Last Updated: Friday, 11 July 2014, 13:14 GMT

2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Zambia

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 - Zambia, 27 August 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48caa49ac.html [accessed 13 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 Labor3709
Working children, 5-14 years (%), 2005:33.4
Working boys, 5-14 years (%), 2005:34.4
Working girls, 5-14 years (%), 2005:32.4
Working children by sector, 5-14 years (%), 2005:
     – Agriculture95.5
     – Manufacturing0.5
     – Services3.9
     – Other0
Minimum age for work:15
Compulsory education age:Not compulsory
Free public education:Yes*
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:115
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:92
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%), 2005:63.8
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2001:94
ILO-IPEC participating country:Associated
* Must pay for miscellaneous school expenses.

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children in Zambia work in agriculture, domestic service, street vending, transportation, and fishing.3710 Children also work in manufacturing, carpentry, and food production.3711 Boys work in brick-laying while girls work in knitting and tailoring. Within the service industry children work in restaurants, bars, and as barbers and hairdressers.3712 Children also work in hazardous industries, including quarrying, mining, and construction.3713

It is estimated that there are approximately 20,000 to 30,000 street children throughout the country, some of who are involved in begging and prostitution. Commercial sexual exploitation of children is widespread in Zambia.3714 Zambian children are reportedly trafficked to Malawi, and some of them possibly continue to Europe, for commercial sexual exploitation, agricultural labor, fishing, and domestic servitude.3715

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age for employment at 15 years.3716 However, children between 13 and 15 years are permitted to perform light work under certain conditions.3717 The law defines a child as a person less than 15 years; a "young person" is defined as a person between 15 and 18 years.3718

The law prohibits the worst forms of child labor, including child prostitution, slavery in all of its forms, military conscription, and work harmful to the safety, health, or morals of children and young people.3719 A person violating these laws is subject to a fine and imprisonment for up to 3 years.3720 The law prohibits children who are "under the apparent age of 18" from being recruited into the military without the consent of a parent, guardian, or local District Secretary.3721 The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has voiced concern that the law is stated in terms of "apparent age," which could indirectly contribute to exploitive child labor in the form of underage recruitment.3722 Zambian law prohibits forced labor and trafficking of children.3723 The law prescribes a penalty of 20 years to life in prison for trafficking but does not provide a definition of trafficking.3724 In addition, the law makes it a felony for any person to sexually harass a child in the workplace or in a learning institution, with a minimum sentence of 3 years in prison for violators.3725

The Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MLSS) is responsible for enforcing labor laws, and has established a Child Labor Unit.3726 The MLSS conducts inspections of workplaces and investigates child labor complaints through its labor inspectors located in 22 field offices throughout the country.3727 In 2007, the Government increased the number of labor inspectors by 34 percent, totaling 67. The law gives labor inspectors the authority to enter households and farms in order to investigate potential child labor violations. The law also allows the MLSS to bring child labor charges, which can result in a fine or imprisonment.3728 However, USDOS reports that resources are still insufficient, which hinders the Government's enforcement capacity.3729 In January 2007, the High Court found a man guilty of trafficking for attempting to sell his son; this conviction was the first under Zambia's trafficking law since being enacted in 2005.3730

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

The Government continues its efforts to eliminate and monitor exploitive child labor through the National Development Plan.3731 The Government of Zambia has also developed a strategy to counter child trafficking through awareness raising, legal reform, and research.3732

Zambian Government operates two camps for withdrawn and rehabilitated street children, and removed approximately 200 children from the streets as of the end of 2006, the latest date such information is available.3733 The Government is also implementing a program that provides education and skills training for children who have been removed from the streets, including prostitutes and older youth, and works with NGOs to provide similar services.3734 The Government continues to work with NGOs to relocate children, predominantly urban orphans, and place them in appropriate educational or vocational training settings.3735

In 2007, the Government continued to provide awareness and training activities for officials tasked with enforcing child labor laws. Additionally, the Government, with help from the ILO, established seven District Child Labor Committees to conduct child labor awareness-raising activities and begin community mobilization.3736 The Government of Zambia continues to implement its universal primary education program, which specifically targets working children, with the support of USAID, the World Bank, and other donors.3737

Between 2005 and 2007, the Zambian Government collaborated with Jesus Cares Ministries on the second phase of a USD 825,000 USDOL-funded Child Labor Education Initiative project.3738 The project succeeded in withdrawing and preventing a total of 3,518 children from engaging in exploitive work through the provision of educational services.3739

In 2006, USDOL awarded USD 3.92 million to ILO-IPEC to assist the Government with preparing a national Timebound Program against the worst forms of child labor. The 3-year project aims to withdraw 3,000 and prevent 7,000 children from exploitive work through the provision of education and training services.3740 The Government is collaborating with the project to conduct a rapid assessment on child labor in small scale mining.3741

The Government is participating in a USDOL funded, ILO-IPEC USD 3 million program to combat and prevent child labor caused or related to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Uganda and Zambia. This 3.5-year project finalized an HIV/AIDS and child labor rapid assessment survey in 2007 and developed a training module on HIV/AIDS and child labor for use throughout Africa.3742 The project aims to withdraw 1,600 and prevented 2,000 children through community-based social protection schemes.3743

ILO-IPEC is also working with several African governments, including Zambia, on a USD 1.15 million, Canadian-funded project to enhance skill training to combat the worst forms of child labor in the urban informal sector as well as a European Economic Community funded, USD 257,069 study to determine the scale and nature of child trafficking in the country.3744


3709 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 Zambia, Constitution of Zambia, article 24; available from http://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/cafrad/unpan004847.pdf. See also U.S. Department of State, "Zambia," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices-2007 Washington, DC, March 11, 2008, section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100511.htm.

