Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports
In 2022, the United Republic of Tanzania made moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The Mainland government made available, for the first time in several years, complete information on its labor law enforcement efforts, identifying 74 child labor violations through 4,800 worksite inspections. The government also created a new task force to enhance efforts to prevent and respond to human trafficking crimes, including those involving children, and allocated financial resources to support its National Strategy on the Elimination of Child Labor. However, children in Tanzania are subjected to the worst forms of child labor, including in forced labor in mining, quarrying, and domestic work. Children also perform dangerous tasks in agriculture. Other gaps remain in the legal framework and enforcement of laws related to child labor, including lack of penalties for use of children in illicit activities, lack of minimum age protections for children engaged in domestic work, and an insufficient number of labor inspectors to monitor Tanzania's labor force.
During the reporting period the government published and validated updated information on the prevalence of child labor. Table 1 provides key indicators on children’s work and education in Mainland Tanzania.
|Working (% and population)||5 to 14||20.4 (3,345,516)|
|Working children by sector||5 to 14|
|Attending School (%)||5 to 14||83.5|
|Combining Work and School (%)||7 to 14||18.4|
|Primary Completion Rate (%)||68.7|
Source for primary completion rate: Data from 2020, published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2023. (1)
Source for all other data: International Labor Organization's analysis of statistics from Labour Force Survey (LFS), 2020–2021. (2)
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|
|Agriculture||Plowing, weeding,† harvesting,† and processing of crops, including coffee, sugarcane, sisal, tea, tobacco, and cloves, and protecting crops from birds (3-7)|
|Seaweed farming (4,8)|
|Livestock herding, including tending cattle (3,9)|
|Fishing†, including for Nile perch, and fish cleaning and descaling (8,10,11)|
|Industry||Quarrying† stone and crushing and breaking rocks to produce gravel (3,12)|
|Mining,† including gold and tanzanite, and using mercury (3,13,14)|
|Services||Domestic work, including childcare, cooking, and washing† (5,7)|
|Street work, including vending,† selling charcoal, shining shoes, and scavenging† and collecting† garbage (5,13,15,16)|
|Work in bars† (5,17)|
|Categorical Worst Forms of Child Labor‡||Commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking (5,16,18,19)|
|Forced begging (5,19,20)|
|Use in illicit activities, including selling drugs (21)|
|Forced labor in domestic work, mining, fishing, hunting, commercial trading, quarrying, shining shoes, pushing carts, working in factories and bars, and agriculture, including cattle herding (5,19,22)|
† 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.
Children in Tanzania engage in a number of hazardous work activities, including mining, quarrying, and working on tobacco plantations. (3,23) Children from underserved communities—including children from rural areas or in situations of poverty, orphans, and children with disabilities—are subjected to forced labor in domestic work, gold and gemstone mining, agriculture, and begging, as well as commercial sexual exploitation in urban areas such as Arusha, Dar es Salaam, Dodoma, Mbeya, and Mwanza. (19) Parents, particularly from poor and rural households, entrust their children to the care of wealthy relatives and community leaders who sometimes force or coerce the children to perform domestic work. (19,22) Exploitation of girls in commercial sexual exploitation or forced labor in domestic work frequently occurs in tourist hubs along the Kenyan border and in Zanzibar. (10,24,25) Although child trafficking primarily occurs internally within Tanzania, traffickers also exploit migrant children, particularly from Burundi, in domestic work and commercial sexual exploitation. (10,15,19,26)
Schools, particularly in rural areas, lack adequate teachers, classrooms and desks, food, and sanitation facilities, and families are often required to financially contribute to offset these deficits and pay for the costs of uniforms and learning materials. (5,9,10,27) In addition, schools often lack resources for children with disabilities or learning disorders, resulting in many of these students leaving school and becoming vulnerable to child labor. (9,10) In 2021, the government reversed its longstanding practice of expelling girls who became pregnant from school. The government continued to support implementation of this policy change during the reporting period, including identifying and readmitting 3,333 children who had left school for various reasons, including teenage mothers. (5,28) However, girls can still be removed from school during the duration of their pregnancy, which reduces the likelihood that they will return to education. (29)
Tanzania has ratified all key international conventions concerning child labor (Table 3).
