Last Updated: Monday, 01 September 2014, 14:30 GMT

2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Senegal

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 - Senegal, 27 August 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48caa48d2.html [accessed 1 September 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 Labor3012
Working children, 5-14 years (%), 2005:30
Working boys, 5-14 years (%), 2005:33.4
Working girls, 5-14 years (%), 2005:26.7
Working children by sector, 5-14 years (%):
     – Agriculture
     – Manufacturing
     – Services
     – Other
Minimum age for work:15
Compulsory education age:16
Free public education:Yes*
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:80
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:70
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%), 2005:47.9
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2004:73
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes
* Must pay for miscellaneous school expenses

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children in Senegal work in agriculture, hunting, fishing, domestic service, transportation, construction, manufacturing, as well as in automobile repair shops, restaurants, and hotels.3013 Children engage in rock quarrying and mining, which involves hazardous conditions and health-damaging works.3014 They are likewise exposed to hazardous conditions in workshops, garbage dumps, and slaughter-houses, through such things as the use of dangerous chemical products, long hours, and work which is too physically demanding for the age of the child.3015 UNICEF estimates that there are 10,000 street children, some of whom are displaced children from the conflict in Casamance.3016 Children are exploited in such activities as begging, prostitution, drug trafficking and other illicit activities.3017 Child prostitution occurs on beaches, in bars, at hotels and other tourist areas.3018

Senegal is a source, transit, and destination country for child trafficking.3019 There are reports of young girls trafficked from rural villages in Fatick, Louga, Kaolack, Kolda, Ziguichor, Saint Louis, and Djourbel to urban centers for domestic service.3020 Senegalese girls are also trafficked to Gambia and Mauritania for domestic service.3021 An NGO in Gambia reported that some of these children were forced into commercial sexual exploitation by their employers.3022

Boys are trafficked from rural areas to major cities within the country and to Senegal from Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, and Guinea for forced begging for Koranic teachers.3023 The practice of sending boys, known as talibé, to Koranic teachers to receive education is a tradition in various countries, including Senegal.3024 While some talibé receive lessons, many are forced by their teachers to beg or work in agriculture and surrender the money that they have earned.3025 There are also numerous reports of physical abuse of talibé by their teachers. 3026 A UCW study of child beggars in Dakar found that 90 percent were talibé and that half of these children were from other countries.3027 Official statistics put the total number of these boys at over 100,000.3028 Boys from Senegal are also trafficked to Mauritania to work in forced begging for Koranic teachers.3029

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for employment, including apprenticeships, is 15 years of age.3030 With permission from the Minister of Labor, children 12 years and older may perform light work within a family setting, provided that it does not jeopardize their health, morals, or schooling.3031 However, the law underlines that hazardous work is prohibited to those under 18 years. The law also identifies businesses in which children under 18 years are forbidden from working or can work only under certain conditions, such as workshops where there are toxic or harmful fumes, fishing boats, and in mines or quarries.3032 Additionally, children are prohibited from working at night and cannot work more than 8 hours a day.3033

Activities considered to be worst forms of child labor are prohibited by law.3034 The Government has identified the worst forms of child labor as forced labor, slavery, prostitution, drug trafficking, begging for a third party, scavenging garbage, slaughtering animals, and work that imperils the health, safety, or morality of children. Specific examples of such work include work underwater, work with toxic chemicals, or with complex tools and machinery.3035 Under the law, any person who leads anyone to prostitution or acts as an intermediary for such purposes, faces punishment of 1 to 5 years of imprisonment and a fine.3036 If the crime involves a minor of less than 13 years, sentences are increased to 3 to 7 years of imprisonment and the fine is doubled.3037 Traffickers are subject to sentences of imprisonment of 5 to 10 years.3038 The minimum age for voluntary recruitment into the military is 18 years.3039

The Ministry of Labor and its Social Security Inspectors are responsible for investigating child labor cases and enforcing child labor laws.3040 Because of a lack of resources, inspectors do not initiate workplace visits and instead depend on violations to be reported. According to USDOS, the Ministry of Labor monitors and enforces minimum age laws within the formal sector, including in State-owned corporations, large private enterprises, and cooperatives.3041

Police from a special Criminal Analysis Unit are responsible for monitoring trafficking, and specialized police squads are posted at the border. Although lack of financial and human resources hampered efforts to combat trafficking, at least two trafficking rings were broken up by government forces over the past year.3042

Senegal was 1 of 24 countries to adopt the Multilateral Cooperation 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.3043 As part of the Multilateral Cooperation Agreement, the governments agreed to use the child trafficking monitoring system developed by the USDOL-funded ILO-IPEC LUTRENA project; to assist each other in the investigation, arrest, and prosecution of trafficking offenders; and to protect, rehabilitate, and reintegrate trafficking victims.3044

