Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 September 2014, 12:56 GMT

2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - The Gambia

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 - The Gambia, 31 August 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d749344e.html [accessed 18 September 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 in 2000:24.8%1697
Minimum age of work:161698
Age to which education is compulsory:81699
Free public education:Yes1700*
Gross primary enrollment rate in 2004:81%1701
Net primary enrollment rate in 2004:75%1702
Percent of children 5-14 attending school in 2000:57.8%1703
Percent of primary school entrants likely to reach grade 5:Unavailable
Ratified Convention 138:9/4/20001704
Ratified Convention 182:7/3/20011705
ILO-IPEC participating country:No1706
* Must pay for school supplies and related items.

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In rural areas of The Gambia, most working children work on farms. Working children in urban areas work as taxi or bus attendants.1707 Working girls are most likely to work as street vendors, selling food items such as candy, water, and fruits for their parents. Working boys are most commonly found doing such odd jobs as hauling items or sweeping.1708 Many children between 14 and 16 work in technical sectors such as lumbering, sewing, or masonry.1709 Children who are sent to Koranic schools are often forced to beg in the streets for their teachers.1710

Commercial sexual exploitation of children, including prostitution, is common in The Gambia.

Gambian men called "sugar daddies" are also reported to offer gifts to young girls in exchange for sexual favors.1712 Visiting European pedophiles exploit children through sex tourism.1713

Child trafficking is also a problem in The Gambia. Boys are trafficked for a wide range of work including, but not limited to, sexual exploitation, fishing, and begging.1714

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age for employment in The Gambia at 16 years.1715 Gambian law prohibits economic exploitation and hazardous work, or work that interferes with education for children under 16.1716 Children 16 to 18 can only engage in light work and are not permitted to work at night.1717 However, children may serve as apprentices at 12.1718

All employees are given employee labor cards that include their age. These cards are registered with the labor commissioner who is authorized to enforce child labor laws. However, the U.S. Department of State reports that inspections rarely occurred.1719 Child Protection Units within the Police Department also handle child-related law enforcement.1720 There is a Children's Court that likewise handles child labor cases.1721

Forced labor, including by children, is prohibited by law.1722 Children under 18 may not be recruited into the armed forces.1723 The law prohibits promoting child prostitution and procuring a child for sexual exploitation in The Gambia or elsewhere. Penalties for such offenses range from 10 to 14 years imprisonment.1724 Trafficking of children is specifically prohibited under Gambian law, which stipulates a penalty of life imprisonment.1725 Enforcement of law pertaining to trafficking in children is primarily the responsibility of the Tourism Security Unit.1726 The Department of Labor under the Department of State for Trade and Employment was responsible for implementing provisions on the worst forms of child labor.1727

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

The Government of The Gambia is implementing its 2004-2008 National Policy for Children in The Gambia, which includes components addressing child economic and sexual exploitation.1728 To educate hotel personnel about child sexual tourism, the Child Protection Alliance (CPA), a consortium of government agencies and NGOs, conducted several awareness campaigns. With the help of the Department of State for Justice, the CPA launched a government-funded trafficking education campaign during the year.1729 CPA has also aired radio programs that covered such issues as child trafficking, and they teamed up with another local NGO for a child trafficking workshop.1730


1697 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates, October 7, 2005.

1698 Government of The Gambia, Government of The Gambia., Children's Act, 2005, Article 43(1).

1699 Constitution of the Gambia, (1997); available from http://www.childlaborlaws.org/docs/866.shtml. See also U.S. Department of State, "The Gambia," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2006, Washington, DC, March 6, 2007; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78736.htm.

1700 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: The Gambia." Section 5.

1701 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Gross Enrolment Ratio. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/.

1702 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Net Enrolment Rate. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/.

1703 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates.

1704 ILO, ILOLEX Database of International Labour Standards, 2005 [cited October 26, 2006]; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/newratframeE.htm.

1705 Ibid.

1706 ILO, Alphabetical List of ILO Member Countries, Washington, DC, 2006; available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/relm/ctry-ndx.htm.

1707 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: The Gambia." Section 6d.

1708 Christian Children's Fund – The Gambia, Child Protection Baseline Assessment for Children Living and Working in the Streets of Banjul, Christian Children's Fund, January 3, 2006, 13. See also Department of State for Education Official, Interview with USDOL contractor, September 4, 2006.

1709 U.S. Embassy – Banjul, reporting, October 15, 2002.

1710 Ejatou Jallow, "The State of Gambian Children," The Independent (Banjul), April 2, 2004; available from http://www.ecpat.net/eng/Ecpat_inter/IRC/newsdesk_articles.asp?SCID=1293. See also Gambia, Child Protection Baseline Assessment, 13.

1711 Department of State for Education Official, Interview, September 4, 2006.

1712 Integrated Regional Information Networks, "GAMBIA: Rising poverty breeds sexual exploitation of children by Sugar Daddies", IRINnews.org, June 15, 2006; available from http://www.irinnews.org/print.asp?ReportID=40937.

1713 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: The Gambia." Section 5.

1714 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: The Gambia, Washington, D.C., June 3, 2005; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2005/46613.htm.

1715 Children's Act, 2005, Article 43(1).

1716 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: The Gambia."

1717 Children's Act, 2005, Articles 42-43.

1718 Children's Act, 2005, Article 51.

1719 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: The Gambia." Section 6d.

1720 U.S. Embassy – Banjul, reporting, July 24, 2007.

1721 Ibid.

1722 Ibid., Section 5.

1723 Children's Act, 2005, Article 59(1).

1724 Ibid., Articles 29-38.

1725 Ibid., Article 39.

1726 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: The Gambia."

1727 Ibid.

1728 Republic of The Gambia, 2004-2008 National Policy for Children in The Gambia., Department of Social Welfare, 2003.

1729 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006:Gambia, Washington, D.C., June 5, 2006; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2006/65988.htm.

1730 U.S. Embassy – Banjul, reporting, March 5, 2007.

Search Refworld

Countries