Last Updated: Thursday, 17 April 2014, 13:11 GMT

2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Zambia

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 31 August 2007
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Zambia, 31 August 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d7495d5.html [accessed 21 April 2014]
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 Statistics and Indicators on Child Labor
Percent of children 5-14 estimated as working in 1999:11.2%4518
Minimum age for admission to work:154519
Age to which education is compulsory:Not compulsory4520
Free public education:Yes4521*
Gross primary enrollment rate in 2004:99%4522
Net primary enrollment rate in 2004:80%4523
Percent of children 5-14 attending school in 1999:52.8%4524
As of 2001, percent of primary school entrants likely to reach grade 5:98%4525
Ratified Convention 138:2/9/19764526
Ratified Convention 182:12/10/20014527
ILO-IPEC Participating Country:Yes4528
* Must pay for school supplies and related items.

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 1999, approximately 11.5 percent of boys and 10.8 percent of girls ages 5 to 14 were working in Zambia. The majority of working children in Zambia, or approximately 90.1 percent, are found in the agricultural sector, followed by approximately 9.1 percent in services, 0.5 percent in manufacturing, and 0.3 percent in other sectors.4529 Children work in agriculture, domestic service, and transportation.4530 In urban areas, children work in street vending.4531 Children also work in hazardous industries and occupations, including stone crushing, construction,4532 and mining.4533

It is estimated that there are approximately 20,000 to 30,000 street children throughout the country.4534 Commercial sexual exploitation of children is widespread in Zambia.4535 Zambian children are reportedly trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation, agricultural labor, and domestic servitude.4536

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age for employment at 15 years.4537 The law prohibits the worst forms of child labor including child prostitution, slavery in all of its forms, military conscription, and work harmful to the safety, health, or morals of children and young people.4538 However, children between 13 and 15 years are permitted to perform light work under certain conditions.4539 The law defines a child as a person under 15 years; a "young person" is defined as a person between 15 and 18 years.4540 A person violating these provisions is subject to imprisonment for up to 3 years.4541 In addition, the law makes it a felony for any person to sexually harass a child in the workplace or in a learning institution, with a minimum sentence of 3 years in prison for violators.4542

The law prohibits children who are "under the apparent age of 18" from being recruited into the military without the consent of a parent, guardian, or local District Secretary.4543 The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child voiced concern that the law is stated in terms of "apparent age," which could indirectly contribute to exploitive child labor in the form of underage recruitment.4544 Although Zambia does not have a comprehensive trafficking law, the law prohibits forced labor and trafficking of children.4545 The law prescribes a penalty of 20 years to life in prison for trafficking a child, but does not provide a definition of trafficking.4546

The Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MLSS) is responsible for enforcing labor laws,4547 and has established a child labor unit.4548 The MLSS conducts inspections of workplaces and investigates child labor complaints.4549 The law gives labor inspectors the authority to enter households and farms in order to investigate potential child labor violations. The law also allows the MLSS to bring child labor charges, which can result in a fine or imprisonment.4550 In 2006, the government nearly doubled the amount allocated to the child labor unit of the MLSS.4551 However, the U.S. Department of State reports that resources are still insufficient, which hinders the government's enforcement capacity.4552 In January 2007, the High Court found a man guilty of trafficking for attempting to sell his son; this conviction was the first under Zambia's trafficking law enacted in 2005.4553

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

The government included efforts to eliminate and monitor exploitive child labor in its national development plan that was finalized in June 2006.4554 The Government of Zambia developed a strategy to counter trafficking through awareness raising, legal reform, and research; it sought international funding to support these activities.4555 The government continued to provide awareness and training activities for officials tasked with enforcing child labor laws and began to train five labor inspectors as prosecutors.4556

