Last Updated: Thursday, 24 July 2014, 11:06 GMT

2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Zimbabwe

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 31 August 2007
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Zimbabwe, 31 August 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d7495d51.html [accessed 24 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 Statistics and Indicators on Child Labor
Percent of children 5-14 estimated as working:Unavailable
Minimum age for work:154572
Age to which education is compulsory:Not compulsory4573
Free public education:No4574
Gross primary enrollment rate in 2003:96%4575
Net primary enrollment rate in 2003:82%4576
Percent of children 5-14 attending school:Unavailable
As of 2002, percent of primary school entrants likely to reach grade 5:70%4577
Ratified Convention 138:6/6/20004578
Ratified Convention 182:12/11/20004579
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes, associated4580

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Most working children in Zimbabwe can be found in agriculture, hunting, and fishing. Children also work in domestic service, hotels, food service, mining and quarrying, manufacturing, construction, and other types of work,4581 such as guarding cars.4582 Most working children work as unpaid family workers.4583

UNICEF reports that, in some cases, farmers hire children as independent contractors to avoid the appearance of employing children.4584 Children are reported to work on tea estates and sell sugar across the border in Mozambique. Children who engaged in domestic work for third-party households were sometimes not paid by their employers, and children orphaned by AIDS often performed domestic work for their extended relatives without pay. The number of children working in the informal sector continue to increase as more children struggle to fill the income gap left by relatives who are unemployed, ill, or deceased.4585

Girls in Zimbabwe are increasingly being exploited in prostitution,4586 with some girls reportedly engaging in prostitution to pay for school fees. The number of girls on the streets in urban areas is growing as a result of poverty and HIV/AIDS.4587 The belief that sex with virgins can cure sexually transmitted infections contributed to the sexual exploitation of children.4588 Some reports indicate that girls are being sexually exploited in exchange for passage across the border to South Africa.4589

Within Zimbabwe, girls are trafficked from rural to urban areas for commercial sexual exploitation in brothels under false pretenses of marriage or employment. Girls from rural areas are also trafficked to urban areas for domestic service, and to farms for agricultural labor.4590 A few South African girls are trafficked into the country for domestic work.4591 Children who had been orphaned by HIV/AIDS and displaced persons were among the groups at highest risk of being trafficked.4592

The government continues to run national youth service training camps. Youth who deserted the camps indicated that they were subjected to military training, as well as racist and partisan political indoctrination. Additionally, graduates of the program were used to commit acts of political violence.4593

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for employment in Zimbabwe is 15 years.4594 Children between 13 and 15 may be employed if they are apprentices or if their work is an integral part of a vocational training program. At 15, children may engage in light work beyond training programs, and young persons under 18 years are prohibited from performing work that might jeopardize their health, safety, or morals. Child labor offenses are punishable by a fine, imprisonment of 2 years, or both.4595

The law also prohibits the involvement of children in hazardous labor, defined as any work likely to interfere with the education of children; expose children to hazardous substances; involve underground mining; require the use of electronically powered hand tools, cutting, or grinding blades; expose children to extreme conditions; or occur during a night shift.4596

No law specifically prohibits trafficking in persons. However, the law does prohibit various types of sexual exploitation, including the transportation of individuals across the border for sexual purposes and procuring individuals for prostitution either inside Zimbabwe or internationally. The law provides penalties of a fine and up to 2 years of imprisonment for those convicted of procuring individuals for prostitution, and it provides a stronger penalty of up to 10 years of imprisonment in cases involving the procurement of children under 10.4597 The law prohibits compulsory or forced labor, including by children, but provides exceptions in cases where such labor is required from a member of a disciplined force, the national youth service, or parents. The law provides penalties of 2 years of imprisonment, a fine, or both, for forced labor violations.4598 The minimum age for both military conscription and for voluntary recruitment into the armed forces is 18 years. The minimum age for joining the national youth service training is 16 years.4599

The Ministry of Labor's Department of Social Welfare is responsible for the enforcement of child labor laws; however, it could not conduct inspections or monitoring for lack of personnel.4600

The Zimbabwe Republic Police, which is officially part of the Ministry of Home Affairs, is responsible for combating trafficking.4601 The government has established Victim Friendly Courts, which are mandated to hear trafficking cases.4602 In 2006, the government sentenced a woman to 4 years in prison for having trafficked a child into prostitution.4603

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

In 2006, the Government of Zimbabwe established a task force for coordinating anti-trafficking efforts. The taskforce is comprised of members from the Ministries of Home Affairs, Justice, Parliamentarian Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Labor, Social Welfare, Information, and Public Service.4604 Senior government officials participated in a trafficking training workshop conducted by the IOM and officials from law enforcement, immigration, and social services received training to identify and assist victims of trafficking.4605

Media outlets sponsored by the government ran anti-trafficking messages, including some produced by the IOM, and continued to print and air public service announcements warning against prostitution and employment scams that could result in trafficking. The Ministries of Public Service, Social Welfare, and Labor also collaborated with an NGO to operate a center to help reunite deported children with their families. The center offered psychosocial support for child victims of sexual exploitation.4606


4572 U.S. Department of State, "Zimbabwe," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2006, Washington, DC, March 6, 2007, Section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78765.htm. See also U.S. Embassy – Harare, reporting, March 7, 2007, Investigation and Prosecution of Traffickers para C. See also ILO Committee of Experts, Direct Request, Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) Zimbabwe (ratification: 2000), [online] 2003 [cited July 14, 2006]; available from http://webfusion.ilo.org/public/db/standards/normes/appl/.

