Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Guinea-Bissau

Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

Guinea-Bissau

2016 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

Moderate Advancement

In 2016, Guinea-Bissau made a moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The Government approved a Code of Conduct against Sexual Exploitation in Tourism and the National Committee to Prevent and Combat Trafficking in Persons developed proposals to support the reintegration of repatriated talibé children. In addition, the Education and Justice Ministries worked together and developed a pilot to introduce birth registration services in 45 primary schools. However, children in Guinea-Bissau are engaged in the worst forms of child labor, including in forced begging. The Government has not determined the types of hazardous work prohibited for children. In addition, law enforcement officials do not receive the appropriate training and resources to effectively conduct inspections and prosecute cases of child labor.

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Children in Guinea-Bissau engage in the worst forms of child labor, including in forced begging.(1-3) According to a 2015 national child labor survey, 39 percent of children ages 5 to 17 engage in child labor, with a high prevalence in the Cacheu region; however, the full survey results have not been published.(4, 5) Table 1 provides key indicators on children’s work and education in Guinea-Bissau.

Table 1. Statistics on Children’s Work and Education

Children

Age

Percent

Working (%)

5 to 14

57.4

Attending School (%)

5 to 14

68.1

Combining Work and School (%)

7 to 14

48.4

Primary Completion Rate (%)

 

62.2

Source for primary completion rate: Data from 2010, published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2016.(6)
Source for all other data: Understanding Children’s Work Project’s analysis of statistics from Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 5, 2014.(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, including the production of cashews (2, 8)

Fishing, activities unknown (9)

Services

Domestic work (2)

Street work, including car washing and shoe shining (9)

Categorical Worst Forms of Child Labor‡

Commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking (1, 10, 11)

Forced labor in domestic work, agriculture, and street work, including begging, each sometimes as a result of human trafficking (1-3, 11)

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

In Guinea-Bissau, organized networks of traffickers affiliated with Koranic schools force boys to beg within the country and in Guinea, Mali, and Senegal.(1) Although many Koranic school teachers provide religious education as traditionally intended, some force the students, known as talibés, to beg on the streets for money and food.(9) Most talibés originate from the predominantly Muslim areas of Bafatá and Gabú in the east of the country.(11)

Boys are forced to work in street vending in Guinea-Bissau; they are trafficked for forced labor in agriculture and mining in Senegal.(1, 11) Boys from neighboring countries are forced to beg and harvest cashews in Guinea-Bissau.(11) Girls are subjected to forced labor in street vending and domestic work in Guinea and Senegal.(1) Girls are engaged in commercial sexual exploitation in the Bijagós Archipelago of Guinea-Bissau, on mainland Guinea-Bissau in bars and hotels, and in Senegal.(1, 10, 11)

Continued Government instability may have impacted the Government’s ability to address the worst forms of child labor.(12)

Guinea-Bissau 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). However, gaps exist in Guinea-Bissau’s legal framework to adequately protect children from child labor.

Table 4. Laws and Regulations on Child Labor

Standard

Meets International Standards: Yes/No

Age

Legislation

Minimum Age for Work

No

14

Article 146 of the General Labor Law (13)

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

Yes

18

Article 148 of the General Labor Law (13)

Identification of Hazardous Occupations or Activities Prohibited for Children

Yes

 

Article 148 of the General Labor Law (13)

Prohibition of Forced Labor

Yes

 

Articles 2, 4, and 15 of the Law to Prevent and Combat Human Trafficking; Article 106 of the Penal Code; Child Code (1, 14, 15)

Prohibition of Child Trafficking

Yes

 

Articles 2, 4, and 15 of the Law to Prevent and Combat Human Trafficking; Child Code (1, 15)

Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Yes

 

Articles 3–5 of the Law to Prevent and Combat Human Trafficking; Articles 134 and 136 of the Penal Code (14, 15)

Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities

Yes

 

Articles 3 and 7 of the Decree on Narcotic Substances (16)

Minimum Age for Military Recruitment

 

 

 

State Compulsory

Yes

18

Article 1 of Law No. 3/80 (17)

State Voluntary

Yes

17

Article 31 of Law No. 4/99 (18)

Non-state Compulsory

No

 

 

Compulsory Education Age

Yes

15‡

Articles 12 and 13 of the Education System Law (19, 20)

