Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Tuvalu

Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

Tuvalu

2015 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

Minimal Advancement

In 2015, Tuvalu made a minimal advancement in efforts to prevent the worst forms of child labor. The Government drafted a new Labor and Employment Relations Bill, which includes provisions to bring national legislation into alignment with international labor standards related to the worst forms of child labor. However, although research is limited and the problem does not appear to be widespread, children in Tuvalu are engaged in child labor in fishing. Gaps remain in the Government’s legislative framework. Children ages 15 through 17 are not protected from hazardous work and children are not adequately protected from commercial sexual exploitation. In addition, the Government has not collected data to determine the prevalence and nature of the worst forms of child labor in the country to inform policy and program development.

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Although research is limited and the problem does not appear to be widespread, children in Tuvalu may be engaged in child labor in fishing.(1-3) Table 1 provides key indicators on children’s work and education in Tuvalu. 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

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

Unavailable

School attendance, ages 5 to 14 (%):

Unavailable

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

Unavailable

Primary completion rate (%):

93.2

Source for primary completion rate: Data from 2014, published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2015.(4)
Data were unavailable from Understanding Children’s Work Project’s analysis, 2015.(5)

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

Fishing,* activities unknown (1-3)

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

Tuvalu lacks data to determine the prevalence and nature of child labor, including its worst forms, in the country.

Tuvalu has ratified one key international convention 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

14

Article 84 of the Employment Act (6)

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

Yes

15

Articles 85–87 of the Employment Act (6)

Prohibition of Hazardous Occupations or Activities for Children

Yes

 

Articles 85–87 of the Employment Act (6)

Prohibition of Forced Labor

Yes

 

Article 75 of the Employment Act; Articles 244 and 249 of the Penal Code; Article 68 of the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Organized Crime Act; Article 18 of the Constitution of Tuvalu (6-9)

Prohibition of Child Trafficking

Yes

 

Article 68 of the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Organized Crime Act; Articles 136 and 244 of the Penal Code (7, 9)

Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Yes

 

Articles 136, 137, 139–143, and 166 of the Penal Code (7)

Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities

No

 

Articles 141–142 of the Penal Code (7)

Minimum Age for Compulsory Military Recruitment

N/A†

 

 

Minimum Age for Voluntary Military Service

N/A†

 

 

Compulsory Education Age

Yes

15

Education (Compulsory Education) Order (10)

Free Public Education

No

 

 

† No standing military (11)

During the reporting period, the Government of Tuvalu drafted a new Labor and Employment Relations Bill, which includes provisions to bring national legislation into compliance with international labor standards related to the worst forms of child labor.(12, 13) As it currently stands, Tuvalu’s Employment Act does not clearly establish 18 as the minimum age for hazardous work in accordance with international standards.

Tuvalu’s law does not adequately prohibit the commercial sexual exploitation of children.  Although the Penal Code prohibits the procurement, use, and offering of girls under age 18 and boys under age 15 for prostitution, boys 15 through 17 are left unprotected.(7, 14) In addition, although pornography is illegal in Tuvalu and the Penal Code includes penalties for those who make, distribute, or possess obscene publications, it does not specifically address obscene publications featuring children, nor does it criminalize the use, procurement, or offering of a child for pornography or pornographic performances.(7, 15, 16) In addition, laws related to illicit activities are insufficient.  The law criminalizes the procurement of children younger than 15 for unlawful and immoral purposes, but fails to criminalize  the use, procurement, or offering of all children for the production and trafficking of drugs.(7)

Child trafficking is prohibited in Tuvalu; however, the law prescribes a harsher punishment for individuals involved in the trafficking of adults than for those involved in the trafficking of children.(9)

Research found no evidence that law enforcement agencies in Tuvalu took actions to combat child labor, including its worst forms (Table 5).

