Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Samoa

Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

Samoa

2016 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

Moderate Advancement

In 2016, Samoa made a moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The Government ratified two United Nations optional protocols on child labor and increased funding for the Samoa School Fee Relief Grant Scheme to enhance access to basic education for all children. In addition, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Labor endorsed the findings of a study that provides information on children working on the streets in Apia, Samoa. However, children in Samoa perform dangerous tasks in street vending. The Government lacks a mechanism to coordinate interagency efforts to address child labor, and Samoan laws do not comprehensively specify the types of hazardous work prohibited for children.

Expand All

Children in Samoa perform dangerous tasks in street vending.(1-4) Table 1 provides key indicators on children’s work and education in Samoa. 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 (%)

 

103.5

Source for primary completion rate: Data from 2015, published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2016.(5)
Data were unavailable from Understanding Children’s Work Project’s analysis, 2016.(6)

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

Gathering coconuts, fruit, and nuts (7, 8)

Tending domestic animals (7, 8)

Services

Domestic work (7, 8)

Street vending, including selling food, garlands, and other products (1-4, 8, 9)

Garbage scavenging (10)

Although the Samoa School Fee Relief Grant Scheme provides 11 years of free education, hidden school-related costs, such as registration fees, uniforms, meals, and transportation, make it challenging for some children to access education.(11, 12)

Samoa has ratified most 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 Samoa’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

15

Article 51 of the Labour and Employment Relations Act (13)

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

Yes

18

Article 51 of the Labour and Employment Relations Act (13)

Identification of Hazardous Occupations or Activities Prohibited for Children

Yes

 

Article 51 of the Labour and Employment Relations Act; Article 21 of the Labour and Employment Relations Regulations (13, 14)

Prohibition of Forced Labor

Yes

 

Article 8 of the Constitution; Article 18 of the Labour and Employment Relations Act; Sections 155–157 of the Crimes Act (13, 15, 16)

Prohibition of Child Trafficking

Yes

 

Sections 155-157 of the Crimes Act (16)

Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Yes

 

Sections 73-74, 82, and 157 of the Crimes Act (16)

Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities

No

 

 

Minimum Age for Military Recruitment

 

 

 

State Compulsory

N/A†

 

 

State Voluntary

N/A†

 

 

Non-state Compulsory

No

15

Article 8 of the International Criminal Court Act (17)

Compulsory Education Age

No

14‡

Article 4 of the Education Act (18)

Free Public Education

No

 

 

† No standing military (19)
‡ Age calculated based on available information

In 2016, Samoa acceded to the UN CRC Optional Protocol on Armed Conflict and the UN CRC Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.(20, 21)

Samoan law prohibits certain hazardous activities, such as operating heavy machinery; however, street vending, an activity in which children are known to work long hours and into the night, is not prohibited for children under age 18.(22) In addition, the law allows children ages 12 through 14 to engage in light work for a limited number of hours, but it does not specify the conditions under which light work may be undertaken, nor does it define the activities that are permitted, as called for under international standards. In 2016, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Labor continued finalizing a more comprehensive list of hazardous work and a list of allowable forms of light work, but this legislation was not approved during the reporting period.(23) Research also found no evidence of laws that ban the use, procuring, or offering of a child for illicit activities, including for the production and trafficking of drugs. Although the International Criminal Court Act prohibits recruiting children ages 14 and under into non-state armed groups, the law does not apply to children ages 15 to18.(17)

The Education Act requires that children attend school from ages 5 to 14 or until they have completed the work of year eight.(18) This standard leaves children, who have completed their education requirement but are not yet legally permitted to work, vulnerable to involvement in the worst forms of child labor.(24) Although Samoan laws do not mandate free public education, there is a policy that sufficiently provides this service.(25)

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 Commerce, Industry, and Labor (MCIL)

Investigate complaints of child labor law violations. Refer cases to the Ministry of Police and the Office of the Attorney General for enforcement.(7)

