Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Oman

Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

Oman

2014 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

Moderate Advancement

In 2014, Oman made a moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The Government adopted the Child Law, which prohibits the use of children in illicit activities and raises the minimum age for work and compulsory education to 16. The Government also established a Child Protection Committee to receive complaints related to violations of children's rights, including the worst forms of child labor. Although the problem does not appear to be widespread, children are engaged in child labor, including in the agricultural sector in Oman. The Government lacks a policy to address all worst forms of child labor, and information on the enforcement of child labor laws is not publicly available.

 

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Although the problem does not appear to be widespread, children are engaged in child labor, including in the agricultural sector in Oman.(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

Working children, ages 7 to 14 (% and population):

Unavailable

School attendance, ages 5 to 14 (%):

Unavailable

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

Unavailable

Primary completion rate (%):

103.7

Source for primary completion rate: Data from 2012, published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2014.(2)
Data were unavailable from Understanding Children's Work Project's analysis, 2014.(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)

Fishing,* activities unknown (1, 4)

Services

Working in small businesses* (1)

* Evidence of this activity is limited and/or the extent of the problem is unknown.

There is no evidence that the Government of Oman has conducted or participated in research to determine the extent to which children are engaged in child labor, including its worst forms.(5-7) The ILO has consistently requested that the Government assess its child labor and human trafficking situation in order to ensure that adequate protection mechanisms are in place for vulnerable children.(6)

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Oman has ratified all key international conventions concerning child labor, including its worst forms (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).

Table 4. Laws and Regulations Related to Child Labor

Standard

Yes/No

Age

Related Legislation

Minimum Age for Work

Yes

16

Article 46 of the Child Law (8)

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

Yes

18

Article 76 of the Labor Law (9); Article 45 of the Child Law (8)

Prohibition of Hazardous Occupations or Activities for Children

No

 

 

Prohibition of Forced Labor

Yes

 

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

Prohibition of Child Trafficking

Yes

 

Articles 1, 2, and 9 of the Law to Combat Human Trafficking (10)

Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Yes

 

Articles 1, 2, and 9 of the Law to Combat Human Trafficking (10); Articles 220, 221, and 224 of the Penal Code (11)

Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities

Yes

 

Articles 99 and 229 of the Penal Code (11); Article 58 of the Child Law (8)

Minimum Age for Compulsory Military Recruitment

N/A*

 

 

Minimum Age for Voluntary Military Service

Yes

16

Article 55 of the Child Law (8)

Compulsory Education Age

Yes

16

Article 36 of the Child Law (8)

Free Public Education

Yes

 

Article 13 of the Basic Law (12)

* No conscription (13)

The Government has been developing a list of hazardous occupations prohibited for children younger than age 18; however, the Government has not yet enacted the list into law.(6)

In 2014, the Government adopted the Child Law, which raises the minimum age for work to 16 and establishes additional protection against the use of children in illicit activities. It prohibits the use of children in places of production and marketing of drugs. It also establishes compulsory education until the end of basic education, which is typically age 16.(4, 14)

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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

Ministry of Manpower

Monitor and enforce child labor laws; conduct labor inspections; share information with the Royal Oman Police on labor and criminal law violations when penalties are pursued.(7)

Royal Oman Police

Monitor and enforce the Child Law, including its provisions related to child labor; refer cases to the Public Prosecution.(7, 15)

Public Prosecution

Prosecute trafficking and sexual exploitation cases in court with assistance from the Royal Oman Police.(7, 16)

Child Protection Committee

Protect the child from violence, exploitation and abuse, and to receive complaints and reports of violations of child rights, including the worst forms of child labor. Established in 2014, in accordance with the Child Law, the Committee was not active in 2014, as by-laws to implement provisions of the Child Law were in development.(8)

Law enforcement agencies in Oman took actions to combat child labor, including its worst forms.

Labor Law Enforcement

In 2014, the Ministry of Manpower employed 200 labor inspectors, who carry out regular workplace inspections and receive training in conformity with international standards on child labor issues.(4) Inspectors are allowed to make unannounced visits, and they inspect all sectors covered by law.(17) However, based on available information, inspections are generally carried out in large industries and construction sites, and rarely in small farms and fishing boats where children typically work.(15) Research did not find information on the number and type of inspections carried out, or the number of violations found or citations or penalties imposed. There is no referral mechanism between labor enforcement and social welfare services.(4)

Criminal Law Enforcement

In 2014, the Royal Oman Police and Public Prosecution received no training on identifying victims of human trafficking or the worst forms of child labor.(4) There was no evidence of child trafficking in the reporting period.(18) No information was found on the number of criminal investigators, the number of investigations regarding cases other than human trafficking, prosecutions, and convictions, or imposition of penalties. Research found no evidence of formal mechanisms or procedures to proactively identify children engaged in the worst forms of child labor.(7)

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Although the Government has established the National Committee for Combating Human Trafficking, research found no evidence of mechanisms to coordinate its efforts to address child labor, including its worst forms (Table 6).

