Last Updated: Friday, 19 September 2014, 13:55 GMT

2003 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Chad

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 29 April 2004
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2003 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Chad, 29 April 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48c8ca0c2.html [accessed 21 September 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 Chad and UNICEF are collaborating on a campaign against the worst forms of child labor in Chad.[920] In 2003, the government and UNICEF continued a series of workshops, seminars, and radio broadcasts to raise awareness of child labor issues.[921] In an effort to combat child trafficking, the government has also sponsored media campaigns designed to advise parents on how to instruct children about the danger of trusting strangers.[922] In 1997, a mediation body was created in the office of the Prime Minister to prevent the use of child soldiers by the opposition forces.[923] The Chadian Ministry of Justice has established programs to demobilize child soldiers and reintegrate them in civilian life.[924]

In April 2003, UNICEF trained representatives from over 35 NGOs to work with herders, parents, and schools to ensure that these children have access to free education.[925] UNICEF has also launched a set of programs intended to increase access to education, especially for girls. Measures taken to improve girls' attendance rates include providing grants that reduce the domestic workload for girls, and providing grants that offset schooling costs for families.[926] In March 2003, the World Bank also approved a loan to fund Chad's Education Sector Reform Project.[927] The project's main objectives for improving basic education are to promote gender and geographic equity; empower communities to repair school infrastructure; enhance quality of teaching and the educational environment; and create programs for literacy, early childhood development, school health and nutrition, non-formal education, bilingual education, and interactive radio instruction.[928]

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 2000, UNICEF estimated that 65.5 percent of children ages 5 to 14 years in Chad were working.[929] In southern Chad, children are contracted to nomadic herders to tend animals. These children are often abused and provided little monetary compensation for their work.[930] Children also work for little compensation as domestic servants in the households of relatives.[931] In cities, some children work in petty commerce.[932] Some families arrange marriages for daughters as young as 12 or 13 years. Once married, many of these girls are obligated to work long hours in the fields or in the home for their husbands.[933] There are allegations that, in isolated instances, local authorities force children to work in the rural sector.[934] Other reports indicate that some children are trafficked for forced labor.[935]

Despite periodic demobilizations of underage soldiers, there are reports that children continue to work in military installations in the north. Children under 13 years old from the Zaghawa ethnic group have been forcibly recruited into the army. UNICEF estimates 600 child soldiers to be in the country, despite the fact that the practice is prohibited by law.[936]

Articles 35-38 of the Constitution of March 31,1996 declare that all citizens are entitled to free non-religious education and training.[937] However, parents still make considerable contributions toward school costs.[938] Education is compulsory for children starting at the age of 6 years for a period of nine years.[939] In 2000, the gross primary enrollment rate was 73.2 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 58.2 percent.[940] Educational opportunities for girls are limited, mainly because of tradition, and girls tend not to attend as many years of school as boys.[941] In 1996-1997, the gross primary school attendance rate was 54.9 percent, and the net primary attendance rate was 30.2 percent.[942] In 2003, 54.0 percent of the population reached grade five.

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Labor Code set the minimum age for employment in Chad at 14 years.[943] According to a 1969 government decree, individuals must be 18 years or older to perform hazardous work. Also, children younger than 18 years are prohibited from working at night.[944] The Penal Code protects children from sexual exploitation,[945] and from procurement for the purposes of prostitution.[946] The trafficking and prostitution of children can result in a fine and imprisonment from 2 to 5 years.[947] The Constitution and the Labor Code prohibit forced and bonded labor.[948] The Labor Inspection unit of the Ministry of Labor and Public Affairs is responsible for enforcing child labor laws.[949]

Chad ratified ILO Convention 182 on November 6, 2000, but has not ratified ILO Convention 138.[950]


[920] As part of this project, a baseline study was conducted, and various materials, including pamphlets, were produced to raise awareness of the problem of child herders. See U.S. Embassy-N'Djamena, unclassified telegram no. 1795, November 2001.

[921] U.S. Embassy-N'djamena, electronic communication to USDOL official, February 13, 2004.

[922] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2002: Chad, Washington, D.C., March 31, 2003, Section 6f; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2002/18175.htm.

[923] Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Chad," in Child Soldiers Global Report, London, 2001; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/report2001/countries/chad.html. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child found that the government has demonstrated awareness and political will regarding the problems of children in armed conflict. However, the committee reported that the government lacks the resources to support the rehabilitation and social reintegration of children withdrawn from armed conflict. See UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Chad, CRC/C/15/Add.107, United Nations, Geneva, August 1999, para. 35; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/CRC.C.15.Add.107.En?OpenDocument.

[924] Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Child Soldiers – Chad," 1.

[925] U.S. Embassy-N'Djamena, unclassified telegram no.1398, August 13, 2003.

