Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Oman

Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

Oman

2016 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

Moderate Advancement

In 2016, Oman made a moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The Government published a report on child labor and issued regulations outlining the types of products children can legally sell. Although the problem does not appear to be widespread, children in Oman engage in the worst forms of child labor, including in commercial sexual exploitation. The Government does not publish information on the enforcement of child labor laws and lacks a reciprocal mechanism between the labor inspectorate and social services.

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Although the problem does not appear to be widespread, children in Oman engage in the worst forms of child labor, including in commercial sexual exploitation.(1) Table 1 provides key indicators on children’s work and education in Oman. 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 (%)

 

105.2

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

Farming, activities unknown (1, 4, 5)

Fishing, activities unknown (1, 4-6)

Services

Selling items, including fish† and grilled meat† (4, 5)

Begging† (1, 7)

Categorical Worst Forms of Child Labor‡

Commercial sexual exploitation (1, 8)

† Determined by national law or regulation as hazardous and, as such, relevant to Article 3(d) of ILO C. 182.

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

The Ministry of Social Development released the country's first major report on child labor. The report indicates that an estimated 330 children, mostly boys, are working, primarily on farms or in subsistence fishing.(1, 4, 5) The majority of these children were ages 16 or 17, with 24 percent between ages 10 and 15.(5)

Limited evidence suggests that the children of migrant workers and children with disabilities may face barriers to accessing education.(1, 8)

Oman 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 legal framework in Oman appears to be sufficient to address and protect children from child labor (Table 4).

Table 4. Laws and Regulations on Child Labor

Standard

Meets International Standards: Yes/No

Age

Legislation

Minimum Age for Work

Yes

16

Article 46 of the Child Law (9)

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

Yes

18

Article 76 of the Labor Law; Article 45 of the Child Law (9, 10)

Identification of Hazardous Occupations or Activities Prohibited for Children

Yes

 

Article 76 of the Labor Law; Ministry of Manpower Order 217/2016 (10, 11)

Prohibition of Forced Labor

Yes

 

Articles 1, 2, and 9 of the Law to Combat Human Trafficking; Article 3bis of the Labor Law (10, 12)

Prohibition of Child Trafficking

Yes

 

Articles 1, 2, and 9 of the Law to Combat Human Trafficking (12)

Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Yes

 

Articles 1, 2, and 9 of the Law to Combat Human Trafficking; Articles 220, 221, and 224 of the Penal Code (12, 13)

Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities

Yes

 

Articles 99 and 229 of the Penal Code; Article 58 of the Child Law (9, 13)

Minimum Age for Military Recruitment

 

 

 

State Compulsory

Yes*

 

Article 55 of the Child Law (9)

State Voluntary

Yes

16

Article 55 of the Child Law (9)

Non-State Compulsory

Yes

18

Article 55 of the Child Law (9)

Compulsory Education Age

Yes

16‡

Article 36 of the Child Law (9)

Free Public Education

Yes

 

Article 13 of the Basic Law; Article 36 of the Child Law (9, 14)

* No conscription (15)
‡ Age calculated based on available information (16)

In 2016, the Ministry of Manpower issued an order prohibiting children from being employed in any sector except for the ones that it noted, and it listed sales as a main sector in which children are permitted to work.(11)

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 Manpower

Monitor and enforce child labor laws, conduct labor inspections, and share information with the Royal Oman Police on labor and criminal law violations when penalties are pursued.(1)

Ministry of Social Development

Enforce the Child Law, including receiving complaints and referring cases to the Royal Oman Police and Public Prosecution.(1)

Royal Oman Police

Monitor and enforce the Child Law, including its provisions related to child labor; refer cases to Public Prosecution.(1)

Public Prosecution

Prosecute human trafficking and sexual exploitation cases in court with assistance from the Royal Oman Police.(1, 17)

