Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Seychelles

Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

Seychelles

2016 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

Minimal Advancement

In 2016, Seychelles made a minimal advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The Government employed a sufficient number of labor inspectors to provide adequate coverage of the workforce. However, children in Seychelles engage in the worst forms of child labor, including in commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking. The law includes an exception that allows children as young as 15 to perform work normally prohibited to children under 18. The law also fails to ensure that children working under this exception receive adequate training and that the health, safety, and morals of these children are protected in accordance with international standards. In addition, criminal law enforcement agencies and coordinating bodies do not have sufficient resources to adequately implement laws and policies related to the worst forms of child labor.

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Children in Seychelles engage in the worst forms of child labor, including in commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking.(1-5) Table 1 provides key indicators on children’s work and education in Seychelles. 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 (%)

 

108.8

Source for primary completion rate: Data from 2015, published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2016.(6)
Data were unavailable from Understanding Children’s Work Project’s analysis, 2016.(7)

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

Categorical Worst Forms of Child Labor‡

Commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking (1-4, 8)

Use in illicit activities, including selling drugs (3, 9)

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

Children in Seychelles, predominantly girls, are lured by peers, family members, and pimps to engage in commercial sexual exploitation in nightclubs, bars, guesthouses, hotels, and brothels, and on the street. Migrant workers and foreign tourists contribute to the demand for commercial sex, particularly on the main island of Mahé.(1-3, 8) Seychelles has never conducted a national child labor survey; therefore, information about the prevalence of the worst forms of child labor in the country is limited.

Limited evidence suggests that the lack of school infrastructure and limited availability of teachers impede access to education, which may increase the vulnerability of children to the worst forms of child labor.(10, 11)

Seychelles 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 Government has established laws and regulations related to child labor, including its worst forms (Table 4). However, gaps exist in Seychelles’ 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 31 of the Constitution; Article 21 of the Conditions of Employment Regulations (12, 13)

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

No

18

Article 22(1) of the Conditions of Employment Regulations (13)

Identification of Hazardous Occupations or Activities Prohibited for Children

 Yes

 

Article 22(1)-(2) of the Conditions of Employment Regulations (13)

Prohibition of Forced Labor

Yes

 

Article 251 of the Penal Code; Articles 3–4 of the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons Act (14, 15)

Prohibition of Child Trafficking

Yes

 

Article 4 of the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons Act (15)

Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Yes

 

Articles 142, 152, and 245 of the Penal Code; Articles 2–4 of the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons Act (14, 15)

Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities

No

 

 

Minimum Age for Military Recruitment

 

 

 

State Compulsory

N/A*

 

 

State Voluntary

Yes

18

Article 23 of the Defense Act (16)

Non-state Compulsory

No

 

 

Compulsory Education Age

Yes

16

Article 33 of the Constitution; Paragraph 4 of the Education (Educational Zones and Compulsory Education) Order (12, 17)

Free Public Education

Yes

 

Article 33 of the Constitution (12)

* No conscription (18)

Laws related to child labor are not completely consistent with international standards. Article 22(4) of the Conditions of Employment Regulations establishes an exception allowing children as young as 15 to perform work generally prohibited to children under 18. The law also fails to ensure that children performing work under this exception receive adequate training and fails to protect the health, safety, and morals of these children, in accordance with international standards. (13) In 2013, the Government developed a more specific list of hazardous child labor activities prohibited to children under 18, but this list was not approved during the reporting period.(3, 19-21)

The minimum age of 12 for light work is not in compliance with international standards. Although Seychelles specifies the conditions in which light work may be undertaken, it does not limit the number of hours for light work or have a list of activities in which light work may be permitted.(13, 20) The Government has developed a legal amendment to the Conditions of Employment Regulations which would increase the minimum age for light work to 13 and include specific light work provisions, but the amendment was not approved during the reporting period.(20, 22)

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 Labor and Human Resources Development (MLHRD)

