Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Botswana

Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

Botswana

2015 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

Minimal Advancement

In 2015, Botswana made a minimal advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. In response to the Anti-Human Trafficking Bill’s mandate, the Government established the Human Trafficking (Prohibition) Committee comprised of government agencies and non-governmental organizations collaborating to address trafficking in persons, including the trafficking of children. During the year, the Ministry of Defense, Justice, and Security, in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration, sponsored training sessions for the Botswana Police and the Namibian Police Service on how to identify and combat trafficking in persons. 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, although research is limited, there is evidence that children are engaged in child labor in cattle herding in Botswana. Key gaps remain in the county’s legal framework, including the lack of a compulsory minimum age and insufficient hazardous work prohibitions, and labor law enforcement data are not made publicly available.

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Although research is limited, there is evidence that children are engaged in child labor in cattle herding in Botswana.(1, 2) 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

Working children, ages 5 to 14 (% and population):

Unavailable

School attendance, ages 5 to 14 (%):

Unavailable

Children combining work and school, ages 5 to 14 (%):

Unavailable

Primary completion rate (%):

99.7

Source for primary completion rate: Data from 2013, published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2015.(3)
Data were unavailable from Understanding Children’s Work Project’s analysis, 2015.(4)

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 (5, 6)

 

Herding cattle* (1, 2)

Services

Street work,* including vending* (1)

Domestic work* (1, 7)

Categorical Worst Forms of Child Labor‡

Forced labor on farms and cattle posts,* sometimes as a result of human trafficking* (8)

 

Commercial sexual exploitation,* sometimes as a result of human trafficking* (8, 9)

* Evidence of this activity is limited and/or the extent of the problem is unknown.
‡ 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 trafficked internally along major highways by truck drivers for commercial sexual exploitation.(8) Two NGOs reported that children are engaged in cattle herding in remote rural villages, especially among the San population.(2, 9) Although research found no laws making education compulsory, the Government reported to UNESCO that education is compulsory for children up to age 16.(10, 11) Primary education is free and poor families receive free meals, toiletries, and school uniforms.(5, 12) However, secondary school costs between $38 and $43 per year, which may deter families from sending their children to school and increase the risk of children engaging in child labor.(12)

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).

Table 4. Laws and Regulations Related to Child Labor

Standard

Yes/No

Age

Related Legislation

Minimum Age for Work

Yes

15

Articles 2 and 107 of the Employment Act (13)

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

Yes

18

Articles 2 and 110 of the Employment Act (13)

Prohibition of Hazardous Occupations or Activities for Children

Yes

 

Articles 2 and 108 of the Employment Act; Section 24 of the Children’s Act (13, 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 (13-16)

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 (14-16)

Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Yes

 

Sections 25 and 57–59 of the Children’s Act (14)

Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities

Yes

 

Section 60 of the Children’s Act (14)

Minimum Age for Compulsory Military Recruitment

N/A*

 

 

Minimum Age for Voluntary Military Service

Yes

18

Section 17 of the Botswana Defense Force Act (17)

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 (14, 18)

*No conscription (19)

The minimum age protections in the Employment Act do not apply to children who work without a contract, and therefore do not apply to children in domestic work. Although the Employment Act prohibits hazardous underground work for children under age 18, the law fails to prohibit hazardous work in other child labor sectors, such as in agriculture.(13) While the Government has made efforts to compile a comprehensive list of hazardous occupations in recent years, it has yet to be approved.(20-22)

The Government has established institutional mechanisms for the enforcement of laws and regulations on child labor, including its worst forms (Table 5).

