Last Updated: Monday, 23 May 2016, 07:53 GMT

2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Oman

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 10 September 2009
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Oman, 10 September 2009, 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.

Selected Statistics and Indicators on Child Labor
Population, children, 5-14 years:
Working children, 5-14 years (%):
Working boys, 5-14 years (%):
Working girls, 5-14 years (%):
Working children by sector, 5-14 years (%):
     – Agriculture
     – Manufacturing
     – Services
     – Other
Minimum age for work:15
Compulsory education age:Not compulsory
Free public education:Yes
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2007:80.3
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2007:72.7
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%), 1999:69.2
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2006:98.5
ILO Convention 138:7/21/2005
ILO Convention 182:6/11/2001
ILO-IPEC participating country:No

* Accession

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children in Oman work in family businesses and informal occupations involving agriculture and fishing. Camel racing is part of the Bedouin cultural heritage; children as young as 7 years reportedly participate in competitive races.

Because of limited data, it is difficult to ascertain whether child prostitution, pornography, or trafficking exists in Oman. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has noted that a large number of migrant workers enter Oman each year; trafficked children may be among them.

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for admission to work in Oman is 15 years; however, for certain hazardous occupations the minimum age is 18 years. The minimum age provision and other child labor laws do not apply to children working in family businesses. Minors 15 to 18 years are only permitted to work 6 hours per day and no more than 4 consecutive hours without a break. They are only permitted to work between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. and may not work overtime, on holidays, or on rest days. Workplaces that employ minors are required to post certain items for display, including a copy of the provisions of the law regulating the employment of children; an updated log with the names, ages, and dates of employment of minors employed in the workplace; and a work schedule showing work hours, rest periods, and weekly holidays. A royal decree sets the maximum prison term at 1 month and/or a fine for employers who repeatedly use child labor. In August 2005, the Government began raising annually by 1 year the minimum legal age to work as a camel jockey. As of January 2009, the current minimum legal age was 17 years.

Forced labor by children is prohibited by law. The crime of inciting a minor under 18 years into prostitution is punishable by not less than 5 years of imprisonment. Pornography, including the production, possession, or distribution of pornographic material in general, is punishable by up to 1 year of imprisonment and a fine. However, there is no explicit prohibition on child pornography.

The 2008 Law Combating Human Trafficking stipulates 7 to 15 years of imprisonment and a fine for traffickers if the victim is less than 18 years. The crime of enslaving a person carries a prison sentence between 3 and 15 years. Similarly, the crimes of receiving, possessing, acquiring, maintaining, or causing a person to enter or exit Oman in a state of servitude or slavery are punishable by 3 to 5 years of imprisonment. Between April 2007 and March 2008, the Government of Oman did not report any prosecutions for offenses related to acts of trafficking. It is illegal to engage a minor in illicit activities such as drug production or trafficking, or any other activity linked with narcotic drugs; such offenses are punishable by death.

The minimum age for voluntary military recruitment is 18 years.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is responsible for the enforcement of child labor laws; however, USDOS reports that enforcement does not often extend to some small businesses, especially those engaged in agriculture and fishing. In 2008, MOM increased its capacity for monitoring labor practices by hiring approximately 100 new labor inspectors. In practice, most employers ask each prospective employee for a certificate indicating that he or she has completed basic education through grade 10. Considering that children usually begin their basic education at 6 years, this means that workers, in most cases, will be at least 16 years when they begin work.

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

The Government operates a 24-hour hotline to allow citizens to report claims of labor abuses, including trafficking. In 2008, ILO trained 100 MOM inspectors on the requirements of core ILO conventions, as well as on how to recognize signs of trafficking.

Search Refworld