Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Western Sahara

Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

Western Sahara

2016 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

Significant Advancement

In 2016, Morocco, which administers an estimated 80 percent of the territory of the Western Sahara, made a significant advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor in the portion of Western Sahara it controls. The Government of Morocco passed the Law on Trafficking in Human Beings, improving protections for children vulnerable to trafficking, and the Law on Setting Up Employment Conditions of Domestic Workers, limiting the employment of children between the ages of 16 and 18 for domestic work. The Government also launched an implementation plan for the Integrated Public Policy on the Protection of Children in Morocco, which aims to protect children from the worst forms of child labor. In addition, the Government continued to fund the Tayssir Conditional Cash Transfer Program, providing direct cash transfers of between $7 and $16 a month to qualifying families whose children meet school attendance criteria. Although research is limited, there is evidence that children in Western Sahara perform dangerous tasks in agriculture. Furthermore, the Government of Morocco has programs that target child labor; however, the scope of these programs is insufficient to fully address the extent of the problem.

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Although research is limited, there is evidence that children in Western Sahara perform dangerous tasks in agriculture.(1) In general, research has not been conducted on the extent of child labor in Western Sahara, nor has research explored education levels. Data on key indicators on children's work and education are not available from the sources used in this report.(2)

Commercial sexual exploitation of migrant girls occurs and is reportedly more prevalent in fishing villages and on fishing boats. Some children with disabilities beg in the streets.(3) Children, particularly in rural areas, are vulnerable to child labor due to similar barriers to educational opportunities faced in internationally recognized Morocco.(4)

The Moroccan-administered portion of the territory of Western Sahara is subject to the same laws as internationally recognized Morocco.(5-9) The Popular Front for the Liberation of the Saguia el-Hamra and Río de Oro (Polisario Front), a Sahrawi national liberation movement, controls the remaining 20 percent of the territory; information on the laws applicable in this sparsely populated area is unavailable.(1, 6, 10) Morocco has ratified all key international conventions concerning child labor, which extend to the areas in Western Sahara administered by the Government of Morocco (Table 1).

Table 1. 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 of Morocco has established laws and regulations related to child labor, including its worst forms (Table 2). However, gaps exist in Morocco's legal framework to adequately protect children from child labor.

Table 2. Laws and Regulations on Child Labor

Standard

Meets International Standards: Yes/No

Age

Legislation

Minimum Age for Work

Yes

15

Article 143 of the Labor Code (11)

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

Yes

18

Articles 147 and 181 of the Labor Code (11)

Identification of Hazardous Occupations or Activities Prohibited for Children

Yes

 

Hazardous Child Labor List, Decree No. 2-10-183; Article 181 of the Labor Code (11, 12)

Prohibition of Forced Labor

Yes

 

Article 10 of the Labor Code (11)

Prohibition of Child Trafficking

Yes

 

Article 448.1, 448.4, and 448.5 of the Law on Trafficking in Human Beings (13)

Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Yes

 

Article 503 of the Penal Code (14)

Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities

No

 

 

Minimum Age for Military Recruitment

 

 

 

State Compulsory

N/A*

 

 

State Voluntary

Yes

18

Article 4 of Royal Decree of 9 June 1966 (15)

Non-state Compulsory

Yes

18

Articles 448.1 and 448.4 of the Law on Trafficking in Human Beings (13)

Compulsory Education Age

Yes

15

Article 1 of Law No. 04-00 (16)

Free Public Education

Yes

 

Article 1 of Law No. 04-00 (16)

* No conscription (17)

In 2016, the Government of Morocco passed the Law on Trafficking in Human Beings, which is consistent with the Palermo Protocol and other international agreements.(13, 18) The Government also passed a law that provides protections for child domestic workers, setting the minimum age at 16 for domestic work; permits labor inspectors to mediate disputes between employers and domestic workers; and authorizes the Government to prosecute intermediaries who traffic children for labor exploitation.(18-20) The types of hazardous work prohibited for children do not fully cover sectors in which child labor is known to occur, and sectors in which work may be undertaken in conditions that harm children's health, safety, and morals.(12)

The Government of Morocco has established institutional mechanisms for the enforcement of laws and regulations on child labor, including its worst forms (Table 3). Information about labor law and criminal law enforcement in Western Sahara is unavailable.

