Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Maldives

Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

Maldives

2016 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

Moderate Advancement

In 2016, Maldives made a moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The Government launched a National Victim Support Hotline for victims of the worst forms of child labor, and the Labor Relations Authority trained all labor inspectors on investigating trafficking in persons cases. The Government also created a technical-level committee to advise the Anti-Human Trafficking National Steering Committee and monitor implementation of the National Anti-Human Trafficking National Action Plan. Although research is limited, there is evidence that children in Maldives are engaged in the worst forms of child labor in commercial sexual exploitation, including use in the production of pornography. The Government has not determined specific hazardous occupations or activities that are prohibited for children, and the law does not sufficiently prohibit commercial sexual exploitation of children. The Government does not have a coordinating mechanism or policy that addresses all relevant worst forms of child labor in the country.

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Although research is limited, there is evidence that children in Maldives engage in the worst forms of child labor in commercial sexual exploitation, including use in the production of pornography.(1-3) Table 1 provides key indicators on children's work and education in Maldives.

Table 1. Statistics on Children's Work and Education

Children

Age

Percent

Working (% and population)

5 to 14

3.9 (2,364)

Attending School (%)

5 to 14

79.5

Combining Work and School (%)

7 to 14

4.0

Primary Completion Rate (%)

 

114.4

Source for primary completion rate: Data from 2009, published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2016.(4)
Source for all other data: Understanding Children's Work Project's analysis of statistics from Demographic and Health Survey, 2009.(5)

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

Services

Domestic work (1, 6)

Categorical Worst Forms of Child Labor‡

Commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking (1, 2)

Use in the production of pornography (3)

Use in the trafficking of drugs (3)

Forced labor in domestic work, sometimes as a result of human trafficking (1, 2)

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

No current data are available on child labor in Maldives, and a national survey on child labor has not been conducted. Some girls from Bangladesh and Maldives are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation to Malé, the capital of Maldives, but evidence of the problem is limited.(2)

Maldives 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 Maldives' 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

16

Section 6 of the Employment Act (7)

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

Yes

18

Section 7 of the Employment Act (7)

Identification of Hazardous Occupations or Activities Prohibited for Children

No

 

 

Prohibition of Forced Labor

Yes

 

Section 3 of the Employment Act; Sections 12–16 of the Prevention of Human Trafficking Act (7, 8)

Prohibition of Child Trafficking

Yes

 

Sections 12–15 of the Prevention of Human Trafficking Act (8)

Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

No

 

Sections 17–19 of the Special Provisions Act to Deal with Child Sex Abuse Offenders (9)

Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities

Yes

 

Section 133(c)(1) of the Drugs Act (10)

Minimum Age for Military Recruitment

 

 

 

State Compulsory

N/A*

 

 

State Voluntary

Yes

18

Law on the Protection of the Rights of Children (3)

Non-state Compulsory

No

 

 

Compulsory Education Age

Yes

16

Article 36(b) of the Constitution of the Republic of Maldives; Article 5(b) of the Law on the Protection of the Rights of Children (3, 11)

Free Public Education

Yes

 

Article 36(b) of the Constitution of the Republic of Maldives; Article 5(b) of the Law on the Protection of the Rights of Children (3, 11)

* No conscription (12)

Maldives has not determined by national law or regulation the types of hazardous work prohibited for children. The law does not sufficiently prohibit commercial sexual exploitation, as procuring children for prostitution is not criminally prohibited. The law also does not criminally prohibit using, procuring, and offering children for pornographic performances.(9) In addition, the recruitment of children by non-state armed groups is not prohibited.