Child Protection Committee

Protect children from exploitation, receive complaints and reports of child labor, and investigate reported cases to determine whether children are engaged in prohibited activities or whether working has negative effects on their health or education.(1, 4)

 

Labor Law Enforcement

In 2016, labor law enforcement agencies in Oman 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 (1)

Number of Labor Inspectors

160 (18)

Unknown (1)

Inspectorate Authorized to Assess Penalties

Unknown (18)

Unknown (1)

Training for Labor Inspectors

 

 

Initial Training for New Employees

Unknown

Unknown (1)

Training on New Laws Related to Child Labor

Unknown

Unknown (1)

Refresher Courses Provided

Unknown

Unknown (1)

Number of Labor Inspections

Unknown (18)

Unknown (1)

Number Conducted at Worksite

Unknown (18)

Unknown (1)

Number Conducted by Desk Reviews

Unknown

Unknown (1)

Number of Child Labor Violations Found

Unknown (18)

Unknown (1)

Number of Child Labor Violations for Which Penalties Were Imposed

Unknown

Unknown (1)

Number of Penalties Imposed That Were Collected

Unknown

Unknown (1)

Routine Inspections Conducted

Unknown (18)

Unknown (1)

Routine Inspections Targeted

Unknown

Unknown (1)

Unannounced Inspections Permitted

Yes (18)

Yes (1)

Unannounced Inspections Conducted

Yes (18)

Yes (1)

Complaint Mechanism Exists

Yes (18)

Yes (1)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Labor Authorities and Social Services

No (18)

No (1)

 

Criminal Law Enforcement

In 2016, criminal law enforcement agencies in Oman 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 (18)

Unknown (1)

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

No (18)

Unknown (1)

Refresher Courses Provided

No (18)

Unknown (1)

Number of Investigations

Unknown

Unknown* (1)

Number of Violations Found

Unknown

Unknown* (1)

Number of Prosecutions Initiated

Unknown

Unknown* (1)

Number of Convictions

Unknown

Unknown* (1)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Criminal Authorities and Social Services

No (18)

Unknown (1)

* The Government does not publish this information.

The Royal Oman Police electronically tracks reports of criminal activity and investigations.(4) Research found no evidence of formal mechanisms or procedures to proactively identify children engaged in the worst forms of child labor.

The Government has established mechanisms to coordinate its efforts to address child labor, including its worst forms (Table 8).

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

Coordinating Body

Role & Description

National Committee on Implementing the UN CRC

Led by the Ministry of Social Development to oversee implementation of the UN CRC, including its provisions related to child labor and its worst forms. There are subcommittees in all 11 governorates.(1) Other members include three other state agencies. The Ministry of Labor is not represented.(1)

National Committee for Combating Human Trafficking

Oversees the National Plan for Combating Human Trafficking. Includes the Royal Oman Police and 10 other state agencies.(1)

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 Plan for Combating Human Trafficking

Establishes roles and responsibilities of governmental organizations involved in combating child trafficking and describes procedures for applying the Law to Combat Human Trafficking.(17) Research was unable to determine whether activities were undertaken to implement this policy during the reporting period.

 

Although the Government of Oman had adopted the National Plan for Combating Human Trafficking, research found no evidence of a policy to address all forms of child labor, including in farming and fishing.

In 2016, the Government funded 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

Programs of the National Plan for Combating Human Trafficking†

Implements awareness-raising activities on human trafficking in schools and among the general population and provides social services for trafficking victims.(17)

Social Security Cash Transfer Program†

Provides assistance to children in low-income families, including educational services.(4)

† Program is funded by the Government of Oman.

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

Table 11. Suggested Government Actions to Eliminate Child Labor, Including its Worst Forms

Area

Suggested Action

Year(s) Suggested

Enforcement

Collect and publish data on labor inspectorate funding, the number of inspectors, whether inspectors are authorized to assess penalties, the types of training for the labor inspectorate, the number of inspections and whether they were conducted at the worksite or by desk review only, the number of violations, the penalties imposed and collected, and whether routine and targeted inspections were conducted.

