2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Equatorial Guinea
|Publisher||United States Department of Labor|
|Author||Bureau of International Labor Affairs|
|Publication Date||18 April 2003|
|Cite as||United States Department of Labor, 2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Equatorial Guinea, 18 April 2003, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d7488d32.html [accessed 1 February 2015]|
Government Policies and Programs to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor
In May 2000, the Government of Equatorial Guinea requested assistance from the ILO regional office to improve the country's adherence to international labor standards, including those related to child labor.1315 The country also has government-sponsored and private programs to provide education for at-risk children.1316 In September 2002, the government ratified a National Education for All Plan 2002-2015, in which it pledged to give priority to basic and girls' education.1317 The government provides assistance to child victims of trafficking, and is conducting a radio campaign to raise awareness about the minimum age of employment.1318
Incidence and Nature of Child Labor
In 2000, the ILO estimated that 32 percent of children ages 10 to 14 years in Equatorial Guinea were working.1319 Children primarily work on family farms, in street vending1320 and in grocery stores.1321 There is evidence that children engage in prostitution,1322 particularly in the capital city.1323 Children are trafficked within the country and from neighboring countries such as Nigeria and Benin for bonded labor (including domestic service) in Equatorial Guinea's cities.1324 Some children are also trafficked through Equatorial Guinea for domestic labor in Gabon.1325
Education is free and compulsory until the age of 14.1326 In 1998, the gross primary enrollment rate was 130.8 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 82.7 percent.1327 Attendance rates are not available for Equatorial Guinea.1328 While enrollment rates indicate a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children's participation in school.1329 Late entry into the school system and high drop-out rates are common, and girls are more likely than boys to drop out of school.1330
Child Labor Law and Enforcement
Labor laws set the minimum age for employment at 14 years, but children as young as 13 years can work in light jobs on the condition that these do not affect their health, growth, or school attendance. Children who are 12 years old may work in agriculture or craft making.1331 Children under 16 years are prohibited from work that might harm their health, safety or morals.1332 In 2001, the government passed a measure banning all children under the age of 17 years from being on the streets after 11 p.m. and from working, a measure which the Ministry of the Interior stated was taken to curb growing levels of prostitution, delinquency and alcoholism among young people employed in bars and grocery stores and as street hawkers. The measure calls for the fining of parents as punishment for violations.1333 Forced or bonded labor by children is prohibited.1334 The country has some laws against trafficking of persons but they are rarely employed.1335
The Ministry of Labor corps of 50 national labor inspectors enforces labor laws.1336 However, the government devotes little attention to the rights of children, and fails to enforce minimum age laws for work or laws mandating education up to the age of eighteen.1337
The Government of Equatorial Guinea ratified ILO Convention 138 on June 12, 1985 and ILO Convention 182 on August 13, 2001.1338
1315 The regional ILO representative reported in 2000 that progress was being made on child labor issues in cooperation with the Ministry of Labor. See U.S. Embassy – Yaounde, unclassified telegram no. 3123, July 2000.
1317 Integrated Regional Information Networks, "Equatorial Guinea: Basic Education Plan Ratified", IRINnews.org, [online], September 26, 2002 [cited October 2, 2002]; available from http://www.irinnews.org/ print.asp?ReportID=30109.
1318 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report – 2002: Equatorial Guinea, Washington, D.C., June 5, 2002, 46 [cited December 11, 2002]; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2002/10679.htm.
1319 World Bank, World Development Indicators 2002 [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2002.
1320 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2001: Equatorial Guinea, Washington, D.C., March 4, 2002, 234-36, Section 6d [cited August 29, 2002]; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/ 2001/af/8367.htm.
1321 UN Integrated Regional Information Network, Equatorial Guinea; Minors Grounded, Prohibited from Working, Africa News Service, Inc., [online] September 1, 2001 [cited September 3, 2002]; available from http://www.globalmarch.org/clns/daily-news/september/sep-1-2001.html.
1323 afrol.com, Child labour increasing in Equatorial Guinea, [online] November 21, 2001 [cited September 3, 2002]; available from http://www.afrol.com/News/eqg023_child_labour.htm. See also afrol.com, Prostitution booms in Equatorial Guinea as education sector folds up, [online] October 12, 2001 [cited September 3, 2002]; available from http://www.afrol.com/News/eqg013_prostitution.htm.
1324 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report: Equatorial Guinea, 46. See also Agence France Presse, Nigeria to bring child labourers home from Gabon, E. Guinea, [online] March 29, 2002 [cited September 3, 2002]; available from http://globalmarch.org/clns/daily-news/march-2002/march-29-2002.htm.
1325 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report: Equatorial Guinea, 46.
1326 According to the State Department, this measure is not enforced. See U.S. Department of State, Country Reports 2001: Equatorial Guinea, 233-44, Section 5.
1327 World Bank, World Development Indicators 2002.
1328 According to the representative of UNICEF in Equatorial Guinea in 2001, 50 percent of school-age children did not attend primary school. See afrol.com, Child labour increasing.
1329 For a more detailed discussion on the relationship between education statistics and work, see the preface to this report.
1330 UN Economic and Social Council Commission on Human Rights, Question of the Violation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in Any Part of the World: Report on the Human Rights Situation in the Republic of Equatorial Guinea submitted by the Special Representative of the Commission, Mr. Gustavo Gallón, pursuant to Commission resolution 2000/19, E/CN.4/2001/38, United Nations, Geneva, January 16, 2001, 25. Pregnancy and the expectation that girls will assist with agricultural work result in lower education attainment levels for girls. See U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Equatorial Guinea, 233-44, Section 5.
1331 For a 12-year-old to work, professional organizations of workers and authorities within the Ministry of Labor must be consulted in advance. See U.S. Embassy – Yaounde, unclassified telegram no. 3123.
1333 UN Integrated Regional Information Network, Equatorial Guinea; Minors Grounded.
1334 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Equatorial Guinea, 234-36, Section 6d.
1335 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report: Equatorial Guinea, 46.
1336 U.S. Embassy – Yaounde, unclassified telegram no. 3123.
1337 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Equatorial Guinea, 233-46, Sections 5 and 6d.
1338 ILO, Ratifications by Country, in ILOLEX, [database online] [cited September 5, 2002]; available from http://ilolex.ilo.ch:1567/english/newratframeE.htm.