Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Maldives

Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

Maldives

2015 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

Minimal Advancement

In 2015, Maldives made a minimal advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The Government acceded to the Palermo Protocol on Trafficking in Persons, incorporated a human trafficking module into the training curriculum for all new Maldives Immigration hires, and adopted the National Anti-Human Trafficking Action Plan (2015–2019). Although research is limited, evidence indicates that children are engaged in the worst forms of child labor in commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking in Maldives. The Government has not determined specific hazardous occupations or activities that are prohibited for children and the compulsory education age of 13 leaves children ages 13 to 15 vulnerable to the worst forms of child labor. The Government does not have a coordinating mechanism, policy, or social program that specifically addresses child labor, including its worst forms.

Expand All

Although research is limited, evidence indicates that children are engaged in the worst forms of child labor in commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking in Maldives.(1, 2) Table 1 provides key indicators on children’s work and education in Maldives.

Table 1. Statistics on Children’s Work and Education

Working children, ages 5 to 14 (% and population):

3.9 (2,364)

School attendance, ages 5 to 14 (%):

79.5

Children combining work and school, ages 7 to 14 (%):

4.0

Primary completion rate (%):

114.4

Source for primary completion rate: Data from 2009, published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2015.(3)
Source for all other data: Understanding Children’s Work Project’s analysis of statistics from Demographic and Health Survey, 2009.(4)

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

Fishing,* activities unknown (5)

Services

Domestic work* (1, 2)

Categorical Worst Forms of Child Labor‡

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

* Evidence of this activity is limited and/or the extent of the problem is unknown.
‡ 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) The Maldives Human Rights Commission is assessing the scope of the human trafficking problem in the country, but its findings have not been published.(6, 7)

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

 

In 2015, the Government of Maldives acceded to the Palermo Protocol on Trafficking in Persons.

The Government has established laws and regulations related to child labor, including its worst forms (Table 4).

Table 4. Laws and Regulations Related to Child Labor

Standard

Yes/No

Age

Related Legislation

Minimum Age for Work

Yes

16

Section 6 of the Employment Act (8)

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

Yes

18

Section 7 of the Employment Act (8)

Prohibition of Hazardous Occupations or Activities for Children

No

 

 

Prohibition of Forced Labor

Yes

 

Section 3 of the Employment Act; Sections 12–16 of the Prevention of Human Trafficking Act (8, 9)

Prohibition of Child Trafficking

Yes

 

Sections 12–15 of the Prevention of Human Trafficking Act (9)

Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Yes

 

Sections 17–19 of the Special Provisions Act to Deal with Child Sex Abuse Offenders; Ministry of Justice Circular on the Penalty for Fornication and Sexual Offenders (10, 11)

Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities

Yes

 

Section 133(c)(1) of the Drugs Act (12)

Minimum Age for Compulsory Military Recruitment

N/A*

 

 

Minimum Age for Voluntary Military Service

Yes

18

Law on the Protection of the Rights of Children (7)

Compulsory Education Age

Yes

13‡

Legislation title unknown (13)

Free Public Education

Yes

 

Article 36 of the Constitution (14)

* No conscription (15)
‡ Age calculated based on available information

While the legal framework prohibits the employment of children in work that may be detrimental to their health and safety, the Government has not determined specific hazardous occupations and activities that are prohibited for children.(16)

Children in Maldives are only required to attend school up to age 13. This standard makes children ages 13 through 15 vulnerable to the worst forms of child labor because they are not required to attend school but are not legally permitted to work.

The Government has established institutional mechanisms for the enforcement of laws and regulations on child labor, including its worst forms (Table 5).

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. Assess minor fines and make recommendations to the Minister of Human Resources on additional fines or other actions to penalize violators.(17)

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

Investigate complaints of child labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Refer cases to the Prosecutor General’s Office for prosecution.(17)

Prosecutor General’s Office

Prosecute crimes, including those involving the worst forms of child labor.(17)

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

Receive referrals of children who have been exploited, including in child commercial sexual exploitation, and provide care for such victims.(17)

Maldives Immigration

Maintain a blacklist of employers who violate any provision of the Employment Act and prohibit blacklisted employers from hiring new workers until violations are corrected. Identify victims of human trafficking in coordination with the MPS.(17, 18)