Free Public Education

No

 

Article 12(2) of the Education System Law (19)

‡ Age calculated based on available information (19, 20)

The law’s minimum age protections do not apply to children who are self-employed.(13, 20)

The General Labor Law prohibits children under age 18 from conducting heavy work, work in unhealthy or dangerous conditions, and underground work; however, the types of hazardous work prohibited for children do not cover street work, an area of work where there is evidence of exposure to physical, psychological, or sexual abuse.(13)

The Education System Law states that basic education is compulsory and lasts 9 years; however, it only makes basic education free through grade six, leaving children in grades seven to nine without access to free basic education.(19)

Research did not uncover a public version of the Child Code for review.

The Government has established institutional mechanisms for the enforcement of laws and regulations on child labor, including its worst forms (Table 5). However, gaps in labor law and criminal law enforcement remain and some enforcement information is not available.

Table 5. Agencies Responsible for Child Labor Law Enforcement

Organization/Agency

Role

Inspectorate General of Labor and Social Security

Enforce child labor legislation in collaboration with the Ministries of Interior and Justice, and the National Institute for Women and Children (INMC).(12)

Ministry of Interior’s Public Order Police and National Guard

Combat child labor through the prevention of child trafficking.(8, 9)

Judicial Police’s Women and Child Brigade

Investigate the worst forms of child labor and refer cases to INMC and NGOs; brigade comprises 10 officers.(12)

Labor Law Enforcement

In 2016, labor law enforcement agencies in Guinea-Bissau 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

2015

2016

Labor Inspectorate Funding

Unknown (21)

Unknown

Number of Labor Inspectors

22 (12)

22 (12)

Inspectorate Authorized to Assess Penalties

Unknown

Unknown

Training for Labor Inspectors

   

Initial Training for New Employees

No (21)

No (22)

Training on New Laws Related to Child Labor

N/A (21)

N/A

Refresher Courses Provided

No (21)

No (22)

Number of Labor Inspections

Unknown

103 (12)

Number Conducted at Worksite

Unknown

103 (12)

Number Conducted by Desk Reviews

Unknown

0 (12)

Number of Child Labor Violations Found

0 (21)

4 (22)

Number of Child Labor Violations for Which Penalties Were Imposed

N/A

0 (12)

Number of Penalties Imposed that Were Collected

N/A

N/A (12)

Routine Inspections Conducted

Unknown

Yes (22)

Routine Inspections Targeted

Unknown

Yes (22)

Unannounced Inspections Permitted

Unknown

Yes (12)

Unannounced Inspections Conducted

Unknown

Yes (12)

Complaint Mechanism Exists

Unknown

No (12)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Labor Authorities and Social Services

Unknown

No (12)

In 2016, the Government reported that the number of labor inspectors was insufficient. In addition, enforcement of child labor laws remains challenging due to the lack of resources for inspections and insufficient training for labor inspectors.(12)

During the reporting period, the Government conducted 10 child labor specific inspections. Four children were removed from child labor as a result of labor inspections; however, these children did not receive social services.(12)

Criminal Law Enforcement

In 2016, criminal law enforcement agencies in Guinea-Bissau 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

2015

2016

Training for Investigators

   

Initial Training for New Employees

No (21)

Yes (22)

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

N/A (21)

N/A

Refresher Courses Provided

No (21)

Yes (22)

Number of Investigations

1 (23)

0 (22)

Number of Violations Found

Unknown (21)

0 (22)

Number of Prosecutions Initiated

0 (21)

0 (12)

Number of Convictions

0 (21)

0 (12)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Criminal Authorities and Social Services

Unknown

No (12)

In 2016, the Government reported that training for criminal law enforcement officials and resources for criminal investigations was insufficient.(12)

Although the Government has established the National Committee to Prevent and Combat Trafficking in Persons, research found no evidence of mechanisms to coordinate its efforts to address child labor, including all its worst forms (Table 8).

