Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 July 2014, 15:15 GMT

2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Central African Republic

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 10 September 2009
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Central African Republic, 10 September 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4aba3ee941.html [accessed 31 July 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
Population, children, 5-14 years, 2000:1,330,919
Working children, 5-14 years (%), 2000:61.1
Working boys, 5-14 years (%), 2000:60.4
Working girls, 5-14 years (%), 2000:61.7
Working children by sector, 5-14 years (%):
     – Agriculture
     – Manufacturing
     – Services
     – Other
Minimum age for work:14
Compulsory education age:16
Free public education:Yes*
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2007:70.7
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2007:53.8
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%), 2000:38.5
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2005:49.8
ILO Convention 138:6/28/2000
ILO Convention 182:6/28/2000
CRC:4/23/1992
CRCOPAC:No
CRCOPSC:No
Palermo:10/6/2006**
ILO-IPEC participating country:No

* In practice, must pay for various school expenses

** Accession

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Working children in the Central African Republic may be found particularly in rural areas, where they are involved in agriculture, including on coffee plantations. Children also work in domestic service, fishing, hunting, and mining. Children work in the diamond industry, transporting and washing gravel, and in gold mining, digging holes and carrying heavy loads. It has been reported that children are also employed in public works projects.

Children from some indigenous groups are forced into agricultural, domestic, and other forms of labor by other ethnic groups. Street children, particularly in the capital Bangui, are engaged in various economic activities, including vending and begging. Some children, including street children, abandoned children, and those dwelling in urban areas, are involved in prostitution.

Displaced children work in fields for long hours in conditions of extreme heat, harvesting peanuts and cassava, and helping gather items that are sold at markets, such as mushrooms, hay, firewood, and caterpillars. Displaced children have also been forced to work as porters, carrying stolen goods for bandit groups. Children, including displaced children, have been recruited as child soldiers into armed forces by rebel groups, self-defense militias, and government forces. Children have also been reportedly trafficked to Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo for purposes of child soldiering by the Lord's Resistance Army.

Most trafficking of children in the Central African Republic is internal, with children trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation; domestic service; and work in agriculture, restaurants or markets, and mining, including diamond mines. Children are also trafficked to and from Benin, Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Children from Rwanda are also reportedly trafficked to the Central African Republic.

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age for employment at 14 years, including for apprenticeships. However, children who are at least 12 years may engage in light work, such as traditional agriculture or domestic services. Children of less than 18 years are prohibited from working between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. or performing certain kinds of work – including work in mines – that involves carrying heavy loads. The law permits a labor inspector to require young workers to undergo a medical examination to determine whether the work in which they are employed exceeds their physical strength. The Mining Code prohibits a company or parent from employing children in mining. Violators of this law are subject to imprisonment of 6 months to 3 years and/or a fine.

Forced labor is prohibited under the law. The minimum age for compulsory or voluntary recruitment into the Armed Forces is 18 years.

The Penal Code prohibits procurement for sexual purposes or profiting from prostitution. Those found guilty face sentences from 1 month and a day to 1 year and/or a fine. If the victim was under 15 years, the sentence is from 1 to 5 years with a higher fine. The law also establishes a higher penalty if a school official commits a sex offense involving a female student; this penalty includes imprisonment from 2 to 5 years and a fine. The law also prohibits promoting or encouraging the debauchery or corruption of young persons, which the law defines as persons under 15 years of age. Those found guilty of violating this law face penalties of imprisonment from 1 to 5 years and/or a fine.

The law does not specifically prohibit trafficking, but traffickers can be prosecuted under anti-slavery laws, laws against sexual exploitation, mandatory school-age laws, the labor code, and laws against prostitution. In addition, the law establishes a penalty of imprisonment from 5 to 10 years for any person who abducts or causes the abduction of a child younger than 15 years, with forced labor as part of the sentence if the child was 12 years or younger.

However, according to USDOS, the Ministry did not enforce these laws.

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

During 2008, the Central African Republic reported that it piloted a Youth Development Program for street children in Boda, a sub-prefecture. The Government, assisted by the Central African Human Rights Observatory, conducted a trafficking awareness seminar for NGOs, women's organizations, and government ministries.

The Government of the Central African Republic has made efforts to demobilize child soldiers with the support of international agencies.

The Central African Republic was 1 of 24 countries to adopt the Multilateral Cooperative Agreement to Combat Trafficking in Persons and the Joint Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, in West and Central African Regions. As part of the regional Multilateral Cooperation Agreement to Combat Trafficking in Persons, the Government of the Central African Republic agreed to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenders; to rehabilitate and reintegrate trafficking victims; and to assist fellow signatory countries to implement these measures under the Agreement.

Labor Inspection, a unit of the Ministry of Civil Service, Labor, and Social Security, has the authority to implement and enforce child labor laws. However, according to USDOS, the Ministry did not enforce these laws.

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

During 2008, the Central African Republic reported that it piloted a Youth Development Program for street children in Boda, a sub-prefecture. The Government, assisted by the Central African Human Rights Observatory, conducted a trafficking awareness seminar for NGOs, women's organizations, and government ministries.

The Government of the Central African Republic has made efforts to demobilize child soldiers with the support of international agencies.

Search Refworld