Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Papua New Guinea

Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

Papua New Guinea

2016 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

Minimal Advancement

In 2016, Papua New Guinea made a minimal advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The Government approved the Trafficking in Persons National Action Plan and finalized standard operating procedures for identifying and protecting victims of human trafficking, including children. However, children in Papua New Guinea engage in the worst forms of child labor, including in commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking. Laws do not specifically define the hazardous occupations and activities prohibited for children. Inadequate resources hamper the labor inspectorate’s capacity to enforce child labor laws. In addition, Papua New Guinea lacks a compulsory age for education and some children face challenges accessing school, which increases the risk of children’s involvement in the worst forms of child labor.

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Children in Papua New Guinea engage in the worst forms of child labor, including in commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking.(1, 2) Table 1 provides key indicators on children’s work and education in Papua New Guinea. 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 (%)

 

78.6

Source for primary completion rate: Data from 2012, UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2016.(3)
Data were unavailable from Understanding Children’s Work Project’s analysis, 2016.(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

Working on tea, coffee, cocoa, copra, palm oil, and rubber plantations (5, 6)

Services

Domestic work (1, 5, 6)

Street work, including vending, chopping firewood for sale, moving furniture, scavenging for scrap metal, gathering scrap food for pig feed, and begging (5-11)

Work in markets, including unloading and carrying heavy bags of food (6, 9, 12)

Categorical Worst Forms of Child Labor‡

Commercial sexual exploitation, including working in bars, nightclubs, and brothels, and use in the production of pornography, each sometimes as a result of human trafficking (1, 2, 12)

Forced domestic work (1, 2, 12)

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

In Papua New Guinea, children are trafficked within the country for commercial sexual exploitation.(1, 2) Some children from rural areas are sent to live with relatives or “host” families in cities, where they may be forced to perform domestic work to pay off family debts.(1, 5, 12)

Research found that the threat of gender-based violence prevents many girls from attending school.(12-14) Although the Government has established a free education policy, in practice many schools charge fees for books, uniforms, and other supplies.(15-18) These barriers to education make affected children vulnerable to the worst forms of child labor.

Papua New Guinea has ratified some 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 Papua New Guinea’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

16

Article 103 of the Employment Act (19)

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

Yes

18

Articles 54 of the Lukautim Pikinini Act (15)

Identification of Hazardous Occupations or Activities Prohibited for Children

No

 

 

Prohibition of Forced Labor

Yes

 

Article 43 of the Constitution of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea; Section 208 of the Criminal Code (20, 21)

Prohibition of Child Trafficking

Yes

 

Section 208 of the Criminal Code (21)

Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

No

 

Articles 229J–229O and 229R–229T of the Criminal Code (22)

Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities

No

 

 

Minimum Age for Military Recruitment

 

 

 

State Compulsory

N/A*

 

 

State Voluntary

Yes

16

Section 30 of the Defence Act (23)

Non-state Compulsory

No

 

 

Compulsory Education Age

No

 

 

Free Public Education

No

 

 

* No conscription (24)

Papua New Guinea has not determined by national law or regulation the types of hazardous work prohibited for children. The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) has been in the process of developing a hazardous work list for several years, but did not submit the list to the cabinet for endorsement during the reporting period.(7, 25, 26)

According to the Employment Act, children ages 11 to 16 may be allowed to work under certain conditions. The minimum age of 11 for light work is not in compliance with international standards, and the law does not specify the types of activities in which light work is permitted nor the number of hours per week that this work may be undertaken.(19) Papua New Guinea also does not have laws that prohibit using, procuring, or offering a child for illicit activities, including for the production and trafficking of drugs.(25) The law does not sufficiently protect children from commercial sexual exploitation, as the use, procuring, and offering of a child for pornographic performances is not criminally prohibited.