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

Coordinating Body

Role & Description

National Committee to Prevent and Combat Trafficking in Persons

Coordinate Government efforts to combat human trafficking. Led by the National Institute for Women and Children (INMC).(24) In 2016, developed funding proposals to support the reintegration of repatriated talibé children to their families.(12)

INMC

Coordinate with NGOs and other partner organizations to rehabilitate and reintegrate child victims of exploitation.(9) In 2016, conducted awareness campaigns to encourage the Attorney General to conduct the appropriate follow-up for violations of the worst forms of child labor.(12)

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

Table 9. Key Policies Related to Child Labor

Policy

Description

National Action Plan on Human Trafficking

Guides the Government’s efforts to prevent and combat trafficking in persons.(24)

Code of Conduct Against Sexual Exploitation in Tourism†

Seeks to raise awareness on commercial sexual exploitation of children and child trafficking in Guinea-Bissau, particularly in the Bijagós Archipelago.(25)

UN Country Partnership Framework

Aims to assist in promoting free and universal birth registration, enforcing human trafficking provisions, and implementing the National Strategy for Social Protection of Children.(26)

UNDAF (2013–2017)

Aims to assist in implementing a national action plan against child labor.(27)

† Policy was approved during the reporting period.

In 2016, the Government began drafting a new National Strategy for Social Protection.(22) Although the Government has adopted the National Action Plan on Human Trafficking, research found no evidence of a policy on other worst forms of child labor.

In 2016, the Government participated in programs that include the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor, including its worst forms (Table 10).

Table 10. Key Social Programs to Address Child Labor

Program

Description

UNICEF Country Program

UNICEF-funded program in collaboration with the Government to prevent and combat child trafficking in the most disadvantaged communities through education and social protection mechanisms.(28)

Friends of the Child (Amigos da Criança) Shelters†

Donor-funded program, with Government support, implemented by an NGO that provides social services to vulnerable children, including victims of the worst forms of child labor. Research found that the two shelter facilities lack the financial and human resources needed to adequately assist victims.(1, 29)

† Program is funded by the Government of Guinea-Bissau.
‡ The Government had other social programs that may have included the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor, including its worst forms.(30)

In 2016, the National Children’s Parliament, which receives support from the Government, conducted a child sex trafficking awareness campaign in the Bijagós Archipelago.(25) Although Guinea-Bissau 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 Guinea-Bissau (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 all children are protected by law, including children who are self-employed.

2015 – 2016

Ensure that the hazardous occupations and activities prohibited for children are comprehensive.

2009 – 2016

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

2016

Ensure that all 9 years of basic education are free.

2015 – 2016

Make the Child Code publicly available.

2014 – 2016

Enforcement

Publish law enforcement data, including information on the labor inspectorate funding and the ability of the inspectorate to assess penalties.

2009 – 2016

Ensure that a sufficient number of law enforcement officials receive proper training and resources to inspect, investigate, and prosecute cases of child labor.

2009 – 2016

 

Establish a mechanism to receive child labor complaints.

2016

Establish referral mechanisms to ensure children found during labor inspections and criminal investigations are referred to social service providers.

2016

Coordination

Establish coordinating mechanisms to combat child labor, including in all its worst forms.

2016

Government Policies

Adopt a policy that addresses all relevant worst forms of child labor, such as forced begging.

2016

Social Programs

Publish the complete results of the national child labor survey.

2013 – 2016

Ensure facilities have adequate resources to assist victims of the worst forms of child labor.

2015 – 2016

Expand existing programs to address the scope of the child labor problem.

2009 – 2016

1.         U.S. Department of State. "Guinea-Bissau," in Trafficking in Persons Report- 2016. Washington, DC; June 30, 2016; http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/258879.pdf.

2.         U.S. Department of State. "Guinea-Bissau," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2015. Washington, DC; April 13, 2016; http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/252903.pdf.

3.         Filipa Serra Gaspar. "Trabalho Infantil na Guiné Bissau é Uma 'Situação Alarmante'." dw.com [online] February 16, 2016 [cited November 10, 2016]; http://www.dw.com/pt-002/trabalho-infantil-na-guin%C3%A9-bissau-%C3%A9-uma-situa%C3%A7%C3%A3o-alarmante/a-19051305.

4.         Sapo 24. "Trabalho Infantil e Juvenil Afeta 39% das Crianças da Guiné-Bissau - INE." [online] February 11, 2015 [cited December 18, 2015]; http://24.sapo.pt/noticias/internacional/artigo/trabalho-infantil-e-juvenil-afeta-39-das-criancas-da-guine-bissau-ine_18842921.html.

