Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Cocos (Keeling) Islands

Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

Cocos (Keeling) Islands

2014 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

No Advancement

In 2014, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands made no advancement in efforts to prevent the worst forms of child labor. Although research found no evidence that child labor, including its worst forms, exists in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, gaps exist in the legal framework to prevent children from involvement in the worst forms of child labor, including the lack of hazardous work prohibitions and a minimum age for hazardous work.

 

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Research found no evidence that child labor, including its worst forms, exists in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.(1)

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The Acts Interpretation Act 1901 provides that the Cocos (Keeling) Islands are included as part of Australia as denoted by law. Accordingly, all legislation of the federal parliament, including Australia's ratification of conventions, applies to these territories unless specifically excluded.(2)

Because Australia has ratified most key international conventions concerning child labor, the following conventions apply to the Cocos (Keeling) Islands (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

The Cocos (Keeling) Islands are subject to the child labor laws of the state of Western Australia.(1, 3) The Government 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 2004 (4)

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

No

 

Western Australia Children and Community Services Act 2004 (4)

List of Hazardous Occupations Prohibited for Children

No

 

 

Prohibition of Forced Labor

Yes

 

Sections 270.6 and 270.7 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995; Crimes Legislation Amendment Act 2013 (5, 6)

Prohibition of Child Trafficking

Yes

 

Sections 271.2 through 271.7 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995; Crimes Legislation Amendment Act 2013 (5, 6)

Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Yes

 

Section 16 of the Western Australia Prostitution Act of 2000; Western Australia Children and Community Services Act 2004; and Sections 271.2 through 271.7 of the federally enacted Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995 of Australia; Crimes Legislation Amendment Act 2013 (4-9)

Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities

Yes

 

Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995; Crimes Legislation Amendment Act 2013 (5)

Minimum Age for Voluntary Military Service*

Combat: Yes

18 17

Canberra Act (10)

Non-Combat: Yes

Compulsory Education Age

Yes

17

Sections 6 and 7 of the Western Australia School Education Act 1999 (11)

Free Public Education

Yes

 

Section 98 of the Western Australia School Education Act 1999 (11)

* No conscription (10)

Research found that Cocos (Keeling) Islands do not have a minimum age for hazardous work, or a list of hazardous activities, which leaves children vulnerable to the worst forms of child labor.

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Even though 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 the Cocos (Keeling) Islands (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.(9, 12)

Australian Federal Police

Investigate the commercial sexual exploitation of children, including pornography.(9)

Australian Federal Police: Human Trafficking Team

Maintain jurisdiction in trafficking matters and investigate human trafficking for the purpose of transnational sexual and labor exploitation.(7)

Australian Federal Police: Child Protection Operations Team

Coordinate and investigate online and multijurisdictional online child sexual exploitation.(7, 12)

Department of Child Protection

Issue orders to stop a child from working if there is a risk of harm.(1, 12)

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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.

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

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

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Based on the reporting above, suggested actions are identified that would advance the continued prevention of child labor, including its worst forms, in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands (Table 4).

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

Area

Suggested Action

Year(s) Suggested

Legal Framework

Clarify whether the Cocos (Keeling) Islands have codified a list of hazardous activities prohibited for children under age 18.

2013–2014

Clarify whether the Cocos (Keeling) Islands have established a minimum age for hazardous work.

2013–2014

 

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