The Zambian government is collaborating with Jesus Cares Ministries on the second phase of a USD 750,000 USDOL-funded Child Labor Education Initiative project that aims to withdraw and prevent 3,600 children from engaging in exploitive work through the provision of educational services.4557 In 2006, USDOL awarded ILO-IPEC a USD 3.92 million grant to assist the government with preparing a national Timebound Program against the worst forms of child labor.4558 The government is participating in a USDOL funded, ILO-IPEC USD 3 million program to combat and prevent HIV/AIDS-induced child labor in Uganda and Zambia.4559 The project aims to implement education and skills training opportunities for 3,600 children withdrawn from child labor and to prevent children from entering work situations through community-based social protection schemes.4560 The government also participated in a USDOL funded ILO-IPEC USD 5.3 million project to build the capacity of governments in Anglophone Africa, including Zambia, to withdraw and prevent children from the worst forms of child labor.4561 Approximately 3,643 children in Zambia were withdrawn or prevented from the worst forms of child labor during the life of the project, which ended in July 2006.4562

ILO-IPEC is also working with several African governments, including Zambia, on a USD 1.53 million, Canadian-funded project to enhance skill training to combat the worst forms of child labor in the urban informal sector.4563 In addition, the European Economic Community granted USD 257,000 to ILO-IPEC to conduct a study from July to December 2006 on the scale and nature of child trafficking in Zambia.4564

The government operates two camps for withdrawn and rehabilitated street children, and removed approximately 200 children as of the end of 2006.4565 The government is also implementing a program that provides education and skills training for children who have been removed from the streets, including prostitutes and older youth.4566 The government continues to work with NGOs to relocate street children and place them in educational settings.4567 It also continues to undertake awareness-raising activities to sensitize lawmakers, teachers, and trade union officials about child labor.4568 The government has sponsored efforts, such as articles and speeches by prominent citizens, to raise awareness about child domestic labor among local communities.4569

The Government of Zambia continues to implement its universal primary education program, called the Basic Education Sub-Sector Investment Program (BESSIP), with the support of USAID, the World Bank, and other donors.4570 BESSIP specifically targets working children.4571


4518 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates, March 1, 2007.

4519 Government of Zambia, Constitution of Zambia, Article 24; available from http://www.oefre.unibe.ch/law/icl/za00000_.html. See also Government of Zambia, Employment of Young Persons and Children Act (Amendment), 2004, Article 5, Section 4A. See also USAID official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, June 15, 2007.

4520 U.S. Department of State, "Zambia," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices-2006, Washington, DC, March 6, 2007, Section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78764.htm.

4521 Ibid.

4522 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Gross Enrolment Ratio. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/.

4523 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Net Enrolment Rate. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/.

4524 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates.

4525 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Survival Rate to Grade 5. Total, accessed December 18, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/.

4526 ILO, Ratifications by Country, accessed September 25, 2006; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/docs/declAFpr.htm.

4527 Ibid.

4528 ILO-IPEC, IPEC Action Against Child Labour, Highlights 2006, Geneva, October 2006; available from http://www.ilo.org/iloroot/docstore/ipec/prod/eng/20061019_Implementationreport_eng_Web.pdf.

4529 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates.

4530 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Zambia," Section 6d.

4531 Ibid.

4532 Ibid. See also ILO-IPEC and Republic of Zambia Central Statistics Office, Zambia 1999 Child Labor Survey: Country Report, ILO-IPEC, Lusaka, 2001, Tables 4.7 and 4.15. See also Ministry of Labour and Social Security of Zambia official, Efforts to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Zambia, Letter to USDOL official, June 6, 2001. See also U.S. Embassy – Lusaka, reporting, August 19, 2003.

4533 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Zambia," Section 6d. See also ILO, Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations: Individual Observation concerning Convention No. 138, Minimum Age, 1973 Zambia (ratification: 1976) Geneva, 2004; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/cgi-lex/pdconv.pl?host=status01&textbase=iloeng&document=7594&chapter=6&query=Zambia%40ref&highlight=.

4534 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Zambia," Section 5.

4535 Ibid. See also Integrated Regional Information Networks, "Zambia: Street Kids Open Their Minds to Govt Plan", IRINnews.org, [online], March 27, 2006 [cited October 16, 2006].

4536 U.S. Department of State, "Zambia (Tier 2 Watch List)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006, Washington, DC, June 5, 2006; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2006/65990.htm. See also U.S. Embassy – Lusaka, reporting, February 26, 2007.

