Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 April 2014, 14:04 GMT

2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Guinea

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 - Guinea, 10 September 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4aba3edb32.html [accessed 17 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
Population, children, 5-14 years:
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:16
Compulsory education age:12
Free public education:Yes*
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2007:90.8
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2007:73.6
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%):
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2006:82.8
ILO Convention 138:6/6/2003
ILO Convention 182:6/6/2003
CRC:7/13/1990**
CRCOPAC:No
CRCOPSC:No
Palermo:11/9/2004**
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes

* In practice, must pay for various school expenses

** Accession

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children work in subsistence farming, including herding and fishing, and in the production of cashews, cocoa, and coffee. In urban areas, children work in the informal sector in vending and transportation. Girls as young as 5 years perform domestic labor, carry heavy loads, and are not paid for their work. Children are reportedly beaten and sexually exploited.

Children work in gold and diamond mines in Upper and Lower Guinea. They also work in sand and gravel mines and quarries, breaking rocks, extracting gravel, transporting materials, and selling water and other items near work sites. More boys than girls work in the mines, especially boys 15 to 17 years, though younger children and girls sort through and wash rubble, and push water through sieves in search of diamonds. Children in the mines work 12 to 18 hours per day, do not wear protective gear, and are prone to accidents, broken bones, and respiratory, skin, and other diseases.

Children from rural areas are sent to Conakry to attend school. If those they are staying with cannot or choose not to pay their school fees, these children work in domestic service, sell water, or shine shoes to pay their room and board. The practice of sending boys to Koranic teachers to receive education, which may include a vocational or apprenticeship component, is a tradition in various countries, including Guinea. While some boys receive lessons, many are forced by their teachers to beg or work in fields.

The majority of working children in Guinea are engaged in agriculture and domestic service.

Guinea is a source, transit, and destination country for trafficking in children. Most children are trafficked internally: boys for forced labor as street vendors, shoe shiners, beggars, miners, and agricultural workers; and girls for forced domestic labor and sexual exploitation. Girls are trafficked to Guinea from Nigeria, Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Guinea-Bissau for forced domestic service and sexual exploitation. Guinean children are trafficked to Cote d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone for mining and domestic work. Children from Guinea are trafficked to Europe for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor.

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for admission to work is 16 years. Children under 16 years, however, can work with consent from the authorities. The law sets the minimum age for apprenticeship at 14 years, though the age for apprenticeship can be reduced to 12 years for certain activities such as agriculture, with approval by a labor inspector. Workers younger than 18 years are not permitted to work at night or for more than 12 consecutive hours per day. The law prohibits children under 16 years from working in mines or quarries, other than as an assistant. Violations of these laws are punishable by fines and sentences of 8 days to 2 months in prison. According to USDOS, the Government of Guinea lacks the resources to enforce and prosecute child labor violations.

The official age for voluntary and compulsory recruitment into the armed forces is 18 years. The law prohibits work in unhealthy or dangerous establishments and hazardous work for children younger than 18 years. Forced labor is prohibited by law. The law also prohibits child prostitution, sex tourism involving a child, and child pornography. Violation of the law can result in 1 to 5 years of imprisonment. Trafficking in persons is prohibited by law. The penalty for labor trafficking of children includes the maximum imprisonment of 10 years and the confiscation of money or property received through trafficking activities.

Guinea 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 Guinea 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.

Current Government Efforts to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor

In 2008, the Child Code into law, which includes numerous provisions related to child labor, child trafficking, and the worst forms of child labor.

The Government of Guinea continues to work with NGOs to place trafficked children in foster homes, supports a 24-hour victim's hotline, and provides awareness-raising activities, including a national media campaign to combat trafficking. The Government also participates in a 3-year, USD 279,000, USAID-funded project implemented by Save the Children to help reintegrate young trafficking victims in Guinea and Mali and provide them with vocational training. The project ends in September 2009. Through August 2010, the Government will collaborate with World Education on a USD 345,000 USDOS-funded project to collect data to establish a national database on trafficking and anti-trafficking efforts. The project also provides recovery efforts for 160 child victims; prevention, situational improvement and protection efforts for 650 vulnerable and at-risk children; and tests models of delivering services through government-sponsored Local Child Family Protection Councils and parents' associations.

In 2008, USDOL awarded a 4-year USD 3.5 million project to World Education to implement the Combating Exploitive Child Labor in Guinea project. The project aims to contribute to the prevention and elimination of child labor in agriculture, mining, domestic service, and the informal sector and targets 3,930 children for withdrawal and 3,930 for prevention from exploitative labor. The Government of Guinea and Save the Children collaborated in a USDOL-funded 4-year USD 4.4 million child labor education initiative that ended in September 2008 and withdrew 3,594 and prevented 1,206 children from exploitive labor in agriculture, domestic service, small-scale mining, and commerce by providing formal and non-formal education.

Through April 30, 2008, the Government of Guinea also participated in an ILO-IPEC regional project combating trafficking in children for labor exploitation in West Africa funded by the Government of Denmark at USD 6.19 million.

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