Criminal Law Enforcement Efforts Related to Child Labor

Overview of Criminal Law Enforcement

2016

2017

Training for Investigators

 

 

Initial Training for New Employees

N/A (2)

N/A (10)

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

Yes (2)

N/A (10)

Refresher Courses Provided

Yes (2)

Unknown (10)

Number of Investigations

9 (2)

1 (10)

Number of Violations Found

14 (2)

Unknown (10)

Number of Prosecutions Initiated

14 (2)

1 (10)

Number of Convictions

Unknown (2)

0 (29)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Criminal Authorities and Social Services

Yes (2)

Yes (10)

 

In 2017, the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) continued prosecution of a case of child commercial sexual exploitation involving a Zimbabwean perpetrator. The DPP also reported seven convictions pertaining to the ill treatment and neglect of children under the Children’s Act, but did not provide information as to whether the cases involved child labor. (10)

The MDJS reported the need for technical support, training, and increased coordination among agencies to address human trafficking. It also indicated that rehabilitation services for human trafficking victims are also needed. (30) Reports indicate that police are sometimes insensitive, untrained in approaching and communicating with women and children victims, and lacking in investigative training to identify, aid, or assist in prosecuting and preventing human trafficking violations. (22; 25; 31)

The government has established mechanisms to coordinate its efforts to address child labor (Table 8).

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

Coordinating Body

Role and 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 and completed drafting the Anti-Human Trafficking National Action Plan, which is slated to be launched in 2018. (10)

Advisory Committee on Child Labor

Oversee child labor issues and report to the government three to four times a year. Includes representatives from government agencies, various NGOs, worker federations, and employer organizations. (2; 21) Research was unable to determine whether the Advisory Committee on Child Labor was active during the reporting period.

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. (2; 12; 10) Research was unable to determine whether the Child Labor Committees were active during the reporting period.

The government has established policies related to child labor (Table 9). However, policy gaps exist that hinder efforts to address child labor, including mainstreaming child labor issues into relevant policies.

Table 9. Key Policies Related to Child Labor

Policy

Description

National Action Plan on the Elimination of the Worst Forms 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 for relevant stakeholders and implementers. (1) Research was unable to determine whether activities were undertaken to implement the National Action Plan on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor during the reporting period.

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. (10) Research was unable to determine whether activities were undertaken to implement the Ministry of Labor and Home Affairs Sustainability Plan during the reporting period.

 

Child labor elimination and prevention strategies are not included in some national policies, including the Education and Training Sector Strategic Plan, Ministry of Local Government Development Plans, National Plan of Action for Orphans and Vulnerable Children, Botswana National Youth Policy, and National Action Plan for Youth. (12; 32; 33; 34)

In 2017, the government funded and participated in programs that include the goal of eliminating child labor (Table 10). However, gaps exist in these social programs, including the adequacy of programs to address the full scope of the problem.

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, cater to human trafficking victims, including children. (10) The National School Feeding Program focuses on providing meals to children (grades one through seven) in all public primary schools in the country. In 2017, the Primary School Feeding program involved 755 primary schools with an enrollment of 354,317 students. (10) The Remote Area Dweller Program provides a second meal to school children in remote areas, and to those from marginalized communities. (10) The Orphan Care Program provides orphans with meals and subsidizes the cost of school fees and transportation costs. (26; 35)

† 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. (36; 37)

 

Although Botswana has programs that target child labor, the scope of these programs is insufficient to fully address the scope of the problem, especially in cattle herding and domestic work.

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

Table 11. Suggested Government Actions to Eliminate Child Labor

Area

Suggested Action

Year(s) Suggested

Legal Framework

Establish light work provisions specific enough to prevent children’s involvement in child labor.

2016 – 2017

Prohibit hazardous work for children younger than age 18 in all relevant sectors, including in agriculture.

2009 – 2017

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

2010 – 2017

Determine a compulsory education age consistent with the minimum age of employment.

2010 – 2017

Enforcement

Authorize labor inspectors to assess penalties for child labor violations.

2016 – 2017

Publish information about the labor inspectorate’s funding, number of inspectors employed, number of inspections conducted, types of training of labor inspectors on child labor issues, and the amount of child labor violations found and penalties imposed.

