Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

2001 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Madagascar

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 7 June 2002
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2001 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Madagascar, 7 June 2002, available at: [accessed 28 May 2016]
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 Madagascar has been a member of ILO-IPEC since 1998. Madagascar has implemented three ILO-IPEC programs to remove children from working in quarries, through prevention and education efforts.[1531] In May 2000, over 20 labor inspectors representing all six provinces received training on the worst forms of child labor.[1532] By August 2000, ILO-IPEC programs had reintegrated some 300 children into schools in the Diego Suarez area, half of whom had been working in mines.[1533]

The Government of Madagascar is preparing a new action plan to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The previous plan included programs to remove child workers from the informal sector in the major cities.[1534] The government is also working with ILO-IPEC to compile all laws and texts governing child labor and make them more widely available.[1535] The Ministry of Labor is collaborating with ILO-IPEC to conduct a survey of child prostitution and children working in quarries.[1536] The government is also planning a national child labor survey for 2004 with technical assistance from ILO-IPEC's SIMPOC.[1537]

The government has created a national inter-ministerial steering committee to coordinate and supervise all activities related to child labor and to provide support in the implementation of child labor action plans.[1538] Child labor issues are included in conferences, in-service workshops, and training curriculum for labor inspectors.[1539] The Ministry of Tourism is collaborating with UNICEF to conduct a survey on child prostitution and has conducted a television awareness-raising campaign on child labor.[1540] The Ministry of Labor has also collaborated with NGOs and faith-based groups to address child prostitution and return children involved in prostitution to school or vocational training.[1541]

The Ministry of Education's Education of Girls Office has implemented an assisted home study program that provides non-traditional education for working children.[1542] The Ministry of Education has also promoted educational opportunities through a safety net program for public primary schools that loans books to primary schools, renovates and expands schools, and increases staff.[1543]

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 1999, the ILO estimated that 34.4 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 14 in Madagascar were working.[1544] Most child labor occurs in the agricultural sector, where children work as unpaid laborers on family farms,[1545] while a small number of children work in the commercial and industrial sectors.[1546] In urban areas, children work as domestic workers, petty traders, casual transport workers, and beggars.[1547] Some children are also employed under hazardous conditions in quarries and mines.[1548]

The sexual exploitation of children occurs and is on the rise in Madagascar, particularly in tourist areas and coastal fishing areas.[1549] In 1999, there were reports that women and girls were trafficked to Reunion, a French overseas departement, and Mauritius for the purpose of prostitution,[1550] but there were no reports of trafficking in 2000.[1551]

Primary education is compulsory and free up to the age of 14.[1552] Enforcement of compulsory education laws is generally weak.[1553] In 1995, the gross primary enrollment rate was 91.6 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 60.6 percent.[1554] The percentage of students who began school in 1995 and reached grade two was 77 percent, while 39.8 percent reached grade 5.[1555]

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Labor Code sets the minimum age for employment at 15 years.[1556] Decree 62-152 prohibits children under the age of 18 from engaging in work that could endanger their health, safety, or morals.[1557] Children under the age of 18 are also prohibited from performing night work.[1558] Prostitution is not criminalized, but Ordinance 60-161 does prohibit the procurement of prostitutes with a sentence of imprisonment for two to five years and a fine of 750,000 to 7,500,000 Malagasy francs (USD 121 to 1,210) if the crime involves a minor under the age of 18. The same punishment can be imposed on any person who "occasionally incites, furthers, or facilities the corruption" of a child under the age of 16.[1559] The minimum age for either conscription or voluntary recruitment into the military is 18 years.[1560] Forced or bonded labor by children is prohibited.[1561]

