Last Updated: Friday, 19 December 2014, 13:25 GMT

2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Senegal

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 - Senegal, 18 April 2003, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d748acc.html [accessed 21 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

In 1994, the Government of Senegal adopted a National Plan of Action to Improve the Conditions of Child Workers,3168 after becoming one of the pilot countries chosen to implement an ILO-IPEC child labor survey in 1993.3169 In 1998, the government became a member of ILO-IPEC,3170 and in the next year, launched a three-year ILO-IPEC program of action to eliminate child labor, with funding from the Government of the Netherlands.3171 The project was extended by two years due to additional funding.3172 The program works to improve national formal and non-formal education opportunities, social and legal protection for children, and working and living conditions for families.3173 As part of the ILO-IPEC program, a total of 10 action programs targeting specific child laborers for withdrawal from exploitative child labor have been implemented.3174

In 2001, the Government of Senegal, in cooperation with the Government of Italy and UNICEF, launched a two-year program to support efforts to withdraw children in Senegal from the worst forms of child labor and exploitation.3175 The government also cooperates with UNICEF to build government and civil society capacity to protect children in need of special protection.3176 In 1992, the Ministry of Health, with assistance from UNICEF and several NGOs, began implementing a project to help provide better food, lodging, water, health care, and school materials to children who were studying in traditional Koranic schools to keep the children from having to beg on the streets for food and money.3177 In July 2001, the Government of Senegal joined other countries in francophone West Africa in Ouagadougou to launch an inter-parliamentary committee to study child trafficking.3178 The government is also planning to conduct a national child labor survey in 2004 with technical assistance from ILO-IPEC's SIMPOC.3179

In 2000-2001, the Government of Senegal began implementing and monitoring a 10 Year Education and Training Program 1999-2008 (PDEF), and adopted a national plan of action on education for all.3180 These initiatives aim to achieve universal enrollment in primary education; prioritize funding for basic primary education and leverage non-government resources to help expand access to education; reform non-formal education opportunities; improve the management of education; and reconcile education management with the decentralization process.3181 The PDEF plan calls for the achievement of a gross primary enrollment rate of 70 percent by 2000, 75 percent in 2001, and to attain universal enrollment by 2008.3182 It also seeks to increase the enrollment rates of girls and to improve the quality of teaching.3183 The World Bank has launched the Quality Education for All Project for Senegal, which supports the implementation of the PDEF.3184 USAID,3185

UNICEF,3186 and other international donors have also continued to support programs to improve access to basic education, particularly for girls.

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 2000, the ILO estimated that 27.3 percent of children ages 10 to 14 years in Senegal were working.3187 Children work mainly on family farms. They also work as domestic servants, scavengers in garbage dumps, ragpickers, apprentices in mechanics workshops and in the shoemaking and carpentry sectors, and in small businesses.3188 Forty percent of the children in Senegal go to Koranic schools, or daaras, where they are sometimes forced to become street beggars to support their education.3189 Senegal is reportedly a source and transit country for women and girls trafficked to Europe and the Middle East for sexual exploitation.3190 According to reports, increased tourism into Senegal may be contributing to an increase in child prostitution and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation of children in urban areas.3191

Education is compulsory up to the age of 12.3192 In 1998-99, the gross primary enrollment rate was 66.9 percent (70.3 percent for boys and 63.4 percent for girls)3193 and the net primary enrollment rate in 1998 was 58.8 percent (63.9 percent for boys and 53.6 percent for girls).3194 While the government has been making progress towards improving access to education,3195 a disproportionate number of girls leave school before third grade and a large majority of women are illiterate.3196 In 1998-1999, the student/teacher ratio in Senegal was 49 to 1.3197 Senegal does not have an adequate number of school facilities; however, current efforts are focusing on providing new schools and on addressing access issues that hamper education.3198