There is no age up to which education is compulsory in Papua New Guinea, which increases the risk of children’s involvement in child labor. Although free education is not mandated by law, there is a policy that sufficiently provides for free basic education.(10, 18)

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

Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR)

Implement and enforce child labor laws.(27)

Department of Community Development, Religion, and Sports

Enforce the Lukautim Pikinini Act, including provisions on child labor, including its worst forms.(27)

Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary

Enforce laws against commercial sexual exploitation of children and the use of children in illicit activities.(27)

 

Labor Law Enforcement

Research did not find information on whether labor law enforcement agencies in Papua New Guinea 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

$4,650,000 (6)

Unknown (26)

Number of Labor Inspectors

182 (28)

Unknown (26)

Inspectorate Authorized to Assess Penalties

Yes (27)

Yes (27)

Training for Labor Inspectors

 

 

Initial Training for New Employees

No (6)

Unknown (26)

Training on New Laws Related to Child Labor

N/A

N/A

Refresher Courses Provided

No (6)

Unknown (26)

Number of Labor Inspections

169 (6)

Unknown (26)

Number Conducted at Worksite

169 (6)

Unknown (26)

Number Conducted by Desk Reviews

Unknown (6)

Unknown (26)

Number of Child Labor Violations Found

Unknown (6)

Unknown (26)

Number of Child Labor Violations for Which Penalties were Imposed

Unknown (6)

Unknown (26)

Number of Penalties Imposed that were Collected

Unknown (6)

Unknown (26)

Routine Inspections Conducted

Yes (6)

Unknown (26)

Routine Inspections Targeted

Unknown

Unknown (26)

Unannounced Inspections Permitted

Yes (6)

Yes (6)

Unannounced Inspections Conducted

Yes (6)

Unknown (26)

Complaint Mechanism Exists

No (6)

No

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Labor Authorities and Social Services

No (6)

No

 

Labor inspectors sometimes carry out routine inspections in hazardous workplaces or in the manufacturing sector; however, due to limited capacity, labor inspectors generally respond only to specific child labor complaints.(6, 10, 29) Inadequate resources hamper the labor inspectorate’s capacity to enforce child labor laws.(25, 26)

 

Criminal Law Enforcement

In 2016, criminal law enforcement agencies in Papua New Guinea 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

Yes (6)

No (29)

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

N/A

N/A

Refresher Courses Provided

Yes (6)

Yes (30)

Number of Investigations

2 (31)

2 (29)

Number of Violations Found

3 (31)

4 (29)

Number of Prosecutions Initiated

0 (31)

2 (29)

Number of Convictions

0 (31)

0 (29)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Criminal Authorities and Social Services

No (31)

Yes (30, 32)

 

In 2016, the Government endorsed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to improve the identification and protection of human trafficking victims and to strengthen investigation and prosecution of human trafficking crimes. The SOPs include specific processes for handling child trafficking cases.(30, 32)

Although the Government has established a coordination mechanism to combat 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

National Human Trafficking Committee

Coordinate efforts to combat human trafficking. Chaired by the Department of Justice and the Attorney General, with representatives from over 15 government agencies, NGOS, and international organizations.(33, 34)

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 Action Plan to Eliminate Child Labor in Papua New Guinea

Promotes Government coordination to eliminate the worst forms of child labor through more effective prevention, protection, rehabilitation, and reintegration measures and capacity building.(35)

Papua New Guinea Trafficking in Persons National Action Plan (2015-2020) †

Seeks to prevent human trafficking, protect victims, and prosecute offenders.(36) Endorsed by the National Executive Council in 2016.(30)

Tuition Fee-Free Policy

Aims to improve access to education by abolishing school fees in grades 1 through 10 and providing subsidies for students in grades 11 and 12.(10, 18)

† Policy was approved during the reporting period.

Child labor elimination and prevention strategies do not appear to have been integrated into the Universal Basic Education Plan and Vision 2050.(37, 38) Research did not find information on whether the Government implemented the National Action Plan to Eliminate Child Labor in 2016.

In 2016, the Government funded and participated in programs that include the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor (Table 10).

Table 10. Key Social Programs to Address Child Labor

Program

Description

Urban Youth Employment Project† (2011–2016)

Government- and World Bank-funded project that provides youth with training, temporary jobs, and skill development through apprenticeship projects.(39)

† Program is funded by the Government of Papua New Guinea.

Research found no evidence that the Government carried out programs specifically designed to assist children engaged in commercial sexual exploitation or domestic work.

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

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

Area

Suggested Action

Year(s) Suggested

Legal Framework

Ratify the UN CRC Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, and the Palermo Protocol on Trafficking in Persons.

2014 – 2016

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

2009 – 2016

Ensure that the law establishes a minimum age for light work of at least 13 to comply with international standards, and ensure that the law’s light work provisions are specific enough to protect children from involvement in child labor.

