Last Updated: Friday, 26 December 2014, 13:50 GMT

2003 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Dominica

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 - Dominica, 29 April 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48c8ca1132.html [accessed 29 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.

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

From 1996 to 2001, the Government of Dominica implemented a 5-year Basic Education Reform Project with assistance from the World Bank,[1332] which focused on strengthening management and planning at the Ministry of Education; improving the quality of basic education by upgrading teacher training, improving school supervision, curriculum reform, establishing testing mechanisms to monitor student and system performance; and identifying more cost effective methods for selecting, acquiring and distributing educational materials.[1333]

The government plans to expand and improve the quality of secondary education by 2005.[1334] In 1999, an Education Development Plan was formulated with participation from both public and private sector stakeholders. The Plan, which was revised in 2001, sets forth action plans including the development of a national curriculum and continued national assessment; increasing literacy, numeracy, and scientific skills for all learners; ensuring computer literacy in schools; and strengthening the role of civil society in planning, implementing and evaluating educational reform.[1335]

From 1999 to 2000, the Government of Dominica also participated in a project with the Canadian Teachers' Federation to strengthen national teacher organizations, and train educators in leadership skills and new teaching methodologies.[1336] The Canadian Government's Eastern Caribbean Education Reform Project provided assistance to the Government of Dominica to develop more effective supervision and support services at the school level.[1337]

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Statistics on the number of working children under the age of 15 in Dominica are unavailable. However, some children help their families on a seasonal basis in agriculture,[1338] and it has been reported that Dominica is a transit and destination country for trafficking activities.[1339] Under the Education Act of 1997, schooling is compulsory from ages 5 to 16.[1340] In 2002, the gross primary enrollment rate was 92.7 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 89.9 percent.[1341] Primary school attendance rates are unavailable for Dominica. While enrollment rates indicate a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children's participation in school.[1342] Poor physical conditions and overcrowded classrooms affect the quality of education, while poverty, the need for children to help with seasonal harvests, and the termination of a school lunch program have negatively affected school attendance.[1343]

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

Conflicting legislation concerning the minimum age for employment defines a child as an individual under 12 and 14 years respectively.[1344] The Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children Act places restrictions on the employment of young persons at night.[1345] The Constitution prohibits slavery, servitude and forced labor,[1346] and protects the fundamental rights and freedoms of every person in Dominica, whether a national or non-national.[1347] There are no laws that specifically prohibit trafficking in persons[1348] or child pornography,[1349] but the Sexual Offenses Act of 1998 prohibits prostitution.[1350] The Sexual Offenses Act also prohibits the defilement of girls under 16 years of age, unlawful detention of a woman or girl for sexual purposes, and the procurement of any person using threats, intimidation, false pretenses or the administration of drugs.[1351]

The Government of Dominica ratified ILO Convention 138 on September 27, 1983 and ratified ILO Convention 182 on January 4, 2001.[1352]


[1332] Education Planning Unit Official, Ministry of Education, Sports, and Youth Affairs, facsimile communication to USDOL official, August 22, 2002.

[1333] UNESCO, Education for All 2000 Assessment: Country Reports – Dominica, prepared by Ministry of Education, Sports, and Youth, pursuant to UN General Assembly Resolution 52/84, June 1999, Part II, 9 [cited August 28, 2003]; available from http://www2.unesco.org/wef/countryreports/dominica/contents.html.

[1334] Education Planning Unit Official, Ministry of Education, Sports, and Youth Affairs, facsimile communication, August 22, 2002. See also UNESCO, EFA 2000 Report: Dominica.

[1335] Education Planning Unit Official, Ministry of Education, Sports, and Youth Affairs, facsimile communication, August 22, 2002.

[1336] Government of Canada, Canadian Cooperation in the Caribbean 2000 Edition: Dominica, CIDA.gc.ca, [cited August 28, 2003]; available from http://www.acdi-cida.gc.ca/index-e.htm.

[1337] Ibid.

[1338] U.S. Embassy-Bridgetown, unclassified telegram no. 1126, June 23, 2000.

[1339] Dominica is a transit point for trafficking from Dominican Republic to St. Martin and a destination for sex tourists from North America and Europe. See The Protection Project, Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children in the Countries of the Americas, November, 2002; available from http://209.190.246.239/iomz.pdf.

[1340] Education Planning Unit Official, Ministry of Education, Sports, and Youth Affairs, facsimile communication, August 22, 2002.

[1341] Ibid.

[1342] For a more detailed discussion on the relationship between education statistics and work, see the preface to this report.

[1343] U.S. Embassy-Bridgetown, unclassified telegram no. 1126. See also, UNESCO, EFA 2000 Report: Dominica.

[1344] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2002: Dominica, Washington, D.C., March 31, 2003, Section 6d [cited August 27, 2003]; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2002/index.htm. Previous Department of State Country Reports indicated that the minimum age for admission into employment in Dominica is 15 years. See U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2001: Dominica, Washington, D.C., March 4, 2002, Section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2001/wha/8340pf.htm.

[1345] Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children Act (L.f.5 of 1938), (February 1, 1939), [cited August 28, 2003]; available from http://natlex.ilo.org/scripts/natlexcgi.exe?lang=E.

[1346] The Commonwealth of Dominica Constitution Order, 1978 No. 1027, (November 3, 1978), Chapter 1, Section 4, 1-2 [cited August 27, 2003]; available from http://www.georgetown.edu/pdba/Constitutions/Dominica/const.html.

[1347] Ibid., Chapter 1, Section 1. See also Edward A. Alexander, Caribbean Workers on the Move: Dominica, IOM, June 19-20, 2000, 2-4.

[1348] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Dominica, Section 6f.

[1349] Interpol, Legislation of Interpol Member States on Sexual Offences Against Children: Dominica, Interpol.int, [online] [cited August 28, 2003]; available from http://www.interpol.int/Public/Children/SexualAbuse/NationalLaws/csaDominique.asp.

[1350] Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Sexual Offenses Act 1998 (No. 1 of 1998), (April 22, 1998), [cited August 28, 2003]; available from http://natlex.ilo.org/scripts/natlexcgi.exe?lang=E.

[1351] These provisions are found in Articles 2, 3, 4, and 7 of the Sexual Offenses Act. See Interpol, Sexual Offences Against Children: Dominica, III.

[1352] ILO, Ratifications by Country, in ILOLEX, [database online] [cited August 27, 2003]; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/newratframeE.htm.

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