Enforce child protection and child labor laws, investigate complaints, and conciliate disputes between employers and workers.(5, 23)

Police Department’s Family Squad and Child Protection Team

Investigate criminal cases involving minors, including issues of commercial sexual exploitation, through the Family Squad. Collaborate with the Department of Social Affairs to ensure that child abuse cases are addressed.(1, 21, 24)

Department of Social Affairs’ Child Protection Unit

Develop and implement programs to protect vulnerable children and monitor alleged violations of child labor laws, including those related to the worst forms of child labor.(1, 21) In 2016, launched extensive awareness-raising campaign on child protection issues in 24 primary schools.(21)

Labor Law Enforcement

In 2016, labor law enforcement agencies in Seychelles 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

$1.6 million (3)

Number of Labor Inspectors

13 (24)

13 (3)

Inspectorate Authorized to Assess Penalties

No (24)

No (3)

Training for Labor Inspectors

 

 

Initial Training for New Employees

Yes (24)

N/A (3)

Training on New Laws Related to Child Labor

No (24)

N/A

Refresher Courses Provided

Yes (24)

Yes (3)

Number of Labor Inspections

1,668 (24)

794‡ (3)

Number Conducted at Worksite

1,638 (24)

739‡ (3)

Number Conducted by Desk Reviews

30 (24)

55‡ (3)

Number of Child Labor Violations Found

0 (24)

0 (3)

Number of Child Labor Violations for Which Penalties Were Imposed

N/A

N/A

Number of Penalties Imposed that Were Collected

N/A

N/A

Routine Inspections Conducted

Yes (24)

Yes (3)

Routine Inspections Targeted

No (24)

No (3)

Unannounced Inspections Permitted

Yes (25)

Yes (3)

Unannounced Inspections Conducted

Yes (24)

Yes (3)

Complaint Mechanism Exists

Yes (24)

Yes (3)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Labor Authorities and Social Services

Yes (24)

Yes (3)

‡ Data are from January 1, 2016 to November 30, 2016.

In 2016, the Ministry of Labor and Human Resources Development had eight inspectors in Mahé Island, three in Praslin Island, and two in La Digue Island.(3) Reports indicate that there is a lack of trained staff, equipment, transportation, and funding to conduct effective inspections and legal proceedings.(2, 26)

Criminal Law Enforcement

In 2016, criminal law enforcement agencies in Seychelles 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

Unknown (24)

Unknown (3)

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

N/A

N/A

Refresher Courses Provided

Yes (27)

Yes (3)

Number of Investigations

Unknown (24)

1 (3)

Number of Violations Found

Unknown (24)

Unknown (3)

Number of Prosecutions Initiated

Unknown (24)

Unknown (3)

Number of Convictions

Unknown (24)

Unknown (3)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Criminal Authorities and Social Services

Yes (27)

Yes (27)

 

Reports indicate that there is a lack of trained staff, equipment, transportation, and funding to effectively conduct criminal law enforcement efforts related to the worst forms of child labor.(2, 5)

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 Coordinating Committee on Trafficking in Persons

Coordinate actions against trafficking in persons and guarantee protection of victims at the national level. Chaired by the Ministry of Social Affairs and includes representatives from various agencies, including the Police, the MLHRD, and non-governmental stakeholders.(2, 4, 15, 21) In 2016, met multiple times to implement the victim assistance tool on human trafficking.(2, 21)

National Council for Children

Monitor the implementation of government policies to protect the rights of children and coordinate social programs for victims of child abuse.(28, 29) Is a semi-autonomous body and includes representatives from government ministries and civil society organizations. In May 2016, hosted a major conference on child protection.(3)

National Commission for Child Protection

Implement, coordinate, and monitor government efforts on child protection. Chaired by the Ministry of Social Affairs.(8, 22) Met regularly during the reporting period.(8, 22, 30)

 

During the reporting period, the National Coordinating Committee on Trafficking in Persons did not receive dedicated funding, which affected its ability to implement the National Action Plan.(2, 26)

