Last Updated: Thursday, 24 July 2014, 13:56 GMT

2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Namibia

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 - Namibia, 27 August 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48caa4823c.html [accessed 25 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 Labor2423
Working children, 6-14 years (%), 1999:14.7
Working boys, 6-14 years (%), 1999:15.5
Working girls, 6-14 years (%), 1999:13.9
Working children by sector, 6-14 years (%), 1999:
     – Agriculture91.4
     – Manufacturing0.4
     – Services8.2
     – Other0.1
Minimum age for work:14
Compulsory education age:16
Free public education:Yes*
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:106
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:77
School attendance, children 6-14 years (%), 1999:91.6
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2004:86
ILO-IPEC participating country:Associated

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children in Namibia work in commercial and communal agriculture, and domestic service.2424 Children find self-employment in basket weaving, traditional beer making, selling produce, barbering, milking cows, and charcoal production.2425 To support their households, children tend livestock, hunt, fish, and gather wild foods.2426 Children also unload goods, including hazardous chemicals, and guard cargo at night for long-distance truck drivers.2427 Children from poor rural households frequently assist extended family members in urban centers with house cleaning, cooking, and child care in exchange for food, shelter, and sometimes clothes and money.2428 Numerous HIV/AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children are reportedly engaged in commercial sexual exploitation.2429

Children from Angola, Zambia, and other countries neighboring Namibia reportedly enter the country illegally to work on communal farms.2430 According to USDOS, however, Namibia is not a country of origin, transit, or destination for a significant number of trafficked children.2431

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age for employment at 14 years. The law also prohibits children under 16 years from working in any mine, industrial, or construction setting, and prohibits children under 18 years from engaging in night work from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m.2432 The Constitution protects children under 16 years from economic exploitation and states that they are not to be employed in any work that is likely to be hazardous; harmful to their physical health, or mental, spiritual, moral, or social development; or that would interfere with their education.2433

The Constitution prohibits slavery and forced labor.2434 The law criminalizes trafficking in persons and human smuggling.2435 Those found guilty of trafficking are subject to fines or imprisonment of up to 50 years.2436 The law also makes it an offense for any adult to solicit or entice a child to participate in prostitution.2437

The law allows for compulsory military service, but there is no military draft because individuals currently enlist into the Armed Forces in sufficient numbers. According to Ministry of Defense Policy, the minimum age for voluntary military service is 18 years.2438

According to USDOS, the Government of Namibia has difficulty monitoring the working conditions on tens of thousands of communal and commercial farms.2439

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

The Government of Namibia is working with ILO-IPEC to implement a USDOL-funded USD 5 million regional child labor project in Southern Africa.2440 Project activities in Namibia include conducting research on the nature and incidence of exploitive child labor and developing a national child labor plan of action.2441 In collaboration with the governments and NGOs in the region, the American Institutes for Research is implementing a regional USDOL-funded USD 9 million project in Southern Africa to improve the quality of and access to basic and vocational education for children who are working or at risk of entering exploitive child labor.2442 Over its lifetime, this project aims to prevent 10,000 children in five countries, including Namibia, from engaging in exploitive labor.2443 With the assistance of the Namibia Agricultural Union and the Namibia Farm Workers Union, the Government of Namibia conducts public-awareness campaigns on child labor.2444 The Program Advisory Committee on Child Labor, comprised of Government Ministries, unions, NGOs, and businesses, continued to coordinate child labor efforts and advise the two USDOL-funded projects operating in the country.2445


2423 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 U.S. Department of State, "Namibia," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2007, Washington, DC, March 11, 2008, section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100496.htm. See also U.S. Embassy – Sana'a, reporting, November 29, 2007, para 5. 2424 Debie LeBeau, Scoping Report on Child Labour in Namibia, ILO-IPEC, Geneva, August 2003, 29-33. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Namibia," para 6.

2425 Debie LeBeau, Scoping Report on Child Labour in Namibia, Discussion Document, commissioned by ILO-IPEC, Geneva, August 2003, 24-25. See also U.S. Embassy – Windhoek, reporting, December 18, 2007, para 6.

2426 Debie LeBeau, Scoping Report, 25. See also Towards the Elimination of the worst forms of Child Labor (TECL), Overview of child work in Namibia, [online] 2007 [cited November 27, 2007]; available from http://www.child-labour.org.za/blns-countries/namibia/forms-of-child-labour/national-child-labour-profile/overview/overview-of-child-work-in-namibia/.

2427 Towards the Elimination of the worst forms of Child Labor (TECL), Overview of child work.

2428 Debie LeBeau, Scoping Report, 32.

2429 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Namibia," section 5. See also ECPAT International CSEC Database, Namibia, accessed November 27, 2007; available from http://www.ecpat.net/. See also Debie LeBeau, Scoping Report, 35, 37. See also U.S. Embassy – Windhoek, reporting, December 18, 2007, para 1.

2430 Debie LeBeau, Scoping Report, 31. See also U.S. Embassy – Windhoek, reporting, December 18, 2007, para 1.

2431 U.S. Embassy – Windhoek, reporting, February 27, 2008, para 1.

2432 Government of Namibia, Labor Act (December 8, 2004), chapter 2, section 3,4; available from http://www.parliament.gov.na/parliament/billsandacts/Actdetail.asp?ActID=115. See also Debie LeBeau, Scoping Report, 17.

2433 Government of Namibia, Constitution (February 1990), article 15; available from http://www.oefre.unibe.ch/law/icl/wa00000_.html.

2434 Ibid., article 9.

2435 U.S. Embassy – Windhoek, reporting, February 27, 2008, para 8.

2436 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Namibia," section 5.

2437 Ibid. See also U.S. Embassy – Windhoek, reporting, February 27, 2008, para 9. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Namibia," section 5. See also Debie LeBeau, Scoping Report, 21.

2438 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Namibia," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/library/global-reports.

2439 U.S. Embassy – Windhoek, reporting, December 18, 2007, para 6. See also U.S. Embassy – Windhoek, reporting, December 13, 2006, para 6.

2440 ILO-IPEC, Supporting the Time-Bound Programme to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labour in South Africa's Child Labour Action Programme and Laying the Basis for Concerted Action Against Worst Forms of Child Labour in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, Project Document, Geneva, September 30, 2003, cover page. See also Towards the Elimination of the worst forms of Child Labor (TECL), Overview of child work.

2441 ILO-IPEC, Supporting the Timebound Programme to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labour in South Africa's Child Labour Action Programme and Laying the Basis for Concerted Action Against Worst Forms of Child Labour in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, Annex to TECL Project Document: Strategy for Namibia, Geneva, May, 2005, 4. Towards the Elimination of the worst forms of Child Labor (TECL), About the Child Labor Program in Namibia, [online] 2007 [cited March 26, 2008]; available from http://www.child-labour.org.za/blnscountries/namibia/about-the-child-labour-programme/general/.

2442 American Institutes for Research, Reducing Exploitive Child Labor Southern Africa (RECLISA), Project Document, Washington, DC, September 8, 2005, 17-18.

2443 Ibid., 21-22.

2444 U.S. Embassy – Windhoek, reporting, December 18, 2007, para 3. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Namibia," section 6d.

2445 Towards the Elimination of the worst forms of Child Labor (TECL), Namibia Governance, [online] 2007 [cited March 26, 2008]; available from http://www.child-labour.org.za/blns-countries/namibia/about-the-child-labourprogramme/general/blns-countries/namibia/about-the-child-labour-programme/governance. See also U.S. Embassy – Windhoek, reporting, December 18, 2007, para 3.

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