Ministry of Police

Enforce criminal laws related to child labor.(7)

Office of the Attorney General

Prosecute criminal cases of the worst forms of child labor.(7)

Ministry for Women, Community, and Social Development

Assist in MCIL investigations as needed. Mandated to protect children, including those working on the street.(7, 26)

Ministry of Education, Sports, and Culture

Assist in MCIL investigations as needed.(7, 27)

Labor Law Enforcement

In 2016, labor law enforcement agencies in Samoa 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 (22)

Unknown (28)

Number of Labor Inspectors

11 (22)

4 (29)

Inspectorate Authorized to Assess Penalties

No (22)

No (28)

Training for Labor Inspectors

 

 

Initial Training for New Employees

No (22)

No (28)

Training on New Laws Related to Child Labor

No (22)

N/A

Refresher Courses Provided

Yes (22)

Yes (28)

Number of Labor Inspections

361 (22)

125 (29)

Number Conducted at Worksite

194 (22)

125 (29)

Number Conducted by Desk Reviews

167 (22)

125 (29)

Number of Child Labor Violations Found

2 (30)

0 (29)

Number of Child Labor Violations for Which Penalties Were Imposed

2 (30)

0 (29)

Number of Imposed that Were Collected

0 (30)

0 (29)

Routine Inspections Conducted

Yes (22)

Yes (28)

Routine Inspections Targeted

Yes (22)

Yes (28)

Unannounced Inspections Permitted

Yes (22)

Yes (28)

Unannounced Inspections Conducted

Yes (22)

Yes (28)

Complaint Mechanism Exists

Yes (22)

Yes (28)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Labor Authorities and Social Services

No (22)

No (28)

Criminal Law Enforcement

Research did not find information on whether criminal law enforcement agencies in Samoa 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 (30)

Unknown

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

N/A

Unknown

Refresher Courses Provided

Yes (30)

Unknown

Number of Investigations

17 (30)

0 (31)

Number of Violations Found

Unknown

0 (31)

Number of Prosecutions Initiated

Unknown

0 (31)

Number of Convictions

Unknown

0 (31)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Criminal Authorities and Social Services

Unknown

Unknown

Although the Government has established the Samoa Interpol and Transnational Crime Unit to coordinate efforts to monitor human trafficking, research found no evidence of mechanisms to coordinate its efforts to address child labor, including all its worst forms.(32)

The Government has established policies related to child labor, including its worst forms (Table 8).

Table 8. Key Policies Related to Child Labor

Policy

Description

Samoa School Fee Relief Grant Scheme

Provides free public primary and secondary education.(25, 33) In 2016, allocated an additional $6.5 million to fully fund the policy.(28)

The National Policy for Children in Samoa, which aimed to address the issue of child labor in street vending, expired in 2015 and is currently undergoing review.(11) The Government has not integrated child labor elimination and prevention strategies in the Strategy for the Development of Samoa, the UNDAF Pacific, or the Education Sector Plan.(34-36)

In 2016, the Government funded and participated in programs that include the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor, including its worst forms (Table 9).

Table 9. Key Social Programs to Address Child Labor

Program

Description

Samoa Decent Work Country Program (2013–2016)†

ILO and government program that promoted decent work in Samoa. Supported legal reform and improved implementation of laws related to child labor, and promoted access to information and employment services for youth.(37)

Pacific Sub-Regional Child Labor and Trafficking Program

ILO-supported program to address child labor issues through awareness raising, research, and government capacity-building activities.(38, 39) In 2016, finalized the Samoa Rapid Assessment on Children Working on the Streets, which was submitted to the Samoa National Tri-Partite Committee and endorsed by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Labor.(9)  

† Program is funded by the Government of Samoa.

Research found no evidence of programs to specifically address child labor in the service sector, especially in street vending.

Based on the reporting above, suggested actions are identified that would advance the elimination of child labor, including its worst forms, in Samoa (Table 10).

