Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 May 2016, 11:51 GMT

2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Dominica

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 18 April 2003
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Dominica, 18 April 2003, available at: [accessed 24 May 2016]
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 five-year Basic Education Reform Project with assistance from the World Bank.1128 The project focused on strengthening management and planning at the Ministry of Education, and 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 the identification of more cost effective methods for selecting, acquiring and distributing educational materials.1129

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, scientific skills for all learners; ensuring computer literacy in schools; and strengthening the role of civil society in planning, implementing and evaluating educational reform.

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.1130 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.1131

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Statistics on the number of working children below the age of 15 in Dominica are unavailable. However, some children help their families on a seasonal basis in agriculture,1132 and it was reported that Dominica is a country of origin and transit for the trafficking of children en route from the Dominican Republic to Saint Martin.1133

Under the Education Act of 1997, schooling is compulsory from ages 5 to 16.1134 In 2002, the gross primary enrollment rate was 92.7 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 89.9 percent.1135 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.1136 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.1137

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for employment is 15 years.1138 The Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children Act places restrictions on the employment of young persons at night.1139 There are no laws that specifically prohibit trafficking in persons1140 or child pornography, but the Sexual Offenses Act of 1998 prohibits prostitution.1141 The Sexual Offenses Act also prohibits the defilement of girls under 16, unlawful detention of a women or girl for sexual purposes, and the procurement of any person using threats, intimidation, false pretenses or the administration of drugs.1142 The Constitution prohibits slavery, servitude and forced labor.1143

The Government of Dominica ratified ILO Convention 138 in September 27, 1983 and ILO Convention 182 on January 4, 2001.1144

1128 Virginia Thomas, Statistician, Educational Planning Unit, Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth Affairs, Commonwealth of Dominica, facsimile communication to USDOL official, August 22, 2002.

1129 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 December 10, 2002]; available from

1130 Government of Canada, Canadian Cooperation in the Caribbean 2000 Edition: Dominica,, [cited July 17, 2002]; available from

1131 Ibid.

1132 U.S. Embassy – Bridgetown, unclassified telegram no. 1126, June 23, 2000.

1133 Protection Project, "Dominica," in Human Rights Report on Trafficking of Persons, Especially Women and Children, March 2002, [cited July 17, 2002]; available from

1134 Thomas, facsimile communication, August 22, 2002.

1135 Ibid.

1136 For a more detailed discussion on the relationship between education statistics and work, see the preface to this report.

1137 U.S. Embassy – Bridgetown, unclassified telegram no. 1126. See also, UNESCO, EFA 2000 Report: Dominica.

1138 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2001: Dominica, Washington, D.C., March 4, 2002, 2763-64, Section 6d [cited August 7, 2002]; available from

1139 Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children Act (L.f.5 of 1938), (February 1, 1939), [cited August 7, 2002]; available from natlexcigi.exe?lang=E&doc=query&ctry-DMA&11x=12.01.

1140 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Dominica, 2763-64, Section 6f.

1141 Government of the COmmonwealth of Dominica, Sexual Offenses Act 1998 (No. 1 of 1998), (March 22, 1998), [cited August 7, 2002]; available from

1142 These provisions are found in Articles 2, 3, 4, and 7 of the Sexual Offenses Act. See Interpol, Legislation of Interpol Member States on Sexual Offences Against Children: Dominica,, [online] [cited August 21, 2002], III; available from

1143 The Commonwealth of Dominica Constitution Order,1978 No. 1027, (November 3, 1978), Chapter 1, Section 4, 1-2 [cited July 17, 2002]; available from

1144 ILO, Ratifications by Country, in ILOLEX, [database online] [cited August 7, 2002]; available from

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