2013 – 2016

Establish a referral mechanism between law enforcement and social services.

2014 – 2016

Publish data on the types of training for investigators; the number of criminal investigations, violations, prosecutions, and convictions; and whether there is a reciprocal referral mechanism between criminal authorities and social services.

2013 – 2016

Develop formal mechanisms and procedures to proactively identify victims of the worst forms of child labor.

2011 – 2016

Coordination

Ensure the Ministry of Labor’s participation in the National Committee on Implementing the UN CRC.

2016

Government Policies

Implement the National Plan for Combating Human Trafficking.

2016

Develop a national policy to address all worst forms of child labor.

2013 – 2016

Social Programs

Ensure that all children have equal access to education, including the children of migrant workers and children with disabilities.

2011 – 2016

1.         U.S. Embassy- Muscat. reporting, January 5, 2017.

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 “Children's Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions” in the Reference Materials section of this report.

4.         Government of Oman. Efforts of the Sultanate of Oman to Limit the Worst Forms of Child Labor and Trafficking in Persons, and Some Observations on the Report Issued by the U.S. Department of Labor on Child Labor and Trafficking in Persons in the Sultanate. Submitted in response to U.S. Department of Labor Federal Register Notice (September 30, 2016) "Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Forced or Indentured Child Labor in the Production of Goods in Foreign Countries and Efforts by Certain Foreign Countries to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor" (81 FR 67392). Washington DC; December 19, 2016.

5.         Baba Umar, and Tariq Al Haremi. "Child Labour Prevalent among Low-Income Families in Oman." Times of Oman, Muscat, June 25, 2016. http://timesofoman.com/article/86806/Oman/Government/Child-labour-prevalent-among-low-income-families-in-Oman-says-Survey.

6.         Al Murashi, F. "Omani Brothers Still Missing at Sea." Gulf News, Dubai, February 13, 2016. http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/oman/omani-brothers-still-missing-at-sea-1.1671573.

7.         Times News Service. "Child Beggars Arrested in Oman during Ramadan." Times of Oman, Muscat, July 25, 2016. http://timesofoman.com/article/88682/Oman/Government/Child-beggars-arrested-during-Ramadan-in-Oman.

8.         UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention: Concluding Observations: Oman,. Geneva; March 14, 2016. Report No. CRC/C/OMN/CO/3-4. http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CRC/C/OMN/CO/3-4&Lang=En.

9.         Government of Oman. Royal Decree Number 22/2014 issuing the Child Law, enacted May 19, 2014.

10.       Government of Oman. Royal Decree Number 35/2003 issuing the Labor Law, enacted April 26, 2003. http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/ELECTRONIC/67540/84139/F1719028671/OMN67540.pdf.

11.       Government of Oman. Ministry of Manpower, Order 217/2016, enacted July 4, 2016. http://data.qanoon.om/ar/md/momp/2016-0217.pdf.

12.       Government of Oman. Royal Decree Number 126/2008 issuing the Law to Combat Human Trafficking, enacted November 23, 2008. www.ncchtoman.gov.om/download.asp?filename=ncchtLaw_e.pdf.

13.       Government of Oman. Royal Decree Number 7/74 - The Penal Code, enacted February 16, 1974. https://www.unodc.org/tldb/pdf/Oman_CP.pdf.

14.       Government of Oman. Royal Decree Number 101/96 issuing the Basic Statute of the State, enacted November 6, 1996. http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/details.jsp?id=6118.

15.       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.

16.       U.S. Embassy- Muscat. reporting, January 22, 2015.

17.       Sultanate of Oman National Committee for Combating Human Trafficking. National Plan for Combating Human Trafficking. Muscat; September 2009.

18.       U.S. Embassy- Muscat. reporting, January 18, 2016.

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