|ILO C. 138, Minimum Age||✓|
|ILO C. 182, Worst Forms of Child Labor||✓|
|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||✓|
Mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar’s non-union matters are governed by distinct territorial jurisdictional laws, leaving each territory to determine its own child labor laws. (17,30) The Mainland government has established laws and regulations related to child labor (Table 4). However, gaps exist in Tanzania’s legal framework to adequately protect children from the worst forms of child labor, including a lack of minimum age protections for children in domestic work.
|Standard||Related Entity||Meets International Standards||Age||Legislation|
|Minimum Age for Work||Mainland||No||14||Articles 5 and 102 of the Employment and Labor Relations Act; Article 77 of the Law of the Child Act (31,32)|
|Minimum Age for Hazardous Work||Mainland||Yes||18||Articles 5 and 102 of the Employment and Labor Relations Act; Article 82 of the Law of the Child Act (31,32)|
|Identification of Hazardous Occupations or Activities Prohibited for Children||Mainland||Yes||Article 5 and First Schedule of Regulations of the Employment and Labor Relations Act; Article 82 of the Law of the Child Act (31-33)|
|Prohibition of Forced Labor||Mainland||Yes||Article 6 of the Employment and Labor Relations Act; Article 80 of the Law of the Child Act; Article 25 of the Constitution; Article 4 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act (30-34)|
|Prohibition of Child Trafficking||Mainland||Yes||Article 4 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act (34)|
|Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children||Mainland||Yes||Article 138.2.f of the Sexual Offenses Special Provisions Act; Article 4 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act (34,35)|
|Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities||Mainland||No|
|Minimum Age for Voluntary State Military Recruitment||Yes||18||Article 29 of the National Defense Act (36)|
|Prohibition of Compulsory Recruitment of Children by (State) Military||N/A*|
|Prohibition of Military Recruitment by Non-state Armed Groups||No|
|Compulsory Education Age||Mainland||No||13||Article 35 of the National Education Act (37)|
|Free Public Education||Mainland||No|
* Country has no conscription (36)
Zanzibar's legal framework is in line with international standards related to hazardous work, prohibitions against forced labor, human trafficking of children, commercial sexual exploitation of children, use of children in illicit activities, and free basic education. (38-41) Although the Mainland government has a list of hazardous work activities for children, it does not specify weeding and processing activities that are dangerous tasks in the production of tobacco, cloves, coffee, sisal, and tea. (3-7,31-34) The Mainland government also does not stipulate penalties for using children for illicit activities, including in the production and trafficking of drugs. In addition, minimum age for work laws in Mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar do not meet international standards because they do not extend to all working children, including children engaged in domestic work. (31,38,39) Furthermore, as the compulsory education age in both the Mainland and Zanzibar is below the minimum age for work, are vulnerable to child labor because they are not required to attend school but are not legally permitted to work. (37,41) The Mainland also lacks a legal standard mandating free basic education for children, though it supports free basic education through a policy, and the national Education Act authorizes local education authorities to assess school fees at the discretion, which may contravene future legal standards to provide free basic education (42)
The government has established institutional mechanisms for the enforcement of laws and regulations on child labor (Table 5). However, gaps exist within the operations of enforcement agencies that may hinder adequate enforcement of their child labor laws.