Anti-Human Trafficking Units, the MPS, and DIE

Investigate human trafficking-related offences and enforce laws prohibiting trafficking in persons.(19)

 

Labor Law Enforcement

Research did not find information on whether 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

2014

2015

Labor Inspectorate Funding

Unknown

Unknown

Number of Labor Inspectors

13 (20)

Unknown

Inspectorate Authorized to Assess Penalties

Unknown

Unknown

Training for Labor Inspectors

   

Initial Training for New Employees

No (20)

Unknown

Training on New Laws Related to Child Labor

N/A

N/A

Refresher Courses Provided

No (20)

Unknown

Number of Labor Inspections

102 (20)

Unknown

Number Conducted at Worksite

Unknown

Unknown

Number Conducted by Desk Reviews

Unknown

Unknown

Number of Child Labor Violations Found

0 (20)

Unknown

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

Unknown

Routine Inspections Targeted

Unknown

Unknown

Unannounced Inspections Permitted

Unknown

Unknown

Unannounced Inspections Conducted

Unknown

Unknown

Complaint Mechanism Exists

Unknown

Unknown

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Labor Authorities and Social Services

Unknown

Unknown

 

Criminal Law Enforcement

In 2015, criminal law enforcement agencies in Maldives 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 Labor Law Enforcement

2014

2015

Training for Investigators

   

Initial Training for New Employees

Unknown

Yes (18)

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

N/A

N/A

Refresher Courses Provided

Unknown

Yes (18)

Number of Investigations

Unknown

Unknown

Number of Violations Found

Unknown

Unknown

Number of Prosecutions Initiated

Unknown

Unknown

Number of Convictions

Unknown

Unknown

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Criminal Authorities and Social Services

Yes (17)

Yes (17)

 

In 2015, a human trafficking module was included in the training curriculum for all new Maldives Immigration hires.(18) The IOM also conducted trafficking in persons training for government officials, including the Maldives Police Service (MPS), Maldives Immigration, and the Ministry of Law and Gender.(18)

In 2014, the most recent year for which information is available, anti-human-trafficking units in the MPS comprised seven officers, including three female officers.(20) The Family and Child Protection Unit employed 25 officers to process child abuse cases in Malé, and an unknown number of officers in police stations throughout the country’s islands. The Prosecutor General’s Office employed 45 prosecutors for all areas of its work across the country.(17)

Investigators have insufficient funding and resources, such as office facilities and transportation.(17) Police and other officials lack adequate training on procedures for identifying human trafficking victims and providing referrals to protective services, including for children.(21) Maldives Immigration and 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. Mechanisms to Coordinate Government Efforts on Child Labor

Coordinating Body

Role & Description

Anti-Human Trafficking Steering Committee

Coordinate anti-human-trafficking activities and implement the country’s National Anti-Human Trafficking National Action Plan under MED leadership.(17, 22) Members include the MPS, the Supreme Court, the People’s Parliament (Majlis), the Attorney General’s Office, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Human Rights Commission, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Home Affairs, DIE, the Customs Service, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, and the NGO Advocating the Rights of Children.(9, 10)

 

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

Table 9. 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.(18)

UNDP Country Program for Maldives (2011–2015)*

Aimed to support the ILO in developing a Decent Work framework to address youth unemployment. Aimed to promote equitable access to justice and rule of law by increasing the capacity of the Prosecutor General’s Office, including training on human rights issues.(23)

* Child labor elimination and prevention strategies do not appear to have been integrated into this policy.
† Policy was approved during the reporting period.

Although the Government of Maldives has adopted the National Anti-Human Trafficking Action Plan, research found no evidence of a policy to address child labor, including its worst forms.

In 2015, the Government of Maldives funded and participated in programs that include the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor, including its worst forms (Table 10).

