Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Dominica

Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

Dominica

2016 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

Minimal Advancement

In 2016, Dominica made a minimal advancement in efforts to prevent the worst forms of child labor. The Government continued efforts to develop a list of hazardous occupations for children and harmonize legislation on the legal age for employment. Although research is limited, there is evidence that children are engaged in the worst forms of child labor in commercial sexual exploitation in Dominica. The Government’s ability to prevent children from becoming engaged in exploitative work is limited due to exceptions to the minimum age for hazardous work. The country also lacks prohibitions against the use of children in prostitution, pornography, or pornographic performances or the use of children in illicit activities, including producing and trafficking of drugs.

Expand All

Limited evidence suggests girls under age 16 engage in the worst forms of child labor in commercial sexual exploitation in Dominica, with remuneration including rides, clothing, or cell phones. However, no current research on the child labor situation in Dominica is available.(1, 2) Table 1 provides key indicators on children’s work and education in Dominica. 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 (%)

 

111.1

Source for primary completion rate: Data from 2015, published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2016.(3)
Source for all other data: Data were unavailable from Understanding Children’s Work Project’s analysis, 2016.(4)

Dominica has ratified all key international conventions concerning child labor (Table 2).

Table 2. 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 3). However, gaps exist in Dominica’s legal framework to adequately protect children from child labor.

Table 3. Laws and Regulations on Child Labor

Standard

Meets International Standards: Yes/No

Age

Legislation

Minimum Age for Work

No

16

Articles 2 and 46 of the Education Act 1997 (5)

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

No

18

Articles 2, 4, 5, and 7 of the Employment of Women, Young Persons, and Children Act (6)

Identification of Hazardous Occupations or Activities Prohibited for Children

Yes

 

Articles 2, 4, 5, and 7 of the Employment of Women, Young Persons, and Children Act (6)

Prohibition of Forced Labor

Yes

 

Article 4 of the Constitution; Sections 2, 8, 10, and 13 of the Transnational Organized Crime (Prevention and Control) Act (7, 8)

Prohibition of Child Trafficking

Yes

 

Sections 2, 8, 10, and 13 of the Transnational Organized Crime (Prevention and Control) Act (8)

Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

No

 

Sections 2, 10, and 13 of the Transnational Organized Crime (Prevention and Control) Act; Article 18 of the Sexual Offenses Act (8, 9)

Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities

No

 

 

Minimum Age for Compulsory Military Recruitment

 

 

 

State Compulsory

N/A†

 

 

State Voluntary

N/A†

 

 

Non-state Compulsory

No

 

 

Compulsory Education Age

Yes

16

Article 2 of the Education Act 1997 (5)

Free Public Education

Yes

 

Article 15 of the Education Act 1997 (5)

† No standing military (10)

Article 46 of the Education Act prohibits the employment of children ages 5 to 16 during the school year, but allows students ages 14 and older to work during school vacations or in school-sponsored employment training programs without defining the conditions, specific activities, or number of hours permissible for light work.(5) In addition, the Apprentices Act permits children as young as age 10 to serve as apprentices, and includes conditions in which such children may be compelled to serve as apprentices.(11)

Article 7 of the Employment of Women, Young Persons, and Children Act prohibits children under age 18 from working at night, unless they are working with members of their family, but includes exceptions for children over age 16 to perform night work in certain industries or in case of emergencies without including provisions to ensure that they receive proper training or that their health, safety, and morals will be protected.(6) During the reporting period, the Government continued efforts to develop a list of hazardous occupations for children and harmonize legislation on the legal age for employment.(1) The Government has yet to enact laws or regulations explicitly prohibiting the use of children in prostitution, pornography, pornographic performances, or illicit activities, including the production and trafficking of drugs.(11)

The Government has established institutional mechanisms for the enforcement of laws and regulations on child labor, including its worst forms (Table 4). However, gaps in labor law and criminal law enforcement remain and some enforcement information is not available.

Table 4. Agencies Responsible for Child Labor Law Enforcement

Organization/Agency

Role

Ministry of National Security, Labor, and Immigration (MNSLI)

Conduct inspections and enforce laws related to child labor. Authorized to conduct unannounced inspections at any location with employees and take legal action against employers violating child labor laws.(12-14) Report children found in exploitative labor situations to police and social services.(12-14)

Ministry of Health (MOH)

Conduct inspections and enforce laws related to child labor. Report children found in exploitative labor situations to police and social services.(12, 13)

Police Force

Enforce criminal laws, including those related to child labor.(13)

Social Welfare Division, Ministry of Social Services, Family, and Gender Affairs

Provide social services, including education, housing, counseling, and financial aid in child labor cases.(12, 14, 15)

 

Labor Law Enforcement

In 2016, labor law enforcement agencies in Dominica took actions to combat child labor, including its worst forms (Table 5).