Table 5. Agencies Responsible for Child Labor Law Enforcement

Organization/Agency

Role

Department of Labor

Enforce labor laws, including those related to child labor.(17)

Tuvalu Police Force

Enforce criminal laws related to the worst forms of child labor.(17)

 

Labor Law Enforcement

In 2015, labor law enforcement agencies in Tuvalu did not take 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

2014

2015

Labor Inspectorate Funding

Unknown (17)

Unknown (12)

Number of Labor Inspectors

2 (17)

2 (12)

Inspectorate Authorized to Assess Penalties

No (13)

No (13)

Training for Labor Inspectors

   

Initial Training for New Employees

Unknown

Unknown (12)

Training on New Laws Related to Child Labor

N/A

N/A

Refresher Courses Provided

Unknown

Unknown (12)

Number of Labor Inspections

0 (17)

Unknown (12)

Number Conducted at Worksite

0 (17)

Unknown (12)

Number Conducted by Desk Reviews

0 (17)

Unknown (12)

Number of Child Labor Violations Found

0 (17)

0 (12)

Number of Child Labor Violations for Which Penalties were Imposed

N/A (17)

N/A (12) 

Number of Penalties Imposed that were Collected

N/A

N/A

Routine Inspections Conducted

No (17)

Unknown

Routine Inspections Targeted

No (17)

Unknown

Unannounced Inspections Permitted

Yes (6)

Yes (6)

Unannounced Inspections Conducted

Unknown

Unknown

Complaint Mechanism Exists

No (13)

No (13)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Labor Authorities and Social Services

Unknown

Unknown

 

Funding for inspections is covered by the Department of Labor’s overall budget. Information was not available on the specific amount of funds allocated for this purpose, although reports indicate that the Government does not have sufficient resources to formally monitor and enforce child labor laws.(13, 18)

Criminal Law Enforcement

In 2015, criminal law enforcement agencies in Tuvalu did not take 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

2014

2015

Training for Investigators

   

Initial Training for New Employees

Unknown (17)

Unknown (12)

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

N/A

N/A

Refresher Courses Provided

Unknown (17)

Unknown (12)

Number of Investigations

Unknown (17)

Unknown (12)

Number of Violations Found

Unknown (17)

Unknown (12)

Number of Prosecutions Initiated

Unknown (17)

Unknown (12)

Number of Convictions

Unknown (17)

Unknown (12)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Criminal Authorities and Social Services

Unknown (17)

Unknown (12)

 

The National Advisory Committee on Children, chaired by the Ministry of Education, is responsible for coordinating general children’s issues across government agencies. The Committee monitors and reports on the Government’s efforts to fulfill its commitments under the UN CRC.(12) However, research found no evidence that the Committee functions as a coordinating mechanism to address child labor, including its worst forms.

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

Table 8. Policies Related to Child Labor

Policy

Description

National Strategy for Sustainable Development (Te Kekeega II) (2005–2015)*

Seeks to promote sustainable livelihoods by developing the private sector and promoting the effective use of public resources. Focuses on improving the access to and the quality of education for Tuvaluan children.(17, 19)

 

Tuvalu Education Strategic Plan II (2011–2015)*

Aims to enhance the quality of education at all levels, from early childhood through secondary, technical, and vocational education. Priority areas include improving curriculum and assessment measures, increasing student achievement, enhancing the quality and efficiency of management, developing human resources, and strengthening strategic partnerships.(20)

Education and Training Sector Master Plan*

Offers alternative education and training opportunities for children, especially those who have dropped out of school.(21) Implemented by the Ministry of Education.(16, 21)

Free Education Policy*

Establishes free education for children ages 6 through 13.(20-23) Free education in Tuvalu is not guaranteed by law.

National Youth Policy*†

Establishes a framework for youth engagement in national decision making processes, especially related to climate change.(24)

UNDAF for the Pacific Region (2013–2017)*

Promotes sustainable development and economic growth for vulnerable groups in 14 Pacific Island countries and territories: Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.(25) In Tuvalu, aims to increase children’s access to health, education, and social protection systems.(26)

* Child labor elimination and prevention strategies do not appear to have been integrated into this policy.
† Policy was approved during the reporting period.