Research did not uncover a public version of the 2014 amendment to the Law on the Protection of the Rights of Children 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

Labor Relations Authority, Ministry of Economic Development (MED)

Enforce the child labor provisions of the Employment Act. Make recommendations to the MED on penalties, such as fines.(3)

Family and Child Protection Department, Maldives Police Service (MPS)

Investigate complaints of child labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Refer cases to the Prosecutor General's Office for prosecution and the Ministry of Gender and Family to provide victim services.(3) Employs eight officers in Malé to investigate child labor cases, including child commercial sexual exploitation and child pornography cases.(3)

Family Child Protection Services (FCPS), Ministry of Gender and Family

Receive referrals of children who have been exploited, including in child commercial sexual exploitation, and provide care for such victims.(3)

Anti-Human Trafficking Units, MPS

Investigate human trafficking-related offenses and enforce laws prohibiting trafficking in persons. Employs five officers to investigate human trafficking cases.(3)

 

Labor Law Enforcement

In 2016, labor law enforcement agencies in Maldives 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

Unknown (3)

Number of Labor Inspectors

Unknown

9 (3)

Inspectorate Authorized to Assess Penalties

Unknown

No (3)

Training for Labor Inspectors

   

Initial Training for New Employees

No (13)

Unknown

Training on New Laws Related to Child Labor

N/A

N/A

Refresher Courses Provided

No (13)

Yes (3)

Number of Labor Inspections

Unknown

264 (3)

Number Conducted at Worksite

Unknown

264 (3)

Number Conducted by Desk Reviews

Unknown

0 (3)

Number of Child Labor Violations Found

Unknown

0 (3)

Number of Child Labor Violations for Which Penalties Were Imposed

Unknown

Unknown

Number of Penalties Imposed that Were Collected

Unknown

Unknown

Routine Inspections Conducted

Unknown

Yes (3)

Routine Inspections Targeted

Unknown

Unknown (3)

Unannounced Inspections Permitted

Unknown

Yes (3)

Unannounced Inspections Conducted

Unknown

Yes (3)

Complaint Mechanism Exists

Unknown

Yes (3)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Labor Authorities and Social Services

Unknown

No (3)

 

The number of labor inspectors is insufficient for the size of Maldives' workforce, which includes more than 195,100 workers. According to the ILO's recommendation of 1 inspector for every 15,000 workers in developing economies, Maldives should employ roughly 13 inspectors.(14-16) The Labor Relations Authority lacks the resources, including staff, necessary to enforce child labor laws. Inspectors have not received training on the identification and remediation of child labor.(3, 17)

In 2016, the Labor Relations Authority, in partnership with the IOM, trained all labor inspectors on investigating trafficking in persons cases.(3)

Criminal Law Enforcement

In 2016, criminal law enforcement agencies in Maldives took actions to combat child labor, including its worst forms (Table 7).

Table 7. Criminal Law Enforcement Efforts Related to the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Overview of Labor Law Enforcement

2015

2016

Training for Investigators

   

Initial Training for New Employees

Yes (18)

Yes (3)

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

N/A

N/A

Refresher Courses Provided

Yes (18)

Yes (3)

Number of Investigations

Unknown

10 (3)

Number of Violations Found

Unknown

Unknown (3)

Number of Prosecutions Initiated

Unknown

1 (3)

Number of Convictions

Unknown

Unknown (3)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Criminal Authorities and Social Services

Yes (19)

Yes (3)

 

In 2016, the Prosecutor General's Office participated in a training on the commercial sexual exploitation of children conducted by the Maldives Police Service (MPS). There were 235 officials from various law enforcement agencies, including the MPS and the Labor Relations Authority, who received training on human trafficking by the IOM.(3)

Investigators have insufficient funding and resources, such as office facilities and transportation.(19) Police and other officials also have inadequate training on procedures for identifying human trafficking victims and providing referrals to protective services, including for children.(2, 20) In addition, the MPS lacked the capacity to pursue child trafficking investigations.(18)

Although the Government has established a coordination mechanism on human trafficking, 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

Anti-Human Trafficking National Steering Committee

Coordinate anti-human-trafficking activities and implement the country's National Anti-Human Trafficking National Action Plan under MED leadership and 11 participating government agencies.(8, 19)

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 Anti-Human Trafficking Action Plan (2015–2019)

Sets out the Government's goals to combat human trafficking, including establishing institutions, coordinating activities, raising awareness, and building capacity.(21)

 

Although the Government of Maldives has adopted the National Anti-Human Trafficking Action Plan, research found no evidence of a policy to address 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 10).

