Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Christmas Island

Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

Christmas Island

2015 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

No Advancement

In 2015, Christmas Island made no advancement in efforts to prevent the worst forms of child labor. Although research found no evidence that child labor, including the worst forms, exists in Christmas Island, a gap in the legal framework for light work leaves children vulnerable to involvement in the worst forms of child labor.

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Research found no evidence that child labor, including its worst forms, exists on Christmas Island.(1)

The Christmas Island Act 1958 and the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 provide that Christmas Island is included as part of the territory of Australia, as denoted by law.(2, 3) Accordingly, all legislation of the Federal Parliament applies to this territory, unless specifically excluded, including Australia’s ratification of conventions.(4)

Because Australia has ratified most key international conventions concerning child labor, the following conventions apply to Christmas Island (Table 1).

Table 1. 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

 

Christmas Island is subject to the child labor laws of the state of Western Australia.(1) The Government of Western Australia has established laws and regulations related to child labor, including its worst forms (Table 2).

Table 2. Laws and Regulations Related to Child Labor

Standard

Yes/No

Age

Related Legislation

Minimum Age for Work

Yes

15

Section 190 of the Western Australia Children and Community Services Act (5)

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

Yes

18

Sections 2.28 and 10.4 of the Western Australia Mines Safety and Inspection Regulations; Section 121.10–121.11 of the Liquor Control Act (6, 7)

Prohibition of Hazardous Occupations or Activities for Children

Yes

 

Section 192 of the Western Australia Children and Community Services Act; Sections 2.8 and 10.4 of the Western Australia Mines Safety and Inspection Regulations; Sections 121.10–121.11 of the Liquor Control Act (6)

Prohibition of Forced Labor

Yes

 

Sections 270.6–270.7 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act of Australia; Crimes Legislation Amendment Act (8, 9)

Prohibition of Child Trafficking

Yes

 

Sections 271.2–271.7 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act of Australia; Crimes Legislation Amendment Act (8, 9)

Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Yes

 

Section 16 of the Western Australia Prostitution Act; Section 192 of the Western Australia Children and Community Services Act; Sections 271.2–271.7 of the federally-enacted Commonwealth Criminal Code Act of Australia; Crimes Legislation Amendment Act (5, 8-12)

Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities

Yes

 

Sections 309–310 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act of Australia; Crimes Legislation Amendment Act (8, 9)

Minimum Age for Compulsory Military Service

N/A*

 

Canberra Act (13)

Minimum Age for Voluntary Military Service

Combat:

Yes

Non-Combat:

Yes

18

17

Canberra Act (13)

Compulsory Education Age

Yes

17‡

Section 6 of the Western Australia School Education Act (14)

Free Public Education

Yes

 

Section 98 of the Western Australia School Education Act (14)

* No conscription (13)
‡ Age calculated based on available information (14)

According to the Western Australia School Education Act, education is compulsory until the end of the year in which a child reaches age 17 years and 6 months; until the child finishes the minimum requirements for secondary school graduation under the Curriculum Council Act of 1997; or until the child reaches age 18, whichever comes first.(14)

The Children and Community Services Act sets the minimum age for light work in delivery employment at 10 years. This is not in compliance with international standards, which set the minimum age for light work at 13.(5)

Although there is no evidence of a problem, the Government of Australia has established institutional mechanisms for the enforcement of laws and regulations on child labor, including its worst forms, which apply to Christmas Island (Table 3).

Table 3. Agencies Responsible for Child Labor Law Enforcement

Organization/Agency

Role

Australian Federal Police, the Department of Immigration, and the Department of Regional Development

Enforce criminal laws related to the worst forms of child labor.(11, 15)

Australian Federal Police

Investigate the commercial sexual exploitation of children, including pornography.(11)

Australian Federal Police: Human Trafficking Teams

Investigate human trafficking for transnational sexual and labor exploitation.(12, 15)

Australian Federal Police: Child Protection Operations Team

Coordinate and investigate online and multijurisdictional online child sex exploitation issues, including child pornography.(11, 12, 15)

Department of Child Protection

Issue orders to stop a child from working if there is a risk of harm.(8, 16)

 

 

As there is no evidence of a problem, there appears to be no need for enforcement actions to address child labor, including its worst forms.

As there is no evidence of a problem, there appears to be no need for mechanisms to coordinate efforts to address child labor, including its worst forms.

As there is no evidence of a problem, there appears to be no need for policies to address child labor, including its worst forms.

As there is no evidence of a problem, there appears to be no need for programs to address child labor, including its worst forms.

Based on the reporting above, a suggested action is identified that would advance the continued prevention of child labor, including its worst forms, in Christmas Island (Table 4).

Table 4. Suggested Government Actions to Prevent Child Labor, Including its Worst Forms

Area

Suggested Action

Year(s) Suggested

Legal Framework

Raise the minimum age for all light work to 13 to comply with international standards.

2015

1.         U.S. Embassy- Canberra. reporting, January 11, 2016.

2.         Christmas Island. Christmas Island Act, enacted 1958. https://www.comlaw.gov.au/Series/C1958A00041.

3.         Government of Australia. Acts Interpretation Act 1901, enacted 1901. https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2016C00531/Download.

4.         Government of Australia, Australian Law Reform Commission. Legal Risks in International Transactions (Section 10: External Territories). Sydney; July 19, 2012. http://www.alrc.gov.au/publications/alrc-80-legal-risk-international-transactions/10-external-territories.

5.         Government of Western Australia. Children and Community Services Act 2004, enacted October 20, 2004. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/wa/consol_act/cacsa2004318/.

6.         Government of Western Australia. Liquor Control Act enacted 1998. http://www.slp.wa.gov.au/legislation/statutes.nsf/main_mrtitle_546_homepage.html.

7.         Government of Western Australia. Mines Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995, enacted 1995. www.slp.wa.gov.au.

8.         Government of Western Australia. The Criminal Code Act 1995, enacted 1995. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/cca1995115/sch1.html.

9.         Government of Australia. Crimes Legislation Amendment (Slavery, Slavery-like Conditions and People Trafficking) Act 2013, enacted March 8, 2013.

10.       Government of Western Australia. Prostitution Act 2000, enacted July 29, 2000. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/wa/consol_act/pa2000205/.

11.       U.S. Embassy- Canberra. reporting, February 11, 2011.

12.       Government of Australia. Initial Report under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography. Canberra; December 2008. http://www.ncylc.org.au/Croc/First+Australian+Report+under+OPCRC(SC)+-+Proofread+Version+-+May+2009.pdf.

13.       Government of Australia. Canberra Act 2600, enacted April 22, 2008.

14.       Western Australia School Education Act 1999, enacted 1999. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/wa/consol_act/sea1999170/s6.html.

15.       U.S. Embassy- Canberra. reporting, January 19, 2012.

16.       U.S. Embassy- Canberra. reporting, January 31, 2013

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