[926] UNICEF, Girls' Education in Chad, [online] [cited August 18, 2003]; available from http://www.unicef.org/girlseducation/Chadfinal.pdf.

[927] World Bank, Education Sector Reform Project, August 8, 2003 [cited August 14, 2003]; available from http://web.worldbank.org/external/projects/main?pagePK=104231&piPK=73230&theSitePK=40941&menuPK=228424&Projectid=P000527.

[928] Ibid.

[929] Children who are working in some capacity include children who have performed any paid or unpaid work for someone who is not a member of the household, who have performed more than 4 hours of housekeeping chores in the household, or who have performed other family work. See Government of the Republic of Chad, Enquete par grappes a indicateurs multiples, Rapport complet, UNICEF, N'Djaména, 2001; available from http://www.childinfo.org/MICS2/natlMICSrepz/Chad/Chad_MICS_Report.pdf. In 2001, the ILO estimated that approximately 36.3 percent of children between ages 10 and 14 in Chad were working. See World Bank, World Development Indicators 2003 [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2003.

[930] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Chad, Section 6d.

[931] Ibid. See also U.S. Embassy-N'Djamena, unclassified telegram no. 1982, May 1997.

[932] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Chad, Section 6d.

[933] Ibid., Sections 5 and 6c. See also U.S. Embassy-N'Djamena, unclassified telegram no. 1982.

[934] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Chad, Section 6c.

[935] Ibid., Section 6f.

[936] Their responsibilities include detecting landmines on the frontlines. In 2001, families in conflict zones reported that they were forced to either provide one of their children to the armed forces as a recruit, or give money a substitute. The Ministry of Justice has also reported that the opposition has recruited child soldiers by force. Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Child Soldiers – Chad." See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Chad, Section 6c.

[937] UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of State Parties due in 1992: Chad, CRC/C/3/Add.50, prepared by Government of the Republic of Chad, pursuant to Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, July 1997, para.42, 155; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/CRC.C.3.Add.50.En?OpenDocument.

[938] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Chad. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of States Parties: Chad, Section 5.

[939] The Government of Chad has not enforced compulsory education. The Constitution does not indicate until what age education is compulsory. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that education is compulsory from age six for 9 years. UNESCO notes that education is compulsory from ages 6 to 12 years. See UNESCO, National Education Systems, [online database] [cited August 13, 2003]; available from http://www.uis.unesco.org/statsen/statistics/yearbook/tables/Table3_1.html. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Chad, Section 5. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of States Parties: Chad, para.42.

[940] World Bank, World Development Indicators 2003.

[941] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Chad, Section 5.

[942] From 1996 to 1997, the gross primary attendance rate remained much higher for boys than for girls; 72.3 percent for boys and 38.1 percent for girls. The net attendance rate was 36.6 percent for boys and 24 percent for girls. See World Bank, World Development Indicators 2003.

[943] A 1996 amendment to the Labor Code changed the minimum working age from 12 to 14 years. See U.S. Embassy-N'Djamena, unclassified cable 1398. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Chad, Section 6d.

[944] UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of States Parties: Chad, para. 197. See also "Code du Travail," Livre III, Titre I, Chapitre II, Law no 38/PR/96, (December 11, 1996); available from http://natlex.ilo.org/txt/F96TCD01.htm. The minimum age for dangerous work is set at 18 years under Decree No. 55/PR.MTJS/DTMOPS. See UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of States Parties: Chad, para. 197.

[945] UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of States Parties: Chad, para. 200. Chad has specific laws, such as Ordinance No. 27/PR/68, that prohibit the production and distribution of child pornography. See The Protection Project, "Chad," in Human Rights Report on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children: A Country-by-Country Report on a Contemporary Form of Slavery, March 2002; available from http://www.protectionproject.org/main1.htm.

[946] Criminal Code of Chad, as cited in The Protection Project Legal Library, [database online], Articles 279-82; available from http://209.190.246.239/protectionproject/statutesPDF/CHAD.pdf. See also ECPAT International, Chad, in ECPAT International, [database online] 2002 [cited August 19, 2003]; available from http://www.ecpat.net/eng/Ecpat_inter/projects/monitoring/online_database/index.asp.

[947] Criminal Code, Articles 279-80.

[948] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Chad, Section 6c.

[949] ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, CEACR: Individual Observation concerning Convention No. 81, Labour Inspection, 1947 Chad (Ratification: 1965), Geneva, August 19, 2002; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/newcountryframeE.htm. The Labor Inspection Office claims that it investigates 10 to 15 child labor allegations per year; however, because of the complex nature of mechanisms for investigating, these statistics are not reliable. See U.S. Embassy-N'Djamena, unclassified telegram no. 1795.

[950] ILO, Ratifications by Country, in ILOLEX, [database online] [cited August 19, 2003]; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/newratframeE.htm.

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