Table 10. 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.(6, 24)

Blue Ribbon Campaign Against Human Trafficking†

Government campaign, implemented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that aims to raise awareness of human trafficking in Maldives among students and the business community.(25)

Child Help Line†

Government-maintained hotline used to report cases of child abuse and general issues that children face.(26)

Trafficking in Persons Hotline†

Government-operated hotline dedicated to receiving reports of human trafficking cases.(18)

UNICEF Country Program (2011–2015)

UNICEF program, worked with the Government to monitor schools to ensure that authorities and communities maintained safe and sanitary learning environments for children.(27) Worked to build the capacity of the FCPS staff to protect children from violence and abuse. Advocated increased protection for children who are victims of crimes and witnesses to crimes.(27)

Enhancing Education Development Project†

$11 million World Bank and Government of Maldives-funded, 5-year project, that aims to strengthen access to primary and secondary school education in Maldives and improve its quality. Funded with approximately $10 million from the World Bank and $1 million from the Government of Maldives.(28)

† Program is funded by the Government of Maldives.

In 2015, the Government allocated funds for the construction of a new shelter for victims of human trafficking. The shelter is expected to be completed in 2016.(18)

Existing social programs do not specifically address the worst forms of child labor in the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

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.

2009 – 2015

Raise the compulsory education age to 16 to be consistent with the minimum age for work.

2011 – 2015

Enforcement

Collect and publicize information on labor law enforcement, including labor inspection data and child labor law violations, and information on criminal law enforcement of the worst forms of child labor, including the number of investigations, violations, prosecutions, and convictions.

2013 – 2015

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

2009 – 2015

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 – 2015

Coordination

Establish a coordination mechanism to combat child labor.

2009 – 2015

Government Policies

Integrate child labor elimination and prevention strategies into the UNDP Country Program for Maldives.

2014 – 2015

Adopt a policy to address child labor, including its worst forms.

2014 – 2015

Social Programs

Conduct and publish research on commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of children.

2009 – 2015

Conduct a national child labor survey and publish the results.

2014 – 2015

Implement programs to address the worst forms of child labor in commercial sexual exploitation.

2009 – 2015

 

 

1.         Human Rights Commission Maldives. Submission to the Universal Periodic Review of the Maldives, April-May 2015; September 2014. http://www.asiapacificforum.net/members/associate-members/republic-of-the-maldives/downloads/reports-to-un-committees/submission-to-upr-september-2014.

2.         U.S. Department of State. "Maldives," in Trafficking in Persons Report- 2015. Washington, DC; July 27, 2015; http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2015/index.htm.

3.         UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary. Total. [accessed December 16, 2015]; http://www.uis.unesco.org/Pages/default.aspx?SPSLanguage=EN. 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), 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. Original data from Demographic and Health Survey, 2009 Analysis received December 18, 2015. 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.         U.S. Department of State. "Maldives," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2011. Washington, DC; May 24, 2012; http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?dynamic_load_id=186470.

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

7.         U.S. Embassy- Colombo official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. June 10, 2014.

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

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

10.       U.S. Embassy- Colombo. reporting, March 17, 2014.

11.       Government of the Maldives. Special Provisions Act to Deal with Child Sexual Abuse Offenders, enacted 2009.

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

13.       UNESCO. UIS Compulsory Education Data. Paris; 2012.

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

15.       Child Soldiers International. Louder than Words: An Agenda for Action to End State Use of Child Soldiers. London; 2012. www.child-soldiers.org.

16.       U.S. Department of State. "Maldives," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2013. Washington, DC; February 27, 2014; http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm#wrapper.

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

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

19.       U.S. Embassy- Colombo. reporting, March 19, 2015.

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

21.       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 

22.       U.S. Department of State. "Maldives," in Trafficking in Persons Report- 2013. Washington, DC; June 19, 2013; http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/210740.pdf.

23.       United Nations Development Program. Country Programme for Maldives (2011-2015). New York. http://asia-pacific.undp.org/content/dam/rbap/docs/programme-documents/MV-CP-2011-2015.pdf.

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

25.       Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Maldives steps up anti-trafficking efforts: Launches The Blue Ribbon Campaign, Republic of Maldives, [cited December 22, 2014]; http://www.foreign.gov.mv/new/tpl/news/article/464/.

26.       U.S. Embassy- Colombo. reporting, February 3, 2011.

27.       UNICEF. Country programme, 2011-2015. New York; October 19, 2010. http://www.unicef.org/maldives/Country_programme_2011-15.pdf.

28.       World Bank. The Maldives: World Bank Group Country Program Snapshot. Washington, DC; September 2013. http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2013/10/09/000356161_20131009154440/Rendered/PDF/817140WP00Mald0Box0379842B00PUBLIC0.pdf.

Related Content