Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports


2019 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

Minimal Advancement – Efforts Made but Continued Practice that Delayed Advancement

In 2019, Iraq made a minimal advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The Kurdistan Regional Government established an Inter-ministerial Committee on Trafficking in Persons to oversee implementation of its Anti-Trafficking in Persons Law. However, Iraq is receiving an assessment of minimal advancement because it continued a practice that delayed advancement in eliminating the worst forms of child labor. Iraqi and Kurdistan Regional Government authorities continued to inappropriately detain and prosecute without legal representation children allegedly affiliated with ISIS—some of whom were victims of forcible recruitment and use—including using abusive interrogation techniques and torture to gain children’s confessions instead of screening these children as potential victims of the worst forms of child labor. In addition, NGOs reported that in 2019, some militia groups affiliated with the Popular Mobilization Forces, including Iranian-backed groups, recruited boys younger than age 18 to fight in Syria and Yemen. While these forces operated under the umbrella of the Popular Mobilization Forces—which was legally incorporated into the Iraqi defense forces in 2016—they generally remained outside of the command and control of the Iraqi government. Children in Iraq engage in the worst forms of child labor, including in forced begging and in commercial sexual exploitation, each sometimes as a result of human trafficking. The government did not provide information on its labor or criminal law enforcement efforts for inclusion in this report. The government also continues to lack programs that focus on assisting children involved in the worst forms of child labor.

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