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.(5, 13, 20) To facilitate coordination with the local leaders and law enforcement officers, labor inspectors are posted to District Council offices to carry out their duties.(23)

District and Municipal Council Child Welfare Divisions

Enforce child labor laws at the local levels.(5) During the year, the council met on a quarterly basis.(24)

Ministry of Defense, Justice, and Security

Monitor suspected human trafficking cases.(25) During the year, the Ministry of Defense, Justice, and Security held four trainings on trafficking in persons for citizens in the Selebiphikwe, North East District, Central District, and Sown Town Councils.(26)

 

On July 30, 2015, the Ministry of Defense, Justice, and Security (MDJS) led efforts to celebrate World Day Against Trafficking in Persons in collaboration with the UNODC, the European Union Delegation, and the Southern African Development Community.(26)

Labor Law Enforcement

In 2015, 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

2014

2015

Labor Inspectorate Funding

$50,000 (23)

Unknown* (23)

Number of Labor Inspectors

55 (1)

Unknown* (23)

Inspectorate Authorized to Assess Penalties

Yes (1)

Yes (23)

Training for Labor Inspectors

   

Initial Training for New Employees

N/A

Unknown* (23)

Training on New Laws Related to Child Labor

N/A

Unknown* (23)

Refresher Courses Provided

 No (1)

No (23)

Number of Labor Inspections

1,378 (1)

250‡ (23)

Number Conducted at Worksite

1,378 (1)

250‡ (23)

Number Conducted by Desk Reviews

0 (1)

Unknown* (23)

Number of Child Labor Violations Found

0 (1)

0 (23)

Number of Child Labor Violations for Which Penalties Were Imposed

N/A (1)

N/A (23)

Number of Penalties Imposed That Were Collected

N/A (1)

N/A (23)

Routine Inspections Conducted

Yes (1)

Yes (23)

Routine Inspections Targeted

Yes (1)

Yes (23)

Unannounced Inspections Permitted

Yes (1)

Yes (23)

Unannounced Inspections Conducted

Yes (1)

Yes (23)

Complaint Mechanism Exists

Yes (1)

Yes (23)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Labor Authorities and Social Services

Yes (1)

Yes (23)

* The Government does not make this information publicly available.
‡ Data are from the Government of Botswana for period from January 1, 2015 to November 1, 2015.

 Criminal Law Enforcement

In 2015, 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

2014

2015

Training for Investigators

 

 

Initial Training for New Employees

Unknown

Unknown* (23)

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

Unknown

Yes (26)

Refresher Courses Provided

Unknown

Yes (26)

Number of Investigations

Unknown

Unknown* (23)

Number of Violations Found

0 (1)

Unknown* (23)

Number of Prosecutions Initiated

0 (1)

Unknown* (23)

Number of Convictions

0 (1)

Unknown* (23)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Criminal Authorities and Social Services

Unknown

Yes (23)

* The Government does not make this information publicly available.

In 2015, the MDJS reported that it conducted human trafficking awareness trainings and media interviews, and formed an anti-human trafficking network that trained 379 police officers, social workers, pastors, and young persons on trafficking in persons. In addition, the MDJS, in collaboration with the IOM, held 10 sessions for law enforcement officers, including the Botswana Police and Namibian Police Service to address human trafficking issues.(26) Despite these efforts, it has been reported that police are not sensitive in handling cases of violence against women and children, and do not have adequate investigative training, which inhibits them in identifying, prosecuting, and preventing trafficking violations.(21, 25, 27)

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

Table 8. 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 Anti-Human Trafficking Bill.(1)

Advisory Committee on Child Labor

Oversee child labor issues and report to the Government three to four times per year. Include representatives from government agencies, various NGOs, worker federations, and employer organizations.(7, 20)

Child Labor Committees

Identify child laborers at the village level. Include social workers; school teachers; members of the Village Development Committees, which are local government structures; labor inspectors; and community leaders, including chiefs and priests.(12)

 

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

Table 9. 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, awareness raising, programs, and training on child labor and its worst forms for relevant stakeholders and implementers.(1)

National Plan of Action for Orphans and Vulnerable Children*

Outlines the Government’s response to challenges faced by orphans and vulnerable children. Facilitates operational planning and encourages the development of communication tools among key players. Provides long-term objectives related to child protection and the implementation of the Children’s Act and other relevant regulations.(28)

Presidential Task Group on Long-Term Vision for Botswana’s Vision 2016 Strategy

Aims to provide universal access to school and improve families’ social and economic conditions so that children in poor and rural areas are no longer viewed as essential sources of labor and income. Acknowledges that parents sometimes intentionally choose not to send their children to school.(29)