In 2015, the Government of Tuvalu funded and participated in programs that include the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor, including its worst forms (Table 9).

Table 9. Social Programs to Address Child Labor

Program

Description

Decent Work Country Program

ILO-implemented program that aims to strengthen Tuvalu’s labor laws, support the ratification of ILO C. 182, and improve labor market monitoring systems by collecting recent statistics on child labor. Seeks to improve labor market information and calls for the inclusion of child labor modules in planned household surveys.(27)

Education for All Program

Australian Government-funded program to improve access to quality education in Tuvalu. Objectives include increasing capacities in education planning and administration, teacher training, and early grade literacy.(23) Since 2012, has helped more than 18 vocational teachers throughout Tuvalu to graduate from the Australian Pacific Technical College in courses related to training and assessment, and to early childhood education.(23)

Community Post-Primary Vocational Programs†

Ministry of Education program that provides vocational training to children in the outer islands. Frequency of training sessions depends on the availability of trainers.(23)

High School Vocational Training Program†

Government-funded vocational training program at Motufoua Secondary School that provides Fiji National University-accredited vocational training to students starting at year 13.(23)

† Program is funded by the Government of Tuvalu.

In July 2015, Tuvalu participated in the ILO’s Sub-Regional Skills and Livelihood Training for Older Out-Of-School Children in Child Labor or At Risk in the Pacific. The training focused on highlighting opportunities for skill development for children under 18 who are at risk for child labor, as well as identifying opportunities for mainstreaming skill development initiatives into existing social programs.(28) Research found no evidence of programs to specifically address child labor in the agricultural sector.

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

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

Area

Suggested Action

Year(s) Suggested

Legal Framework

Ratify ILO C. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labor.

2013 – 2015

Ensure that the law establishes the minimum age for hazardous work at 18 years old.

2009 – 2015

Ensure that the law comprehensively protects all children from commercial sexual exploitation; including by criminally prohibiting the use, procurement, and offering of boys ages 15 through 17 for prostitution and all children for the production of pornography and for pornographic performances.

2009 – 2015

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

2013 – 2015

Ensure that the law prescribes strengthened penalties for child trafficking.

2015

Enforcement

Dedicate sufficient resources to child labor law enforcement, particularly with regard to inspections.

2009 – 2015

Make information publicly available on the enforcement of laws related to child labor, including the number and type of labor inspections conducted and the training provided for labor inspectors and investigators.

2009 – 2015

Authorize the labor inspectorate to assess penalties for child labor violations.

2015

Establish a mechanism to receive child labor complaints.

2015

Coordination

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

2009 – 2015

Government Policies

Integrate child labor elimination and prevention strategies into existing policies.

2010 – 2015

Social Programs

Conduct research to better understand the extent and nature of child labor, including its worst forms, in Tuvalu.

2010 – 2015

Institute programs to address child labor in the agricultural sector.

2009 – 2015

 

1.         U.S. Embassy- Suva. reporting, January 18, 2012.

2.         U.S. Embassy- Suva official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. January 29, 2015.

3.         U.S. Department of State. "Tuvalu," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2014. Washington, DC; June 25, 2015; http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?year=2014&dlid=236486.

4.         UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary. Total. [accessed December 16, 2015]; http://data.uis.unesco.org/. Data provided is the gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary school. This measure is a proxy measure for primary completion. This ratio is the total number of new entrants in the last grade of primary education, regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the population at the theoretical entrance age to the last grade of primary. A high ratio indicates a high degree of current primary education completion. Because the calculation includes all new entrants to last grade (regardless of age), 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.

5.         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” section of this report.

6.         Government of Tuvalu. Employment Act, 0006, enacted 2008. http://www.tuvalu-legislation.tv/cms/images/LEGISLATION/PRINCIPAL/1965/1965-0006/EmploymentAct_1.pdf.