Table 5. Labor Law Enforcement Efforts Related to Child Labor

Overview of Labor Law Enforcement

2015

2016

Labor Inspectorate Funding

Unknown (14)

Unknown (1)

Number of Labor Inspectors

5 (14)

4 (1)

Inspectorate Authorized to Assess Penalties

No (1)

No (1)

Training for Labor Inspectors

 

 

Initial Training for New Employees

No (16)

Unknown

Training on New Laws Related to Child Labor

N/A

N/A

Refresher Courses Provided

No (16)

Unknown

Number of Labor Inspections

Unknown

480 (1)

Number Conducted at Worksite

Unknown

480 (1)

Number Conducted by Desk Reviews

Unknown

0 (1)

Number of Child Labor Violations Found

0 (14)

0 (1)

Number of Child Labor Violations for Which Penalties Were Imposed

N/A

N/A

Number of Penalties Imposed That Were Collected

N/A

N/A

Routine Inspections Conducted

Yes (16)

Yes (1)

Routine Inspections Targeted

No (14)

No (1)

Unannounced Inspections Permitted

Yes (14)

Yes (1)

Unannounced Inspections Conducted

Yes (16)

Yes (1)

Complaint Mechanism Exists

Yes (14, 17)

Yes (1)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Labor Authorities and Social Services

Yes (14)

Yes (1)

 

In addition to the 4 labor inspectors employed by the Ministry of National Security, Labor, and Immigration (MNSLI), the Ministry of Health (MOH) employs 17 health and safety inspectors and 12 fire inspectors who also inspect for labor violations.(14) Government officials report that while the number of labor inspectors is sufficient to inspect labor violations, too few technical officers are available to effectively enforce labor laws.(14)

Criminal Law Enforcement

In 2016, criminal law enforcement agencies in Dominica did not take actions to combat the worst forms of child labor (Table 6).

Table 6. 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

No (12, 14)

Unknown

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

N/A

N/A

Refresher Courses Provided

No (14)

Unknown

Number of Investigations

0 (14)

0 (1)

Number of Violations Found

0 (14)

0 (1)

Number of Prosecutions Initiated

0 (14)

0 (1)

Number of Convictions

0 (14)

0 (1)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Criminal Authorities and Social Services

Yes (14)

Yes (1)

 

The Police Force budget is insufficient and police lack transportation and equipment needed to effectively enforce criminal laws.(1)

Research found no evidence that the Government has established mechanisms to coordinate its efforts to address child labor, including its worst forms.

Research found no evidence that the Government has established policies to address child labor, including its worst forms.

In 2016, the Government funded and participated in programs that may contribute to the prevention or elimination of child labor (Table 7).

Table 7. Key Social Programs to Address Child Labor

Program

Description

Basic Needs Trust Fund

Caribbean Development Bank-implemented program to reduce poverty through livelihood services, improved infrastructure, capacity-building projects, and technical services.(17, 18)

Education Trust Fund†

Ministry of Education (MOE) program that provides financial assistance for textbooks, transportation, and registration and exam fees to students in secondary school who would otherwise be unable to complete their education.(13, 19)

School Textbook Provision Scheme†

MOE program that subsidizes the cost of textbooks for primary and secondary school students.(13, 20)

School Feeding Program†

MOE program that provides lunch to primary school students in targeted areas.(13, 21)

CHANCES†

Ministry of Social Services, Family, and Gender Affairs program that supports an emergency residential shelter to provide short-term services to abused and neglected children. May accept victims of the worst forms of child labor.(12, 14, 16, 22)

Break the Silence Awareness Program†

Ministry of Social Services, Family, and Gender Affairs program that raises awareness and encourages reporting of child abuse cases.(14) Managed by the Child Abuse Prevention Unit in the Social Welfare Division.(22)

† Program is funded by the Government of Dominica.

Based on the reporting above, the following actions would advance the continued prevention of child labor, including its worst forms, in Dominica (Table 8).

Table 8. Suggested Government Actions to Prevent Child Labor, Including its Worst Forms

Area

Suggested Action

Year(s) Suggested

Legal Framework

Define the conditions, activities, and number of hours permissible for light work.

2014 – 2016

Ensure that the minimum age for night work is 18 for all children or that children receive adequate training and that the health, safety, and morals of children are protected.