Table 3. Agencies Responsible for Child Labor Law Enforcement

Organization/Agency

Role

Ministry of Employment and Social Affairs

Enforce child labor laws and oversee programs on child labor through its child labor task force. Employ labor inspectors in 51 inspectorates across Morocco; dedicate at least one of the 53 child labor inspectors to each inspectorate.(1, 21-23) Provide occupational health and safety services, administer social security, and organize labor inspections and employment services through nationwide satellite offices.(22)

Ministry of the Interior

Enforce prohibitions on prostitution and other exploitive crimes involving minors, as established in the Penal Code.(21, 24)

Ministry of Justice and Liberties

Prosecute criminal offenses against children, such as commercial sexual exploitation and child trafficking, and violations of labor laws.(21, 25) The Ministry's Child Labor Units process cases involving women and children within the court system.(26)

 

The Government of Morocco has established mechanisms to coordinate its efforts to address child labor, including its worst forms (Table 4).

Table 4. Key Mechanisms to Coordinate Government Efforts on Child Labor

Coordinating Body

Role & Description

Technical Committee Under the Special Ministerial Commission for the Protection and Improvement of Childhood

Ensure inter-sectoral coordination and monitoring of the implementation of international conventions on the issue of children through a committee of 25 government bodies, chaired by the President of the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco. Establish strategies and mechanisms to implement national policies and plans in the area of child protection and in coordination efforts managed primarily at the local and regional levels.(23, 27, 28)

Ministry of Employment and Social Affairs

Coordinate policies and efforts to combat child labor, providing guidance and limited funding to NGOs working against child labor through its Office for the Fight Against Child Labor.(22, 29, 30)

Ministry of Solidarity, Women, Family, and Social Development (MSWFSD)

Continue child protection and child labor elimination efforts. Increase children's access to education.(24, 31) Responsible for implementing the Integrated Public Policy on the Protection of Children.(21, 32) Support 142 Child Reception Centers that provide services to child victims of violence.(23)

Ministry in Charge of Residents and Migration Affairs

Coordinate efforts to reduce migrant vulnerability to child labor. Promote migrant children's access to public education facilities in addition to other social services and assistance.(22, 23, 33)

Ministry of National Educational and Vocational Training (MONEVT)

Provide education and job training to former child workers, including former child domestic workers and migrant youth.(21, 23)

 

The Government of Morocco has established policies related to child labor, including its worst forms (Table 5).

Table 5. Key Policies Related to Child Labor

Policy

Description

MSWFSD's Integrated Public Policy on the Protection of Children in Morocco (PPIPEM)

Promotes an interdisciplinary approach to respond to child exploitation, among other issues.(212232) In 2016, MSWFSD presented a National Implementation Program that defines the necessary measures to reach the five strategic objectives of the PPIPEM and the responsibilities of each Government of Morocco entity, including deadlines, and monitoring and evaluation indicators.(934)

 

The Government of Morocco has not included child labor elimination and prevention strategies into the National Migration Strategy and the UNDAF.(2226303536)

In 2016, the Government of Morocco funded and participated in programs that include the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor, including its worst forms, which extended to Western Sahara (Table 6).