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for general employment is 15 years3199 and the minimum age for hazardous work is between 16 and 18 years.3200 The Ministry of Labor has responsibility for the enforcement of child labor laws and monitors and enforces the restrictions in the formal sector.3201 However, the law is not enforced in the informal sector, where Senegal's working children are frequently employed.3202 Prostitution is illegal in Senegal.3203 Article 319, Section 7 of the Criminal Code, makes any offense against the decency of a child punishable by imprisonment for 2 to 5 years, and in certain cases (Articles 320-321) punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Cases where a minor is procured for prostitution are punishable by imprisonment for 2 to 5 years and a fine of 300,000 (USD 442.95) to 4,000,000 (USD 5,905.74).3204 Senegal's constitution prohibits forced and bonded labor.3205

The Government of Senegal ratified ILO Convention 138 on December 15, 1999 and ILO Convention 182 on June 1, 2000.3206


3168 ECPAT International, Mission Report on West Africa, Bangkok, August-October 2000. The National Plan of Action targets four groups of children, young female domestic workers, apprentices, independent workers, and rural working children. U.S. Embassy – Dakar, unclassified telegram no. 3552, August 2000.

3169 See generally, Abdoulaye Sadio, Le Travail des Enfants au Senegal, Enquête Methodologique, Ministry of Economics, Finance, and Planning, Dakar, July 1993.

3170 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.

3171 ILO-IPEC, Francophone Africa: New IPEC Initiatives Make Significant Inroads, [online] [cited September 13, 2002]; available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/ipec/about/factsheet/facts14.htm. In 2000-2001, 21,200 children were provided with safer working conditions and shorter hours and 10,730 children were supplied with non-formal and vocational education. See ILO-IPEC, IPEC Action Against Child Labor 2000-2001: Progress and Future Priorities, annual report, Geneva, January 2002, 78.

3172 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2001: Senegal, Washington, D.C., March 4, 2002, 564-65, Section 6d [cited December 20, 2002]; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2001/af/ 8400.htm.

3173 ILO-IPEC, Francophone Africa.

3174 Ibid. Seven of these programs target children in the three priority areas established by the program: domestic work, hazardous work and rag picking.

3175 "Child Labor: Senegal Launches Program To Combat Practice," UN Wire, July 17, 2001, [cited September 13, 2002]; available from http://www.unwire.org/unwire/2001/07/17/index.asp#16062.

3176 The program includes capacity building for government and nongovernment stakeholders, the creation of counseling centers for children, the establishment of a monitoring system to track conditions of working children, and awareness raising for families and the public about working children. ECPAT International, Mission Report on West Africa, 5.

3177 Sylviane Diouf Kamara, Senegal Upgrades its Koranic Schools, UNICEF, [online] April 1995 [cited September 13 2002]; available from http://www.unicef.org/features/feat143.htm.

3178 "West African Countries Set Up a Body to Stem Child Trafficking," Agence France Presse, July 31, 2001.

3179 ILO-IPEC, SIMPOC: SIMPOC Countries, [online] [cited August 29, 2002]; available from http://www.ilo.org/ public/english/standards/ipec/simpoc/countries.htm.

3180 Government of Senegal, Synthèse et Réalisations du Gouvernement – Ministère de l'Education Avril 2000 -Décembre 2001, [online] [cited September 13, 2002]; available from http://www.primature.sn/ministeres/meduc/ bilan02.html. See also Government of Senegal, Senegal: Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility Economic and Financial Policy Framework Paper: 1999-2001, prepared in consultation with the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, Dakar, June 4, 1999, Section VI.A [cited November 14, 2002]; available from http://www.imf.org/ external/np/pfp/1999/senegal/index.htm. See also UNESCO, Education for All 2000 Assessment: Country Reports-Senegal, prepared by Ministry of National Education, pursuant to UN General Assembly Resolution 52/84, 2000, [cited December 18, 2002]; available from http://www2.unesco.org/wef/countryreports/senegal/contents.html.

3181 Government of Senegal, Senegal: Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility, Section VI. A. See also UNESCO, EFA 2000 Assessment- Senegal.

