Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Swaziland

Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

Swaziland

2014 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

Minimal Advancement

In 2014, Swaziland made a minimal advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The Government paid some school fees for orphans and vulnerable children and also announced plans to cover the fees for the final year of primary school in 2014. However, children in Swaziland are engaged in the worst forms of child labor in commercial sexual exploitation and livestock herding as a result of human trafficking. The Government was delinquent in paying school fees in half of the country's schools and significant gaps in laws remain, including the lack of a compulsory education age. Additionally, Government officials cited a lack of clarity on the definition of child labor, which hinders their ability to effectively combat the worst forms of child labor.

 

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Children in Swaziland are engaged in the worst forms of child labor, including in commercial sexual exploitation and livestock herding.(1, 2) Table 1 provides key indicators on children's work and education in Swaziland.

Table 1. Statistics on Children's Work and Education

Working children, ages 5 to 14 (% and population):

11.7 (35,368)

School attendance, ages 5 to 14 (%):

92.5

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

13.0

Primary completion rate (%):

76.8

Source for primary completion rate: Data from 2011, published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2014.(3)
Source for all other data: Understanding Children's Work Project's analysis of statistics from MICS 4 Survey, 2010.(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

Growing maize,* picking cotton,* and harvesting sugarcane* (1, 5)

Herding cattle* and other livestock* (1, 5)

Services

Domestic work* (1, 5)

Serving alcohol in alcohol selling establishments*† (5)

Street work, including as vendors,* bus attendants,* taxi conductors,* and haggling* (5, 6)

Categorical Worst Forms of Child Labor‡

Herding livestock,* domestic work,* farming,* and market vending,* as a result of human trafficking (2, 6, 7)

Commercial sexual exploitation* (1, 2, 7)

Used in illicit activities, including growing, manufacturing, and selling drugs* (5)

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

Swaziland is a destination and transit country for trafficking of children, specifically for commercial sexual exploitation, forced domestic work, and forced labor in agriculture. Some Mozambican boys migrate to Swaziland to conduct street work or to work in herding livestock and subsequently become victims of trafficking.(7) Swaziland has one of the world's highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates, affecting more than a quarter of the population. According to UNICEF's 2010 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, 23.6percent of children under age 18 have lost at least one parent, mostly as a result of HIV/AIDS.(8-10) Furthermore, a source indicates that orphans face unfair and unequal treatment in schools.(1) These factors may increase the risk of children being involved in the worst forms of child labor. Although the Government has conducted surveys on the general labor force, the surveys did not cover child labor; the Government also has not made it a policy to collect data on the worst forms of child labor.(11-13) Children's vulnerability to exploitative labor is further increased by illegal and substantial school fees required by school officials, which create a barrier to education.(1) However, the Government paid some school fees for orphans and vulnerable children. Although the Government had announced plans to cover the fees for the final year of primary school during the year, it was delinquent in paying school fees in half of the country's schools.(14)

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Swaziland 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).

Table 4. Laws and Regulations Related to Child Labor

Standard

Yes/No

Age

Related Legislation

Minimum Age for Work

Yes

15

Article 234 of the Children Protection and Welfare Act (15)

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

Yes

18

Article 236 of the Children Protection and Welfare Act (15)

Prohibition of Hazardous Occupations or Activities for Children

Yes

 

Articles 233, 236 and 237 of the Children Protection and Welfare Act (15)

Prohibition of Forced Labor

Yes

 

Article 17 of the Constitution (16)

Prohibition of Child Trafficking

Yes

 

Article 75 of the Children Protection and Welfare Act; Article 13 of the People Trafficking and People Smuggling (Prohibition) Act (15, 17)

Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Yes

 

Crimes Act; Obscene Publications Act (6)

Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities

Yes

 

Articles 16 and 49 of Children's Protection and Welfare Act (15)

Minimum Age for Compulsory Military Recruitment

N/A*

 

 

Minimum Age for Voluntary Military Service

Yes

18

Section 17(3) of the Umbutfo Swaziland Defense Force Order (1977) (18)