Table 6. Key Social Programs to Address Child Labor‡

Program

Description

Tayssir Conditional Cash Transfer Program†

MONEVT program that provides direct cash transfers of between $7 and $16 a month to qualifying families whose children meet school attendance criteria and that aims to increase school enrollment and reduce dropout rates, particularly in rural areas, with 832,500 beneficiaries in 2015–2016 and an estimated 2016–2017 budget of $77.7 million.(18222432343738)

† Program is funded by the Government of Morocco.
‡ The Government of Morocco had other social programs that may have included the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor, including its worst forms.(89223034)

Based on the reporting above, suggested actions are identified that would advance the elimination of child labor, including its worst forms, in Western Sahara (Table 7).

Table 7. Suggested Government Actions to Eliminate Child Labor, Including its Worst Forms

Area

Suggested Action

Year(s) Suggested

Legal Framework

Ensure that laws prohibit children from being used, procured, or offered for the production and trafficking of drugs.

2014 – 2016

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

2016

Government Policies

Continue integration of child labor elimination and prevention strategies into the National Migration Strategy and UNDAF policies.

2016

Social Programs

Conduct a comprehensive study of children's work activities to determine whether they are engaged in or at risk of being involved in child labor, and determine the number of child laborers.

2013 – 2016

Remove barriers to rural children's ability to access educational opportunities.

2015 – 2016

1.         U.S. Department of State. "Western Sahara," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2015. Washington, DC; April 13, 2016; https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/253165.pdf.

2.         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 on sources used, the definition of working children and other indicators used in this report, please see the “Children's Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions” in the Reference Materials section of this report.

3.         UN Human Rights Council. Report of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo: Visit to Morocco. Geneva, UN Human Rights Council; April 1, 2014. Report No. A/HRC/26/37/Add.3. http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session26/Documents/A-HRC-26-37-Add3_en.doc.

4.         UN Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights. Concluding observations on the fourth periodic report of Morocco. Geneva; October 22, 2015. Report No. E/C.12/MAR/CO/4. http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=E/C.12/MAR/CO/4&Lang=En.

5.         Human Rights Watch. "Morocco/Western Sahara," in World Report 2014. New York City; 2014; http://www.hrw.org/world-report/2014/country-chapters/moroccowestern-sahara.

6.         Longoria, Á. "Sons of the Clouds, The Last Colony," Candescent Films; February 16, 2012; 1 hr., 21 min., 23 sec., documentary; [cited August 30, 2016]; https://vimeo.com/61751899.

7.         Kouddous, S.A. "Letter From Western Sahara, a Land Under Occupation." The Nation, New York City, November 4, 2013. http://www.thenation.com/article/176968/letter-western-sahara-land-under-occupation#.

8.         U.S. Consulate- Casablanca. reporting, January 26, 2016.

9.         U.S. Consulate- Casablanca. reporting, January 17, 2017.

10.       CIA. The World Factbook, [online] [cited December 22 2016]; https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/wi.html Data provided is the most recent estimate of the country's total labor force. This number is used to calculate a "sufficient number" of labor inspectors based on the country's level of development, as determined by the UN.

11.       Government of the Kingdom of Morocco. Dahir n° 1-03-194 du 14 rejeb 1424 (11 septembre 2003) portant promulgation de la loi n° 65-99 relative au code du travail, No. 1-03-194, enacted 2004. http://www.ilo.org/dyn/travail/docs/450/Maroc%20-%20Code%20travail.pdf.

12.       Government of the Kingdom of Morocco. Décret no 2-10-183 du 9 hija 1431 (16 novembre 2010) fixant la liste des travaux auxquels il est interdit d'occuper certaines catégories de personnes, No. 2-10-183 enacted 2010. [Source on file].

13.       Government of the Kingdom of Morocco. Loi no 27-14 relative à la lutte contre la traite des êtres humains, No. 27-14, enacted 2016. http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/ELECTRONIC/103357/125489/F1582466313/MAR-103357.pdf.

14.       Government of Morocco. Code Penal, enacted 1962. http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=190447.

15.       Government of the Kingdom of Morocco. Décret royal n° 137-66 du 20 safar 1386 (9 juin 1966) portant  loi relatif à l'institution et à l'organisation du service militaire, enacted 1966. http://adala.justice.gov.ma/production/html/Fr/93248.htm.

