Last Updated: Thursday, 29 September 2016, 13:45 GMT

2005 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Chad

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 29 August 2006
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2005 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Chad, 29 August 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d748e243.html [accessed 30 September 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Selected Child Labor Measures Adopted by Governments
Ratified Convention 138     3/21/2005
Ratified Convention 182     11/6/2000
ILO-IPEC Member 
National Plan for Children
National Child Labor Action Plan 
Sector Action Plan (Commercial Sexual Exploitation)

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

An estimated 53 percent of children ages 5 to 14 years were counted as working in Chad in 2004. Approximately 56.1 percent of boys ages 5 to 14 years were working compared to 49.7 percent of girls in the same age group.1023 Children work in agriculture throughout the country, and as smugglers, street vendors, manual laborers, iron workers and blacksmiths, helpers in small shops and domestic servants.1024 There have been reports of children being contracted out by their parents to nomadic herders to tend their animals.1025 A 2003 study estimated that many Chadian children live and work on the streets and often fall victim to violence, including sexual exploitation.1026

Chad is a country of origin and destination for trafficking in children. Children are trafficked to Chad from Cameroon, Togo, Benin, and Central African Republic and from Chad to Nigeria.1027 Girls are trafficked for prostitution in the oil-producing area of Doba, and into domestic servitude in urban areas.1028 According to a 2005 UNICEF survey in N'Djamena, 62 percent of child domestic workers between the ages of 5 and 18 are boys.1029 Young girls migrate to N'Djamena from southern Chad to earn money to buy household goods in preparation for marriage in the villages.1030 Children are also sold into forced labor by their families to work in farming and herding.1031 There are reports that mahadjir children, who attend Islamic schools, are forced by their teachers to beg for food and money.1032 In 2003, UNICEF estimated 600 child soldiers to be in the country. There have been no reports of further recruitment of children for use as soldiers.1033

Article 35 of the Constitution provides that citizens are entitled to free education and training and education is compulsory for children starting at the age of 6 years for a period of 9 years. However, the government is unable to adequately fund education, and parents in practice make significant payments for tuition and teacher salaries.1034 In 2002, the gross primary enrollment rate was 76 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 61 percent.1035 Gross and net enrollment ratios are based on the number of students formally registered in primary school and therefore do not necessarily reflect actual school attendance. In 2004, 39.6 percent of children ages 5 to 14 years were attending school.1036 Educational opportunities for girls are limited, mainly due to cultural traditions. Fewer girls enroll in secondary school than boys, primarily due to early marriage.1037 In 1999, 54.0 percent of children starting primary school primary school reached grade 5.1038

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Labor Code sets the minimum age for employment in Chad at 14 years and the minimum age for apprenticeships at 13 years, but according to the State Department, the law is not enforced due to lack of resources.1039 According to the labor law, children under 18 years are prohibited from doing work that is likely to harm their health, safety, or morals. The minimum age for dangerous work is set at 18 years.1040 Also, children younger than 18 years are prohibited from working at night.1041

The worst forms of child labor may be prosecuted under different statutes in Chad. The Penal Code prohibits trafficking. Child traffickers are subject to a punishment of from six months to life in prison with hard labor and fines ranging from 100,000 to two million CFA (USD 180 to 3,600).1042 Revisions in the Penal Code in 2004 established new penalties for the prostitution of a minor, ranging from two months to ten years of imprisonment and fines from 50,000 to one million CFA (USD 90 to 1,800).1043 The Labor Code prohibits forced and bonded labor.1044 Children must be at least 18 years old to volunteer for the armed forces and 20 years to be conscripted.1045 Since 1999, the Government of Chad has submitted to the ILO a list or an equivalent document identifying the types of work that it has determined are harmful to the health, safety or morals of children under Convention 182 or Convention 138.1046

In 2004, there were 30 labor inspectors in Chad, and the government reportedly investigates only10 to 15 child labor cases each year.1047 The government's ability to effectively investigate and prosecute child labor violations is hampered by a lack of training and resources.1048

Current Government Policies and Programs to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor

The Government of Chad is revising its legal code to conform with the requirements of ILO Convention 138 on the Minimum Age for Employment and ILO Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labor.1049 These changes include increasing the penalties for both employing children under the age of 14 and the prostitution of minors.

The Government of Chad is working with UNICEF to implement a program to reduce the prevalence of young children working in domestic service.1050 In February 2005, a UNICEF-funded survey of child domestic workers between the ages of five and eighteen was released. The survey recommended that the Government of Chad combat child labor by providing universal access to free education, stabilizing family situations, enforcing government regulations prohibiting child work, launching a multi-ministerial child labor awareness raising campaign and implementing protection measures, such as centers for exploited children.1051

The government is focusing its efforts on preventing trafficking.1052 In January 2005, the Ministry of Justice held a public sensitization conference on trafficking in persons.1053 The Government of Chad has a national action plan to combat child sexual exploitation. Local officials in Kome and the State of Doba have made efforts to address the commercial sexual exploitation of children in communities surrounding oil-producing facilities.1054

The Ministries of Labor and Justice conducted awareness campaigns and training seminars on the worst forms of child labor for religious leaders, traditional chiefs, and parliamentarians. In March, 2005 the Governor of Moyen Chari raised awareness about the dangers of child labor in the herding sector.1055 During the year, 256 child herders in forced labor were rescued by non-governmental organizations, local authorities and religious institutions. Other children involved in exploitative child labor were rescued by military, police and non-governmental organizations.1056