Compulsory Education Age

No

 

 

Free Public Education

Yes

 

Article 29 (6) of the Constitution; section 3 of the Free Primary Education Act (2010) (16, 19)

*No conscription (18)

Swaziland has no law that mandates compulsory education for children. This may increase the risk of children's involvement in the worst forms of child labor, as they are not required to be in school.(6, 19)

Section 97 of the Employment Act prohibits the employment of children in industrial undertakings but does not prohibit the employment of children in domestic and agricultural work.(20) Likewise, Articles 233, 236, and 237 of the Children Protection and Welfare Act prohibit hazardous work for children in industrial undertakings including mining, manufacturing, and electrical work but these prohibitions do not extend to children working in the agricultural sector.(15) In previous years, the Government indicated its intention to adopt more comprehensive hazardous work prohibitions for children through a regulation issued by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MLSS).(19) Article 16 of the Children Protection and Welfare Act prohibits using children in illicit activities, such as producing and distributing drugs, alcohol, and tobacco but it does not prohibit other illicit activities, including the use of children in gang-related activities.(15) The Government drafted a Sexual Offenses and Domestic Violence Bill, but it has yet to enact the Bill.(1) Act No. 6 of the 1998 Administrative Order grants local chiefs the power to require any resident, including children, to perform agricultural and other work, or to face penalties. There are reports that local chiefs continue to implement this Order, despite the High Court's declaration that it is null and void.(2, 5, 21, 22)

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The Government has established institutional mechanisms for the enforcement of laws and regulations related to child labor, including its worst forms (Table 5).

Table 5. Agencies Responsible for Child Labor Law Enforcement

Organization/Agency

Role

Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MLSS)

Enforce child labor laws and promote relations between labor, government, and business through tripartite dialogue.(1, 23)

Department of Social Welfare

Enforce child labor laws by looking out for the interests of vulnerable populations, including orphans, children, and elderly people.(1, 23)

Royal Swaziland Police

Enforce child labor laws, including those related to children's rights.(1, 23)

Labor law enforcement agencies in Swaziland took actions to combat child labor, including its worst forms. However, research found no evidence that criminal law enforcement agencies took such actions.(24, 25)

Labor Law Enforcement

In 2014, the MLSS employed 30 labor inspectors during the reporting period.(24) Three of the labor inspectors were designated to address the worst forms of child labor.(25) During the year, the MLSS was allocated $3 million for its budget.(24) Two alleged violations of child labor laws occurred during the reporting period and were reported to the police and the MLSS; these cases remain under investigation.(25) Research did not find information on the total number of inspections carried out during the year, the number of unannounced inspections, and whether the labor inspectorate has authority to issue penalties.(24, 25)

The Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MLSS has indicated that it does not have sufficient resources, including transportation, to conduct inspections.(1) There also does not appear to be a system to record child labor complaints.

Criminal Law Enforcement

Research was unable to find information on the number of criminal law enforcement officials and the overall number of investigations performed. During the year, the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Secretariat conducted a series of trainings for police and the Ministry of Labor and Social Security's (MLSS) labor inspectors on coordination mechanisms, victim identification, and processing to enable them to better address trafficking cases.(7) During the reporting period two alleged violations of child labor laws were reported to the police and the Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MLSS); these cases remain under investigation.(25) In 2014, a child was trafficked domestically and sexually exploited; the case is pending. The second case involved a child who was trafficked to Mozambique, which resulted in the child's repatriation to Swaziland.(7) There were no convictions for trafficking of children during the year.(7)

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The Government has established 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

Trafficking in Persons Secretariat

Coordinate, monitor, and implement programs to combat trafficking of persons, with the assistance of the Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force.(26)

Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force

Exchange information on cases of trafficking between relevant stakeholders, including the police, social services, and prosecutors. Comprises a conglomerate of NGOs and government entities, including The Royal Swaziland Police; Director of Public Prosecutions; Attorney General's office; Department of Social Welfare; Department of Health; Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and Ministry of Labor and Social Security.(1, 25)