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 Strategic Framework and Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons (2014–2016)

Aimed to raise awareness, prosecute perpetrators, improve victims’ access to protection and assistance services, build capacity of stakeholders, and strengthen cooperation among relevant stakeholders to prevent and combat trafficking in persons.(31) In 2016, conducted trainings on human trafficking for government immigration officers.(9)

National Social Renaissance Plan of Action (2012–2016)

Included provisions to decrease violations of children’s rights, bolster child protection, and enhance services to victims of commercial sexual exploitation. Implemented by various ministries, including the MLHRD.(32, 33)

National Education Policies

Includes the Education Sector Strategic Plan (2013–2017) and the Inclusive Education Policy, both of which aim to improve the quality of, and access to, primary and secondary education. Overseen by the Ministry of Education.(21, 34)

 

Research was unable to determine whether activities were undertaken under the National Social Renaissance Plan of Action and the various National Education Policies.(26)

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

Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Awareness Raising†

Government program that implements awareness-raising activities aimed at youth. Focuses on the dangers of commercial sexual exploitation.(35)

Decent Work Country Program (2011–2017)

Government program, in collaboration with the ILO, that prioritizes the promotion of decent employment, especially for young people, and aims to identify hazardous occupations prohibited for youth.(36)

† Program is funded by the Government of Seychelles.

Although the Government has a program to address commercial sexual exploitation, the scope of this program is insufficient to address the full extent of the problem, including the commercial sexual exploitation of children associated with tourism.(29)

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

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

Area

Suggested Action

Year(s) Suggested

Legal Framework

Ensure the minimum age for the exception to the hazardous work prohibition is 16.

2016

Ensure that children performing work under the hazardous work exception receive adequate training in the type of work performed, and the health, safety, and morals of the children are protected.

2016

Adopt the draft list of hazardous activities prohibited to children under 18.

2016

Ensure that the law criminally prohibits using, procuring, and offering a child in the production and trafficking of drugs.

2015 – 2016

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

2016

Raise the minimum age for light work to age 13. Ensure that the law’s light work provisions prescribe the number of hours per week for light work and specify a list of activities in which light work may be permitted to comply with international standards.

2015 – 2016

Enforcement

Make information publicly available regarding the number of violations found, prosecutions initiated, and convictions achieved related to the worst forms of child labor.

2011 – 2016

Strengthen labor law enforcement by authorizing the inspectorate to assess penalties and initiating targeted inspections based on analysis of data related to risk-prone sectors and patterns of serious incidents.

2015 – 2016

Ensure that adequate funding, human resources, training, and equipment and provided for child labor law enforcement agencies.

2014 – 2016

Coordination

Ensure that the National Coordinating Committee on Trafficking in Persons receives adequate funding to fulfill its mission.

2015 – 2016

Government Policies

Ensure that the National Social Renaissance Plan of Action and various National Education Policies are implemented.

2016

Social Programs

Conduct research to better understand the extent and nature of the worst forms of child labor in Seychelles to inform policies and programs.

2013 – 2016

Enhance efforts to eliminate barriers and make education accessible for all children by increasing school infrastructure and teacher availability.

2014 – 2016

Expand the scope of programs to address the commercial sexual exploitation of children, including exploitation associated with tourism.

2011 – 2016

1.         UN Human Rights Council. Report of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo; June 5, 2014 http://www.refworld.org/country,,,,SYC,,5398286a4,0.html.

2.         U.S. Department of State. "Seychelles," in Trafficking in Persons Report- 2016. Washington, DC; June 30, 2016; http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/countries/2016/258853.htm.

3.         U.S. Embassy- Port Louis. reporting, January 23, 2017.

4.         ILO. Application of International Labour Standards 2017. http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---relconf/documents/meetingdocument/wcms_543646.pdf.

5.         U.S. Department of State. "Seychelles," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2016. Washington, DC; 2017; http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?year=2016&dlid=265296.

