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2003 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Swaziland

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 29 April 2004
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2003 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Swaziland, 29 April 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48c8ca3637.html [accessed 12 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.

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

The National Program of Action for children, implemented in 1992, involved the formation of government committees on children's issues.[4164] The program addressed most articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child except free and compulsory primary education, which the government cannot ensure due to financial constraints.[4165] In 2002, the government established a Children's Unit to promote and protect child rights. The unit collaborates with law enforcement on child protections issues, has developed guidelines for management of child abuse cases and has established professional networks through cooperation with the government's legal branch and NGOs.[4166] The Government of Swaziland, with a loan from the World Bank, is implementing a project on the protection of children and orphans, which will make education and health care more accessible to the most vulnerable children in the country.[4167] The project will also provide rehabilitation and reintegration services to street children and provide social protection to orphans and vulnerable children.[4168]

UNICEF and Save the Children Swaziland have projects designed to improve the education system in Swaziland. UNICEF's program focuses on improving gender equity in schools and generally improving the overall quality of education.[4169] Save the Children Swaziland has implemented programs to promote inclusive education for disabled children[4170] and also improve awareness of HIV/AIDS.[4171]

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 2000, the Government of Swaziland and UNICEF estimated that 11.3 percent of children ages 5 to 14 years were working.[4172] Children work in agriculture (particularly in the eastern region), and as domestics and herders.[4173] There are reports that girls from Mozambique have been involved in child prostitution in Swaziland.[4174]

Education is neither free nor compulsory in Swaziland. Thegovernment pays teacher salaries, while student fees and money raised from the community pay for costs such as building upkeep and teacher housing.[4175] In 2000, the gross primary school enrollment rate was 124.6 percent, and the net primary school enrollment rate was 93 percent.[4176] In 1999, 84 percent of children enrolled in primary school reached grade 5.[4177]

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age of employment is set at 15 years for industrial work, although children may work in the commercial sector beginning at age 13.[4178] Employment of children under 18 years is not permitted in mines, quarries or underground work, or in any sector that is dangerous to their safety or health.[4179] The law allows children under 15 to work in industrial firms that only employ family members or in technical schools under supervision, and limits children to 6 hours of work per day and 33 hours per week.[4180] The Ministry of Labor is responsible for enforcing child labor laws, but its effectiveness is limited by a lack of personnel.[4181]

The Criminal Code prohibits the procurement of a girl for purposes of prostitution.[4182] There is no law prohibiting trafficking in persons.[4183]

The Government of Swaziland ratified ILO Convention 138 and ILO Convention 182 on October 23, 2002.[4184]


[4164] The Honorable Dr. Phetsile Dlamini, Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Statement at the United Nations Special Session on Children, May 10, 2002; available from http://www.un.org/ga/children/swazilandE.htm. See also UNICEF and Government of Swaziland Ministry of Education, "The National Programme of Action for the Children of Swaziland 1993-2000," in Common Country Assessment – Swaziland, ed. M.D. McDermott Mbabane: Environmental Consulting Services, 1997; available from http://www.ecs.co.sz/cca/cca_4.htm.

[4165] UNICEF and Government of Swaziland Ministry of Education, "The National Programme of Action."

[4166] Dlamini, Statement at the United Nations Special Session on Children.

[4167] Swaziland – Protection of Children and Orphans, World Bank, [online] 2002 [cited June 2, 2003]; available from http://www-wds.worldbank.org/servlet/WDS/ContentServer/WDSP/IB/2002/05/20/000094946_02051604414058/Rendered/PDF/multi0page.pdf.

[4168] Ibid.

[4169] Girls' Education in Swaziland, UNICEF, [online] [cited June 2, 2003]; available from http://www.unicef.org/programme/girlseducation/action/ed_profiles/Swazilandfinal.pdf.

[4170] Save the Children, Disability, Save the Children Swaziland, [previously online] April 14, 2003 [cited May 14, 2003]; available from http://www.savethechildren/net/swaziland/update/editor/readnew.asp?id=202 [hard copy on file].

[4171] Save the Children, HIV/AIDS, Save the Children Swaziland, [previously online] April 14, 2003 [cited May 14, 2003]; available from http://www.savethechildren.net/swaziland/update/editor/readnew.asp?id=194 [hard copy on file].

[4172] Government of Swaziland, Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey Model: Full Report, 2000, 25; available from http://www.childinfo.org/MICS2/newreports/swaziland/swaziland.pdf. In 2001, the ILO estimated that 12 percent of children ages 10 to 14 were in the labor force. See World Bank, World Development Indicators 2003 [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2003.

[4173] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2002: Swaziland, Washington, D.C., March 31, 2003, Section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2002/18229.htm.

[4174] Ibid., Section 5.

[4175] Ibid.

[4176] World Bank, World Development Indicators 2003. In 1996 the government reported a 90.6 percent primary school attendance rate. See also Government of Swaziland, Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey.

[4177] World Bank, World Development Indicators 2003.

[4178] ILO-IPEC, Report VI (1) Child Labour: Targeting the Intolerable, Geneva, 1998, 77; available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/comp/child/publ/target/target.pdf. The minimum age for light work varies between 13 and 15 years of age depending on the sector.

[4179] Ibid.

[4180] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Swaziland, Section 6d.

[4181] Ibid.

[4182] The Protection Project, "Swaziland," in Human Rights Report on the Trafficking of Persons, Especially Women and Children: A Country-by-Country Report on a Contemporary Form of Slavery, March 2002; available from http://209.190.246.239/ver2/cr/Swaziland.pdf.

[4183] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Swaziland, Section 6f.

[4184] ILO, Ratifications by Country, in ILOLEX, [database online] [cited May 14, 2003]; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/newratframeE.htm.

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