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

Table 7. Policies Related to Child Labor

Policy

Description

National Action Plan (NAP) for Children

Government plan that implements the Children's Protection and Welfare Act and covers children engaged in harmful, hazardous, and exploitative work.(19)

National Plan of Action for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (2011–2015)*

Includes nine strategic objectives, including providing education, psychosocial support, child protection, research and monitoring, and support to help orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) enroll in school. Does not explicitly address child labor, but includes child laborers among the most vulnerable children.(27)

UN Development Assistance Framework (2011–2015)*

Seeks to improve access to quality basic social services, especially for women, children, and disadvantaged groups.(28)

National Children's Policy*

Represents the policy framework of the Children's Protection and Welfare Act.(19)

National Social Development Policy*

Provides protections for children including OVCs, street children, children with disabilities, and others.(19)

Education Sector Policy*

Seeks to provide equitable access to education.(19)

National Strategic Framework and Action Plan to Combat People Trafficking

Assigns responsibilities to relevant Government agencies on trafficking in persons.(26)

* Child labor elimination and prevention strategiesdo not appear to have been integrated into this policy.

The Government has not progressed to implement the Action Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (APEC).(25) The National Task Team drafted an Action Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (APEC), in 2008, which includes legal protections outlined in the Children's Protection and Welfare Act. However, the APEC was not adopted during the reporting period.(1, 6, 19)

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In 2014, the Government of Swaziland participated in programs that include the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor, including its worst forms. The Government has other programs that may have an impact on child labor, including its worst forms (Table 8).

Table 8. Social Programs to Address Child Labor

Program

Description

Decent Work Country Program (2010–2014)*

ILO program seeking to raise awareness of and provide training programs on international labor standards, with the aim of domesticating the ratified ILO conventions. ILO has been assisting the Government with the adoption of the APEC.(29)

Free Primary Education Program (FPE) (2009–2015)*‡

Government program to provide free primary education to children through grade six; was extended from grade five to grade six in 2014.(1)

Global Action Program on Child Labor Issues (2011–2015)

USDOL-funded project, implemented by the ILO in approximately 40 countries, to support the priorities of the Roadmap for Achieving the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor by 2016, established by the Hague Global Child Labor Conference in 2010. Aims to improve the evidence base on child labor through data collection and research in Swaziland.(30)

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

Government resources allocated to education, the fight against HIV/AIDS, and other social protection programs that may impact the worst forms of child labor are still limited, and existing social programs lack components on child labor.(1, 31) Although the Government expanded the Free Primary Education Program to extend coverage to children up to grade six, it was delinquent in paying school fees throughout the year, resulting in the children being susceptible to child labor for not attending school.(14) The Government, in collaboration with NGOs, provided trafficking victims with basic necessities, such as food, clothing, shelter, toiletries, counseling, and medical care.(7) Research found no evidence of social protection programs for the withdrawal from or prevention of children working in agriculture and livestock herding.

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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 Swaziland (Table 9).

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

Area

Suggested Action

Year(s) Suggested

Legal Framework

Establish a compulsory education age that is consistent with the minimum age for employment.

2009–2014

Ensure laws or regulations comprehensively address and identify hazardous occupations that are prohibited for children in all relevant sectors, including prohibitions on the use of children in all illicit activities.

2012–2014

Ensure that the law's minimum age provisions apply to children working in all industries, including in agriculture and domestic work.

2013–2014

Enact the Sexual Offenses and Domestic Violence Bill to further protect children from commercial sexual exploitation and prostitution.

2009–2014

Enforcement

Provide adequate resources, including transportation, to conduct labor inspections.

2013–2014

Develop and implement a labor inspection strategy that targets locations where children are found working and conducts inspections with sufficient frequency.

2011–2014

Develop a system to record child labor complaints.

2009–2014

Make information publicly available on the number of investigations, prosecutions, convictions, and penalties issued.

2013–2014

Government Policies

Integrate child labor elimination and prevention strategies into relevant development and education policies.