Table 10. Suggested Government Actions to Eliminate Child Labor, Including its Worst Forms

Area

Suggested Action

Year(s) Suggested

Legal Framework

Ensure that the types of hazardous work prohibited for children are comprehensive.

2011 – 2016

Ensure that the law’s light work provisions are specific enough to prevent children from involvement in child labor.

2013 – 2016

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

2014 – 2016

Ensure that the law establishes a compulsory education age that is at least equal to the minimum age for admission to employment.

2014 – 2016

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

2016

Enforcement

Make information publicly available on law enforcement efforts related to child labor, including the amount of funding for the labor inspectorate and training for criminal investigators.

2013 – 2016

Institutionalize training for labor inspectors, including by training new labor inspectors.

2015 – 2016

Authorize the labor inspectorate to assess penalties.

2015 – 2016

Establish a referral mechanism between labor enforcement authorities and social services providers.

2014 – 2016

Coordination

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

2009 – 2016

Government Policies

Integrate child labor elimination and prevention strategies into existing key policies.

2012 – 2016

Social Programs

Enhance efforts to make education accessible for all children by fully eliminating school-related costs.

2016

Institute programs to address child labor in street vending.

2009 – 2016

1.         Government of Samoa. Country Report on the Status of Child Rights in Samoa. Apia; 2013. http://www.mwcsd.gov.ws/images/stories/PUBLICATIONS%20WEBSITE/2014/CRC%20Report%202013/1.CRC%20Second%20periodic%20report%20FINAL.pdf.

2.         ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Direct Request concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 138) Samoa (ratification: 2008) Published: 2014; accessed March 2, 2015; http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:13100:0::NO:13100:P13100_COMMENT_ID:3143694:NO.

3.         Netzler, J. "Samoa Gov't Cracks Down on Child Labor." samoanews.com [online] January 24, 2015 [cited November 11, 2015]; http://www.samoanews.com/samoa-govt-cracks-down-child-labor.

4.         Radio New Zealand International. "Samoa Union: Child Labor Laws Need Revamping." pidp.eastwestcenter.org [online] July 21, 2015 [cited November 11, 2015]; http://www.pireport.org/articles/2015/07/22/samoa-union-child-labor-laws-need-revamping.

5.         UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary education, both sexes (%). [accessed December 16, 2015]; 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 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.

6.         UCW. Analysis of Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Statistics from National Household or Child Labor Surveys. 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” in the Reference Materials section of this report.

7.         U.S. Embassy- Apia. reporting, February 21, 2014.

8.         U.S. Department of State. "Samoa," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2015 Washington, DC; April 13, 2016; http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/253007.pdf.

9.         ILO. Report on the Rapid Assessment of Children Working on the Streets of Apia, Samoa: A Pilot Study. Suva; 2017. http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---asia/---ro-bangkok/---ilo-suva/documents/publication/wcms_546199.pdf.

10.       U.S. Embassy- Apia. reporting, February 9, 2011.

11.       UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Concluding Observations on the Combined Second to Fourth Periodic Reports of Samoa. Geneva; 2016. Report No. CRC/C/WSM/CO/2-4. http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CRC%2fC%2fWSM%2fCO%2f2-4&Lang=en.

12.       U.S. Embassy- Apia official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. 2017.

13.       Government of Samoa. Labour and Employment Relations Act, No. 7, enacted 2013. http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/ELECTRONIC/93575/109439/F88586476/WSM93575%20Eng.pdf.

14.       Government of Samoa. Labour and Employment Relations Regulations, enacted 2015. [source on file].

15.       Government of Samoa. Constitution of the Independent State of Western Samoa, enacted 1960. http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=198467.

16.       Government of Samoa. Crimes Act, No. 10, enacted 2013. http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/ELECTRONIC/93579/109447/F562462641/WSM93579%20Eng.pdf.

