Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 July 2014, 15:15 GMT

2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Lebanon

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 - Lebanon, 31 August 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d7493f2.html [accessed 30 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.

Selected Statistics and Indicators on Child Labor
Percent of children 5-14 estimated as working:Unavailable
Minimum age for admission to work:142413
Age to which education is compulsory:122414
Free public education:Yes2415*
Gross primary enrollment rate in 2002:103%2416
Net primary enrollment rate in 2002:91%2417
Percent of children 5-14 attending school:Unavailable
As of 2001, percent of primary school entrants likely to reach grade 5:92%2418
Ratified Convention 138:6/10/20032419
Ratified Convention 182:9/11/20012420
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes2421
* In practice, must pay registration and other fees.2422

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Working children are more prevalent in poor rural areas and are more likely to come from large families.2423 The proportion of working children 10 to 14 years has been found to be highest in North Lebanon.2424 Children work under hazardous conditions in several sectors, including metal works, construction, automobile repair, equipment installation and maintenance, painting, street work, and seasonal agriculture.2425 In 2000, a government assessment estimated that 25,000 children 7 to 14 were working in tobacco cultivation; the majority of whom worked on family enterprises and were unpaid.2426 Refugee children are often forced to leave school at an early age to go to work.2427 Non-Lebanese children, particularly boys from Palestine and Syria, constitute approximately 10 percent of children 10 to 14 years who work in the formal sector,2428 but they account for approximately 85 percent of children working on the street.2429 The most common types of street work are selling goods, shoe polishing, and washing car windshields.2430

Child prostitution, including situations in which girls have been forced into prostitution by their own families, has been reported.2431 Forty-seven percent of working street children who participated in a 2004 study conducted by the Ministry of Labor (MOL) were forced by adults to work long hours on the streets.2432 While children are not known to participate in armed militia attacks, they continue to be involved in militia training and rallies by groups such as Hizbollah and they are known to be involved with various armed groups operating in the country.2433

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age for employment at 14 years.2434 Youth may not work more than 6 hours per day, must have a 13-hour period of rest between workdays, and may not work between 7:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. In addition, youth 14 to 18 must pass a medical examination to ensure that they can undertake the work in which they are to be engaged, and the prospective employer must request the child's identity card to verify his or her age.2435 Penalties for non-compliance with provisions of the Labor Code, including the prohibitions relating to child labor, include fines and up to 1 to 3 months of imprisonment.2436 Vocational training establishments may be permitted to employ children who have reached 13 years by receiving approval from both the Ministry of Labor and the Public Health Services.2437

Youth under 17 are prohibited from working in dangerous environments that threaten their life, health, or morals.2438 Industrial work2439 and work, such as, mining and quarrying, manufacturing or selling alcohol; work with chemicals or explosives; demolition work; work in tanneries or with machinery; street vending; begging; domestic service; and pornography, is not permitted for children under 16.2440 There are no laws specifically prohibiting trafficking or forced labor; however, other laws are used to address such offenses. The Penal Code prohibits deprivation of personal freedom.2441 The minimum age for voluntary recruitment into the armed forces is 18 years.2442 Prostitution is prohibited. Persons who threaten, intimidates or forces a child into prostitution may be sentenced to 3 to 15 years' imprisonment.2443

The MOL is responsible for the enforcement of child labor laws, but, according to the U.S. Department of State, the Ministry does not apply these laws rigorously.2444 In 2005, the most recent date for which information is available, the MOL had a Labor Inspection Team composed of 97 labor inspectors nationwide, but the Child Labor Unit lacked adequate personnel and resources, which limited its ability to investigate conditions in small or informal establishments.2445 In 2006, the Ministry of Justice, the agency responsible for migrant workers, trained 32 officers in effective strategies for combating trafficking during a 2-week course that was held in conjunction with the IOM.2446

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

A National Policy and Program Framework (NPPF) to eliminate child labor in Lebanon has been developed by the Child Labor Unit of the MOL in collaboration with the National Steering Committee on Child Labor. The NPPF outlines effective strategies to eliminate child labor in priority sectors within an established timeframe, using common measures of progress and a plan for coordination among all actors.2447 The MOL is implementing the NPPF strategy to combat child labor in cooperation with ILO-IPEC and the National Council for Children.2448 The government is continuing efforts to counter trafficking in persons, including signing a Protocol of Understanding with the Sri Lankan Ministry of Labor to create centers to educate domestic workers destined for Lebanon on workers' rights and protections under Lebanese law.2449

The Government of Lebanon is participating in a USDOL-funded USD 3 million regional project implemented by ILO-IPEC that aims to promote the collection and analysis of child labor information; strengthen enforcement and monitoring mechanisms; build capacity; raise awareness on the negative consequences of child labor; and withdraw 3,400 children and prevent 3,500 from engaging in the worst forms of child labor.2450 The government is also participating in a USD 8 million sub-regional project funded by USDOL and implemented by CHF International to combat child labor through education in Lebanon and Yemen. The project aims to withdraw 4,305 children and prevent 3,195 children from entering exploitive labor.2451


2413 Government of Lebanon, Code du travail – Travail des enfants, Loi no 536, (July 24, 1996); available from http://www.lebaneselaws.com/.

2414 U.S. Department of State, "Lebanon," 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.

2415 U. S. Department of State, "Lebanon," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2006, Washington, DC, March 6, 2007; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006.

2416 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Gross Enrolment Ratio. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/.

2417 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Net Enrolment Ratio. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/.

