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

2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Tonga

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 31 August 2007
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Tonga, 31 August 2007, 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 Labor
Percent of children 5-14 estimated as working:Unavailable
Minimum age for admission to work:Unavailable
Age to which education is compulsory:144121
Free public education:Yes4122*
Gross primary enrollment rate in 2004:115%4123
Net primary enrollment rate in 2001:96%4124
Percent of children 5-14 attending school in 2001:Unavailable
As of 2000, percent of primary school entrants likely to reach grade 5:92%4125
Ratified Convention 138:Non-ILO member
Ratified Convention 182:Non-ILO member
ILO-IPEC participating country:No4126
* Must pay school fees at the secondary level.

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

There are no reports of child labor existing in the formal or informal economy. During 2006, there were increased reports of workers on foreign fishing vessels soliciting underage girls for prostitution.4127

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

Tonga does not have legislation setting the minimum age for work.4128 The law prohibits slavery, which can be interpreted to include forced or bonded labor.4129 The owning and/or operating of a brothel, pimping, and soliciting in a public place are all prohibited by the law. Penalties for offenses range from imprisonment from 6 months to 2 years.4130 The law also prohibits any person from assaulting a child in an indecent manner, abducting girls, and procuring or attempting to procure any girl under the age of 21 for trafficking for prostitution. The maximum punishment for these offenses is imprisonment for up to 5 years.4131 There is no military conscription in Tonga.4132

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

Development policy in Tonga is currently being guided by the Strategic Development Plan Eight (2006-2009). Among other goals, the plan targets vulnerable groups for assistance, including children and youth, and focuses on improving educational standards.4133

4121 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

4122 Ibid. See also U.S. Department of State, "Tonga," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2006, Washington, DC, March 6, 2007, Section 5; available from

4123 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates, March 1, 2007.

4124 Ibid.

4125 Ibid.

4126 ILO, IPEC Action Against Child Labour: Highlights 2006, Geneva, October 2006, 29; available from

4127 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Tonga," Sections 5, 6d. See also Ministry of Finance Statistics Department, Report on the Tonga Labour Force Survey 2003, Nuku'alofa, April 2004, 36. See also End Child Labor, Child Labor Information Bank: Tonga, [online] n.d. [cited October 16, 2006]; available from See also ECPAT International CSEC Database, Tonga, accessed October 16, 2006; available from

4128 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Tonga," Section 6d.

4129 Government of Tonga, Constitution of Tonga, (1988), Article 2.

4130 Government of Tonga, Criminal Offenses Act, (1988), Articles 80-81.

4131 Ibid., 125-126, 129.

4132 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Tonga," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, 2004; available from

4133 Kingdom of Tonga, Strategic Development Plan Eight 2006-2009: Looking to the Future, Building on the Past, 5, 46, 100, 106; available from

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