Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 December 2014, 12:47 GMT

2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Mali

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 18 April 2003
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Mali, 18 April 2003, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d7489d32.html [accessed 25 December 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.

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

The Government of Mali has been a member of ILO-IPEC since 1998.2268 With support from ILOIPEC, the government has been building its capacity to combat child labor on the national and regional level.2269 Mali is one of nine countries participating in the USDOL-funded ILO-IPEC project to combat the trafficking of children for exploitative labor in West and Central Africa2270 In January 2002, the President of Mali, the Confédération Africaine de Football, the Comité d'Organisation de la Coupe d'Afrique des Nations, and ILO-IPEC launched an awareness raising campaign on child labor to coincide with the 2002 African Cup of Nations, a popular soccer tournament.2271 In 2002, the government was also preparing to implement a national child labor survey in Mali, with technical assistance from ILO-IPEC's SIMPOC, to measure the nature and extent of child labor at a national level.2272

In September 2000, the Governments of Mali and Côte d'Ivoire signed a cooperative agreement to control cross-border trafficking. The two countries have developed national plans of action covering the prevention of child trafficking, controlling and monitoring child trafficking, and repatriating and rehabilitating children who have been trafficked.2273 In 1998, the government developed a plan to include marabouts, Koranic teachers, some of whom reportedly employ students as beggars, in the campaign against child begging.2274

Following the World Declaration on Education for All (1990), the Government of Mali developed a New Education System (NES), which is the foundation of the basic education system in Mali.2275 The goals of the NES are to retain the Malian cultural identity and to make education more relevant by linking schooling to life skills, and democratizing the school system.2276 Working with international donors, the Primary Education Support Fund, and other partners, the Government of Mali undertook tasks to help equip and renovate classrooms, recruit teachers, and produce new teaching materials.2277

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 2000, the ILO estimated that 51.1 percent of children ages 10 to 14 years in Mali were working.2278 Children work in the agricultural sector, in mining and gold washing, and as domestic servants in urban areas.2279 In some cases, children work as street beggars for marabouts as part of their education at Koranic schools.2280

Mali is a source of trafficked children, most of whom are sold into forced labor in Côte d'Ivoire to work on coffee, cotton, and cocoa farms or to work as domestic servants.2281 Organized networks of traffickers, promising parents that they will provide paid employment for their children, reportedly sell the children to commercial farm owners for between 14,500 to 29,000 CFA (USD 22 to 43).2282

Primary education is compulsory and free until the age of 13; however, students must pay for their own uniforms and school supplies to attend public schools.2283 In 1998, the gross primary enrollment rate was 53.1 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 41.7 percent.2284 In 1996, the gross primary attendance rate was 40.6 percent and the net primary attendance rate was 29.4 percent.2285 A significant gender disparity exists for primary school students; in 1996, the gross primary attendance rate was 47.6 percent for boys and 33.7 percent for girls.2286

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

Article 187 of Labor Code sets the minimum age for employment and apprenticeship at 14 years.2287 However, children ages 12 to 14 may work up to two hours per day during school vacations with parental approval. Children ages 14 to 16 years may work up to four and a half hours per day with the permission of the labor inspectorate (but not during nights, holidays, or on Sundays) and children ages 16 to 18 years may work in jobs that are not physically demanding.2288 The Constitution prohibits forced labor by children.2289 Articles 189 and 190 of the Criminal Code establish penalties for the sale, trafficking and abduction of children.2290 Article 183 of the Criminal Code establishes penalties for the sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children.2291 Labor inspectors conduct surprise and complaint-based inspections but operate only in the formal sector and lack resources to effectively monitor child labor.2292 The frontier police, Interpol, and territorial and security authorities are responsible for enforcing the cooperative agreement to curb cross-border trafficking signed between Côte d'Ivoire and Mali.2293 By the end of 2001, 10 traffickers, who were arrested in Sikasso, were in detention awaiting trial for trafficking children.2294

The Government of Mali ratified ILO Convention 138 on March 11, 2002 and ILO Convention 182 on July 14, 2000.2295


2268 ILO-IPEC, All About IPEC: Program Countries, [online] [cited August 29, 2002]; available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/ipec/about/countries/index.htm.