|Organization/Agency||Related Entity||Role & Activities|
|Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office for Policy, Labor, Employment, Youth, and the Disabled (PLEYD)||Mainland||Assigns area labor officers in each region to respond to reports of child labor violations, issues non-compliance orders, and reports incidents to police and the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly, and Children. Through its Labor Administration and Inspection Section, provides legal guidance upon request, disseminates information to employers and employees on their rights and obligations, and helps area offices conduct labor inspections. (5) Coordinates with the Ministry of Community Development, Gender, Elderly, and Children, which employs officers to monitor child labor at the district and village levels and reports back to the PLEYD. (5,28) During the reporting period, the government conducted an estimated 4,800 labor inspections, targeting the agricultural, fishing, and industrial sectors. (5)|
|Zanzibar Labor Commission||Zanzibar||Ensures compliance with child protection and child labor laws, including inspections, through its Child Protection Unit. Employs 25 labor inspectors who investigate child labor cases reported by the police and refers cases to social welfare officers. (5,43) The Zanzibar labor inspectorate lacks sufficient personnel, office facilities, transportation and fuel, and other resources to adequately enforce child labor laws. (5) In 2022, the government substantially increased funding for its labor inspectorate from $10,353 in 2021 to $521,739 and provided training for its labor inspectors. There were no child labor violations identified in these inspections. (5)|
|Ministry of Home Affairs and Tanzanian Police Force||Mainland||Chairs the Anti-Trafficking Secretariat, which coordinates the government’s anti-trafficking efforts. (20) The Tanzanian Police Force, through its Gender and Children's desks, investigates cases of child labor and other forms of child endangerment reported to police stations; in some cases, refers cases to labor officers or seeks assistance from social welfare officers and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to take legal action. (17,44,45) During the reporting period, the Ministry of Home Affairs, with the UNODC, launched an updated National Anti-Trafficking in Persons Plan of Action for 2021–2024. (46,47) The new action plan includes integration of human trafficking awareness within school curriculum and integrates human trafficking issues into the Gender and Children's desks of the Tanzanian Police Force. (46) The government also launched the Anti‐Human Trafficking and Child Protection Task Force for Mainland Tanzania, housed within the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, which includes 27 stakeholders from the Anti-Trafficking Secretariat, and various law enforcement, social welfare, and justice sectors to strengthen Tanzania’s ability to respond to the international dimensions of human trafficking and other crimes against children. (48) The Zanzibar government also established a Serious Organized Crime Unit, which will conduct specialized investigations related to organized crime, including human trafficking and crimes against children. (49)|
Labor Law Enforcement
In 2022, labor law enforcement agencies in Tanzania* took actions to address child labor (Table 6). However, gaps exist within the operations of the labor ministries that may hinder adequate labor law enforcement, including insufficient human resources.
|Overview of Labor Law Enforcement||Related Entity||2021||2022|
|Labor Inspectorate Funding||Mainland||Unknown (10)||$521,739 (5)|
|Number of Labor Inspectors||Mainland||Unknown (21)||87 (5)|
|Mechanism to Assess Civil Penalties||Mainland||Yes (10,31,50)||Yes (31,50)|
|Training for Labor Inspectors Provided||Mainland||Unknown (21)||Yes (5)|
|Number of Labor Inspections Conducted at Worksite||Mainland||Unknown (21)||4,800 (5)|
|Number of Child Labor Violations Found||Mainland||Unknown (21)||74 (5)|
|Number of Child Labor Violations for Which Penalties Were Imposed||Mainland||Unknown (21)||0 (5)|
|Number of Child Labor Penalties Imposed that Were Collected||Mainland||Unknown (21)||0 (5)|
|Routine Inspections Conducted||Mainland||Unknown (21)||Yes (5)|
|Routine Inspections Targeted||Mainland||Unknown||Yes (5)|
|Unannounced Inspections Permitted||Mainland||Yes (50)||Yes (5)|
|Unannounced Inspections Conducted||Mainland||Unknown||Yes (5)|
|Complaint Mechanism Exists||Mainland||Yes (51)||Yes (5)|
|Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Labor Authorities and Social Services||Mainland||Yes (10)||Yes (5)|
* Federal reporting data for 2022. Zanzibar reported separate data. (5)
The Mainland government has a complaint mechanism for individuals to report potential cases of child labor, but research indicates that this mechanism is not consistently used because of insufficient tools and resources, as well as budgetary constraints. (51) Research indicates that Tanzania does not have an adequate number of labor inspectors to carry out their mandated duties and insufficient budgetary resources hinder their ability to identify and respond to labor violations. (5,28,52,53)
Criminal Law Enforcement
In 2022, criminal law enforcement agencies in Tanzania took actions to address child labor (Table 7). However, gaps exist within the operations of the criminal enforcement agencies that may hinder adequate criminal law enforcement, including a lack of published information on criminal law enforcement efforts.