On March 21, 2005, the Government of Chad ratified ILO Convention 138 on the Minimum Age for Employment.1057

With support from the World Bank, the government is implementing an Education Sector Reform Project. The project's main objectives for improving basic education are to promote gender and geographic equity; enable communities to repair school infrastructure; enhance quality of teaching and the educational environment; and create programs for literacy, early childhood development, school health and nutrition, non-formal education, bilingual education, and interactive radio instruction.1058 The government also has an Education for All plan that includes among its objectives ensuring free and compulsory primary education for all children, particularly girls, by 2015, and eliminating gender and ethnic disparities in education.1059


1023 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, "Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates," (October 7, 2005). Reliable data on the worst forms of child labor are especially difficult to collect given the often hidden or illegal nature of the worst forms, such as the use of children in the illegal drug trade, prostitution, pornography, and trafficking. As a result, statistics and information on children's work in general are reported in this section. Such statistics and information may or may not include the worst forms of child labor. For more information on the definition of working children and other indicators used in this report, please see the section in the front of the report titled "Data Sources and Definitions."

1024 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices-2004: Chad, Washington, D.C., February 28, 2005, Section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2004/41595.htm. Daniel Deuzoumbe Passalet, Etude sure les efforts du gouvernement tchadien dans la lutte contre les pires formes du travail des enfants au Tchad, Droits de L'Homme San Frontieres, 2005.

1025 These children are often abused and poorly compensated. Their families benefit by receiving livestock in exchange for their children's labor. U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2005: Chad, Section 6d.

1026 One researcher estimates that approximately 11,000 children lived on the streets in the country. See Daniel Deuzoumbe Passalet, A Situational Analysis of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Chad, online, in ECPAT International, March, 2003; available from http://www.ecpat.net/eng/Ecpat_inter/projects/monitoring/rabat/index.asp.

1027 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report, Washington, D.C., June 3, 2005; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/200546613.htm. See also Deuzoumbe Passalet, Chad CSE Report.

1028 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report.

1029 U.S. Embassy – N'Djamena, reporting, March 14, 2005.

1030 Ibid.

1031 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2005: Chad. In 2004, aid workers in Chad estimated that families have sold as many as 2,000 children as young as 8 into forced labor as cattle herders.

1032 Ibid., Section 5.

1033 Ibid., Section 5.

1034 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of State Parties due in 1992: Chad, CRC/C/3/Add.50, prepared by Government of the Republic of Chad, pursuant to Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, July 1997, para.42, 155; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/CRC.C.3.Add.50.En?OpenDocument. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2005: Chad, Section 5.

1035 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, http://stats.uis.unesco.org/TableViewer/tableView.aspx?ReportId=51 (Gross and Net Enrolment Ratios, Primary; accessed December 2005).

1036 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, "Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates."

1037 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2005: Chad, Section 5.

1038 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, http://stats.uis.unesco.org/TableViewer/tableView.aspx?ReportId=55 (School life expectancy, % of repeaters, survival rates; accessed December 2005).

1039 Code du travail tchadien, Loi No. 038/PR/96, (December 11, 1996), Article 18; available from http://www.cefod.org/Fichiers%20web/Code%20du%20travail%20tchadien.htm. See also, U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2005: Chad, Section 6d.

1040 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2005: Chad, Section 6d. See UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of States Parties: Chad, para. 197.

1041 The Labor Code also stipulates that workers under 18 get a break of at least 12 consecutive hours daily, and that they, as well as apprentices, are entitled to Sundays off. See Code du travail tchadien, Article 206.

1042 U.S. Embassy – N'Djamena, reporting, March 14, 2005. Currency conversion as of December 31, 2005, available from: www.oanda.com.

1043 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2005: Chad, Section 5 and U.S. Embassy – N'Djamena, reporting, March 14, 2005. Currency conversion as of December 31, 2005, available from: www.oanda.com.

1044 Code du travail tchadien, Article 5.

1045 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Chad," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004 London, 2004.

1046 ILO-IPEC official, email communication to USDOL official, November 14, 2005.

1047 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2005: Chad, Section 6d.

1048 U.S. Embassy – N'Djamena, reporting, March 14, 2005.

1049 Ibid.

1050 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report.

1051 U.S. Embassy – N'Djamena, reporting, March 14, 2005.

1052 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2005: Chad, Section 5.

1053 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report.

1054 Ibid.

1055 Ibid.

1056 U.S. Embassy – N'Djamena, reporting, September 7, 2005.

1057 International Labor Organization, Ratifications of Fundamantal Human Rights Conventions by Country, 2005 [cited June 24, 2005]; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/docs/declprint.htm.

1058 The 4-year project was funded in March 2003. See World Bank, Education Sector Reform Project, [cited June 24, 2005]; available from http://web.worldbank.org/external/projects/main?pagePK=104231&piPK=73230&theSitePK=40941&menuPK= 228424&Projectid=P000527.

1059 Republique du Tchad, Plan d'Action National de l'Education Pour Tous (PAN/EPT) à l'An 2015, N'Djamena, September 2002; available from http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/file_download.php/4fd50d0a00ae2dd01bdfc15af720eb17PNAEPT_CHAD.doc.

Search Refworld

Countries