2269 ILO-IPEC, Combating the Trafficking of Children for Labor Exploitation in West and Central Africa (Phase II): Country Annex VII: Mali, project document, RAF/01/P53/USA, Geneva, July 2001.

2270 The regional child trafficking project now covers Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, and Togo. See Ibid., 1.

2271 ILO-IPEC, ILO Waves "Red Card" at Child Labor, ILO-IPEC, [online] January 15, 2002 [cited August 29, 2002]; available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/inf/pr/2002/1.htm.

2272 ILO official, electronic communication to USDOL official, August 28, 2002.

2273 ILO-IPEC, Combating the Trafficking of Children (Phase II), project document, 8.

2274 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties under Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Mali, CRC/C/15/Add.113, November 1999, para. 33 [cited December 13, 2002]; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/ doc.nsf/(Symbol)/CRC.C.15.Add.113.En?OpenDocument.

2275 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of States Parties due in 1992: Mali, CRC/C/3/Add.53, prepared by Republic of Mali, pursuant to Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, September 1997, para. 144-45 [cited December 13, 2002]; available from http://www.hri.ca/fortherecord1999/documentation/tbodies/crcc-3-add53.htm.

2276 Ibid., para. 146.

2277 Between 1993 and 1995, the Government of Mali built and equipped 880 classrooms, renovated 1773, and equipped 1847 classrooms Ibid., para. 149.

2278 World Bank, World Development Indicators 2002 [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2002.

2279 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Mali, para. 32. See also ILO-IPEC, Combating the Trafficking of Children (Phase II), project document, Country Annex VII.

2280 Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Addendum to the Fourteenth Periodic Report of States Parties due in 2001, CERD/C/407/Add.2, prepared by Government of Mali, pursuant to Article 9 of the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, February 2002, para. 49 [cited December 13, 2002]; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/898586b1dc7b4043c1256a450044f331/b9dfff8e90ea9ca2c1256c0e004b0b2b/$FILE/ G0242546.doc.

2281 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2001: Mali, Washington, D.C., March 4, 2002, 434-36, Section 6f [cited December 13, 2002]; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2001/af/ 8391.htm.

2282 Ibid., 434-36, Section 6f. For currency conversion see FX Converter, [online] [cited October 16, 2002]; available from http://www.carosta.de/frames/convert.htm.

2283 Higher Education Systems Database, Mali, International Association of Universities/UNESCO International Centre on Higher Education, [online] 2001 [cited October 16, 2002]; available from http://www.usc.edu/dept/education/ globaled/wwcu/background/Mali.htm. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Mali, 432-34, Section 5.

2284 World Bank, World Development Indicators 2002.

2285 USAID, Demographic and Health Survey: Mali (1995/6) Washington, D.C., 2002; available from http://www.measureprogram.org/africa.html.

2286 Ibid.

2287 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of States Parties: Mali, para. 168.2288 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Mali, 434-36, Section 6d.

2289 Ibid., 434-36, Section 6c.

2290 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of States Parties: Mali, para. 176.2291 Ibid., para. 168. See also Government of Mali, Criminal Code, Section V: Offenses Against Public Morals Public
Offenses Against Decency, [cited December 13, 2002]; available from http://www.protectionproject.org/main1.htm.

2292 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Mali, 434-36, Section 6d.

2293 ILO-Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, Individual Observation Concerning Convention no. 29, Forced Labor, 1930 Mali (ratification: 1960), Geneva, 2002.

2294 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Mali, 434-36, Section 6f.

2295 ILO, Ratifications by Country, in ILOLEX, [database online] [cited December 13, 2002]; available from http://ilolex.ilo.ch:1567/english/newratframeE.htm.

Search Refworld

Countries