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2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Madagascar

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 - Madagascar, 18 April 2003, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d7489c3d.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.

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

The Government of Madagascar has been a member of ILO-IPEC since 1998.2190 ILO-IPEC, in coordination with the government, has implemented three programs to remove children from working in quarries through prevention and education efforts.2191 The government is preparing a new action plan to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The plan includes programs to remove child workers from the informal sector in the major cities.2192 The government is also working with ILO-IPEC to compile all laws and texts governing child labor and make them more widely available.2193

The government has created a national inter-ministerial steering committee to coordinate and supervise all activities related to child labor and to provide support in the implementation of child labor action plans.2194 Child labor issues are included in conferences, in-service workshops, and training curriculum for labor inspectors.2195 In May 2000, over 20 labor inspectors representing all six provinces received training on the worst forms of child labor.2196 The Ministry of Tourism collaborated with UNICEF to conduct a survey on child prostitution.2197 The Ministry of Labor is collaborating with ILO-IPEC to conduct a survey of child prostitution and children working in quarries.2198 The Ministry of Labor has also collaborated with NGOs and faith-based groups to address child prostitution and return children involved in prostitution to school or vocational training.2199

The Ministry of Education's Education of Girls Office has implemented an assisted home study program that provides non-traditional education for working children.2200 The Ministry of Education has also promoted educational opportunities through a safety net program for public primary schools that loans books to primary schools, renovates and expands schools, and increases staff.2201

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 2000, the ILO estimated that 34.1 percent of children ages 10 to 14 years in Madagascar were working.2202 Most child labor occurs in the agricultural sector, where children work as unpaid laborers on family farms,2203 while other children work as domestic servants for third parties in both rural and urban areas. A small number of children work in the commercial and industrial sectors.2204 In urban areas, children work as petty traders, casual transport workers and beggars.2205 Some children are also employed under hazardous conditions in quarries and mines.2206

The commercial sexual exploitation of children occurs and is on the rise in Madagascar, particularly in tourist areas and coastal fishing areas.2207 In 1999, it was reported that in recent years there have been reports that women and girls were trafficked to Reunion, a French overseas departement, and Mauritius for the purpose of prostitution.2208

Primary education is compulsory and free up to the age of 14.2209 Enforcement of compulsory education laws is generally weak.2210 In 1996, the gross primary enrollment rate was 97.2 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 65 percent.2211 Attendance rates are not available for Madagascar. While enrollment rates indicate a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children's participation in school.2212 The percentage of students who began school in 1995 and reached grade two was 77 percent, while the percentage of students who reached grade 5 in 1995 was 40.0 percent.2213

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Labor Code sets the minimum age for employment at 15 years.2214 Decree 62-152 prohibits children under the age of 18 from engaging in work that could endanger their health, safety or morals.2215 Children under the age of 18 are also prohibited from performing night work.2216 Prostitution is not criminalized, but Ordinance 60-161 prohibits the procurement of children for prostitution with a sentence of imprisonment for two to five years and a fine of 750,000 to 7,500,000 Malagasy francs (USD 116.93 to 1,169.30) if the crime involves a minor under the age of 18. The same punishment can be imposed on any person who is the cause of the corruption of a child under the age of 16.2217 The minimum age for either conscription or voluntary recruitment into the military is 18 years.2218 Forced or bonded labor by children is prohibited.2219

The Ministry of Civil Service, Labor and Social Laws enforces child labor laws through unannounced inspections.2220 Violations of labor laws are punishable with fines of up to 1.5 million Malagasy francs (USD 243.74),2221 imprisonment or closure of the workplace if it poses an imminent danger to workers. The government has not earmarked resources for investigations of exploitative child labor cases, and the Ministry of Labor does not have an adequate number of trained inspectors.2222 There are approximately 40 labor inspectors who do general inspections; none focus solely on child labor issues.2223 When violations are found, the fines reportedly are low and employers are not jailed.2224 Labor inspectors cover only wage earners in the formal economy and cover only the capital region effectively.2225 The enforcement of child labor laws in the informal sector is pursued through the court system.2226

The Government of Madagascar ratified ILO Convention 138 on May 31, 2000 and ILO Convention 182 on October 4, 2001.2227


2190 ILO-IPEC, All About IPEC: Programme Countries, [online] [cited October 10, 2002]; available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/ipec/about/countries/t_country.htm.