17.       Government of Samoa,. International Criminal Court, No. 26, enacted 2007. http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/ELECTRONIC/93575/109439/F88586476/WSM93575%20Eng.pdf.

18.       Government of Samoa. Education Act 2009, No. 9, enacted 2009. http://www.paclii.org/ws/legis/num_act/ea2009104/.

19.       Child Soldiers International. Louder Than Words: An Agenda for Action to End State Use of Child Soldiers. London; September 2012. https://www.child-soldiers.org/Handlers/Download.ashx?IDMF=da92581e-7130-40e6-bf3a-a86b944f17dd.

20.       United Nations. 11. c Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, [online] February 14, 2017 [cited February 14, 2017]; https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=IND&mtdsg_no=IV-11-c&chapter=4&clang=_en.

21.       United Nations. 11.b Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of children in armed conflict, [online] February 14, 2017 [cited February 14, 2017]; https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=IND&mtdsg_no=IV-11-b&chapter=4&clang=_en.

22.       U.S. Embassy- Apia. reporting, January 15, 2016.

23.       Government of Samoa, Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Labour. Information on the Worst Forms of Child Labour Report. Apia; January 17, 2017.

24.       ILO Committee of Experts. Observation Concerning Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) Samoa (ratification: 2008) Published: 2014; accessed March 3, 2015; http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=NORMLEXPUB:13100:0::NO::P13100_COMMENT_ID:3143694.

25.       Government of Samoa. The Samoa School Fees Grant Scheme. Apia; May 5, 2010. http://wbgfiles.worldbank.org/documents/hdn/ed/saber/supporting_doc/EAP/Samoa/SAA/MESC_2011_Samoa_School_Fees_Grant_Scheme_Program_Design_Document.pdf.

26.       U.S. Department of State official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. March 24, 2015.

27.       U.S. Department of State official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. May 8, 2015.

28.       U.S. Embassy- Apia. reporting, January 13, 2017.

29.       U.S. Department of State official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. January 18, 2017.

30.       U.S. Department of State official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. February 22, 2016.

31.       U.S. Embassy- Apia. reporting, February 17, 2017.

32.       Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Transnational Crime Unit, [online] [cited March 3, 2015]; http://www.mpmc.gov.ws/divisions/transnational-crime-unit/.

33.       Strengthening the Foundations, Building for Tomorrow, Samoa Observer, [online] June 1, 2016 [cited January 13, 2017]; http://www.samoaobserver.ws/en/01_06_2016/local/6894/%E2%80%98Strengthening-the-foundations-building-for-tomorrow%E2%80%99.htm.

34.       Government of Samoa Ministry of Finance. Strategy for the Development of Samoa 2012-2016. Apia; July 20, 2012. http://www.samoaljs.ws/english/images/stories/uploads/Strategy_for_the_Development_of_Samoa_2012-2016_English.pdf.

35.       Government of Samoa. 2013-2018 Samoa Education Sector Plan, enacted December 2013. http://planipolis.iiep.unesco.org/en/2013/2013-2018-samoa-education-sector-plan-esp-2013-2018-5911.

36.       United Nations Pacific. United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for the Pacific Region 2013-2017. Suva; 2013. http://www.undp.org/content/dam/samoa/docs/UNDP_WS_UNDAF_Summary_Report_2013-17.pdf.

37.       ILO. Samoa Decent Work Country Programme: 2013-2016; January 2014. http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/program/dwcp/download/samoa1316.pdf.

38.       ILO. ILO Social Partners Sharing Knowledge on Child Labour in the Pacific. Press Release; April 16, 2015. http://www.ilo.org/suva/public-information/press-releases/WCMS_369989/lang--en/index.htm.

39.       ILO. TACKLE Update; April 14, 2015. http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---asia/---ro-bangkok/---ilo-suva/documents/publication/wcms_360537.pdf.

Download ILAB's Sweat & Toil app today. #endChildLabor