5.         U.S. Embassy- Dakar official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. April 18, 2016.

6.         UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary education, both sexes (%). [Accessed December 16, 2016]; http://data.uis.unesco.org/. Data provided is the gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary education. 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 education. A high ratio indicates a high degree of current primary education completion. The calculation includes all new entrants to the 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 “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. Original data from Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 5, 2014. Analysis received April 13, 2017. 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.

8.         U.S. Embassy- Dakar official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. February 6, 2015.

9.         U.S. Embassy- Dakar. reporting, February 25, 2014.

10.       Rádio das Nações Unidas. "Mendicidade e Exploração Sexual Marcam Tráfico Humano na Guiné-Bissau." unmultimedia.org [online] July 30, 2016 [cited November 10, 2016]; http://www.unmultimedia.org/radio/portuguese/2016/07/mendicidade-e-exploracao-sexual-marcam-trafico-humano-na-guine-bissau/#.WCUsp9IrKM8.

11.       U.S. Embassy- Dakar. reporting, October 13, 2016.

12.       U.S. Embassy- Dakar. reporting, January 11, 2017.

13.       Government of Guinea-Bissau. Lei Geral do Trabalho, Lei n.° 2/86, enacted April 25, 1986. http://www.africanchildforum.org/clr/Legislation%20Per%20Country/guinea%20bissau/guineabissau_labour_1986_pr.pdf.

14.       Government of Guinea-Bissau. Código Penal, Lei n.° 4/93, enacted October 13, 1993. http://www.africanchildforum.org/clr/Legislation%20Per%20Country/guinea%20bissau/guineabissau_penal_pr.pdf.

15.       Government of Guinea-Bissau. Lei da Prevenção e Combate ao Tráfico de Pessoas, em Particular Mulheres e Crianças, Lei n.° 12, enacted July 6, 2011. https://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/ELECTRONIC/95018/111703/F216767232/GNB95018.pdf.

16.       Government of Guinea-Bissau. Legislação Relativa a Estupefacientes, Decreto-Lei n.º 2-B/93, enacted October 28, 1993. [Source on file].

17.       Government of Guinea-Bissau. Lei n.° 3/80, enacted May 17, 1980. [Source on file].

18.       Government of Guinea-Bissau. Lei do Serviço Militar Obrigatório, Lei n.° 4/99, enacted September 7, 1999. [Source on file].

19.       Government of Guinea-Bissau. Lei de Bases do Sistema Educativo, enacted 2011. [Source on file].

20.       ILO Committee of Experts. Direct Request concerning the Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) Guinea-Bissau (ratification: 2009) Published: 2016; accessed November 28, 2016; http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:13100:0::NO:13100:P13100_COMMENT_ID,P11110_COUNTRY_ID,P11110_COUNTRY_NAME,P11110_COMMENT_YEAR:3251557,103065,Guinea%20-%20Bissau,2015.

21.       U.S. Embassy- Dakar. reporting, January 22, 2016.

22.       U.S. Embassy- Dakar official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. February 16, 2017.

23.       U.S. Department of State. "Guinea-Bissau," in Trafficking in Persons Report- 2015 Washington, DC; July 27, 2015; http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/245365.pdf.

24.       Government of Guinea-Bissau. Plano Nacional de Prevenção e Combate ao Tráfico de Seres Humanos 2015-2018. [Source on file].

25.       U.S. Embassy- Dakar. reporting, February 6, 2017.

26.       UN Development Group. Cadre de Partenariat Entre la Guinée-Bissau et les Nationes Unies, 2016 - 2020. Bissau, ONU na Guiné-Bissau; April 2016. https://undg.org/home/country-teams/africa-western-central/guinea-bissau/.

27.       UN Development Group. Plan Cadre des Nations Unies pour l'Aide au Developpement 2013-2017; 2012. [Source on file].

28.       UNICEF. Annual Report 2013- Guinea-Bissau Report. Geneva; 2013. https://www.unicef.org/about/annualreport/files/Guinea_Bissau_COAR_2013.pdf.

29.       Associação dos Amigos da Criança. Associação dos Amigos da Criança, [online] [cited November 28, 2016]; http://amic-gb.blogspot.com/.

30.       World Food Programme. Guinea-Bissau, [online] [cited January 18, 2017]; http://www1.wfp.org/countries/guinea-bissau.

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