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

The Government of Senegal has raised awareness of the dangers of child labor and exploitive begging through seminars with local officials, NGOs, and civil society.3045 To reduce the incidence of exploitive begging, the Ministry of Women, Family, Social Development, and Women's Entrepreneurship is implementing a program to help support 48 Koranic schools whose teachers do not force their students to engage in the practice.3046

Senegalese officials attended events aimed at raising awareness on child protection and trafficking.3047 The Ministry of Women, Family, Social Development and Women's Entrepreneurship coordinated efforts to combat trafficking. The Department of Child Protection, part of the Ministry of Women, Family, Social Development and Women's Entrepreneurship, trained policemen, gendarmes, social workers, judges, lawyers, hospital workers, and NGOs on actions to take to stop the trafficking of children.3048 This Ministry also operates the "Ginddi Center" in Dakar to receive and care for street children, including trafficking victims. The Center also operates a 24-hour toll-free child protection hotline. Children from Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, and Mali are among the children who receive assistance at the center.3049 Senegalese authorities also worked with officials from Mali and Guinea-Bissau to repatriate trafficked children.3050

The Government of Senegal participated in the USDOL-funded USD 2 million ILO-IPEC Timebound Program that ended in December, 2007. The project withdrew 2,523 children and prevented 6,886 children from exploitive child labor in agriculture, fishing, and domestic service by providing educational alternatives.3051

In 2007, the Government of Senegal also participated in a USD 3.6 million regional ILO-IPEC project, funded by France, to combat child labor in Francophone, Africa that ended in December 2007. Additionally, Senegal continues to participate in a USD 4.9 million regional ILO-IPEC project, funded by France, which runs until December 31, 2009.3052 Both of these projects include support to the Senegalese Timebound Program, as well as targeting measures for vocational training, apprenticeships, and capacity building.3053


3012 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 Senegal, Code du travail 1997, Loi No. 97-17, (December 1, 1997), article 145; available from http://www.gouv.sn/textes/TRAVAIL.cfm. See also U.S. Department of State, "Senegal," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices-2007, Washington, DC, March 11, 2008, Section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100501.htm.

3013 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Senegal," section 6d. See also U.S. Embassy – Dakar, reporting, October 16, 2007. See also ILO-IPEC, Support to the Timebound Programme Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour, Project Document, Geneva, September 12, 2003, v. See also CONAFE, Rapport complementaire elabore par la CONAFE-SENEGAL au Comite des Nations Unies pour les Droits de l'Enfant, report, Dakar, February, 2006, 19-21.

3014 ILO-IPEC, Eliminating Child Labor in Mining and Quarrying, Background Document, Geneva, June 12, 2005. See also The Global Fund for Children, The Global Fund for Children: Annual Report 2005-2006, Washington, DC, 2006, 53; available from http://www.globalfundforchildren.org/pdfs/GFC_AnnualReport_2005-06.pdf. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Senegal," section 6d.

3015 ILO-IPEC, Support to the Timebound Programme Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour: Amélioration des conditions et contenus de l'apprentisage dans l'artisanat au Sénégal, Bonnes Pratiques, Annex to Technical Progress Report, Geneva, September, 2006, 1.

3016 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Senegal," section 5.

3017 United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, Committee on the Rights of the Child: Consideration of Reports Submitted by State Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention, Concluding Obersevations: Senegal, CRC/C/SEN/CO/2, Forty-third Session, October 20, 2006, 13. See also ILO-IPEC, Senegal Timebound Project, Project Document, v-vi and 24. See also ILO-IPEC, Support to the Timebound Programme Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour: Projet d'amélioration des conditions d'apprentisage dans le secteur informel et lutte contre la pauvreté, Bonnes Pratiques, Annex to Technical Progress Report, Geneva, September, 2006, 2. 3018 The Global Fund for Children, The Global Fund for Children: Annual Report 2005-2006, 23 and 61. See also

3018 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Senegal," section 5.

3019 U.S. Department of State, "Senegal," in Trafficking in Persons Report-2007, Washington, DC, June 12, 2007; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2007/. See also U.S. Embassy – Dakar, reporting, March 04, 2008.

3020 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Senegal," section 5. See also U.S. Embassy – Dakar, reporting, March 04, 2008.

3021 U.S. Department of State, "Mauritania," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007, Washington, DC, June 12, 2007; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2007/. See also U.S. Department of State, "Gambia," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2007, Washington, DC, March 11, 2008; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100483.htm.

3022 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Gambia." U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Senegal," section 5.

3023 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Senegal," section 5 and 6d. See also Integrated Regional Information Networks, "Guinea-Bissau – Senegal: On the child trafficking route", Irinnews.org, [online], November 23, 2007 [cited November 23, 2007]; available from http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=75485. See also Integrated Regional Information Networks, "Guinea-Bissau – Senegal: coming home from the street", Irinnews.org, [online], November 30, 2007 [cited November 30, 2007]; available from http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=75615.