3710 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Zambia," section 6d. See also ILO-IPEC, Support to the Development and Implementation of Timebound Measures Against the WFCL in Zambia, project document, ZAM/06/P50/USA, Geneva, September 14, 2006, 9.

3711 ILO-IPEC, Educational perspectives related to the impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic on child labour in Zambia (Paper 08) ILO-IPEC, Geneva, September 2005, 7; available from http://www.ilo.org/ipecinfo/product/viewProduct.do?productId=2080.

3712 Ibid.

3713 ILO-IPEC, Support to Time Bound Measures in Zambia, 9. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Zambia," section 6d. See also ILO-IPEC and Republic of Zambia Central Statistics Office, Zambia 1999 Child Labor Survey: Country Report, ILO-IPEC, Lusaka, 2001, Tables 4.7 and 4.15. See also U.S. Embassy – Lusaka, reporting, August 19, 2003.

3714 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Zambia," section 5. See also Integrated Regional Information Networks, "Zambia: Street Kids Open Their Minds to Govt Plan", IRINnews.org, [online], March 27, 2006; available from http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=58564.

3715 U.S. Department of State, "Zambia (Tier 2)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007, Washington, DC, June 12, 2007; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2007/82807. See also U.S. Embassy – Lusaka, reporting, February 29, 2008, para 3b.

3716 Government of Zambia, Constitution of Zambia, 1991, article 24.

3717 Government of Zambia, Employment of Young Persons and Children Act (Amendment), 2004, para 5a(2).

3718 Ibid., paras 3a, 3e. See also Government of Zambia, Employment of Young Persons and Children Act (Chapter 274 of the Laws of Zambia), part I, para 2; available from http://annualreview.law.harvard.edu/population/countries/zambia/THE%20EMPLOYMENT%20OF%20YOUNG% 20PERSONS%20AND%20CHILDREN%20ACT.htm.

3719 Government of Zambia, Employment of Young Persons and Children Act, article 17a. See also Government of Zambia, Employment of Young Persons and Children Act (Amendment), para 3b.

3720 Government of Zambia, Employment of Young Persons and Children Act (Amendment), para 5a(4).

3721 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Zambia," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/regions/country?id=238.

3722 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention, Concluding Observations: Zambia, CRC/C/15/Add.206, July 2, 2003, 14; available from http://tb.ohchr.org/default.aspx?country=zm. See also Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Child Soldiers Report 2004: Zambia."

3723 Government of Zambia, Constitution of Zambia, 1991, articles 14, 24.

3724 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Zambia," section 5.

3725 U.S. Embassy – Lusaka, reporting, December 7, 2007.

3726 Ibid. See also U.S. Embassy – Lusaka, reporting, August 19, 2003.

3727 U.S. Embassy – Lusaka, reporting, December 7, 2007. See also U.S. Embassy – Lusaka, reporting, August 19, 2003.

3728 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Zambia," section 6d. See also U.S. Embassy – Lusaka, reporting, December 7, 2007.

3729 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Zambia," section 6d.

3730 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Zambia."

3731 Government of Zambia, Fifth National Development Plan, Lusaka, December 2006, 212, 228, 229-232; available from http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2007/cr07276.pdf.

3732 U.S. Embassy – Lusaka, reporting, February 29, 2008, paras 3e, 4a-c, 5i, 6b.

3733 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Zambia." See also U.S. Embassy – Lusaka, reporting, December 7, 2007. See also Jesus Cares Ministries, Combating Child Labour Through Education, technical progress report, Jesus Cares Ministries, Lusaka, March 30, 2006.

3734 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Zambia." See also Integrated Regional Information Networks, "Zambia: Street Kids".

3735 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Zambia," section 6d.

3736 Ibid.

3737 USAID, "Zambia: Education", usaid.gov, [online], 2006; available from http://www.usaid.gov/zm/education/ed.htm. See also World Bank, The World Bank in Zambia; Country Brief 2005-2006, Washington D.C., 2006; available from http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTZAMBIA/Resources/Zambia_2005_7.pdf. See also U.S. Embassy – Lusaka, E-mail communication to USDOL official, October 29, 2003.

3738 USDOL, Cooperative Agreement: Combating Exploitive Child Labor through Education in Zambia, Washington D.C., September 29, 2005.

3739 JCM official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, November 8, 2007.

3740 ILO-IPEC, Support to Time Bound Measures in Zambia, 5, 46.

3741 ILO-IPEC, Support to the Development and Implementation of Timebound Measures Against the WFCL in Zambia, technical progress report, ZAM/06/P50/USA, Geneva, September 2007, 4.

3742 ILO-IPEC, Combating and Preventing HIV/AIDS-induced Child Labour in Sub-Saharan Africa: Pilot Action in Uganda and Zambia, technical progress report, RAF/04/P57/USA, Geneva, September 2007, 9. See also ILO-IPEC, Combating and Preventing HIV/AIDS-induced Child Labour in Sub-Saharan Africa: Pilot Action in Uganda and Zambia, project revision form, RAF/04/P57/USA, Geneva, October 2007, 2.

3743 ILO-IPEC, Combating and Preventing HIV/AIDS-induced Child Labour in Sub-Saharan Africa: Pilot Action in Uganda and Zambia, project document, RAF/04/P57/USA, Geneva, July 2004, i, 14. See also ILO-IPEC, Combat HIV/AIDS-technical progress report, September 2007, 9.

3744 ILO-IPEC official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, December 12, 2007.

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