Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 July 2014, 14:56 GMT

2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Guinea

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 22 September 2005
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Guinea, 22 September 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48c8ca593c.html [accessed 23 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 Child Labor Measures Adopted by Governments
Ratified Convention 138 6/6/2003X
Ratified Convention 182 6/6/2003X
ILO-IPEC MemberX
National Plan for Children 
National Child Labor Action Plan 
Sector Action Plan 

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

The ILO estimated that 29.9 percent of children ages 10 to 14 years in Guinea were working in 2002.[1843] Children begin working beside their parents at a young age, often at 5 years in rural areas.[1844] The majority of working children are found in the domestic or informal sectors, carrying out activities such as subsistence farming, petty commerce, fishing, and small-scale mining.[1845] Children also work in gold and diamond mines, granite and sand quarries, and as apprentices to mechanics, electricians, and plumbers, among other professions.[1846] Children are also found working on the streets selling cheap goods for traders, carrying baggage, or shining shoes.[1847]

Children are reported to work in the commercial sex industry.[1848] Guinea is a source, transit and destination country for trafficking in persons, including children, for sexual exploitation and labor.[1849] While there are reports of trafficking in children from neighboring countries, including Mali, there is no available information on the extent of the problem.[1850] Internal trafficking occurs from rural to urban areas.[1851]

War-affected, displaced children in Guinea's forest region are reportedly subject to economic exploitation and sexual abuse.[1852] In 2003, UNICEF estimated that 2,000 Guinean child soldiers, one-fifth of them girls, would require demobilization upon their return from Liberia's recent armed conflict.[1853]

Public education is free[1854] and compulsory for 6 years, between the ages of 7 and 13 years.[1855] In 2001, the gross primary enrollment rate was 77.1 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 61.5 percent.[1856] Enrollment remains substantially lower among girls than boys. In 2001, the gross primary enrollment rate was 65.8 percent for girls, compared to 88.1 percent for boys.[1857] 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. Recent primary school attendance statistics are not available for Guinea. Children, particularly girls, may not attend school in order to assist their parents with domestic work or agriculture.[1858] In general, enrollment rates are substantially lower in rural areas.[1859] There is a shortage of teachers, school supplies and equipment, and even school facilities to adequately serve the population of school-age children in Guinea.[1860] Barriers to schooling are particularly acute for many displaced and war-affected children.[1861]

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Labor Code sets the minimum age for employment at 16 years, although children under the age of 16 can work with the consent of authorities.[1862] The Labor Code permits apprentices to work at 14 years of age. Workers under the age of 18 are not permitted to work at night or work more than 10 consecutive hours per day.[1863] The Labor Code also prohibits forced or bonded labor and hazardous work by children under 18 years.[1864] Guinea's Penal Code prohibits trafficking of persons, the exploitation of vulnerable persons for unpaid or underpaid labor,[1865] and procurement or solicitation for the purposes of prostitution.[1866] The official age for voluntary recruitment or conscription into the armed forces is 18 years,[1867] and the regulation is reported to be strictly enforced within the government army.[1868]

The government has acknowledged that the implementation and enforcement of labor legislation remains weak.[1869] In 2002, the Labor Inspectorate within the Ministry of Labor had only one inspector and several assistants in each district to enforce relevant legislation.[1870] Under the Labor Code, punishment for infractions of child labor laws range from a fine of up to 800,000 GNF (USD 408) to imprisonment for no more than 2 months.[1871]

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

The Government of Guinea is participating in an ILO-IPEC program funded by USDOL and the Cocoa Global Issues Group that seeks to withdraw children from hazardous work in the cocoa sector, provide income generation and economic alternatives, and promote education.[1872] The USAID-supported Sustainable Tree Crops Program is also working in Guinea to incorporate elements into its program to address child labor in the cocoa sector, and is coordinating with the USDOL-funded ILO-IPEC program.[1873]

The Ministry of Pre-Education has overall responsibility for the implementation of a USD 70 million World Bank Education for All Project that aims to promote universal primary schooling, build schools, and improve the quality of education. The program focuses on girls and rural students, and includes street children and is scheduled to end in 2012.[1874] The Government of Guinea is receiving funding from the World Bank and other donors under the Education for All Fast Track Initiative, which aims to provide all children with a primary school education by the year 2015.[1875]

USAID is assisting the Ministry of Education and promoting access to quality basic education by focusing on teacher training and community participation in education and girls' schooling.[1876] UNICEF is implementing an advocacy program to increase girls' enrollment.[1877] In addition, WFP is implementing a school feeding program that offers meals to children as an incentive for school attendance.[1878]


[1843] World Bank, World Development Indicators 2004 [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2004.

[1844] UNICEF, Situation Des Enfants et Des Femmes, Programme De Cooperation 2002-2006, Republique de Guinee, Conakry, 2000, 35.

[1845] U.S. Embassy-Conakry, unclassified telegram no. 1857, 1998. See also UNICEF, Situation Des Enfants et Des Femmes, 83-84.

[1846] UNICEF, Situation Des Enfants et Des Femmes, 84.

[1847] U.S. Embassy-Conakry, unclassified telegram no. 2368, 2001. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports Awaited from States Parties for 1992, CRC/C/3/Add.48, prepared by Government of Guinea, pursuant to Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, November 20, 1996, para. 116-17.

[1848] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2003: Guinea, Washington, D.C., February 25, 2004, Section 6f; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2003/27731.htm. See also UNICEF, Situation Des Enfants et Des Femmes, 84-85.

[1849] U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report – 2004: Guinea, Washington, D.C., June 14, 2004; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2004/33189.htm.