3024 Peter Easton et al., Research Studies Series no. 8, International Working Group on Nonformal Education of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa, May 1997; available from http://www.adeanet.org/wgnfe/publications/abel/abel2.html. See also Peter Easton, "Education and Koranic Literacy in West Africa," IK Notes no. 11 (August 1999), 1, 3; available from http://www.worldbank.org/afr/ik/iknt11.pdf.

3025 Integrated Regional Information Networks, "Senegal: Kids beg for hours to fund Muslim teachers", Irinnews.org, [online], May 24, 2004 [cited December 9, 2007]; available from http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=41241&SelectRegion=West_Africa&SelectCountry=SENEGAL. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Senegal," section 5.

3026 Integrated Regional Information Networks, "Senegal: Kids beg for hours to fund Muslim teachers". See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Senegal," section 5 and 6d. See also United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, CRC Report 13.

3027 UCW, enfants mendiants dans la région de Dakar, UCW Survey Report, December 2007.

3028 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Senegal," section 5. See also Integrated Regional Information Networks, "Senegal: Kids beg for hours to fund Muslim teachers".

3029 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Senegal."

3030 Government of Senegal, Code du travail 1997, article L. 145. See also Government of Senegal, Arrêté ministériel n° 3748 MFPTEOP-DTSS en date du 6 juin 2003, relatif au travail des enfants, (June 6, 2003), article premier; available from http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/SERIAL/64609/64950/F1520394879/SEN64609.pdf.

3031 Government of Senegal, Arrêté ministériel n° 3748 MFPTEOP-DTSS, article 1. See also Government of Senegal, Arrêté ministériel n° 3750 MFPTEOP-DTSS en date du 6 juin 2003, fixant la nature des travaux dangereux interdits aux enfants et jeunes gens, (June 6, 2003), article 1; available from http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/SERIAL/64611/64953/F1229124862/SEN64611.pdf.

3032 Government of Senegal, Arrêté ministériel n° 3751 MFPTEOP-DTSS en date du 6 juin 2003, fixant les categories d'entreprises et travaux interdits aux enfants et jeunes gens ainsi que l'âge limite auquel s'applique l'interdiction, (June 6, 2003), article 2; available from http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/SERIAL/64612/64952/F364251671/SEN64612.pdf.

3033 Government of Senegal, Arrêté ministériel n° 3748 MFPTEOP-DTSS, article 3.

3034 Ibid.

3035 Government of Senegal, Arrêté ministériel n° 3749 MFPTEOP-DTSS en date du 6 juin 2003, fixant et interdisant les pires formes du travail des enfants, (June 6, 2003), article 2; available from http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/SERIAL/64610/64951/F2020269921/SEN64610.pdf.

3036 Government of Senegal, Code penal 1965, Loi No. 65-60, (July 21, 1965), article 323 and 324; available from http://www.justice.gouv.sn/droitp/CODE%20PENAL.PDF.

3037 Ibid., article 320 ter.

3038 U.S. Embassy – Dakar, reporting, October 16, 2007, para 29.

3039 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Senegal," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=793.

3040 Government of Senegal, Arrêté ministériel n° 3748 MFPTEOP-DTSS, article 1. See also Government of Senegal, Arrêté Ministériel n° 3749 MFPTEOP-DTSS, article 6. See also Government of Senegal, Arrêté ministériel n° 3750 MFPTEOP-DTSS, article 27, Government of Senegal, Arrêté ministériel n° 3751 MFPTEOP-DTSS, article 6.

3041 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Senegal," section 6d.

3042 U.S. Embassy – Dakar, reporting, March 04, 2008, para 27c.

3043 Catholic Relief Services official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, October 2, 2006. See also ILO-IPEC, Combating the Trafficking of Children for Labour Exploitation in West and Central Africa (LUTRENA), Technical Progress Report, Washington, DC, September 1, 2006, 2.

3044 ECOWAS and ECCAS, Multilateral Cooperation Agreement to Combat Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, in West and Central Africa, Abuja, July 7, 2006, 5-7. See also ILO-IPEC, LUTRENA Technical Progress Report, 10-11.

3045 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Senegal," section 6d.

3046 Ibid. See also U.S. Embassy – Dakar, reporting, March 04, 2008, para 27c.

3047 U.S. Embassy – Dakar, reporting, March 04, 2008, para 28g.

3048 Ibid.

3049 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Senegal," section 5.

3050 U.S. Embassy – Dakar, reporting, March 04, 2008, para 28h.

3051 ILO-IPEC, Support to the Timebound Programme Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour, Technical Progress Report, Geneva, September 13, 2007, page 7.

3052 ILO-IPEC official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, December 13, 2007. See also LO-IPEC official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, February 27, 2008.

3053 ILO-IPEC official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, February 27, 2008.

Search Refworld

Countries