Last Updated: Thursday, 30 October 2014, 14:31 GMT

2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Botswana

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 - Botswana, 31 August 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d74925f.html [accessed 30 October 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 admission to work:14580
Age to which education is compulsory:Not compulsory581
Free public education:No582
Gross primary enrollment rate in 2004:105%583
Net primary enrollment rate in 2004:82%584
Percent of children 5-14 attending school:Unavailable
As of 2003, percent of primary school entrants likely to reach grade 5:91%585
Ratified Convention 138:6/5/1997586
Ratified Convention 182:1/3/2000587
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes, associated588

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children in Botswana are employed in agriculture, predominately subsistence farming, and family businesses.589 In remote areas, young children also work as domestic servants.590 Anecdotal evidence suggests that some children are exploited in prostitution.591 In addition, there are unconfirmed reports that Botswana is a country of transit for children trafficked into South Africa.592

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age for basic employment at 14 years, and for hazardous work, at 18 years.593 Under the law, children not attending school who have attained the age of 14 may be employed by family members, or as approved by the Commissioner of Labor, in light work that is not harmful to their health and development and for no more than 6 hours per day and 30 hours per week.594 Children, defined as those under 15 years, and young persons, defined as those between 15 and 17 years, may not be employed in underground work, night work, or any work that is harmful to their health and development.595 Children may not work more than 3 consecutive hours, and young persons more than 4 hours, in industrial undertakings without a rest period of 30 minutes, absent the express permission of the Commissioner of Labor.596

The law prohibits forced labor, although it does not specifically mention children.597 The law does not explicitly prohibit trafficking in persons, although separate statutes make kidnapping, slave trafficking, and procuring women and girls for prostitution illegal.598 Child prostitution and pornography are criminal offenses, and "defilement" of persons less than 16 years is punishable by a 10-year minimum prison sentence.599 The law specifically protects adopted children from being exploited for labor, and orphans from being coerced into prostitution.600 Military service is voluntary and the minimum age for enlisting in the armed forces is 18 years.601

The Ministry of Labor and Home Affairs is tasked with enforcing child labor laws.602 Although its resources for oversight of remote areas in the country were limited, the Ministry was, in general, effective.603 The law authorizes the Commissioner of Labor to terminate the unlawful employment of children.604 The child welfare divisions of the district and municipal councils are also responsible for enforcing child labor laws.605 The maximum penalty for illegally employing a child is imprisonment for up to 12 months, a fine, or a combination of both.606

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

The Government of Botswana is working with ILO-IPEC on a USDOL-funded regional child labor project in Southern Africa. Activities under this USD 5 million project in Botswana include research on the nature and incidence of exploitive child labor and efforts to build the capacity of the government to address child labor issues.607 The American Institutes for Research, with the support of the Government of Botswana, is implementing another regional USDOL-funded project. This USD 9 million project has been designed to combat the worst forms of child labor through the provision of quality, accessible education for children working or at-risk of working.608 This project aims to prevent 1,625 children from engaging in exploitive labor in Botswana.609

The government included a module on children's activities in its 2005/2006 national labor force survey. The preliminary results of the survey will help identify the extent and location of child labor in Botswana.610


580 U.S. Embassy – Gaborone, reporting, December 5, 2006, Para. 2.

581 U.S. Department of State, "Botswana," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2006, Washington, DC, March 6, 2007, Section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78720.htm.

582 Ibid. See also U.S. Embassy – Gaborone, reporting, December 5, 2006, Para. 8.

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

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

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

586 ILO, Ratifications by Country, accessed September 25, 2006; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/docs/declAFpr.htm.

587 Ibid.

588 ILO-IPEC, IPEC Action Against Child Labour-Highlights 2006, Geneva, October 2006; available from http://www.ilo.org/iloroot/docstore/ipec/prod/eng/20061019_Implementationreport_eng_Web.pdf.

589 Duma Gideon Boko, Scoping Study on Child Labour in Botswana, Dawie Bosch and Associates, Pretoria, August 2003, 10.

590 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Botswana," Sections 5 and 6d.

591 Ibid., Section 5. See also U.S. Embassy – Gaborone official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, May 26, 2005.

592 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Botswana," Section 5. See also ECPAT International CSEC Database, Botswana, accessed September 22, 2006; available from http://www.ecpat.net.

593 U.S. Embassy – Gaborone, reporting, December 5, 2006, Para. 2.

594 Government of Botswana, Botswana Employment Act, Para. 107; available from http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/WEBTEXT/842/64792/E82BWA01.htm#p11. See also U.S. Embassy – Gaborone, reporting, December 5, 2006, Para. 2.

595 Government of Botswana, Botswana Employment Act, Paras. 2, 108,109 and 110. See also Duma Gideon Boko, Scoping Study on Child Labour in Botswana, 5.

596 Government of Botswana, Botswana Employment Act, Para. 111.

597 Ibid., Part VI, Para. 71.

598 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Botswana," Section 5.

599 Ibid. See also Interpol, Legislation of Interpol Member States on Sexual Offences Against Children: Botswana, [online] 2006 [cited September 25, 2006]; available from http://www.interpol.int/Public/Children/SexualAbuse/NationalLaws/csaBotswana.asp.

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

601 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Botswana," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=759.

602 U.S. Embassy – Gaborone, reporting, December 5, 2006, Para. 4. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Botswana," Section 6d.

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

604 Government of Botswana, Botswana Employment Act, Para. 110.

605 U.S. Embassy – Gaborone, reporting, December 5, 2006, Para. 4.

606 Ibid., para 4.

607 ILO-IPEC, Supporting the Timebound Programme to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labour in South Africa's Child Labour Action Programme and Laying the Basis for Concerted Action Against Worst Forms of Child Labour in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, project document, Geneva, September, 2003, 38-39.

608 American Institutes for Research, Reducing Exploitive Child Labor Southern Africa (RECLISA), project document, Washington, D.C., September 8, 2005, 1.

609 Ibid., 20.

610 U.S. Embassy – Gaborone, reporting, December 5, 2006, Para. 12. See also Government of Botswana, Preliminary 2005/2006 Labour Force Survey Results, Gaborone, November 2006, 6; available from http://www.cso.gov.bw/.

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