2015 – 2016

Enact legislation to expressly prohibit child prostitution and the using, procuring, or offering of a child for the production of pornography or pornographic performances.

2011 – 2016

Prohibit the use of children in illicit activities, including the production and trafficking of drugs.

2014 – 2016

Ensure that the law criminally prohibits the recruitment of children under 18 by non-state armed groups.

2016

Enforcement

Authorize the labor inspectorate to assess penalties.

2016

Make information for the MNSLI and the MOH regarding the annual funding levels publicly available.

2014 – 2016

Employ a sufficient number of technical officers to provide adequate labor law enforcement.

2015 – 2016

Ensure that labor inspectors and criminal investigators receive training on the worst forms of child labor.

2015 – 2016

Ensure the police have sufficient funding to enforce criminal laws.

2016

Coordination

Establish coordinating mechanisms to combat the worst forms of child labor in commercial sexual exploitation.

2016

Government Policies

Adopt policies to address the worst forms of child labor in commercial sexual exploitation.

2016

Social Programs

Conduct research to determine whether any other forms of child labor exist in Dominica.

2014 – 2016

1.         U.S. Embassy- Bridgetown. reporting, January 11, 2017.

2.         U.S. Embassy- Bridgetown official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. March 2, 2017.

3.         UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary. Total. [accessed December 16, 2016]; 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). 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 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 16, 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 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.         Government of Dominica. Education Act 1997, No. 11 of 1997, enacted November 7, 1997. http://www.dominica.gov.dm/laws/1997/act11-1997.pdf.

6.         Government of Dominica. Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children Act, L.I. 5 of 1938, enacted February 1, 1939. http://www.dominica.gov.dm/laws/chapters/chap90-06.pdf.

7.         Government of Dominica. Constitution of the Commonwealth of Dominica, enacted 1978. http://pdba.georgetown.edu/Constitutions/Dominica/constitution.pdf.

8.         Government of Dominica. Transnational Organized Crime (Prevention and Control) Act 2013, Act 13 of 2013, enacted May 23, 2013. http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/ELECTRONIC/93708/109652/F-1644431634/DMA93708.pdf.

9.         Government of Dominica. Sexual Offenses Act, enacted 1998. http://bit.ly/ACox83.

10.       Child Soldiers International. Louder Than Words: An agenda for action to end state use of child soldiers. London; September 2012. https://www.child-soldiers.org/shop/louder-than-words-1.

11.       Government of Dominica. Apprentices Act, enacted 1882, Amended by Act 19 of 1939. http://www.dominica.gov.dm/laws/chapters/chap90-03.pdf.

12.       ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Direct Request Concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Dominica (ratification: 2001) Published: 2015; accessed December 3, 2015; http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:13100:0::NO:13100:P13100_COMMENT_ID:3185801:YES.

13.       U.S. Embassy- Bridgetown. reporting, January 14, 2015.

14.       U.S. Embassy- Bridgetown. reporting, February 19, 2013.

15.       U.S. Embassy- Bridgetown. reporting, January 15, 2016.

16.       Social Welfare Division, Ministry of Social Services, Family & Gender Affairs, Government of Dominica, [online] [cited February 6, 2015]; http://socialservices.gov.dm/index.php/divisions/social-welfare-division.

17.       U.S. Embassy- Bridgetown official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. May 6, 2016.

18.       U.S. Embassy- Bridgetown. reporting, January 16, 2014.

19.       Caribbean Development Bank. Basic Needs Trust Fund, Caribbean Development Bank, [online] [cited May 22, 2015]; http://www.caribank.org/programmes/basic-needs-trust-fund.

20.       Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development. "Friday June 5th Is Dollar Day In Schools." education.gov.dm [online] June 4, 2015 [cited March 7, 2016]; http://education.gov.dm/index.php/news/169-friday-june-5th-is-dollar-day-in-schools.

21.       Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica. "National Textbook Scheme Positively Impacting Nation." news.gov.dm [online] August 7, 2015 [cited March 7, 2016]; http://news.gov.dm/index.php/news/2768-national-textbook-scheme-positively-impacting-nation.

22.       Editor. "Gov’t School Feeding Program." insidedominica.com [online] February 20, 2014 [cited March 7, 2016]; http://insidedominica.com/articles/youth-education/education/gov-t-school-feeding-program-a-costly-necessity/.

23.       CHANCES, Ministry of Social Services, Family & Gender Affairs, [online] [cited March 7, 2016]; http://socialservices.gov.dm/index.php/programmes/chances.

Download ILAB's Sweat & Toil app today. #endChildLabor