Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 May 2016, 12:25 GMT

2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Tonga

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 - Tonga, 27 August 2008, available at: [accessed 31 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 Labor3372
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:None
Compulsory education age:14
Free public education:Yes
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:111
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:95
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%):
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2004:89
ILO-IPEC participating country:No

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Some family-owned operations in Tonga may employ child family members. The National Center for Women and Children (NCWC), a Government-supported NGO, reports that an increasing number of children are either not attending school or dropping out of school to work in the informal sector.3373 A public health facility reported that a number of underage girls were engaging in commercial sexual activities throughout the year, but no further information is available.3374

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

Tonga does not have legislation setting the minimum age for work.3375 The law prohibits slavery.3376 The owning and/or operating of a brothel, pimping, and soliciting in a public place are all prohibited by law. Penalties for offenses range from imprisonment for 6 months to 2 years, and may include whipping.3377 The law also prohibits any person from assaulting a child, abducting girls, and procuring or attempting to procure any girl under the age of 21 years for trafficking in prostitution. The maximum punishment for these offenses is imprisonment for up to 5 years.3378 Tonga maintains a military, called the Tonga Defense Force (TDF).3379 There is no military conscription in Tonga. The minimum age of voluntary service is 18 years.3380

According to USDOS, the Government did not conduct any investigations related to trafficking in persons during the reporting period.3381

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

Research has not identified any policies or programs by the Government of Tonga to address exploitive child labor.

3372 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. Embassy – Suva, reporting, December 10, 2007. See also Paula Bloomfield, Kingdom of Tonga on the Occasion of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Children, New York, May 8-10, 2002; available from See also U.S. Department of State, "Tonga," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2007, Washington, DC, March 11, 2008, section 5; available from

3373 U.S. Embassy – Suva, reporting, December 10, 2007.

3374 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Tonga," section 5. See also ECPAT International CSEC Database, Tonga, accessed December 18, 2007; available from

3375 U.S. Embassy – Suva, reporting, December 10, 2007.

3376 Government of Tonga, Constitution of Tonga, (1988), article 2; available from

3377 Government of Tonga, Criminal Offenses Act, (1988), articles 80-81.

3378 Ibid., 125-126, 129.

3379 U.S. Embassy – Suva official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, July 14, 2008.

3380 U.S. Department of State, Background Notes: Tonga, [online] October 2007 [cited February 7, 2008]. See also Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Tonga," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, 2004; available from See also U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook: Tonga, [online] January 24, 2008 [cited February 7, 2008]; available from

3381 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Tonga," section 5.

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