Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Kiribati

Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

Kiribati

2016 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

Minimal Advancement

In 2016, Kiribati made a minimal advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The Government provided employers, workers, and government officials with training on the new Employment and Industrial Relations Code and Occupational Safety and Health Act. Although research is limited, there is evidence that children in Kiribati perform dangerous tasks in construction and street vending. Existing laws do not identify hazardous occupations and activities prohibited for children. The Government has not established a coordinating mechanism or adopted a national policy to combat the worst forms of child labor.

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Although research is limited, there is evidence that children in Kiribati perform dangerous tasks in construction and street vending.(1) Table 1 provides key indicators on children’s work and education in Kiribati. 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 (%)

 

112.4

Source for primary completion rate: Data from 2014, published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2016.(2)
Data were unavailable from Understanding Children’s Work Project’s analysis, 2015.(3)

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

Cutting toddy palm trees for toddy (1)

Fishing and harvesting clams (1)

Services

Construction, portering, and seafaring (1, 4)

Street vending and working in kava bars (1, 4, 5)

Domestic work (4)

Although education is free and compulsory for all children until age 16, children face barriers to accessing education due to associated costs and the lack of schools in remote areas.(1, 4, 6)

Kiribati 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 Kiribati’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

Yes

14

Section 115 of the Employment and Industrial Relations Code (7)

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

Yes

18

Section 117 of the Employment and Industrial Relations Code (7)

Identification of Hazardous Occupations or Activities Prohibited for Children

No

 

 

Prohibition of Forced Labor

Yes

 

Sections 244 and 249 of the Penal Code; Sections 118(1)(a, c, d) and 122 of the Employment and Industrial Relations Code (7-9)

Prohibition of Child Trafficking

No

 

Section 43 of the Measures to Combat Terrorism and Transnational Organized Crime Act; Section 118(1)(b) of the Employment and Industrial Relations Code (7, 10)

Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Yes

 

Sections 136, 141, and 142 of the Penal Code; Sections 118(1)(f) and 118(1)(g) of the Employment and Industrial Relations Code (7, 8)

Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities

Yes

 

Section 142 of the Penal Code; Sections 118(1)(h) and 118(1)(i) of the Employment and Industrial Relations Code (7, 8)

Minimum Age for Military Recruitment

 

 

 

State Compulsory

N/A†

 

 

State Voluntary

N/A†

 

 

Non-state Compulsory

Yes

18

Sections 118(1)(e) of the Employment and Industrial Relations Code (7)

Compulsory Education Age

Yes

16

Section 7 of the Education Act (11)

Free Public Education

Yes

 

Section 11 of the Education Act (11)

† No standing military (12)

Kiribati has not identified by national law or regulation the types of hazardous work prohibited for children. The Employment and Industrial Relations Code does not specify the activities and hours of work per week that are acceptable for children engaged in light work, or the conditions under which light work can be undertaken.(7) Kiribati’s laws prohibiting child trafficking are insufficient because they do not specifically prohibit trafficking children domestically.(7, 10)

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

Ministry of Labor and Human Resources Development

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

Kiribati Police Force

Enforce criminal laws related to the worst forms of child labor. Investigate cases of human trafficking and sexual exploitation of children through a special Domestic Violence and Sexual Offenses Unit.(14)

Child Protection Officer, Ministry of Women, Youth and Social Affairs (MWYSA)

Remove children from harmful situations, including as a result of sexual exploitation and harsh or exploitative labor.(13, 15)

 

Labor Law Enforcement

In 2016, labor law enforcement agencies in Kiribati 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

$360,000 (16)

Unknown (16)

Number of Labor Inspectors

7 (13)

7 (13)

Inspectorate Authorized to Assess Penalties

Unknown (16)

Unknown (16)

Training for Labor Inspectors

 

 

Initial Training for New Employees

Unknown (16)

Unknown (16)

Training on New Laws Related to Child Labor

N/A

Yes (17)

Refresher Courses Provided

Unknown (16)

Yes (16)

Number of Labor Inspections

Unknown (16)

Unknown (16)

Number Conducted at Worksite

Unknown (16)

Unknown (16)

Number Conducted by Desk Reviews

Unknown (16)

