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Middle East & North Africa


2012 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor


2012 Regional Outlook

Meaningful efforts:

  • Improved legal and policy frameworks.

Challenges and existing gaps:

  • Economic and political instability as a risk factor for an increase in child labor.
  • Lack of data on the prevalence of the worst forms of child labor, which may impede implementation of child labor elimination efforts.
  • Lack of effective enforcement of child labor laws.

2012 Assessment Breakdown

Region Summary

In the Middle East and North Africa there are 9.2 million child laborers. While some governments in the region aim to address the worst forms of child labor through their legal and policy frameworks, as well as data collection and dissemination efforts, economic and political instability and insecurity have affected the nature of child labor across the region.

In Iraq, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Yemen children continue to be directly engaged in armed conflict. Reports from Egypt and Tunisia suggest that due in large part to economic instability since the revolutions of 2011, there has been an increase in the number of children working on the street. In addition, street children in Egypt have been exploited as paid fighters during violent protests. In Jordan, Syrian refugee children work long hours in the informal economy in and around the refugee camps. Palestinian children in Lebanon are sometimes employed as guards at checkpoints within refugee camps. Continued instability may reduce the capacity of governments to address child labor issues within an environment of ongoing political transition and economic crisis. However, the full effects of instability and insecurity on child labor in the region are as yet unclear.  Read More