3182 Government of Senegal, Senegal: Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility.

3183 Ibid. The Education for All report states that the goal of the Government is to achieve a gross primary enrollment rate of 75 percent in 2000 and to achieve universal primary school enrollment in 2015. UNESCO, EFA 2000 Assessment- Senegal.

3184 World Bank, Quality Education for All Project, [cited September 13, 2002]; available from http://www4.worldbank.org/sprojects/Project.asp?pid=P047319.

3185 USAID launched a girls' education project as part of its Education for Development and Democracy Initiative in fiscal year 1999 which is scheduled to end in fiscal year 2005. USAID, Senegal: Fact Sheet on USAID Program, 2002, [cited September 13, 2002]; available from http://www.usaid.gov/country/afr/sn/#poe. See also USAID, Senegal: Activity Data Sheet 685-008, [cited September 13, 2002]; available from http://www.usaid.gov/country/afr/sn/685008.html.

3186 UNICEF, Girls' Education in Senegal, [cited September 13, 2002]; available from http://www.unicef.org/ programme/girlseducation/action/ed_profiles/Senegalfinal.PDF.

3187 World Bank, World Development Indicators 2002 [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2002. UNICEF has also found that in 2000, 400,000 children between the ages of 6 and 18 were children in need of special protection. Half of these children are involved in hazardous child labor, 25 percent were subject to sexual exploitation and 25 percent were cut off from their families, particularly those enrolled in Koranic schools. See also "Child Labor: Senegal Launches Program."

3188 Many girls, some as young as 6, work as domestic servants. See U.S. Embassy – Dakar, unclassified telegram no. 3552.

3189 "Child Labor: Senegal Launches Program." See also Kamara, Senegal Upgrades its Koranic Schools.

3190 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report – 2002: Senegal, Washington, D.C., June 5, 2002, 90 [cited December 30, 2002]; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2002/10682.htm.

3191 ECPAT International, Senegal, ECPAT International, [database online] [cited January 3, 2003]; available from http:/ /www.ecpat.net/eng/Ecpat_inter/projects/monitoring/online_database/index.asp. See also Laura J. Lederer, Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Women and Children: A Human Rights Report, The Protection Project, Washington D.C., January 2001, [cited December 30, 2002]; available from http://www.protectionproject.org/vt/2.htm.

3192 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Senegal, 562-64, Section 5.

3193 UNESCO, EFA 2000 Assessment- Senegal.

3194 World Bank, World Development Indicators 2002.

3195 See generally, UNESCO, EFA 2000 Assessment- Senegal.

3196 USAID, Senegal: Activity Data Sheet 685-008.

3197 UNESCO, EFA 2000 Assessment- Senegal.

3198 Ibid.

3199 Government of Senegal, Le Code du Travail du Senegal, (1997), Article 145; available from http://www.senegalaisement.com/NOREF/legislation_travail_senegal.html.

3200 ILO, "Child Labour: Targeting the Intolerable" (paper presented at the ILO Labor Conference, 86th Session, Geneva, 1998), 76 [cited December 18, 2002]; available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/ipec/publ/ policy/target/target.pdf.

3201 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Senegal, 564-65, Section 6d.

3202 Ibid. U.S. Embassy – Dakar, unclassified telegram no. 3552.

3203 Amy Otchet, Should Prostitution Be Legal?, UNESCO Courier, [online] [cited September 13, 2002]; available from http://www.unesco.org/courier/1998_12/uk/ethique/txt1.htm.

3204 Government of Senegal, Criminal Code, Section V: Offenses Against Public Morals, [cited September 10, 2002]; available from http://www.protectionproject.org/vt/2.htm. For currency conversion see FX Converter, [online] [cited September 15, 2002]; available from http://www.carosta.de/frames/convert.htm. According to UNICEF Senegal, with the help of a Senegalese NGO, "The Future for Children", a French national was prosecuted in France for abusing children under his care while in Senegal. This is said to be the first pedophile case in Senegal. ECPAT International, Mission Report on West Africa.

3205 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Senegal, 564-65, Section 6c.

3206 U.S. Embassy – Dakar, unclassified telegram no. 3552.

Search Refworld

Countries