Table 6. Mechanisms to Coordinate Government Efforts on Child Labor

Coordinating Body

Role & Description

National Committee for Combating Human Trafficking

Oversee the National Plan for Combating Human Trafficking. Includes the Royal Oman Police; the Public Prosecution; the Ministries of Information, Education, Manpower, Health, Social Development, Justice, Foreign Affairs, and Legal Affairs; and the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry.(16)

National Committee on Implementing the UNCRC

Led by the Ministry of Social Development, members include representatives from the Ministries of Health and Education, as well as the Royal Oman Police. Subcommittees have been established in each of Oman's 11 governorates.(4)

In 2014, the National Committee on Implementing the UN CRC met three times. Members of the subcommittees received training from UNICEF on the content of the UNCRC as well as on UNCRC obligations to report child rights violations and intervene in suspected cases of child rights violations, including child labor.(4)

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The Government of Oman has established policies related to child labor, including its worst forms (Table 7).

Table 7. Policies Related to Child Labor

Policy

Description

National Plan for Combating Human Trafficking

Lays out the roles and responsibilities of governmental organizations involved in combating trafficking and describes procedures for applying the Law to Combat Human Trafficking.(16)

There is no comprehensive policy that addresses all forms of child labor, including in farming and fishing.

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In 2014, the Government of Oman funded and participated in programs that include the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor, including its worst forms (Table 8).

Table 8. Social Programs to Address Child Labor

Program

Description

Microfinance Program*‡

Ministry of Social Development program that provides microfinance opportunities to unemployed youth to start their own businesses.(19)

Programs of the National Plan for Combating Human Trafficking‡

Government programs under the National Plan for Combating Human Trafficking. Includes implementation of awareness-raising activities on human trafficking in schools and among the general population, provision of social services for trafficking victims, and coordination with international organizations on human trafficking developments.(16)

Trafficking Victims' Shelter‡

Government-run shelter that provides accommodations and social, psychological, legal, and medical services for up to 50 women and children who are victims of trafficking.(20, 21)

* The impact of this program on child labor does not appear to have been studied.
‡ Program is funded by the Government of Oman.

There is a Government-run shelter for victims of human trafficking, including children engaged in the worst forms of child labor.(22) The exclusion of migrant workers and their children from public social, health, education, and housing benefits available to citizens may increase their vulnerability to forced labor and the worst forms of child labor.(23)

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Based on the reporting above, suggested actions are identified that would advance the elimination of child labor, including its worst forms, in Oman (Table 9).

Table 9. Suggested Government Actions to Eliminate Child Labor, Including its Worst Forms

Area

Suggested Action

Year(s) Suggested

Legal Framework

Enact the list of hazardous occupations prohibited for children under age 18 into law.

2010–2014

Enforcement

Collect and make data on child labor law enforcement publicly available, including number and type of inspections, the number of violations, citations, and penalties, as well as the number of criminal investigators, the number of investigations, prosecutions, and convictions, and imposition of penalties.

2013–2014

Establish a referral mechanism between law enforcement and social services.

2014

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

2011–2014

Coordination

Establish a coordinating mechanism to combat child labor, including in all its worst forms.

2009–2014

Government Policies

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

2013–2014

Social Programs

Conduct in-depth research and measure the prevalence of child labor, especially in agriculture and human trafficking.

2010–2014

Assess the impact that existing programs may have on child labor.

2012–2014

Ensure that migrant workers' children are afforded protection from exploitation through access to social services.

2011–2014

 

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1.Child Rights Information Network. Oman: Children's Rights References in the Universal Periodic Review. London; January 26, 2011.

2.UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary. Total. [accessed February 4, 2013]; . Data provided is the gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary school. This measure is a proxy measure for primary completion. For more information, please see the "Children's Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions" section of this report.

3.UCW. Analysis of Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Statistics from National Household or Child Labor Surveys. Analysis received February 13, 2014. 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.

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

5.UNESCO. Social Protection Policy and Research in the Arab States: from Shared Challenges to Coordinated Efforts. Beirut; 2011.

6.ILO Committee of Experts. Observation concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Oman (ratification: 2001) Published: 2014; accessed November 10, 2014;

7.U.S. Embassy- Muscat. reporting, January 16, 2014.

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

9.Government of Oman. Royal Decree Number 35/2003 issuing the Labor Law, enacted April 26, 2003.

10.Government of Oman. Royal Decree Number 126/2008 issuing the Law to Combat Human Trafficking, enacted November 23, 2008.

11.Government of Oman. Royal Decree Number 7/74 - The Penal Code, enacted February 16, 1974.

12.Government of Oman. Royal Decree Number 101/96 issuing the Basic Statute of the State, enacted November 6, 1996.

13.Child Soldiers International. Louder than Words: An Agenda for Action to End State Use of Child Soldiers. London; 2012.

14.UNESCO. World Data on Education, VII Ed 2010/11 (IBE/2011/CP/WDE/MK); 2011.

15.U.S. Embassy- Muscat official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. April 27, 2015.

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

17.Gianni Arrigo, Giuseppe Casale, and Mario Fasani. A Guide to Selected Labour Inspection Systems (with special reference to OSH) Working Document Number 10. Geneva; February 2011.

18.U.S. Embassy- Muscat. reporting, February 18, 2015.

19.Rachel Marcus, and Paola Pereznieto. Children and Social Protection in the Middle East and North Africa. A Mapping Exercise. London October 2011.

20.U.S. Department of State. "Oman," in Trafficking in Persons Report- 2012. Washington, DC; June 19, 2012;

21.U.S. Embassy- Muscat. reporting, February 25, 2014.

22.U.S. Department of State. "Oman," in Trafficking in Persons Report- 2014. Washington, DC; 2014;

23.United Nations General Assembly. Human Rights Council Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review 10th Session. Compilation. Geneva; January 24- February 4, 2011.

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