Last Updated: Thursday, 10 July 2014, 16:05 GMT

2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Liberia

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 27 August 2008
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Liberia, 27 August 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48caa47c18.html [accessed 11 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 Labor2024
Working children, 5-14 years (%):
Working boys, 5-14 years (%):
Working girls, 5-14 years (%):
Working children by sector, 5-14 years (%):
     – Agriculture
     – Manufacturing
     – Services
     – Other
Minimum age for work:16
Compulsory education age:16
Free public education:Yes*
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2000:100
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2000:66
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%):
Survival rate to grade 5 (%):
ILO-IPEC participating country:No
* Must pay for miscellaneous school expenses

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children in Liberia work in subsistence agriculture and rubber tapping.2025 Children also work in street vending, domestic service, rock crushing, mining, and fishing.2026 Children work in construction and as truck loaders, and there are reports that girls engage in prostitution to pay school fees or support their families.2027

Liberia is a country of origin, transit, and destination for regionally trafficked children.2028 Children are reportedly trafficked to Liberia from Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Cote d'Ivoire; and from Liberia to The Gambia, Guinea, and Nigeria for domestic servitude, street vending, sexual exploitation, and agricultural labor.2029

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law prohibits children under the age of 16 from working during school hours and allows labor recruiters to hire children between the ages of 16 and 18 years for occupations approved by the Ministry of Labor.2030 The law does not establish an absolute minimum age for employment. Children under the age of 16 may work for wages if the employer can demonstrate that they are attending school regularly and have a basic education.2031

Liberian law prohibits forced and bonded labor and slavery.2032 The law criminalizes human trafficking and establishes sentences for traffickers ranging from 1 year to life in prison.2033 Liberian law also prohibits any person under 16 years from enlisting in the Armed Forces.2034

The Ministry of Labor monitors compliance with Liberia's labor laws, including laws covering child labor.2035 According to USDOS, the Government did not effectively enforce existing labor laws.2036

Liberia was 1 of 24 countries to adopt the Multilateral Cooperation Agreement to Combat Trafficking in Persons and the Joint Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, in West and Central African Regions.2037 As part of the Multilateral Cooperation Agreement, the governments agreed to use the child trafficking monitoring system developed by the USDOL-funded ILO-IPEC LUTRENA project; to assist each other in the investigation, arrest and prosecution of trafficking offenders; and to protect, rehabilitate, and reintegrate trafficking victims.2038

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

In 2007, the Government of Liberia announced that it will fine or arrest parents for allowing their children to engage in street vending during school hours. This new policy was designed in part to increase school enrollment and combat exploitive child labor, including child trafficking.2039

The Government of Liberia is participating in a 4-year USDOL-funded USD 6 million Child Labor Education Initiative project in Sierra Leone and Liberia. The project, which was launched in 2005, aims to withdraw a total of 7,473 children and prevent a total of 22,417 children from exploitive child labor by improving access to and quality of education.2040 The Government is also supporting a program with UNICEF to provide vocational training and apprenticeships to former child soldiers and children associated with fighting forces.2041


2024 For statistical data not cited here, see the Data Sources and Definitions section. For data on ratifications and ILO-IPEC membership, see the Executive Summary. For minimum age for admission to work, age to which education is compulsory, and free public education, see Government of Liberia, Labour Practices Law (Title 18 and 18A), (1956), section 74; available from http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/natlex_browse.details?p_lang=en&p_country=LBR&p_classification=01.02&p_origi n=COUNTRY&p_sortby=SORTBY_COUNTRY. See also U.S. Department of State, "Liberia," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 200. Washington, D.C., March 11, 2008, section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100489.htm. See also UNESCO, Liberia – Education system, December 18, 2007; available from http://www.unesco.org/iau/onlinedatabases/systems_data/lr.rtf. See also U.S. Embassy – Monrovia, reporting, December 15, 2006, para 1. See also Women's Commission for refugee women and children, Help us Help Ourselves: Education in the Conflict to Post-Conflict Transition in Liberia, New York, March 2006, 7; available from http://www.womenscommission.org/pdf/lr_ed.pdf

2025 International Rescue Committee, Countering Youth and Child Labour Through Education (CYCLE), final project document, New York, August 2007, 9. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Liberia," section 6d. See also U.S. Embassy – Monrovia, reporting, December 10, 2007, para 2e.

2026 Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization for Administration, Deputy Commissioner, Interview with USDOL consultant, June 26, 2006. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Liberia," section 6d. See also Director of Touching Humanity in Need of Kindness, Interview with USDOL consultant, June 26, 2006. See also International Rescue Committee, Education Specialist, Interview with USDOL consultant, June 26, 2006. See also Ministry of Labor, Agency Official, Interview with USDOL consultant, June 26, 2006. See also U.S. Embassy – Monrovia, reporting, December 15, 2006, para 2e. See also International Rescue Committee, Countering Youth and Child Labour Through Education (CYCLE), 9-10.

2027 U.S. Embassy – Monrovia, reporting, December 15, 2006, para 2(e). International Rescue Committee, Countering Youth and Child Labour Through Education (CYCLE), 9. See also Ministry of Gender and Development, Agency Official, Interview with USDOL consultant, June 26, 2006.

2028 U.S. Embassy – Monrovia, E-mail communication to USDOL official, August 1, 2007. See also U.S. Embassy – Monrovia, reporting, February 26, 2008, para 1a,1b.

2029 U.S. Department of State, "Liberia," in Trafficking in Persons Report-2007, Washington, D.C., June 12, 2007; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2007/82806.htm..

2030 Government of Liberia, Labour Practices Law (Title 18 and 18A), section 74, 1506 (para 11). See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Liberia," section 6d. See also U.S. Embassy – Monrovia, reporting, December 10, 2007, para 2a.

2031 Government of Liberia, Labour Practices Law (Title 18 and 18A), section 74. See also U.S. Embassy – Monrovia, reporting, December 10, 2007, para 2a.

2032 Government of Liberia, Constitution of the Republic of Liberia, (1847), article 12; available from http://www.embassyofliberia.org/theconstitution.pdf. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Liberia," section 6c.

2033 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Liberia," section 5.

2034 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Liberia" in Child Solidiers Global Report 2004, London, March 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=966.

2035 U.S. Embassy – Monrovia, reporting, December 15, 2006, section 2b.

2036 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Liberia," section 6d, 6e.

2037 Catholic Relief Services official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, October 2, 2006. See also ILO-IPEC, Combating the Trafficking of Children for Labour Exploitation in West and Central Africa (LUTRENA), Technical Progress Report, Washington, DC, September 1, 2006, 2.

2038 ECOWAS and ECCAS, Multilateral Cooperation Agreement to Combat Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, in West and Central Africa, Abuja, July 7, 2006, 5-7. See also ILO-IPEC, Combating the Trafficking of Children for Labour Exploitation in West and Central Africa (LUTRENA), Technical progress Report, 10-11.

2039 Integrated Regional Information Networks, "LIBERIA: Go to school or go to jail ", IRINnews.org, [online], September 21, 2007; available from http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=74422.

2040 International Rescue Committee, Countering Youth and Child Labour Through Education (CYCLE), 19-22.

2041 UNICEF, Vocational Training helps reintegrate Liberia's former child soldiers, [online] [cited November 26, 2007]; available from http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/liberia_40185.html.

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