6.         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 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.

7.         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.

8.         UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 44 of the Convention: Concluding observations: Seychelles. Geneva; January 23, 2012. http://www.refworld.org/publisher,CRC,STATEPARTIESREP,SYC,5922e4564,0.html.

9.         U.S. Embassy- Port Louis official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. March 14, 2017.

10.       UN Human Rights Council. Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to education, Addendum : Mission to Seychelles; May 6, 2014 http://www.refworld.org/docid/53a2953e4.html.

11.       UNESCO. Education for All 2015 National Review- Seychelles; July 2014. http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002299/229953e.pdf.

12.       Government of Seychelles. Constitution of the Republic of Seychelles, enacted June 21, 1993. http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=230031.

13.       Government of Seychelles. Conditions of Employment Regulations, enacted 1991. http://www.ilo.org/dyn/travail/docs/2103/Employment%20Act%20(Conditions%20of%20Employment)%20Regulations%201991%20-%20employment.gov.sc.pdf.

14.       Government of Seychelles. Penal Code, CAP. 73, enacted February 1, 1955. source on file.

15.       Government of Seychelles. Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons Act, enacted 2014. source on file.

16.       Government of Seychelles. Defense Act, enacted 1981. http://www.seylii.org/sc/legislation/consolidated-act/58.

17.       Government of Seychelles. Education (Educational Zones and Compulsory Education) Order, enacted 1991. http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/ELECTRONIC/69645/122020/F-1591349877/SYC69645%202012.pdf.

18.       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/shop/louder-than-words-1.

19.       ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Direct Request concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Seychelles (ratification: 1999) Published: 2014; accessed April 10, 2014; source on file.

20.       ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Direct Request concerning Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) Seychelles (ratification: 2000) Published: 2014; accessed November 12, 2014; source on file.

21.       UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Periodic Reports of States Parties due in 2016: Seychelles. Prepared by the Government of Seychelles MoSA, Community Development and Sports, Convention on the Rights of the Child Combined Fifth and Sixth period reports of State parties (2016). http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CRC%2fC%2fSYC%2f5-6&Lang=en.

22.       U.S. Embassy- Port Louis official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. March 30, 2016.

23.       Ministry of Labor and Human Resources Development. Labour Monitoring & Compliance Section, Government of Seychelles, [online] [cited February 12, 2015]; http://www.employment.gov.sc/about-us/section-and-units/labour-relation-division/labour-monitoring-compliance?tmpl=component&print=1&page=.

24.       U.S. Embassy- Port Louis. reporting, February 11, 2016.

25.       Ministry of Labor and Human Resources Development. Procedures for Inspection, Government of Seychelles, [online] [cited February 12, 2015]; http://www.employment.gov.sc/procedures-for-inspection.

26.       U.S. Embassy- Port Louis. reporting, March 3, 2017.

27.       U.S. Embassy- Port Louis. reporting, February 17, 2016.

28.       U.S. Embassy- Port Louis. reporting, February 3, 2015.

29.       ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Direct Request concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Seychelles (ratification: 1999) Published: 2013; accessed December 7, 2013; source on file.

30.       UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Summary record of the 1655th meeting: Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 44 of the Convention. Geneva; June 6, 2012. Report No. CRC/C/SR.1655. source on file.

31.       Government of Seychelles. Seychelles National Strategic Framework and Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons 2014-2015. 2014. source on file.

32.       U.S. Embassy- Port Louis. reporting, January 30, 2013.

33.       Government of Seychelles. National Social Renaissance Plan of Action (2012-2016). Port Louis; 2012. [source on file].

34.       Ministry of Education. Education Sector Medium-Term Strategic Plan. Port Louis; 2013. http://www.education.gov.sc/aboutus/Documents/policies/Seychelles%20Education%20MTS%202013-2017.pdf.

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

36.       Government of Seychelles. Decent Work Country Programme Port Louis; 2016. [source on file].

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