|Overview of Criminal Law Enforcement||Related Entity||2021||2022|
|Training for Criminal Investigators Provided||Mainland||Unknown (21)||Yes (5)|
|Number of Investigations||Mainland||Unknown (21)||Unknown (5)|
|Number of Prosecutions Initiated||Mainland||Unknown (21)||Unknown (5)|
|Number of Convictions||Mainland||Unknown (21)||Unknown (5)|
|Imposed Penalties for Violations Related to the Worst Forms of Child Labor||Mainland||Unknown (21)||Unknown (5)|
|Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Criminal Authorities and Social Services||Mainland||Yes (10)||Yes (5)|
The government did not maintain a centralized law enforcement data collection system for human trafficking crimes, hindering its ability to disaggregate national human trafficking statistics and likely resulting in underreported anti-trafficking statistics. Therefore, it was not possible to disaggregate nationwide statistics by type of exploitation, industry, and offenses related to categorical worst forms of child labor. (48)
The government has established a key mechanism to coordinate its efforts to address child labor (Table 8). However, gaps exist that hinder the effective coordination of efforts to address child labor, including inefficacy to accomplish mandates.
|Coordinating Body||Related Entity||Role & Activities|
|National Education Task Force on Child Labor||Mainland and Zanzibar||Reviews existing laws, regulations, and strategies related to children’s issues, including the National Strategy on the Elimination of Child Labor. Evaluates curriculum and programs, identifies gaps, and suggests strategies to resolve barriers to accessing education. (54) Although the government reported that the Task Force was active in 2022, it did not provide information on activities undertaken. (5)|
The government has established policies related to child labor (Table 9). However, policy gaps exist that hinder efforts to address child labor, including existence of an education policy that may adversely impact child labor.
|Policy||Related Entity||Description & Activities|
|National Strategy on Elimination of Child Labor (2018–2022)||Mainland and Zanzibar||Coordinated prevention and responses to the worst forms of child labor at the national level. (55) In 2022, the government allocated $43,476 to the National Strategy on Elimination of Child Labor for review and development of an updated policy to be launched in 2023. (5) In addition, it conducted engagement workshops with child labor stakeholders, formed anti-human trafficking working groups in the Kagera, Geita, Kigoma, Tabora, and Katavi regions--areas with high prevalence of human trafficking and child labor--and engaged in special targeted labor inspection activities in the Tabora and Kigoma regions. (5)|
Tanzania does not have a law requiring free public education, but it does have an education policy that allows children to attend primary school and lower secondary school without paying tuition fees. (56) The Mainland government, however, regulates access to secondary education through the Primary School Leaving Examination, which determines those students selected for admission into secondary schools. (42,57) Students who fail the exam generally cannot retake it and must leave public education at the age of 14, thereby increasing their vulnerability to the worst forms of child labor. (58,59)
In 2022, the government funded and participated in programs that may contribute to eliminating or preventing child labor (Table 10). However, gaps exist in these social programs, including inadequate efforts to address child labor in all sectors
|Program||Description & Activities|
|Tanzania Social Action Fund Conditional Cash Transfer Program†||Government-funded conditional cash transfer program to provide financial assistance to vulnerable populations, including children. (20) Also manages Zanzibar's Productive Social Safety Nets fund, which provides conditional cash transfers to 33,523 households experiencing extreme poverty and other vulnerabilities to child labor. (60) During the reporting period, the government had 1.4 million households registered under the conditional cash transfer program, and undertook initiatives to register households with children living with disabilities for receipt of a monthly supplementary disability grant, in addition to the regular monthly stipend. (61) An evaluation of Tanzania's Conditional Cash Transfer Program found that it had achieved little reduction of child labor, because the work of children only shifted from outside to inside the household. Furthermore, the program had not achieved reductions in excessive working hours and engagement in hazardous activities among children. (62)|
|Rural Enterprise Support to Eliminate Child Labor||Project implemented by the Eliminating Child Labor in Tobacco Growing Foundation as a follow-up to the Promoting Sustainable Practices to Eradicate Child Labor in Tobacco program that ended in 2020. Aims to support farmers and reduce child labor in Chunya, Kaliua, Sikonge, and Urambo districts. (10,21) In 2022, the program facilitated 17 community and district child labor committees on data collection and reporting and supported the development of 17 community child labor action plans. In addition, the project allocated $34,783 to 11 groups for economic empowerment and supported the enrollment of 3,008 children to schools, protecting them from child labor. (5)|
|Eradicating the Worst Forms of Labor in the Eight Mining Wards of the Geita District||French Development Agency-funded program, implemented by Plan International, aiming to eliminate child labor and other forms of violence against children, especially girls, in the small-scale mining and fishing sectors. The project covers 15 wards and 63 villages in 3 Geita districts: Geita, Nyang’hwale, and Chato. (21) In 2022, the program supported the establishment of 81 child protection committees in 15 wards and 63 villages. The committees aim to raise awareness on child protection, child labor prevention, and response. (21) During the reporting period, the program supported a new reporting and referral mechanism to report cases of child abuse and exploitation, leading to interventions in 445 cases. In addition, the program provided children withdrawn from child labor with school materials. (5)|
For information about USDOL’s projects to address child labor around the world, visit https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ilab/ilab-project-page-search
† Program is funded by the Government of Tanzania.