16.       Government of the Kingdom of Morocco. Loi n° 04-00 modifiant et complétant le dahir n°1-63-071 du 25 joumada II 1383 (13 novembre 1963) relatif à l’obligation de l’enseignement fondamental, No. 04-00, enacted 2000. [Source on file].

17.       Child Soldiers International. "Appendix II: Data Summary Table on Recruitment Ages of National Armies," in Louder than Words: An agenda for action to end state use of child soldiers. London; 2012; https://www.child-soldiers.org/Handlers/Download.ashx?IDMF=da92581e-7130-40e6-bf3a-a86b944f17dd.

18.       U.S. Consulate- Casablanca. reporting, September 26, 2016.

19.       Government of the Kingdom of Morocco. Loi no 12-19 relative aux conditions d’emploi des travailleurs domestiques, No. 12-19, enacted 2016. [Source on file].

20.       Human Rights Watch. "Morocco: New Law Advances Domestic Workers’ Rights: Key Protections, but Significant Gaps Remain." hrw.org [online] August 1, 2016 [cited November 9, 2016]; https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/08/01/morocco-new-law-advances-domestic-workers-rights.

21.       U.S. Consulate- Casablanca. Trafficking in Persons reporting, January 28, 2016.

22.       U.S. Consulate- Casablanca. reporting, January 15, 2015.

23.       U.S. Consulate- Casablanca official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. June 6, 2017.

24.       U.S. Consulate- Casablanca. reporting, January 30, 2013.

25.       U.S. Consulate- Casablanca. reporting, January 19, 2012.

26.       U.S. Consulate- Casablanca. Trafficking in Persons reporting, February 15, 2015.

27.       Government of the Kingdom of Morocco. Politique Publique Intégrée de Protection de l'Enfance 2015–2025Ministère de la Solidarité de la Femme de la Famille et du Développement Social; 2016. [Source on file].

28.       Government of the Kingdom of Morocco. Programme national de mise en oeuvre de la politique Publique Intégrée pour la Protection de l’Enfance 2015–2020Ministère de la Solidarité de la Femme de la Famille et du Développement Social; 2016. [Source on file].

29.       U.S. Consulate- Casablanca. reporting, December 4, 2014.

30.       U.S. Consulate- Casablanca. reporting, January 16, 2014.

31.       Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco- Washington, DC, official. Fax communication to USDOL official. March 9, 2014.

32.       Government of the Kingdom of Morocco. Données relatives au questionnaire du département d'Etat Américain sur la traite des êtres humains et le travail des enfants au titre de l'année 2014 et 2015. Submitted in response to U.S. Department of Labor Federal Register Notice (October 27, 2015) "Request for Information on Efforts by Certain Countries to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor"; February 17, 2016.

33.       U.S. Consulate Casablanca official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. February 15, 2017.

34.       Government of the Kingdom of Morocco. Les éléments de réponse au questionnaire émanant de l'Ambassade des Etats-Unis d'Amérique. Submitted in response to U.S. Department of Labor Federal Register Notice (September 6, 2016) "Request for Information on Efforts by Certain Countries to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor"; February 24, 2017. [Source on file].

35.       UNDAF. Plan Cadre des Nations Unis d'Aide au Developpement 2012–2016. Action Plan. Rabat; 2011. https://www.unicef.org/about/execboard/files/Morocco-UNDAF_2017-2021.pdf.

36.       U.S. Consulate- Casablanca official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. February 18, 2015.

37.       Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco- Washington, DC, official. Fax communication to USDOL official. February 3, 2012.

38.       Ali, S. "Education assistance pays off in Morocco." moroccoworldnews.com [online] November 3, 2012 [cited August 30, 2016]; http://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2012/11/63557/education-assistance-pays-off-in-morocco/.

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