Unknown (16)

Number of Child Labor Violations Found

Unknown (16)

Unknown (16)

Number of Child Labor Violations for Which Penalties Were Imposed

Unknown (16)

Unknown (16)

Number of Penalties Imposed that Were Collected

Unknown (16)

Unknown (16)

Routine Inspections Conducted

Unknown (16)

Unknown (16)

Routine Inspections Targeted

Unknown (16)

Unknown (16)

Unannounced Inspections Permitted

Unknown (16)

Unknown (16)

Unannounced Inspections Conducted

Unknown (16)

Unknown (16)

Complaint Mechanism Exists

No (13)

No (13)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Labor Authorities and Social Services

Unknown

Unknown (16)

 

The Ministry of Labor has no dedicated labor inspectors, but it has seven labor officers, six of whom are based in the capital city, Tarawa, and are tasked with conducting inspections.(13, 14) There are not enough officers to provide inspection services.(13)

In 2016, the Government trained about 50 employers, workers, and government officials on the new Employment and Industrial Relations Code and Occupational Safety and Health Act.(16)

Criminal Law Enforcement

Research did not find information on whether criminal law enforcement agencies in Kiribati 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

Unknown

Unknown (16)

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

N/A

Unknown (16)

Refresher Courses Provided

Yes (18)

Unknown (16)

Number of Investigations

0 (13)

Unknown (16)

Number of Violations Found

Unknown (13)

Unknown (16)

Number of Prosecutions Initiated

Unknown (13)

Unknown (16)

Number of Convictions

Unknown (13)

Unknown (16)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Criminal Authorities and Social Services

Unknown

Yes (16)

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

The Government has established policies related to child labor, including its worst forms (Table 8).

Table 8. Key Policies Related to Child Labor

Policy

Description

Children, Young People, and Families Welfare System Policy

Focuses on strengthening the welfare system, in part by implementing services to prevent the abuse, violence, neglect, and exploitation of children and young people, including in hazardous labor.(19) During the reporting period, trainings for welfare officers were conducted and outreach programs on counseling and parenting were provided to improve parent, caregiver, and community skills to create an environment that protects children from violence, abuse, and exploitation.

‡ The Government had other policies that may have addressed child labor issues or had an impact on child labor.(20, 21)

Although the Government has adopted the Children, Young People, and Families Welfare System Policy, research found no evidence of a policy that focuses on combating the worst forms of child labor.

In 2016, the Government funded and participated in programs that include the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor, including its worst forms (Table 9).

Table 9. Key Social Programs to Address Child Labor

Program

Description

Pacific Sub-Regional Child Labor and Trafficking Program

ILO-supported program that expands the work and lessons learned from its TACKLE program in Fiji to Kiribati, Samoa, and Solomon Islands.(4) Activities include facilitating meetings, conducting research, raising awareness, providing trainings, and building government capacity to address child labor.(22)

Safenet†

MWYSA-coordinated program that allows government, churches, and NGOs to provide assistance to victims found in exploitative and violent situations.(13)

Hotlines†

MWYSA-supported 24-hour hotline for children to report violations, request information, or obtain access to services.(14) Domestic Violence and Sexual Offenses unit operates two 24-hour phone-line services for reporting exploitation and abuse.(23)

† Program is funded by the Government of Kiribati.

Based on the reporting above, suggested actions are identified that would advance the elimination of child labor, including its worst forms, in Kiribati (Table 10).

Table 10. Suggested Government Actions to Eliminate Child Labor, Including its Worst Forms

Area

Suggested Action

Year(s) Suggested

Legal Framework

Determine the types of hazardous work prohibited for children, in consultation with employers' and workers' organizations.

2011 – 2016

Ensure that the law specifies the activities and number of hours of work per week that are acceptable for children engaged in light work, as well as the conditions under which children can engage in light work.

2015 – 2016

Ensure that the law specifically prohibits the trafficking of children domestically. 

2015 – 2016

Enforcement

Collect and publish data on the enforcement of child labor laws, including the number of labor inspections conducted, child labor violations found, and penalties imposed. Collect and publish data on the enforcement of criminal laws prohibiting the worst forms of child labor, including the number of violations found, prosecutions initiated, and convictions completed.