2015 – 2016

Ensure that the law criminally prohibits the use, procuring, and offering of children for illicit activities, including for the production and trafficking of drugs.

2014 – 2016

Ensure that the law criminally prohibits the use, procuring, and offering of a child for pornographic performances.

2016

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

2016

Establish by law an age up to which education is compulsory that extends to the minimum age for employment.

2009 – 2016

Enforcement

Publish comprehensive information on labor law enforcement, including inspectorate funding, the number of inspectors and the training they receive, the number and type of inspections conducted, the number of child labor violations found, and the number of violations for which penalties were imposed and collected.

2014 – 2016

Establish a mechanism to receive child labor complaints.

2015 – 2016

Strengthen the inspection system by ensuring that inspectors conduct routine or targeted inspections in addition to those that are complaint driven.

2014 – 2016

Provide inspectors with the resources necessary to enforce labor laws and other laws that protect children from the worst forms of child labor.

2009 – 2016

Establish a referral mechanism between labor law enforcement authorities and social services agencies to ensure that victims of child labor receive appropriate support services.

2014 – 2016

Institutionalize training for investigators on the worst forms of child labor, including training for new labor investigators at the beginning of their employment.

2016

Coordination

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

2009 – 2016

Government Policies

Integrate child labor elimination and prevention strategies into the Universal Basic Education Plan and Vision 2050.

2013 – 2016

Implement the National Action Plan to Eliminate Child Labor in Papua New Guinea.

2016

Social Programs

Increase access to education by instituting programs to address sexual violence against girls in schools and fully eliminating school-related fees.

2014 – 2016

Institute programs that assist children engaged in the worst forms of child labor in all relevant sectors, especially commercial sexual exploitation and domestic work.

2010 – 2016

1.         ILO Committee of Experts. Observation on the Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Papua New Guinea (ratification: 2000) Published: 2014; accessed April 7, 2014; http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:13100:0::NO:13100:P13100_COMMENT_ID:3143396:NO.

2.         U.S. Department of State. "Papua New Guinea," in Trafficking in Persons Report- 2016. Washington, DC; June 30, 2016; http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/index.htm.

3.         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. 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.

4.         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 on sources used, the definition of working children, and other indicators used in this report, please see “Children's Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions” in the Reference Materials section of this report.

5.         ILO-IPEC. Child Labour in Papua New Guinea: Report on the rapid assessment in Port Moresby on commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and children working on the streets. Geneva; December 1, 2011. http://www.ilo.org/ipec/Informationresources/WCMS_IPEC_PUB_19136/lang--en/index.htm.

6.         U.S. Embassy- Port Moresby. reporting, January 22, 2016.

7.         ILO Committee of Experts. Observation Regarding Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) Papua New Guinea (ratification: 2000) Published: 2014; accessed April 7, 2014; https://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=NORMLEXPUB:13100:0::NO:13100:P13100_COMMENT_ID:3143296:NO.

8.         ILO-IPEC. Child labour in Papua New Guinea: Report on the rapid assessment in Port Moresby on commercial sexual exploitation of children and children working on the streets. Geneva; 2011. http://www.ilo.org/ipec/Informationresources/WCMS_IPEC_PUB_19136/lang--en/index.htm.

9.         ILO-IPEC. "Summary of KRA3 - Action Programmes in Papua New Guinea," in TACKLE end-of-project workshop on the achievements and challenges of TACKLE in Papua-New Guinea; July 2-3, 2013; Geneva; http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---europe/---ro-geneva/---ilo-brussels/documents/presentation/wcms_217239.pdf.

10.       U.S. Embassy- Port Moresby. reporting, December 28, 2014.

11.       Tahana, J. "Number of children living on PNG streets increasing." radionz.co.nz [online] February 28, 2015 [cited November 7, 2015]; http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/267390/number-of-children-living-on-png-streets-increasing.

12.       U.S. Department of State. "Papua New Guinea," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2016. Washington, DC; March 3, 2017; http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt.

13.       International Regional Information Networks. "Papua New Guinea: Sexual violence forcing girls out of school." IRINnews.org [online] April 6,  2012 [cited January 15, 2013]; http://www.irinnews.org/Report/95249/PAPUA-NEW-GUINEA-Sexual-violence-forcing-girls-out-of-school.