2016 – 2017

Publish information about the number of investigations, prosecutions, and convictions involving the worst forms of child labor.

2017

Ensure the Ministry of Defense, Justice, and Security receives sufficient training to address victims of human trafficking.

2017

Government Policies

Integrate child labor elimination and prevention strategies into relevant policies, such as the Education and Training Sector Strategic Plan, Ministry of Local Government Development Plans, National Plan of Action for Orphans and Vulnerable Children, Botswana National Youth Policy, and National Action Plan for Youth.

2011 – 2017

Implement key child labor elimination policies, such as the National Action Plan on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor.

2017

Social Programs

Collect and publish child labor data on the sectors in which children work, the types of child labor activities, and the hazards child laborers encounter, to inform policies and programs.

2013 – 2017

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

2012 – 2017

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

2. —. Reporting, January 23, 2017.

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

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

5. U.S. Department of State. Trafficking in Persons Report- 2017: Botswana. Washington, DC. June 27, 2017. https://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/countries/2017/271151.htm.

6. UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary education, both sexes (%). Accessed January 12, 2018. http://data.uis.unesco.org/. For more information, please see "Children's Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions" in the Reference Materials section of this report.

7. UCW. Analysis of Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Statistics from National Household or Child Labor Surveys. Analysis received January 12, 2018. Please see "Children's Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions" in the Reference Materials section of this report.

8. U.S. Embassy- Gaborone. Reporting, January 17, 2014.

9. Mosinyi, Thato. Botswana: Child Labour Illegal. Allafrica.com. September 22, 2015. http://allafrica.com/stories/201509230058.html.

10. U.S. Embassy- Gabarone. Reporting, February 8, 2018.

11. UNICEF. Botswana. Accessed October 23, 2017. https://data.unicef.org/country/bwa/.

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

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

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

15. —. Children's Act, No. 8. Enacted: 2009. http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/natlex4.detail?p_lang=en&p_isn=97343.

16. —. Penal Code, 1964 (Law No. 2 of 1964) (as amended up to Act No. 14 of 2005). Enacted: 1964. http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=238601.

17. —. Anti-Human Trafficking Act. Enacted: 2014. [Source on file].

18. —. Botswana Defence Force, No. 23. Enacted: 1977. http://www.elaws.gov.bw/law.php?id=883.

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

20. 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.

21. U.S. Embassy- Gaborone. Reporting, January 31, 2013.

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

23. ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Observation concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Botswana (ratification: 2000) Published: 2015. Accessed June 19, 2015. http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:13100:0::NO:13100:P13100_COMMENT_ID:3180142:NO.

24. U.S. Embassy- Gaborone. Reporting, February 23, 2016.

25. —. Reporting, February 21, 2012.

26. —. Reporting, March 10, 2017.

27. Shabani, Thamani. Tsiane Launches Human Trafficking Booklet. Botswana Daily News. November 1, 2017. http://allafrica.com/stories/201711020586.html.

28. U.S. Embassy- Gaborone. Reporting, March 1, 2017.

29. U.S. Embassy- Gabarone. Reporting, May 22, 2018.

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

31. U.S. Embassy- Gaborone. Reporting, February 15, 2013.

32. Government of Botswana, Ministry of Labor and Home Affairs. National Youth Policy. February 1996. http://www.africanchildinfo.net/documents/Botswana%20national%20youth%20policy.pdf.

33. Government of Botswana. Education and Training Sector Strategic Plan 2015-2020. April 2015. http://planipolis.iiep.unesco.org/sites/planipolis/files/ressources/botswana_etssp_2015-2020.pdf.

34. Government of Botswana, Ministry of Local Government. Development Plans. Accessed June 2, 2018. http://www.gov.bw/en/Ministries--Authorities/Ministries/Ministry-of-Local-Government-MLG1/Projects/Development-Plans/Kweneng-District-Council/.

35. Drake, Lesley, et al. Global School Feeding Sourcebook: Lessons from 14 Countries. London: Imperial College Press. 2016. https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/24418.

36. ILO. Decent Work Country Programmes. February 15, 2016. [Source on file].

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

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