2012 – 2016

Establish a mechanism for child labor complaints.

2015 – 2016

Employ an adequate number of labor inspectors and ensure they receive sufficient resources to investigate child labor violations.

2010 – 2016

Coordination

Establish a mechanism to coordinate the Government's efforts to combat child labor, including its worst forms.

2013 – 2016

Government Policies

Ensure that policies seeking to prevent and respond to child exploitation also address the worst forms of child labor.

2014 – 2016

Social Programs

Enhance efforts to eliminate barriers and make education accessible for all children by alleviating school fees and increasing access to schools in remote locations.

2014 – 2016

1.         ILO. Rapid Assessment on Child Labor in Tarawa, Kiribati; 2015.

2.         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.

3.         UCW. Analysis of Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Statistics from National Household or Child Labor Surveys. Analysis received December 15, 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, please see the definition of working children and other indicators used in this report, please see the "Children's Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions" in the Reference Materials section of this report.

4.         ILO. Sub-regional Child Labour and Trafficking Forum 2015; April 30, 2015;. http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---asia/---ro-bangkok/---ilo-suva/documents/publication/wcms_405960.pdf.

5.         U.S. Department of State. "Kiribati," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2016. Washington, DC; March 3, 2017; https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/265554.pdf.

6.         ILO Committee of Experts. Direct Request concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Kiribati (ratification: 2009) Submitted: 2014; accessed April 8, 2014; http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:13100:0::NO:13100:P13100_COMMENT_ID:3133618.

7.         Government of Kiribati. Employment and Industrial Relations Code, enacted December 24, 2015.

8.         Government of Kiribati. Penal Code, PC66, enacted October 18, 1965. http://www.paclii.org/ki/legis/consol_act/pc66/.

9.         Government of Kiribati. Constitution of Kiribati, enacted July 12, 1979. http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@ed_protect/@protrav/@ilo_aids/documents/legaldocument/wcms_117331.pdf.

10.       Government of Kiribati. Measures to Combat Terrorism and Transnational Organized Crime Act, enacted June 14, 2005. http://www.paclii.org/ki/legis/num_act/mtctatoca2005608/.

11.       Government of Kiribati. Education Act, enacted December 30, 2013. http://beta.paclii.org/ki/legis/num_act/ea2013104/.

12.       Child Soldiers International. "Appendix II: Data Summary Table on Recruitment Ages of National Armies," in Louder Than Words: An Agenda for Action to End State Use of Child Soldiers. London; 2012; https://www.child-soldiers.org/Handlers/Download.ashx?IDMF=da92581e-7130-40e6-bf3a-a86b944f17dd.

13.       U.S. Embassy- Suva. reporting, January 4, 2016.

14.       U.S. Embassy- Suva. reporting, January 17, 2014.

15.       Government of Kiribati. Children, Young People, and Family Welfare Act, enacted May 17, 2013. [source on file].

16.       U.S. Embassy- Suva. reporting, December 14, 2016.

17.       ILO. Kiribati prepares for implementation of new labour laws. October 31, 2016. http://www.ilo.org/suva/public-information/WCMS_533919/lang--en/index.htm.

18.       U.S. Embassy- Suva. reporting, February 1, 2016.

19.       Government of Republic of Kiribati. Children, Young People, and Families Welfare Sytem Policy. Tarawa; April 2012. [source on file].

20.       UNDAF. UNDAF for the Pacific Region 2013-2017. http://www.undp.org/content/dam/samoa/docs/UNDP_WS_UNDAF_Summary_Report_2013-17.pdf.

21.       UNICEF. The Beijing Declaration on South-South Cooperation for Child Rights in the Asia Pacific Region. New York; November 4-6, 2010. http://www.unicef.org/eapro/Beijing_Declaration.docx.

22.       ILO. "TACKLE Update." Tackling Child Labour through Education quarterly newsletter, (February 2015); http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---asia/---ro-bangkok/---ilo-suva/documents/publication/wcms_360537.pdf.

23.       U.S. Department of State. "Kiribati," in Trafficking in Person's Report- 2014. Washington, DC; June 20, 2014; http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/countries/2014/226752.htm.

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