Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 July 2014, 14:56 GMT

2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Fiji

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 22 September 2005
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Fiji, 22 September 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48c8ca56c.html [accessed 22 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 Child Labor Measures Adopted by Governments
Ratified Convention 138 1/3/2003X
Ratified Convention 182 4/17/2002X
ILO-IPEC Associated MemberX
National Plan for Children 
National Child Labor Action Plan 
Sector Action Plan 

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Statistics on the number of working children under the age of 15 in Fiji are unavailable.[1606] Children work in agriculture in Fiji, including in the tobacco sector.[1607] Other children, especially those that are homeless, can be found working in the informal sector and on the streets. Children shine shoes, collect bottles, run errands for restaurants, repair cars, and work as domestics in homes.[1608] Children on the streets are susceptible to commercial sexual exploitation,[1609] and are lured into the commercial sex industry by both local and foreign adults wishing to profit from the pornography trade.[1610]

Primary school education is compulsory for children ages 6 to 15.[1611] In 2001, the gross primary enrollment rate was 108.8 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 99.8 percent.[1612] Gross and net enrollment ratios are based on the number of students formally registered in primary school and therefore do not necessarily reflect actual school attendance. Recent primary school attendance statistics are not available for Fiji. The cost of transportation and the imposition of fees at some schools are reported to limit attendance for some children.[1613]

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Employment Ordinance sets the minimum age for employment at 12 years, and establishes that working children between the ages of 12 and 15 years of age are prohibited from harsh conditions, long hours, and night work.[1614] The Constitution prohibits forced labor,[1615] and the Penal Code prohibits the sale or hiring of minors under 16 years of age for prostitution.[1616] The U.S. Department of State has reported that the country's child labor laws and enforcement mechanisms are insufficient.[1617]

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

The Government of Fiji receives bilateral assistance for the country's development strategy from donor agencies such as AusAID and NZAID to implement new programs in the education sector, particularly in rural and peri-urban areas.[1618] The Government of Fiji has several ongoing education programs being funded by AusAID: the Lautoka Teachers College Upgrade (2002-2005); the Fiji Education Sector Program (2003-2008); and the Rural Schools Infrastructure Project. These projects are intended to train primary school teachers; improve the delivery and quality of educational services; and improve access to schools in rural areas.[1619] NZAID provides the Government of Fiji with resources to support primary school education.[1620]

Save the Children Fiji cooperates with the Ministry of Education to identify schools in need of textbooks and provides money to these schools to purchase textbooks. Children from families with financial need are given school subsidies so that they have access to books.[1621]


[1606] LABORSTAT, Fiji: 1A – Total and economically active population, by age group (Thousands) [Database], Geneva, 05/11/04; available from http://laborsta.ilo.org. While the extent of working children is unknown, recent reports indicate that child labor is a growing concern in the country. See Child labour on the rise in Fiji, Pacnews, July 8, 2003 [cited May 7, 2004]; available from http://www.pacificislands.cc/pina/pinadefault.php?urlpinaid=8337, Fiji sees rise in child labour and poverty, ABC Radio Australia News, April 4, 2003 [cited May 7, 2004]; available from http://www.abc.net.au/ra/newstories/RANewsStories_824943.htm, 1000 Kids in the Workforce, The Daily Post, June 7, 2003 [cited May 7, 2004]; available from http://www.fijiwomen.com/news/2003/06/07/07j.html.

[1607] Farm Consultancy Services, Child Labour in the Fiji Tobacco Industry, n.p., 2004, 17, 19, and 24; available from http://www.eclt.org/activities/research/fiji.html.

[1608] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2003: Fiji, Washington, D.C., February 25, 2004, Section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2003/27770pf.htm, Child labour on the rise in Fiji.

[1609] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2003: Fiji, Section 5.

[1610] UN Commission on Human Rights, Rights of the Child: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography; Addendum, Report on the Mission of the Special Rapporteur to the Republic of Fiji on the Issue of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (October 11-16, 1999), E/CN.4/2000/73/Add.3, prepared by Ofelia Calcetas-Santos, December 27, 1999, para. 36, 104; available from http://www.hri.ca/fortherecord2000/documentation/commission/e-cn4-2000-73-add3.htm. Exploitation of children through both prostitution and pornography occurs both by local and foreign abusers. See also The Protection Project, "Fiji," in Human Rights Report on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children: A Country-by-Country Report on a Contemporary Form of Slavery, 2002, 192-95; available from http://209.190.246.239/ver2/cr/Fiji.pdf.

[1611] UNESCO, Global Education Digest 2004: Comparing Education Statistics Around the World, UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Montreal, 2004; available from http://www.uis.unesco.org/TEMPLATE/pdf/ged/2004/GED2004_EN.pdf, U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2003: Fiji, Section 5.

[1612] World Bank, World Development Indicators 2004 [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2004. For a detailed explanation of gross primary enrollment and/or attendance rates that are greater than 100 percent, please see the definitions of gross primary enrollment rate and gross primary attendance rate in the glossary of this report.

[1613] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2003: Fiji, UN Commission on Human Rights, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, 84.

[1614] Employment Ordinance, (1978); available from http://paclii.org/vu/fj/legis/consol_act/eo202.html, UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of States Parties due in 1995, Addendum: Fiji, CRC/C/28/Add.7, prepared by Government of Fiji, pursuant to Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, September 24, 1996, 258.

[1615] Fiji Constitution, 1988, Section 24; available from http://www.oefre.unibe.ch/law/icl/fj00000_.html.

[1616] Penal Code, (1978), Section 162-63; available from http://www.vanuatu.usp.ac.fj/paclawmat/Fiji_legislation/Consolidation_1978/Fiji_Penal_Code.html.

[1617] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2003: Fiji, Section 6d.

[1618] AusAID, AusAID Pacific Program Profiles 2003-2004 – Fiji, Australian Government, 2003; available from http://www.ausaid.gov.au/publications/pdf/pac_prog_prof.pdf. See also NZAID, Fiji Overview, [cited May 11, 2004]; available from http://www.nzaid.govt.nz/programmes/c-fiji.html.

[1619] AusAID, AusAID Pacific Program Profiles 2003-2004 – Fiji, 13, AusAID, Australia's $20 Million Boost for Education in Fiji, AusAID, 2003 [cited May 11, 2004]; available from http://www.ausaid.gov.au/media/release.cfm?BC=Media&Id=5506_5294_8923_1756_6298.

[1620] NZAID, Fiji Overview.

[1621] Save the Children, Save the Children Fiji, Save the Children, Southeast, East Asia, and Pacific Region, [cited May 11, 2004]; available from http://www.seapa.net/external/members/sc-fiji.htm, Save the Children, What We Do and Why: Fiji, New Zealand, December 15, 2003 [cited May 7, 2004]; available from http://www.savethechildren.org.nz/new_zealand/what_we_do/our_projects/fiji.html.

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