2191 Activities have included awareness-raising campaigns in the major port city of Tamatave and photo exhibits in all six provinces of Madagascar. By August 2000, ILO-IPEC programs had reintegrated some 300 children into schools in the Diego Suarez area, half of whom had been working in mines. U.S. Embassy – Antananarivo, unclassified telegram no. 1787, October 2001.

2192 Ibid.

2193 Ibid.

2194 Ibid.

2195 Ibid.

2196 U.S. Embassy – Antananarivo, unclassified telegram no. 1800, August 2000.

2197 Ibid.

2198 Ibid.

2199 Mamy Ratovomalala, Minister of Industrialism and Handicraft, letter to Ambassador of the United States of America in Madagascar, September 4, 2000.

2200 U.S. Embassy – Antananarivo, unclassified telegram no. 1787.

2201 Ibid.

2202 World Bank, World Development Indicators 2002 [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2002.

2203 According to a 1993-1994 labor force survey, 94 percent of working children ages 7 to 14 years of age engage in agricultural activities. Nine times out of 10, family work is unpaid. Francois Roubaud and Diane Coury, Le travail des enfants au Madagascar: Un etat des lieux, MAG/97/M01/FRA, ILO-IPEC, Geneva, 1997.

2204 The 1993-1994 survey reported that 3 percent of working children are employed in services; 2 percent work in the commercial sector; and 1 percent work in the industrial sector. See Ibid.

2205 Ibid. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2001: Madagascar, Washington, D.C., March 4, 2002, 414-16, Section 6d [cited December 13, 2002]; available from http://www.state.gov/ g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2001/af/8389.htm.

2206 U.S. Embassy – Antananarivo, unclassified telegram no. 1787.

2207 According to the Ministry of Tourism, 25 percent of prostitutes in the tourist area of Tulear are under 18 years of age. See ECPAT International, Madagascar, in ECPAT International, [database online] [cited August 15, 2002 2002], "CSEC Overview: Child Prostitution" [cited August 15, 2002]; available from http://www.ecpat.net/eng/Ecpat_inter/ projects/monitoring/online_database/index.asp. See also U.S. Embassy – Antananarivo, unclassified telegram no. 1787.

2208 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Madagascar, 414-16, Section 6f.

2209 Constitution of Madagascar, 1992, (August 19, 1992), Article 24. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Madagascar, 413-14, Section 5.

2210 U.S. Embassy – Antananarivo, unclassified telegram no. 1787.

2211 World Bank, World Development Indicators 2002.

2212 For a more detailed discussion on the relationship between education statistics and work, see the preface to this report.

2213 UNESCO, World Education Report 2000: The Right to Education, Towards Education for All throughout Life, Geneva, 2000, 144.

2214 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Madagascar, 414-16, Section 6d. See also Ratovomalala, letter, September 4, 2000.

2215 U.S. Embassy – Antananarivo, unclassified telegram no. 1787. The decree was issued in 1962. See also Ratovomalala, letter, September 4, 2000.

2216 U.S. Embassy – Antananarivo, unclassified telegram no. 1787.

2217 Article 334 bis (Ordinance 60-161 of 10/3/60), as cited in Protection Project, "Madagascar," in Human Rights Report on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children; available from http://www.protectionproject.org/ main1.htm. For currency conversion see FX Converter, [online] [cited August 22, 2002]; available from http://www.carosta.de/frames/convert.htm.

2218 U.S. Embassy – Antananarivo, unclassified telegram no. 1567, September 2001.

2219 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Madagascar, 414-16, Section 6c.

2220 Ibid., 414-16, Section 6d. See also Ratovomalala, letter, September 4, 2000.

2221 For currency conversion see FX Converter, available at http://www.carosta.de/frames/convert.htm, [cited October 10, 2002].

2222 U.S. Embassy – Antananarivo, unclassified telegram no. 1787.

2223 Ibid.

2224 Ibid.

2225 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Madagascar, 414-16, Section 6d and 6e.

2226 Ibid., 414-16, Section 6d.

2227 ILO, Ratifications by Country, in ILOLEX, [database online] [cited December 3, 2002]; available from http://ilolex.ilo.ch:1567/english/newratframeE.htm.

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