4573 Right to Education database, Constitutional Guarantees: Zimbabwe, accessed July 10, 2006; available from http://www.right-to-education.org/content/consguarant/zimbabwe.html. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of State's Parties Due in 1992: Zimbabwe, Addendum, CRC/C/3/Add.35, prepared by Government of Zimbabwe, pursuant to Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, May 23, 1995; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/b82db9a977eea080412562e600392abc?Opendocument. See also ECPAT International CSEC Database, Zimbabwe, accessed October 7, 2006; available from http://www.ecpat.net.

4574 Right to Education database, Constitutional Guarantees: Zimbabwe. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Zimbabwe," Section 5.

4575 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Gross Enrolment Ratio. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/.

4576 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Net Enrolment Rate. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org.

4577 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Survival Rate to Grade 5. Total, accessed December 18, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org.

4578 ILO, Ratifications by Country, accessed October 7, 2006; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/cgi-lex/ratifgroupe.pl?class=g03_04&country=Zimbabwe.

4579 Ibid.

4580 ILO-IPEC, IPEC Action Against Child Labour – Highlights 2006, [online]2006 [cited October 18, 2006], 30; available from http://www.ilo.org/iloroot/docstore/ipec/prod/eng/20070228_Implementationreport_en_Web.pdf.

4581 Zimbabwe Central Statistics Office, Child Labour Report, 2004, Harare, March 2006, 38-44. See also U.S. Embassy – Harare, reporting, December 18, 2006.

4582 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Zimbabwe," Section 6d.

4583 Zimbabwe Central Statistics Office, Child Labour Report 2004.

4584 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Zimbabwe," Section 6d.

4585 Ibid.

4586 Ibid.

4587 ECPAT International CSEC Database, Zimbabwe.

4588 Integrated Regional Information Networks, "Zimbabwe: Child Abused Every Hour, New Data Reveals", IRINnews.org, [online], November 20, 2006 [cited November 27, 2006]; available from http://www.irinnews.org/print.asp?ReportID=56443. See also UNICEF, UNICEF "Shocked and Outraged" at Latest Case of Child Rape in Zimbabwe, press release, August 1, 2006; available from http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/media_35154.html?q=printme. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Zimbabwe."

4589 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Zimbabwe," Section 5. See also U.S. Embassy – Harare, reporting, March 7, 2007, Overview para B.

4590 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Zimbabwe." See also U.S. Department of State, "Zimbabwe (Tier 3)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006, Washington, DC, June 5, 2006; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2006/65989.htm. See also U.S. Embassy – Harare, reporting, March 7, 2007, Overview para B.

4591 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Zimbabwe." See also U.S. Embassy – Harare, reporting, March 7, 2007, Overview Section B.

4592 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Zimbabwe," Section 5.

4593 Ibid. See also Integrated Regional Information Networks, "Zimbabwe: 'Green Bombers' Deserting Poor Conditions in Camps", IRINnews.org, [previously online], January 24, 2004 [cited October 7, 2005]; available from http://www.irinnews.org/print.asp?ReportID=39106 [hard copy on file].

4594 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Zimbabwe," Section 6d. See also U.S. Embassy – Harare, reporting, March 7, 2007. See also ILO Committee of Experts, Direct Request, Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No.138).

4595 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Zimbabwe," Section 6d. See also U.S. Embassy – Harare, reporting, March 7, 2007, Investigation and Prosecution of Traffickers para C.

4596 ILO NATLEX National Labor Law Database, Children's Protection and Adoption Amendment Act, 2001 (No. 23), June 4, 2003; available from http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/natlex_browse.home.

4597 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Zimbabwe." See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Zimbabwe," Section 5.

4598 Government of Zimbabwe, Constitution of Zimbabwe, Chapter 3, Article 14; available from http://www.parlzim.gov.zw/Resources/Constitution/constitution.html. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Zimbabwe," Sections 5 and 6c.

4599 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Zimbabwe," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=779.

4600 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Zimbabwe," Section 6d.

4601 Ibid., Sections 1d. and 5.

4602 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Zimbabwe."

4603 U.S. Embassy – Harare, reporting, March 7, 2007, Overview para B.

4604 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Zimbabwe," Section 5. See also U.S. Embassy – Harare, reporting, March 7, 2007, Prevention para B.

4605 U.S. Embassy – Harare, reporting, March 7, 2007, Overview para B.

4606 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Zimbabwe."

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