[1850] In November 2003, five minors were detained by Guinean police after admitting they had been trafficked from Mali for domestic work in Conakry. UNICEF and NGOs report that trafficking in children occurs. See U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2003: Guinea, Section 6f. See also UNICEF, Situation Des Enfants et Des Femmes, 85.

[1851] U.S. Embassy-Conakry, unclassified telegram no. 2368. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2003: Guinea, Section 6f.

[1852] Guinea: New Displacements Poorly Monitored, IDP Project, [online] 2004 [cited May 17, 2004]; available from http://www.db.idpproject.org/Sites/idpSurvey.nsf/w/ViewSingleEnv/GuineaProfile+Summary. According to various estimates, there are between 100,000 and 150,000 refugees and displaced persons residing in Guinea's forest region. An additional 100,000 people are reported to live in refugee camps in the region. See U.S. Embassy Conakry, U.S. State Department official, interview to USDOL official, April, 2004.

[1853] Guinea: A Window on West Africa's War-Weary Children, UNICEF, [online] 2003 [cited February 5, 2004]; available from http://www.unicef.org/media/media_15421.html.

[1854] Republic of Guinea, Rapport relatif au principe de l'abolition effective du travail des enfants, Conakry, September 4-8, 2000.

[1855] UNESCO, National Education Systems – Guinea, [cited June 13, 2003]; available from http://www.uis.unesco.org/statsen/statistics/yearbook/tables/Table3_1.html.

[1856] World Bank, World Development Indicators 2004.

[1857] Ibid.

[1858] U.S. Department of Agriculture, Global Food For Education Pilot Program, Guinea: World Food Program, 2003 [cited June 18, 2003], [previously online]; available from http://www.fas.usda.gov/excredits/gfe/congress2003/counryrpts.htm [hard copy on file]. See also UNICEF, Situation Des Enfants et Des Femmes, 70.

[1859] World Bank, Education for All Project, [online] 2002 [cited May 17, 2004]; available from http://web.worldbank.org/external/default/main?pagePK=64027221&piPK=64027220&theSitePK=351795&menuPK=351827&Projectid=P050046. See also Mohamed Fofana, USAID Natural Resources Management official, interview with USDOL official, August 12, 2002.

[1860] USAID Guinea Education & Training, USAID, [online] 2004 [cited May 17, 2004]; available from http://www.usaid.gov/gn/education/background/index.htm. See also UNICEF, Situation Des Enfants et Des Femmes, 68. According to Teacher's Union representatives, it is common for classes to run as large as 100 students, with only one teacher. See also Guinean Teacher's Union (SLECG/FSPE), interview with USDOL official, August 12, 2002.

[1861] Guinea 2004 Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP), United Nations, 2004, 6.

[1862] Code du Travail de la Republique de Guinée, 1988, Article 5.

[1863] The penalty for an infraction of the law is a fine of 30,000 to 600,000 GNF (USD 15 to 306). See Ibid., Articles 31, 145-48, 67. For currency conversion see FXConverter, in Oanda.com, [online] [cited May 17, 2004]; available from http://www.carosta.de/frames/convert.htm.

[1864] Section 187 of the Labor Code prohibits hazardous work, defined as any work likely to endanger the health, safety, or morals of children. The Ministry of Labor determines which jobs are considered hazardous. Violations of these laws are punishable by fines ranging from 80,000 to 1,600,000 GNF (USD 40 to 793) and 8 days to 2 months in prison. See Code du Travail, 1988, Articles 2, 186, 87, 205. For currency conversion see FXConverter.

[1865] U.S. Embassy-Conakry, unclassified telegram no. 2368. The penalty for trafficking is 5 to 10 years imprisonment and the confiscation of money or property received through trafficking activities. See U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2003: Guinea, Section 6f.

[1866] The fine for violations of the procurement or solicitation law ranges from 100,000 to 1,000,000 GNF (USD 51 to 510) and imprisonment for 2 to 5 years when the crime involves a minor under 18 years. See Government of the Republic of Guinea, Penal Code, as cited in The Protection Project Legal Library, [database online], Article 289, as cited in Protection Project [cited May 13, 2004]; available from http://www.protectionproject.org. For currency conversion see FXConverter.

[1867] U.S. Embassy-Conakry, unclassified telegram no. 2704, 2001. See also Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Guinea," in Global Report 2001, 2001, Articles 288 and 89, [cited May 17, 2004]; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/report2001/global_report_contents.html.

[1868] U.S. Embassy-Conakry, unclassified telegram no. 1239, August 2003.

[1869] UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of States Parties: Guinea, para. 119.

[1870] Bengaly Camara, interview with USDOL official, August 12, 2002.

[1871] Code du Travail, 1988, Article 205. For currency conversion see FXConverter.

[1872] ILO-IPEC, West Africa Cocoa/Commercial Agriculture Program to Combat Hazardous and Exploitative Child Labor (WACAP), project document, RAF/02/P5 0/USA, Geneva, September 26, 2002.

[1873] Ibid.

[1874] World Bank, Education for All Projects. See also USAID Education.

[1875] Funding for this initiative was approved in June 2002. World Bank, World Bank Announces First Group Of Countries For 'Education For All' Fast Track, press release, Washington, D.C., June 12, 2002; available from http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/NEWS/0,, contentMDK:20049839~menuPK:34463~pagePK:34370~piPK:34424,00.html.

[1876] USAID Education. See also Fofana, USAID interview, August 12, 2002.

[1877] At a Glance: Guinea, UNICEF, [online] 2004 [cited May 17, 2004]; available from http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/guinea.html.

[1878] World Hunger – Guinea, WFP, [online] 2004 [cited May 17, 2004]; available from http://www.wfp.org/country_brief/indexcountry.asp?country=324.

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