14.       UN Human Rights Council. Summary Prepared by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Accordance with Paragraph 15 (c) of the Annex to Human Rights Council Resolution 5/1 and Paragraph 5 of the Annex to Council Resolution 16/21: Papua New Guinea. Geneva; February 3, 2016. Report No. A/HRC/WG.6/25/PNG/3. https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G16/017/50/PDF/G1601750.pdf?OpenElement.

15.       Government of Papua New Guinea. Lukautim Pikinini Act 2015, enacted March 11, 2016. [source on file].

16.       Ministry of Education National Executive Council. Achieving Universal Education for a Better Future: Universal Basic Education Plan 2010-2019. Port Moresby; December 2009. https://www.globalpartnership.org/content/papua-new-guinea-universal-basic-education-plan-2010-2019.

17.       U.S. Embassy- Port Moresby official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. May 21, 2014.

18.       Department of Education. TFF Introduction, Government of Papua New Guinea, [online] February 2014 [cited February 25, 2015]; http://www.educationpng.gov.pg/TFF/index.html.

19.       Government of Papua New Guinea. Employment Act, enacted 1978. http://www.ilo.org/dyn/travail/docs/1097/Employment%20Act%201978.pdf.

20.       Government of Papua New Guinea. Constitution of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, enacted 1975. http://www.paclii.org/pg/legis/consol_act/cotisopng534/.

21.       Government of Papua New Guinea. Criminal Code Amendment Act of 2013, amending Criminal Code of 1974,, No. 30, enacted July 4, 2014. http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/ELECTRONIC/98690/117506/F334954182/PNG98690.pdf.

22.       Government of Papua New Guinea. Criminal Code Act 1974, No. 262 of 9999, enacted 2002. http://www.paclii.org/pg/legis/consol_act/cca1974115/.

23.       Government of Papua New Guinea. Defence Act, enacted 1974. http://www.geneva-academy.ch/RULAC/pdf_state/PNG-Defence-Act-da197456.pdf.

24.       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.

25.       ILO Committee of Experts. Observation Concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Papua New Guinea (ratification: 2000) Published: 2012; accessed April 4, 2016; http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:13100:0::NO:13100:P13100_COMMENT_ID:2700701.

26.       U.S. Embassy- Port Moresby. reporting, January 19, 2017.

27.       U.S. Embassy- Port Moresby. reporting, January 16, 2014.

28.       U.S. Embassy- Port Moresby official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. March 11, 2016.

29.       U.S. Embassy- Port Moresby official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. February 17, 2017.

30.       U.S. Embassy- Port Moresby. reporting, February 13, 2017.

31.       U.S. Embassy- Port Moresby. reporting, January 18, 2016.

32.       Government of Papua New Guinea. Standard Operating Procedures for the Identification, Referral and Prosecution of Human Trafficking Cases in Papua New Guinea. Port Moresby; October 2016. [source on file].

33.       U.S. Embassy- Port Moresby. reporting, February 4, 2015.

34.       U.S. Embassy- Port Moresby. reporting, January 21, 2014.

35.       Department of Labour and Industrial Relations. National Action Plan to Eliminate Child Labour in Papua New Guinea. Port Moresby, Government of Papua New Guinea; April 14, 2015. http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---asia/---ro-bangkok/---ilo-suva/documents/publication/wcms_360536.pdf.

36.       Government of Papua New Guinea. Papua New Guinea Trafficking in Persons National Action Plan. Port Moresby; October 2016. [Source on file].

37.       Government of Papua New Guinea. Medium Term Development Plan 2011-2015: Building the Foundations for Prosperity. Port Moresby; 2010. http://www.treasury.gov.pg/html/publications/files/pub_files/2011/2011-2015.png.mtdp.pdf.

38.       Government of Papua New Guinea. Papua New Guinea Vision 2050. National Strategic Plan Taskforce. Port Moresby; 2011. http://www.treasury.gov.pg/html/publications/files/pub_files/2011/2011.png.vision.2050.pdf.

39.       World Bank. Papua New Guinea: Urban Youth Employment Project, World Bank, [online] August 11, 2013 [cited March 14, 2014]; http://www.worldbank.org/en/results/2013/08/12/papua-new-guinea-urban-youth-employment-project.

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