4537 Government of Zambia, Constitution of Zambia, 1991, Article 24 See also Government of Zambia, Employment of Young Persons and Children Act (Amendment), Article 5, Section 4A.

4538 Government of Zambia, Employment of Young Persons and Children Act (Amendment), Para 3b.

4538 Ibid., Para. 5A2.

4540 Ibid., Paras. 3a and 3b. See also Government of Zambia, Employment of Young Persons and Children Act (Chapter 274 of the Laws of Zambia), Part I, Para. 2; available from http://annualreview.law.harvard.edu/population/countries/zambia/THE%20EMPLOYMENT%20OF%20YOU NG%20PERSONS%20AND%20CHILDREN%20ACT.htm.

4541 Government of Zambia, Employment of Young Persons and Children Act (Amendment), Para. 5A4.

4542 U.S. Embassy – Lusaka, reporting, January 17, 2007.

4543 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Zambia," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=966.

4544 Ibid.

4545 Government of Zambia, Constitution of Zambia, 1991, Articles 14, 24.

4546 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Zambia," Section 5.

4547 U.S. Embassy – Lusaka, reporting, January 17, 2007. See also U.S. Embassy – Lusaka, reporting, August 19, 2003.

4548 U.S. Embassy – Lusaka, reporting, August 19, 2003. See also Ministry of Labour and Social Security of Zambia official, Letter to USDOL official, June 6, 2001.

4549 U.S. Embassy – Lusaka, reporting, January 17, 2007. See also U.S. Embassy – Lusaka, reporting, August 19, 2003.

4550 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Zambia." See also U.S. Embassy – Lusaka, reporting, August 28, 2005.

4551 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Zambia," Section 6d.

4552 Ibid.

4553 U.S. Embassy – Lusaka, reporting, February 26, 2007.

4554 Government of the Republic of Zambia, Fifth National Development Plan, Lusaka, June 2006, 173-174; available from http://www.cspr.org.zm/Reports&Updates/FNDP.pdf.

4555 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Zambia."

4556 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Zambia," Section 6d.

4557 USDOL, Cooperative Agreement: Combating Exploitive Child Labor through Education in Zambia, Washington D.C., September 29, 2005.

4558 ILO-IPEC, Support to the Development and Implementation of Timebound Measures Against the WFCL in Zambia, project document, ZAM/06/P50/USA, Geneva, September 14, 2006, 5.

4559 ILO-IPEC, Combating and Preventing HIV/AIDS-induced Child Labour in Sub-Saharan Africa: Pilot Action in Uganda and Zambia, project document, RAF/04/P57/USA, Geneva, July 2004.

4560 Ibid.

4561 ILO-IPEC, Building the Foundations for Eliminating the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Anglophone Africa, project document, RAF/02/P51/USA, Geneva, September 24, 2002.

4562 ILO-IPEC, Building the Foundation for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Anglophone Africa: Zambia, technical progress report, RAF/02/P51/USA, Geneva, March 2, 2006.

4563 ILO-IPEC official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, November 16, 2006.

4564 Ibid.

4565 U.S. Embassy – - Lusaka, reporting, January 17, 2007. See also Jesus Cares Ministries, Combating Child Labour Through Education, technical progress report, Jesus Cares Ministries, Lusaka, March 30, 2006. See also U.S. Embassy – - Lusaka, reporting, January 17, 2007.

4566 Integrated Regional Information Networks, "Zambia: Street Kids". See also U.S. Embassy – Lusaka, reporting, August 28, 2005.

4567 U.S. Embassy – Lusaka, reporting, August 28, 2005.

4568 U.S. Embassy – Lusaka, reporting, August 24, 2004.

4569 Ibid. See also, Jesus Cares Ministries, JCM Progress Report, March 2006.

4570 USAID, "Zambia: Education", usaid.gov, [online], 2006 [cited October 16, 2006]; available from http://www.usaid.gov/zm/education/ed.htm. See also World Bank, The World Bank in Zambia; Country Brief 2005-2006, Washington D.C., 2006; available from http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTZAMBIA/Resources/Zambia_2005_7.pdf.

4571 See U.S. Embassy – Lusaka, E-mail communication to USDOL official, October 29, 2003.

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