Table 10. Key Social Programs to Address Child Labor

Program

Description

FCPS Shelters and Rehabilitation Centers†

Ministry of Law and Gender-operated centers on many of the country's islands, which provide services such as temporary shelter, vocational training, and rehabilitation and counseling for children in need, which could include children rescued from abusive work situations.(22, 23)

National Victim Support Hotline (Number 1696)*†

Ministry of Economic Development-operated hotline dedicated to receiving reports of human trafficking and child labor. Supported by the Maldives Police Service and Maldives Immigration.(24)

* Program was launched during the reporting period.
† Program is funded by the Government of Maldives.

Existing social programs do not specifically address the worst forms of child labor, including the commercial sexual exploitation of children, use of children in the production of pornography, use of children for drug trafficking, and forced labor in domestic work. Family Child Protection Services Shelters and Rehabilitation Centers lack adequate financial and human resources, and staff are inadequately trained to deal with cases involving abused and exploited children.(3)

Based on the reporting above, suggested actions are identified that would advance the elimination of child labor, including its worst forms, in Maldives (Table 11).

Table 11. 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.

2009 – 2016

Criminally prohibit all forms of commercial sexual exploitation of children, including procuring children for prostitution and procuring, offering, and using children for pornographic performances.

2016

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

2016

Publish the 2014 amendment to the Law on the Protection of the Rights of Children.

2016

Enforcement

Collect and publish information on labor law enforcement, including child labor law violations, and the number of violations and convictions involving criminal law enforcement of the worst forms of child labor.

2013 – 2016

Authorize the inspectorate to assess penalties.

2016

Ensure that the labor inspectorate receives training that specifically focuses on child labor issues.

2009 – 2016

Establish a referral mechanism between labor authorities and social services.

2016

Hire a sufficient number of labor inspectors for the size of Maldives' workforce.

2016

Provide sufficient funding and training to the police and prosecutors, to ensure that investigators have the resources necessary to enforce laws on the worst forms of child labor.

2013 – 2016

Coordination

Establish a coordination mechanism to combat child labor.

2009 – 2016

Government Policies

Adopt a policy to address the worst forms of child labor.

2014 – 2016

Social Programs

Conduct a national child labor survey and publish the results.

2014 – 2016

Conduct and publish research on the worst forms of child labor, including commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of children.

2009 – 2016

Implement and provide sufficient resources for programs that address the worst forms of child labor, including the commercial sexual exploitation of children, use of children in the production of pornography, the use of children for drug trafficking, and forced labor in domestic work.

2009 – 2016

1.         Human Rights Commission Maldives. Submission to the Universal Periodic Review of the Maldives, April–May 2015; September 2014. http://www.hrcm.org.mv/Publications/otherdocuments/UPR_submission_Sept_2014.pdf.

2.         U.S. Department of State. "Maldives," in Trafficking in Persons Report- 2016. Washington, DC; June 30, 2016; http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/258880.pdf.

3.         U.S. Embassy- Colombo. reporting, January 9, 2017.

4.         UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary education, both sexes (%). Accessed December 16, 2016; http://www.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. 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.

5.         UCW. Analysis of Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Statistics from National Household or Child Labor Surveys. Original data from Demographic and Health Survey, 2009 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 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" in the Reference Materials section of this report.

6.         U.S. Department of State. "Maldives," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2016. Washington, DC; March 3, 2017; https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/265754.pdf.

7.         Government of the Maldives. Employment Act (unofficial translation), enacted October 13, 2008. https://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/ELECTRONIC/85764/96218/F1772069692/MDV85764%20English.pdf.