2010–2014

Adopt a policy that addresses all relevant worst forms of child labor, such as the Action Program on the Elimination of Child Labor. (APEC)

2012–2014

Social Programs

Assess the impact that the Free Primary Education Program may have on child labor.

2014

Collect data on the worst forms of child labor.

2009–2014

Ensure that children are guaranteed access and have a right to a free education.

2013–2014

Develop programs to ensure that local chiefs are not illegally imposing the repealed Act No. 6 of the 1998 Administrative Order on children.

2010–2014

Develop programs to mitigate the impact that HIV/AIDS may have on access to education and a child's vulnerability to the worst forms of child labor.

2010–2014

Develop social protection programs for the withdrawal from or prevention of children working in agriculture and livestock herding.

2014

 

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1.U.S. Embassy- Mbabane. reporting, January 17, 2014.

2.U.S. Department of State. "Swaziland," in Trafficking in Persons Report- 2014. Washington, DC; June 20, 2014; .

3.UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary. Total. [accessed February 10, 2014]; . 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.

4.UCW. Analysis of Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Statistics from National Household or Child Labor Surveys. Original data from MICS 4, 2010. Analysis received January 16, 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" section of this report.

5.U.S. Department of State. "Swaziland," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2013. Washington, DC; February 27, 2014;

6.U.S. Embassy- Mbabane. reporting, January 29, 2013.

7.U.S. Embassy- Mbabane. reporting, February 17, 2015.

8.UNICEF. Swaziland Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2010 Final Report; December 2011. [source on file].

9.Nordtveit, B. "Schools as Agencies of Protection in Namibia and Swaziland: Can They Prevent Dropout and Child Labor in the Context of HIV/AIDS and Poverty?" Comparative Education Review, 54(no. 2):223-242 (2010); [source on file].

10.Ulandssekretariatet, LO/FTF Council. Swaziland - Labour Market Profile 2013; 2013. .

11.U.S. Embassy- Mbabane. reporting, January 19, 2012.

12.ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Direct Request concerning Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) Swaziland (ratification: 2002) Submitted: 2013; accessed May 6, 2015;

13.U.S. Embassy- Mbabane. reporting, February 17, 2011.

14.U.S. Embassy- Mbabane. reporting, October 15, 2014.

15.Government of Swaziland. Children's Protection and Welfare Act, enacted 2012. [source on file].

16.Government of Swaziland. An Act to provide for the Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland, enacted 2005. www.ide.uniswa.sz/documents/resources/constitution2004.pdf.

17.Government of Swaziland. The People Trafficking and People Smuggling (Prohibition) Act, Act No. 7 enacted November 10, 2009. [source on file].

18.Government of Zimbabwe. The Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force Order, enacted 1977.

19.Government of Swaziland. Progress Report on the Elimination of Child Labour in Swaziland; January 16, 2013. [source on file].

20.ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Observation concerning Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) Swaziland (ratification: 2002) Submitted: 2013; accessed May 6, 2015;

21.ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Direct Request concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Swaziland (ratification: 2002) Submitted: 2010; accessed May 6, 2015; .

22.AllAfrica. "Swaziland: King Exploits Forced Child Labour." [online] Novermber 15, 2013 [cited May 27, 2014]; .

23.U.S. Embassy- Mbabane official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. March 24, 2014.

24.U.S. Embassy- Mbabane official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. March 27, 2015.

25.U.S. Embassy- Mbabane. reporting, January 15, 2015.

26.U.S. Embassy- Mbabane. reporting, February 13, 2014.

27.U.S. Embassy- Mbabane official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. June 18, 2012.

28.United Nations Country Team. The United Nations Development Assistance Framework for The Kingdom of Swaziland 2011-2015. New York, United Nations Development Group; April 8, 2010. .

29.ILO. Decent Work Country Programme for Swaziland 2010 to 2014. Geneva; October 27, 2010. .

30.ILO-IPEC. Global Action Program on Child Labor Issues. Technical Progress Report. Geneva; April 2014.

31.Basdevant, O. "Customs revenue, Fiscal Steps can power Swaziland Recovery." [online] February 10, 2012 [cited April 14, 2014]; .

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