Last Updated: Monday, 30 November 2015, 08:01 GMT

2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Samoa

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 27 August 2008
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Samoa, 27 August 2008, available at: [accessed 30 November 2015]
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 Labor2984
Working children, 5-14 years (%):
Working boys, 5-14 years (%):
Working girls, 5-14 years (%):
Working children by sector, 5-14 years (%):
     – Agriculture
     – Manufacturing
     – Services
     – Other
Minimum age for work:15
Compulsory education age:14
Free public education:No
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:100
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2004:90
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%):
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2000:94
ILO-IPEC participating country:No

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children work as street vendors in Apia, Samoa's capital, and in other outlying areas.2985 Children in rural areas work on village farms, and those who do not work willingly may be compelled to do so by village chiefs (matai).2986 Children also work as domestics in private homes and may work long hours that prevent them from attending school.2987

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age of employment at 15 years, except for safe and light work suited to the capacity of the child, as determined by the Commissioner of Labor. Children under 15 years may not work with dangerous machinery, in any occupation or place where working conditions are likely to be harmful to their physical or moral health, or on any vessel not under the personal charge of a parent or guardian.2988 The law does not state an absolute minimum age for light work, nor does the law include employment restrictions on children between the ages of 15 to 18 years.2989 Since Samoan labor laws cover only employees with a fixed place of employment, the Government has not determined whether street vending and other outdoor work by children is illegal.2990 Violations of child labor laws are punishable by fines.2991

Samoan law prohibits forced or compulsory labor, but this provision does not cover work or service required by Samoan custom.2992 The crime of inducing a female of any age into sexual relations with any male through fraudulent means is punishable by up to 5 years of imprisonment.2993 Soliciting or procuring a female of any age for prostitution or benefiting from the earnings thereof are crimes punishable by 3 years of imprisonment.2994 The abduction of any child under 16 years, or transporting or detaining a woman or girl with intent to cause her to have sexual relations with anyone, is punishable by up to 7 years of imprisonment.2995 Kidnapping any person with the intent to transport the individual out of the country or hold the individual for service is a crime punishable by up to 10 years of imprisonment.2996 There is no minimum age of conscription as there are no armed forces maintained by the Government of Samoa.2997

The Ministry of Labor sends complaints of illegal child labor to the Attorney General for enforcement. No cases of child labor were prosecuted during 2007.2998

Current Government Efforts to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor

The Ministry of Women, Community, and Social Development has implemented a program called "Protection of Children" to educate villagers on issues related to child protection, including child labor and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.2999

2984 For statistical data not cited here, see the Data Sources and Definitions section. For data on ratifications and ILO-IPEC membership, see the Executive Summary. For minimum age for admission to work, age to which education is compulsory, and free public education, see Government of Samoa, Labour and Employment Act, (1972), article 32; available from See also U.S. Department of State, "Samoa," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2007, Washington, DC, March 11, 2008, section 5; available from

2985 U.S. Embassy – Apia, reporting, December 2, 2007, para B.

2986 Ibid.

2987 Ibid. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of State Parties due in 1996: Samoa, February 16, 2006, 90; available from$FI LE/G0640507.pdf. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention: Concluding Observations: Samoa, October 16, 2006, para 54-55; available from

2988 Government of Samoa, Labour and Employment Act, article 32.

2989 Ibid.

2990 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Samoa," section 6d.

2991 Government of Samoa, Labour and Employment Act, article 41.

2992 Government of Samoa, Constitution of the Independent State of Western Samoa 1960, (January 1, 1962), article 8; available from

2993 Government of Samoa, Crimes Ordinance 1961, (December 16, 1961), article 55 and 58; available from

2994 Ibid., article 58L-M.

2995 Ibid., article 83B.

2996 Ibid., article 83A.

2997 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Samoa," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, 2004; available from

2998 U.S. Embassy – Apia, reporting, December 2, 2007, para B. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Samoa," section 6d.

2999 U.S. Embassy – Apia, reporting, December 2, 2007, para C.

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