UN Development Assistance Framework (2010–2016)

Supports reducing child labor to help create a protective and supportive environment for children.(30)

Botswana National Youth Policy and National Action Plan for Youth* (est. 1996)

Addresses issues affecting youth, such as abuse and access to education. Includes plans for government-funded programs and nationwide seminars to encourage youth entrepreneurship.(12, 31, 32)

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.(33)

Ministry and Department Action Plans

Plans to address child labor by the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Gender and Child Welfare, Department of Social Services, and the Police.(34) Contains implementation strategies that include the safety and protection of children, and identify and help vulnerable children in need.(34)

* Child labor elimination and prevention strategies do not appear to have been integrated into this policy.

In 2015, the Government of Botswana funded and participated in programs that include the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor, including its worst forms (Table 10).

Table 10. Social Programs to Address Child Labor

Program

Description

Decent Work Country Program (2011–2017)

 

ILO Decent Work Country Program for Southern Africa that focuses on employment creation, social protection, tripartism, social dialogue, and workers’ rights. Addresses HIV/AIDS and child labor issues.(34, 35) The program was extended to 2017.(36)

Stay-in-School Program†

Government program that trains teachers and social workers to communicate with parents about the importance of education.(5, 20)

† Program is funded by the Government of Botswana.

Although Botswana has programs that target child labor, the scope of these programs is insufficient to fully address the extent of the problem.

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

2009 – 2015

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

2010 – 2015

 

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

2010 – 2015

Enforcement

Make information publicly available about the labor inspectorate’s level of funding, number of labor inspectors, and trainings related to child labor, including its worst forms.

2015

 

Make information publicly available about criminal law enforcement’s number of investigations, violations found, prosecutions, and convictions concerning the worst forms of child labor.

2015

Government Policies

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

2011 – 2015

Social Programs

Ensure that children can complete secondary school by subsidizing or defraying the cost of tuition, meals, and school uniforms.

2015

Conduct research on child labor, including its worst forms, to inform policies and programs.

2013 – 2015

 

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

2012 – 2015

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

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

3.         UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary. Total. [accessed December 15, 2015]; http://data.uis.unesco.org/. Data provided is the gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary school. 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. A high ratio indicates a high degree of current primary education completion. Because the calculation includes all new entrants to last grade (regardless of age), 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 the “Children's Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions” section of this report.

4.         UCW. Analysis of Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Statistics from National Household or Child Labor Surveys. Analysis received December 18, 2015. 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 on sources used, the definition of working children and other indicators used in this report, please see the “Children's Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions” section of this report.

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

6.         Childline. Final Output Report TECL II. Gaborone; April 12, 2012. [source on file].

7.         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

8.         U.S. Department of State. "Botswana," in Trafficking in Persons Report- 2015. Washington, DC; July 27, 2015; http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/243558.pdf

9.         Botswana Non-Governnmental Organization official. Interview with USDOL official, September 23, 2015.

10.       UNESCO. Beyond 20/20 Web Data System: Table 1: Education Systems. 2012. http://stats.uis.unesco.org/unesco/TableViewer/tableView.aspx.

11.       U.S. Department of State. "Botswana," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2013. Washington, DC; February 27, 2014; http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?year=2013&dlid=220084.

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

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

14.       Government of Botswana. Children's Act, 8, enacted 2009. http://www.santac.org/eng/Media/Files/Botswana-Children%27s-Act-2009.

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

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

17.       Government of Botswana. Botswana Defence Force, 23, enacted 1977. http://www.elaws.gov.bw/law.php?id=883.

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

19.       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.

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

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

22.       ILO Committee of Experts. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

28.       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.unaids.org/en/dataanalysis/knowyourresponse/countryprogressreports/2012countries/ce_BW_Narrative_Report[1].pdf.

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

30.       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.

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

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

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

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

35.       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.

36.           International Labor Organization. Decent Work Country Programmes, Programme Extensions, [online] February 15, 2016 [cited April 6, 2016]; http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/program/dwcp/countries/index.htm.

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