7.         Government of Tuvalu. Penal Code (Revised 2008), Cap 10 20, enacted October 18, 1965. http://www.tuvalu-legislation.tv/cms/images/LEGISLATION/PRINCIPAL/1965/1965-0007/PenalCode_1.pdf.

8.         Government of Tuvalu. The Constitution of Tuvalu, enacted October 1, 1986. Revised 2008. [source on file].

9.         Government of Tuvalu. Counter Terrorism and Transnational Organized Crime Act, 6 of 2009, enacted November 30, 2009. http://tuvalu-legislation.tv/cms/images/LEGISLATION/PRINCIPAL/2009/2009-0006/CounterTerrorismandTransnationalOrganisedCrimeAct2009_1.pdf.

10.       Government of Tuvalu. Education (Compulsory Education) Order, Cap. 30.05.4, enacted January 1, 1984; Revised 2008. http://tuvalu-legislation.tv/cms/images/LEGISLATION/SUBORDINATE/1984/1984-0014/EducationCompulsoryEducationOrder_1.pdf.

11.       Child Soldiers International. Louder Than Words: An agenda for action to end state use of child soldiers. London; September 2012. http://www.child-soldiers.org/global_report_reader.php?id=562.

12.       U.S. Embassy- Suva. reporting, January 4, 2016.

13.       U.S. Embassy- Suva official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. March 9, 2016.

14.       UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Concluding observations on the initial report of Tuvalu, adopted by the Committee at its sixty-fourth session (16 September–4 October 2013). Geneva; October 30, 2013. Report No. CRC/C/TUV/CO/1. [source on file].

15.       U.S Embassy- Suva. E-mail communication to USDOL official. May 23, 2013.

16.       U.S. Embassy- Suva. reporting, January 31, 2013.

17.       U.S. Embassy- Suva. reporting, January 15, 2015.

18.       U.S. Department of State. "Tuvalu," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2013. Washington, DC; February 27, 2014; http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/.

19.       Government of Tuvalu. Te Kakeeka II National Strategy for Sustainable Development 2005-2015. Suva; November 2005. http://www.sprep.org/att/IRC/eCOPIES/Countries/Tuvalu/42.pdf.

20.       UNICEF. Achieving Education for All in Tuvalu. Geneva; 2011. [source on file].

21.       Government of Tuvalu. Millennium Development Goals: Progress Report 2010/2011. previously online. Funafuti; May 2011. http://www.undp.org.fj/pdf/MDG%20Report/MDG(tuvalu)%20web.pdf "[source on file]".

22.       U.S Embassy- Suva. E-mail communication to USDOL official. May 14, 2014.

23.       U.S. Embassy- Suva official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. April 20, 2015.

24.       Radio New Zealand International. "Tuvalu launches national youth policy," Dateline Pacific. New Zealand: August 12,, 2015; 3 min., 32 sec., radio broadcast; http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/programmes/datelinepacific/audio/201766182/tuvalu-launches-national-youth-policy.

25.       United Nations Pacific. United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) For the Pacific Region 2013-2017. Suva; 2013. http://pacific.one.un.org/images/stories/2013/UNDAF_Summary_Report.pdf.

26.       United Nations Pacific. "Tuvalu: UNDAF Results Matrix 2013-2017." (2013); http://www.pacific.one.un.org/images/stories/2013/tuvalu_crm.pdf.

27.       ILO, Government of Tuvalu. Decent Work Country Programme: Tuvalu. Funafuti; May 11, 2010. http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/program/dwcp/download/tuvalu.pdf.

28.       ILO. "Promoting decent work for older out-of-school children in or at risk of child labour." ilo.org [online ] August 6, 2015 [cited November 11, 2015]; http://www.ilo.org/suva/public-information/WCMS_393365/lang--en/index.htm.

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