2418 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Survival Rate to Grade 5, accessed December 18, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/.

2419 ILO, Ratifications by Country, accessed October 19, 2006; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/newratframeE.htm.

2420 Ibid.

2421 ILO, IPEC Action Against Child Labour: Highlights 2006, Geneva, February 2007; available from http://www.ilo.org/iloroot/public/english/standards/ipec/doc-view.cfm?id=3159, ILO, Member State of ILO, [cited January 22, 2007]; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/mstatese.htm.

2422 UNDP – Lebanon, Millennium Development Goals: Lebanon Report, prepared by Council for Development and Reconstruction, September 2003, 10,11; available from http://www.un.org.lb/un/awms/uploadedFiles/MDGR%20English.pdf.

2423 ILO-IPEC, Lebanon: Child Labour on Tobacco Plantations: A Rapid Assessment, Geneva, May 2002, 38; available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/ipec/simpoc/lebanon/ra/tobacco.pdf. See also Partners for Development – Civil Group, Gender, Education and Child Labour in Lebanon, ILO, Geneva, 2004, 38; available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/ipec/publ/download/gender_edu_lebanon_2004_en.pdf.

2424 Partners for Development – Civil Group, Gender, Education and Child Labour in Lebanon, 6.

2425 ILO-IPEC, Child Labour on Tobacco Plantations: A Rapid Assessment, 9. See also ILO-IPEC, Supporting the National Policy and Programme Framework for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Lebanon and Yemen: Consolidating Action Against the Worst Forms of Child Labour, project document, Geneva, September 3, 2004, 9, 10.

2426 The survey was conducted by the Consultation and Research Institute in Lebanon with the support of the ILO between July and September 2000. See ILO-IPEC, Child Labour on Tobacco Plantations: A Rapid Assessment, viii, 7-8.

2427 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Lebanon," Section 5. See also Lebanese NGO Forum, The Migration Network: The Refugees, October 18, 2006; available from http://www.lnf.org.lb/migrationnetwork/ngo2.html.

2428 Partners for Development, Gender, Education & Child Labor in Lebanon: A Concept Paper, Draft 4, submitted to ILO, Beirut, November 28, 2003, 7.

2429 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Lebanon," Section 6d.

2430 U. S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Lebanon." See also U.S. Embassy – Beirut, reporting, August 31, 2005.

2431 United Nations High Commission for Human Rights, Expert on Trafficking in Persons Ends Visit to Lebanon, press release, Geneva, September 15, 2005; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/huricane/huricane.nsf/0/5F43BE66EDB9D815C125707E00240837?opendocument. See also ECPAT International CSEC Database, Lebanon, accessed October 19, 2006; available from http://www.ecpat.net.

2432 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Lebanon," Section 6d.

2433 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Lebanon," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=958. See also Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, The Use of Child Soldiers in the Middle East and North Africa Region, prepared by Ibrahim Al-Marashi, pursuant to the Amman Conference on the Use of Children as Soldiers, April 8-10, 2001, 21-23; available from http://www.id.gov.jo/human/activities2000/middleeast_report.html.

2434 Code du travail, Article 22.

2435 Loi no. 91, Modifiant les dispositions des articles 23 et 25 du Code du travail, (June 14, 1999), Articles 21-24; available from http://natlex.ilo.org/scripts/natlexcgi.exe?lang=E.

2436 ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR), Individual Direct Request concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182): Lebanon (ratification: 2001), Geneva, 2006; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/cgi-lex/countrylist.pl?country=Lebanon.

2437 Modifiant les dispositions des articles 23 et 25 du Code du travail, Loi no 91, (July 24, 1996); available from http://www.lebaneselaws.com.

2438 Code du travail, Article 23.

2439 Ibid.

2440 Government of Lebanon, Decree No. 700, Prohibiting Employment of Young Persons under the Age of 16 or 17 in Occupations That Are Hazardous by Nature or Which Endanger Life, Health or Morals, (June 3, 1999); available from http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/SERIAL/71934/72963/F1415871086/LBN71934.pdf. See also ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR), "Report of the Committee of Experts on the Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention, 1999 (No. 182): Lebanon (ratification: 2001)" (paper presented at the 75th Session, Geneva, 2004); available from http://webfusion.ilo.org/public/db/standards/normes/appl/.

2441 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Lebanon," Sections 5, 6c.

2442 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Global Report 2004."

2443 EPCAT International CSEC Database, Lebanon, accessed June 7, 2007; available from http://www.epcat.net.

2444 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Lebanon," Section 6d. See also U.S. Embassy – Beirut, reporting, August 11, 2003. See also Ministry of Labour, Unit for Combat of Child Labour in Lebanon, [online] [cited October 19, 2006]; available from http://www.clu.gov.lb.

2445 U.S. Embassy – Beirut, reporting, August 31, 2005.

2446 U.S. Department of State, "Lebanon," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006, Washington, DC, June 5, 2006 (Tier 2 Watch List); available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2006/65989.htm.

2447 ILO-IPEC, Consolidating Action against the Worst Forms of Child Labour, project document, 8.

2448 U.S. Embassy – Beirut, reporting, August 31, 2005.

2449 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Lebanon."

2450 ILO-IPEC, Consolidating Action against the Worst Forms of Child Labour, project document, 28, 35-38, 49.

2451 CHF International, Alternatives to Combat Child Labor through Education and Sustainable Services in the Middle East and North Africa (ACCESS-MENA) project document, Silver Spring, MD, January, 2007, cover page, 12.

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