8.         Government of the Maldives. Prevention of Human Trafficking Act, Law No: 12/2014, enacted December 8, 2013.

9.         Government of the Maldives. Special Provisions Act to Deal with Child Sex Abuse Offenders, Act Number 12/2009, enacted 2009. [source on file].

10.       Government of the Maldives. Drugs Act, enacted 1991. http://www.drugcourt.gov.mv/documents/laws/17-2011-Drug%20Act-Translation.pdf.

11.       Government of the Maldives. Constitution of the Republic of Maldives, enacted 2008. http://www.maldivesinfo.gov.mv/home/upload/downloads/Compilation.pdf.

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

13.       U.S. Embassy- Colombo official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. May 18, 2015.

14.       Central Intelligence Agency. The World Factbook, [online] [cited February 15, 2017]; https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2095.html#131. Data provided is the most recent estimate of the country’s total labor force. This number is used to calculate a "sufficient number" of labor inspectors based on the country’s level of development as determined by the UN.

15.       ILO. Strategies and Practice for Labour Inspection. Geneva, Committee on Employment and Social Policy; November 2006. http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/relm/gb/docs/gb297/pdf/esp-3.pdf. Article 10 of ILO Convention No. 81 calls for a "sufficient number" of inspectors to do the work required. As each country assigns different priorities of enforcement to its inspectors, there is no official definition for a "sufficient" number of inspectors. Amongst the factors that need to be taken into account are the number and size of establishments and the total size of the workforce. No single measure is sufficient but in many countries the available data sources are weak. The number of inspectors per worker is currently the only internationally comparable indicator available. In its policy and technical advisory services, the ILO has taken as reasonable benchmarks that the number of labor inspectors in relation to workers should approach: 1/10,000 in industrial market economies; 1/15,000 in industrializing economies; 1/20,000 in transition economies; and 1/40,000 in less developed countries.

16.       UN. World Economic Situation and Prospects 2012 Statistical Annex. New York; 2012. http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/policy/wesp/wesp_current/2012country_class.pdf. For analytical purposes, the Development Policy and Analysis Division (DPAD) of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat (UN/DESA) classifies all countries of the world into one of three broad categories: developed economies, economies in transition, and developing countries. The composition of these groupings is intended to reflect basic economic country conditions. Several countries (in particular the economies in transition) have characteristics that could place them in more than one category; however, for purposes of analysis, the groupings have been made mutually exclusive. The list of the least developed countries is decided upon by the United Nations Economic and Social Council and, ultimately, by the General Assembly, on the basis of recommendations made by the Committee for Development Policy. The basic criteria for inclusion require that certain thresholds be met with regard to per capita GNI, a human assets index and an economic vulnerability index. For the purposes of the Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor Report, "developed economies" equate to the ILO’s classification of "industrial market economies," "economies in transition" to "transition economies," "developing countries" to "industrializing economies," and "the least developed countries" equates to "less developed countries." For countries that appear on both "developing countries" and "least developed countries" lists, they will be considered "least developed countries" for the purpose of calculating a "sufficient number" of labor inspectors.

17.       UNCRC. Concluding Observations on the Combined Fourth and Fifth Periodic Reports of Maldives Geneva; March 14, 2016. http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CRC%2fC%2fMDV%2fCO%2f4-5&Lang=en.

18.       U.S. Embassy- Colombo. reporting, February 11, 2016.

19.       U.S. Embassy- Colombo. reporting, March 20, 2014.

20.       U.S. Department of State. "Maldives," in Trafficking in Persons Report- 2014. Washington, DC; June 20, 2014; http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2014/index.htm

21.       Government of Maldives. Anti-Human Trafficking National Action Plan 2015–2019. [source on file].

22.       U.S. Embassy- Colombo. reporting, January 27, 2012.

23.       U.S. Embassy- Colombo. reporting, March 13, 2013.

24.       Republic of Maldives Ministry of Economic Development. Labour and Migration. Male; March 2016. http://www.trade.gov.mv/dms/199/1460879386.pdf.

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