The Ministry of Civil Service, Labor, and Social Laws enforces child labor laws through unannounced inspections.[1562] Violations of labor laws are punishable with fines, imprisonment, or closure of the workplace, if it poses an imminent danger to workers. The government has not earmarked resources for investigations of exploitative child labor cases, and the Ministry of Labor does not have an adequate number of trained inspectors.[1563] There are approximately 40 labor inspectors who do general inspections – none focus solely on child labor issues.[1564] When violations are found, the fines reportedly are low and employers are not jailed.[1565] Labor inspectors cover only wage earners in the formal economy and cover only the capital region effectively.[1566] The enforcement of child labor laws in the informal sector is pursued through the court system.[1567] Madagascar ratified ILO Convention 138 on May 31, 2000 and ILO Convention 182 on October 4, 2001.[1568]

[1531] Activities have included awareness-raising campaigns in the major port city of Tamatave and photo exhibits in all six provinces of Madagascar. U.S. Embassy-Antananarivo, unclassified telegram no. 1787, October 2001 [hereinafter unclassified telegram 1787].

[1532] U.S. Embassy-Antananarivo, unclassified telegram no. 1800, August 2000.

[1533] Ibid.

[1534] Unclassified telegram 1787.

[1535] Ibid.

[1536] Ibid.

[1537] ILO-IPEC, Child Labor Statistics: SIMPOC Countries, at on 1/29/02.

[1538] Unclassified telegram 1787.

[1539] Ibid.

[1540] Ibid.

[1541] "Answers to the Questionnaire Relating to Child Labor in the Africa Bill Framework," submitted by Minister of Industrialisation and Handicraft, September 4, 2000 [hereinafter "Answers to the Questionnaire Relating to Child Labor"].

[1542] Unclassified telegram 1787.

[1543] Ibid.

[1544] World Development Indicators 2001 (Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2001) [hereinafter World Development Indicators 2001].

[1545] According to a 1993/94 labor force survey, 94 percent of working children between 7 and 14 years of age engage in agricultural activities. Nine times out of 10, family work is unpaid. Francois Roubaud and Diane Coury, Le travail des enfants au Madagascar: Un etat des lieux, MAG/97/M01/FRA (Geneva: International Labor Organization, International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (ILO-IPEC), 1997) [hereinafter Le travail des enfants au Madagascar].

[1546] The 1993/94 survey reported that 3 percent of working children are employed in services; 2 percent work in the commercial sector; and 1 percent work in the industrial sector. See Le travail des enfants au Madagascar.

[1547] Le travail des enfants au Madagascar. See also . See also Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2000 – Madagascar (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of State, February 2001) [hereinafter Country Reports 2000], Section 6d, at

[1548] Unclassified telegram 1787.

[1549] According to the Ministry of Tourism, 25 percent of prostitutes in the tourist area of Tulear are under 18 years of age. See ECPAT database: Madagascar, CSEC Overview: Child Prostitution, at on 11/29/01. See also unclassified telegram 1787.

[1550] Country Reports 2000 at Section 6f.

[1551] Ibid.

[1552] Constitution of Madagascar, Article 24, August 19, 1992 [document on file]. See also Country Reports 2000 at Section 5.

[1553] Unclassified telegram 1787.

[1554] See World Development Indicators 2001.

[1555] World Education Report 2000: The Right to Education, Towards Education for All throughout Life (Geneva: UNESCO Publishing, 2000), 144.

[1556] Country Reports 2000 at Section 6d. See also "Answers to the Questionnaire Relating to Child Labor".

[1557] See unclassified telegram 1787. The decree was issued in 1962. See also "Answers to the Questionnaire Relating to Child Labor."

[1558] Unclassified telegram 1787.

[1559] Article 334 bis (Ordinance 60-161 of 10/3/60). For currency conversion as of January 25, 2002, see

[1560] U.S. Embassy-Antananarivo, unclassified telegram no. 1567, September 2001.

[1561] Country Reports 2000 at Section 6c.

[1562] Ibid. at Section 6d. See also "Answers to the Questionnaire Relating to Child Labor."

[1563] Unclassified telegram 1787.

[1564] Unclassified telegram 1787.

[1565] Ibid.

[1566] Country Reports 2000 Sections 6d and 6e.

[1567] Ibid. at Section 6c.

[1568] ILOLEX database: Madagascar at

Search Refworld