Last Updated: Thursday, 17 April 2014, 13:11 GMT

2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Tunisia

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 - Tunisia, 31 August 2007, available at: [accessed 18 April 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:164166
Age to which education is compulsory:164167
Free public education:Yes4168
Gross primary enrollment rate in 2004:110%4169
Net primary enrollment rate in 2004:97%4170
Percent of children 5-14 attending school:Unavailable
As of 2003, percent of primary school entrants likely to reach grade five:97%4171
Ratified Convention 138:10/19/19954172
Ratified Convention 182:2/28/20004173
ILO-IPEC participating country:No4174

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In Tunisia, children can be found working in the informal sector, particularly as agricultural workers and vendors, primarily during their summer vacation from school. Also, in the informal sector, children are involved in the handicraft industry, where child labor is sometimes disguised as apprenticeship.4175 There is no widespread form of forced or compulsory labor in Tunisia, although there is some evidence of exploitation of children in domestic service.4176

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for employment is 16 years, with some exceptions.4177 Children at least 13 years may perform light work in the non-industrial and agricultural sectors.4178 They may also begin working as apprentices or through vocational training programs at 14.4179 Children younger than 16 may work in family businesses, as long as their work does not negatively affect their mental or physical health or interfere with school.4180 This provision does not apply to hazardous work as defined by the Labor Code.4181 The minimum age for hazardous work is 18 years, and the Ministry of Social Affairs has the authority to determine what jobs fall in this category.4182 The law restricts non-agricultural night work; children under 14 are prohibited from working between 8:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.; and children between 14 and 18 are prohibited from working between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.4183 Children working in the agriculture industry must have fixed rest periods and cannot work between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.4184 Workers in the non-agricultural sector under 18 years may not be paid less than 85 percent of the salary paid to adults.4185

Labor inspectors from the Ministry of Social Affairs are responsible for enforcing labor laws, including child labor laws.4186 According to reports received by the U.S. Department of State, overlapping responsibilities among various ministries, lack of resources, and cultural sensitivities sometimes limit the application of these laws.4187 The Ministry of Women's Affairs, Family, Children, and Senior Citizens, and the Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Physical Training are responsible for protecting children's rights, with a body of Child Protection Delegates answerable to the former and based in each governorate of the country.4188 Since the delegates were first established, the Ministry has increased resources, so that office equipment, staff and transportation are available to support the delegates' protective responsibilities.4189

Forced labor is prohibited under the law.4190 as well as trafficking in persons.4191 Convicted traffickers may be sentenced to prison for 3 to 20 years and fines.4192 The law protects children less than 18 years from abuse and exploitation, including participation in wars or armed conflicts, prostitution, and hazardous labor conditions.4193 Tunisian law defines "threatened children" to include those who are at risk of sexual exploitation. The law clarifies that sexual exploitation includes prostitution or any other form of sexual deviation, including commercial sexual exploitation, that exploits the child.4194

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

Research has not identified any specific policies or programs by the Government of Tunisia to address exploitive child labor.

4166 Government of Tunisia, Code du travail, 1966, Loi no. 66-27, (April 30, 1966), Article 53; available from

4167 U.S. Department of State, "Tunisia," Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2006 (March 6, 2007), Section 5; available from

4168 Ibid.

4169 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Gross Enrolment Ratio. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006; available from

4170 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Net Enrolment Rate. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006; available from

4171 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates, March 1, 2007.

4172 ILO, Ratifications by Country, accessed October 12, 2006; available from

4173 Ibid.

4174 ILO, IPEC Action Against Child Labour: Highlights 2006, Geneva, October 2006, 30; available from

4175 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Tunisia," Section 6d. See also ECPAT International CSEC Database, Tunisia, accessed September 13, 2006; available from

4176 ICFTU, Internationally-Recognised Core Labour Standards in Tunisia: Report for the WTO General Council Review of the Trade Policies of Tunisia, Executive Summary, Geneva, September 28-30, 2005, 1; available from

4177 Government of Tunisia, Code du travail, Article 53-2.

4178 Ibid., Articles 55 and 56.

4179 Ibid., Article 53.

4180 Ibid., Article 54.

4181 ILO Committee of Experts, Direct Request, Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) Tunisia (ratification: 1995), [online] 2004 [cited October 19, 2006]; available from C95%29+%40ref+%2B+%28Tunisia%29+%40ref+%2B+%23YEAR%3E2000&highlight=&querytype=bool&context =0.

4182 Government of Tunisia, Code du travail, Article 58.

4183 Ibid., Articles 65 and 66.

4184 Ibid., Article 74.

4185 ILO NATLEX National Labor Law Database, Décret no 2003-1691 du 18 août 2003 fixant le salaire minimum interprofessionel garanti dans les secteurs non agricoles régis par le Code du travail, accessed September 8, 2006; available from

4186 Government of Tunisia, Code du travail, Articles 170 and 171.

4187 U.S. Embassy – Tunisia, reporting, March 31, 2006.

4188 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Tunisia," Section 5. See also Government of Tunisia, Ministère des Affaires de la Femme, de la Famille, de l'Enfance et des Personnes Agées (MAFFEPA), [online] [cited March 23, 2007]; available from See also U.S. Embassy – Tunisia, reporting, March 31, 2006.

4189 U.S. Embassy – Tunisia, reporting, April 4, 2006.

4190 ILO NATLEX National Labor Law Database, Loi no. 89-23 dy 27 février 1989 portant supression de la peine des travaux forcés, accessed June 4, 2007; available from

4191 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Tunisia," Section 6c.

4192 Ibid, Section 5.

4193 Government of Tunisia, Loi No. 95-92, 1995, Relative à la publication du Code de la protection de l'enfant, (November 9, 1995), Articles 2, 3, 20, 25, 26; available from

4194 U.S. Embassy – Tunisia, reporting, April 4, 2006.

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