Last Updated: Friday, 19 December 2014, 13:25 GMT

2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Namibia

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 - Namibia, 31 August 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d74946c.html [accessed 21 December 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 6-14 estimated as working in 1999:14.7%2941
Minimum age for admission to work:142942
Age to which education is compulsory:162943
Free public education:Yes2944*
Gross primary enrollment rate in 2003:101%2945
Net primary enrollment rate in 2003:74%2946
Percent of children 6-14 attending school in 1999:91.6%2947
As of 2002, percent of primary school entrants likely to reach grade 5:88%2948
Ratified Convention 138:11/15/20002949
Ratified Convention 182:11/15/20002950
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes, associated2951
* Must pay for school supplies and related items.

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 1999, approximately 15.5 percent of boys and 13.9 percent of girls ages 5 to 14 were working in Namibia. The majority of working children were found in the agricultural sector (91.4 percent), followed by services (8.2 percent), manufacturing (0.4 percent), and other sectors (0.1 percent).2952

Children work in commercial and subsistence agriculture, the informal sector, and domestic service.2953 Children find self-employment in basket weaving, traditional beer making, selling fruits and vegetables, barbering, milking cows, and farming communal land.2954 To support their households, children also tend livestock, hunt, fish, and gather wild foods.2955 Children from Angola, Zambia, and other countries neighboring Namibia reportedly enter the country illegally and work on communal farms.2956 Children from poor rural households frequently assist extended family in urban centers with house cleaning, cooking, and child care, in exchange for food, shelter, and sometimes clothes and money.2957 Numerous HIV/AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children are reportedly engaged in commercial sexual exploitation.2958

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age for employment at 14 years. The law also prohibits children under 16 years from working in any mine, industrial, or construction setting or underground, and prohibits children under 18 years from engaging in night work, which is defined as any work taking place between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m.2959 The Constitution protects children under 16 years from economic exploitation and states that they are not to be employed in any work that is likely to be hazardous; harmful to their health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral, or social development; or that would interfere with their education.2960

The Constitution prohibits slavery and forced labor.2961 The law prohibits trafficking in persons,2962 protects children from commercial sexual exploitation, and makes it an offense for any adult to solicit or entice a child to participate in prostitution.2963

The law allows for compulsory military service, but there is no military draft because individuals currently enlist in the armed forces in sufficient numbers. According to the Ministry of Defense policy, the minimum age for voluntary military service is 18 years.2964

The Ministry of Labor is responsible for enforcing child labor laws.2965 Ministry inspectors are trained to identify the worst forms of child labor and use existing enforcement mechanisms.2966 In 2006, the ministry continued its regular labor inspections, and five complaints were filed with the ministry regarding child labor.2967 The Women and Child Protection Units of the Namibian Police Force investigate cases involving abduction and child prostitution.2968 The Ministry of Women Affairs and Child Welfare is charged with ensuring that adequate care is provided to children, particularly orphans and other vulnerable children.2969

Existing national laws comprehensively address the worst forms of child labor in Namibia. The government, however, has difficulty with monitoring working conditions on tens of thousands of communal and commercial farms.2970

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

The Government of Namibia is working with ILO-IPEC to implement a USD 5 million USDOL-funded regional child labor project in Southern Africa, which includes activities in Namibia. Project activities in Namibia include conducting research on the nature and incidence of exploitive child labor and building the capacity of the government to address child labor issues.2971 In collaboration with the government and NGOs, the American Institutes for Research is implementing a regional USD 9 million USDOL-funded project in Southern Africa to improve the quality of and access to basic and vocational education for children who are working or at risk of entering exploitive child labor.2972 Over its lifetime, this project aims to prevent 10,000 children in five countries, including Namibia, from engaging in exploitive labor.2973 With the assistance of the Namibia Agricultural Union and the Namibia Farm Workers' Union, the Government of Namibia conducts public awareness campaigns on child labor.2974


2941 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates, March 1, 2007.

2942 Government of Namibia, Labor Act 2004, (December 8, 2004), Chapter 2, Sections 3 and 4; available from http://www.mol.gov.na/acts/Gaz3339.pdf.

2943 Government of Namibia, Constitution of the Republic of Namibia, 1990, (February 1990); available from http://www.oefre.unibe.ch/law/icl/wa00000_.html. See also U.S. Department of State, "Namibia," 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/2006/78749.htm.

2944 Government of Namibia, Constitution of the Republic of Namibia, 1990, Article 20. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Namibia," Section 5.

2945 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Gross Enrolment Ratio. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/.

2946 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Net Enrolment Rate. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org.

2947 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates.

2948 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Survival Rate to Grade 5. Total, accessed December 18, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org.

2949 ILO, Ratifications by Country, accessed September 25, 2006; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/docs/declAFpr.htm.

2950 Ibid.

2951 ILO-IPEC, IPEC Action Against Child Labour; Highlights 2006, Geneva, October 2006; available from http://www.ilo.org/iloroot/docstore/ipec/prod/eng/20061019_Implementationreport_eng_Web.pdf.

2952 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates.

2953 Debie LeBeau, Scoping Report on Child Labour in Namibia, Discussion Document, commissioned by ILO-IPEC, Geneva, August 2003, Pages 29-33. See also U.S. Embassy – Windhoek, reporting, August 24, 2004.

2954 Debie LeBeau, Scoping Report, Pages 24-25.

2955 Ibid., Page 25.

2956 Ibid., Page 31.

2957 Ibid., Page 32.

2958 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Namibia," Section 5. See also ECPAT International CSEC Database, Namibia, accessed September 26, 2006; available from http://www.ecpat.net/. See also Debie LeBeau, Scoping Report, 35 and 37.

2959 Government of Namibia, Labor Act 2004, Chapter 2, Sections 3 and 4. See also Debie LeBeau, Scoping Report, 17.

2960 Government of Namibia, Constitution of the Republic of Namibia, 1990, Article 15.

2961 Ibid., Article 9.

2962 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Namibia," Section 5.

2963 Debie LeBeau, Scoping Report, 21.

2964 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Namibia," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=788.

2965 ILO, The Effective Abolition of Child Labour: Review of Annual Reports under the Follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, GB.280/3/2, Geneva, March 2001; available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/relm/gb/docs/gb280/pdf/gb-3-2-abol.pdf.

2966 U.S. Embassy – Windhoek, reporting, December 13, 2006, Para 3.

2967 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Namibia," Section 5.

2968 Government of Namibia, Units within the Namibian Police Force, [online] 2006 [cited October 11, 2006]; available from http://www.nampol.gov.na/html/units.html.

2969 Government of Namibia, Statement by His Excellency Sam Nujoma, President of the Republic of Namibia, On the Occassion of the Official Launching of the National Policy on Orphans and Vulnerable Children, [online] 2005 [cited October 11, 2006]; available from http://www.grnnet.gov.na/Nav_frames/News_launch.htm.

2970 U.S. Embassy – Windhoek, reporting, December 13, 2006, Para 6.

2971 ILO-IPEC, Supporting the Time-Bound Programme to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labour in South Africa's Child Labour Action Programme and Laying the Basis for Concerted Action Against Worst Forms of Child Labour in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, Geneva, September 30, 2004.

2972 American Institutes for Research, Reducing Exploitive Child Labor Southern Africa (RECLISA), project document, Washington, DC, September 8, 2005.

2973 Ibid., page 22.

2974 U.S. Embassy – Windhoek, reporting, December 13, 2006, Para 7.

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