The scope of government-funded social programs is inadequate in that it does not cover other forms of agriculture beyond tobacco, nor does it address domestic work, fishing, or informal sectors in which children engage in child labor.
Based on the reporting above, suggested actions are identified that would advance the elimination of child labor in Tanzania (Table 11).
|Area||Related Entity||Suggested Action||Year(s) Suggested|
|Legal Framework||Mainland||Expand the list of hazardous occupations and activities prohibited for children to ensure that the list includes weeding and processing in the production of tobacco, cloves, coffee, sisal, and tea.||2016 – 2022|
|Mainland||Criminalize the use of children in illicit activities, particularly in the production and trafficking of drugs.||2012 – 2022|
|Mainland and Zanzibar||Criminalize the recruitment of children under age 18 by non-state armed groups.||2016 – 2022|
|Mainland and Zanzibar||Ensure that minimum age protections apply to all children, including those engaged in domestic work.||2013 – 2022|
|Mainland and Zanzibar||Raise the compulsory education age from 13 to 14 to align with the minimum age for work.||2017 – 2022|
|Mainland||Establish by law free basic public education and remove legal authority of local education authorities to assess discretionary education fees.||2016 – 2022|
|Enforcement||Mainland and Zanzibar||Ensure that the child labor complaint mechanism has sufficient resources to carry out operations.||2021 – 2022|
|Mainland||Increase financial resources and the number of labor inspectors from 87 to 643 to ensure adequate coverage of the labor force of approximately 25.7 million people and to strengthen identification and responses to labor violations.||2013 – 2022|
|Zanzibar||Increase material resources provided to the labor inspectorate, including office facilities, transportation, and fuel.||2013 – 2022|
|Mainland and Zanzibar||Develop a mechanism for the centralized collection and publication of data related to the worst forms of child labor, including number of investigations, and imposed penalties for violations related to the worst forms of child labor.||2021 – 2022|
|Coordination||Mainland and Zanzibar||Ensure that the National Education Task Force on Child Labor is able to carry out its intended mandates.||2018 – 2022|
|Government Policies||Mainland||Eliminate provisions in the Primary School Leaving Examination that are barriers to education, including by allowing children who initially fail the exam to retake it for consideration in secondary school admission.||2016 – 2022|
|Social Programs||Mainland||Broaden mechanisms to facilitate the re-enrollment of girls who leave school during pregnancy.||2021 – 2022|
|Mainland and Zanzibar||Enhance efforts to eliminate barriers and make education accessible to all children in Tanzania, including those living in rural areas, by ensuring adequate resources for children with disabilities and learning disorders; increasing resources for teachers, classrooms and desks, food, and sanitation facilities; and defraying informal costs imposed on families, including school uniforms, books, and other learning materials.||2010 – 2022|
|Mainland and Zanzibar||Harmonize child labor prevention and elimination measures into the Social Action Fund Conditional Cash Transfer Program to increase its effectiveness in preventing and eliminating child labor.||2022|
|Mainland and Zanzibar||Develop programs that include the agricultural, domestic work, fishing, and informal sectors to address children engaged in child labor.||2017 – 2022|
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- Government of Tanzania. Sexual Offences Special Provisions Act. Enacted: 1998.
- Government of Tanzania. National Defence Act. Enacted: 1966. Source on file.
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