Last Updated: Friday, 11 July 2014, 13:14 GMT

2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Tunisia

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 - Tunisia, 27 August 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48caa4958.html [accessed 13 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 Labor3404
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:16
Compulsory education age:16
Free public education:Yes
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:110
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:97
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%):
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2004:97
ILO-IPEC participating country:No

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In Tunisia, children can be found working in the informal sector, particularly in agriculture and vending, primarily during their summer vacations from school. Children in the informal sector are also involved in the handicraft industry.3405 There is some evidence of exploitation of children in domestic service and agriculture.3406

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for employment is 16 years, with some exceptions. Children at least 13 years old may perform light work.3407 They may also begin working as apprentices or through vocational training programs at 14 years. Children younger than 16 years may work in family businesses, as long as their work does not negatively affect their mental or physical health or interfere with school.3408 This exception does not apply to hazardous work as defined by the Labor Code.3409 The minimum age for hazardous work is 18 years, and the Ministry of Social Affairs has the authority to determine which jobs fall under this category.3410 The law restricts non-agricultural night work by prohibiting children under 14 years from working between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. and children between 14 and 18 years from working between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Children working in the agriculture industry must have fixed rest periods and cannot work between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.3411 Workers under 18 years in the non-agricultural sector may not be paid less than 85 percent of the salary paid to adults.3412

Labor inspectors from the Ministry of Social Affairs are responsible for enforcing labor laws, including child labor laws.3413 According to reports received by USDOS, overlapping responsibilities among various ministries, lack of resources, and cultural sensitivities sometimes limit the application of these laws.3414 The Ministry of Women's Affairs, Family, Children, and Senior Citizens, and the Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Physical Training are responsible for protecting children's rights, with a body of Child Protection Delegates answerable to the former and based in each governorate of the country.3415

Forced labor is prohibited under the law.3416 The law does not specifically prohibit trafficking, but traffickers may be prosecuted under laws prohibiting forced labor, prostitution, participation in armed conflict, or displacement.3417 Convicted traffickers are subject to fines and may be sentenced to prison for 3 to 20 years.3418 The law protects children under 18 years from abuse and exploitation, including participation in wars or armed conflicts, prostitution, and hazardous labor conditions.3419 The law clarifies that sexual exploitation includes prostitution or any other form of sexual deviation, including commercial sexual exploitation of children.3420 Both child prostitution and the act of selling a child or a spouse are punishable by 3 to 5 years imprisonment and fines.3421 The minimum age for voluntary military service is 18 years, and 20 years for compulsory recruitment.3422

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

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


3404 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 Government of Tunisia, Code du travail, 1966, Loi no. 66-27, (April 30, 1966), article 53; available from http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/WEBTEXT/44414/65029/F96TUN01.htm. See also U.S. Department of State, "Tunisia," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2007, Washington, DC, March 11, 2007, section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100607.htm.

3405 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Tunisia," section 6d. See also ECPAT International CSEC Database, Tunisia, accessed December 27, 2007; available from http://www.ecpat.net/.

3406 ICFTU, Internationally-Recognised Core Labour Standards in Tunisia: Report for the WTO General Council Review of the Trade Policies of Tunisia, Executive Summary, Geneva, September 28-30, 2005; available from http://www.icftu.org/www/pdf/clstunisia2005.pdf.

3407 Government of Tunisia, Code du travail, article 53-2, 55, 56.

3408 Ibid., article 53, 54.

3409 ILO Committee of Experts, Direct Request, Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) Tunisia (ratification: 1995), [online] 2004 [cited December 28, 2007]; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/.

3410 Government of Tunisia, Code du travail, article 58.

3411 Ibid., article 65, 66, 74.

3412 ILO NATLEX National Labor Law Database, Décret no 2003-1691 du 18 août 2003 fixant le salaire minimum interprofessionel garanti dans les secteurs non agricoles régis par le Code du travail, accessed December 31, 2007; available from http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/natlex_browse.home.

3413 Government of Tunisia, Code du travail, article 170, 171.

3414 U.S. Embassy – Tunisia, reporting, March 31, 2006.

3415 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Tunisia," section 5. See also Government of Tunisia, Ministère des Affaires de la Femme, de la Famille, de l'Enfance et des Personnes Agées (MAFFEPA), [online] [cited December 31, 2007]; available from http://www.ministeres.tn/html/ministeres/tutelle/femme.html.

3416 ILO NATLEX National Labor Law Database, Loi no. 89-23 dy 27 février 1989 portant supression de la peine des travaux forcés, accessed December 31, 2007; available from http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/natlex_browse.home. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Tunisia," section 6c.

3417 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Tunisia," section 5. See also ILO Committee of Experts, Direct Request, Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Tunisia (ratification: 2000), [online] 2006 [cited December 31 2007]; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/.

3418 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Tunisia," section 5.

3419 Government of Tunisia, Loi No. 95-92, 1995, Relative à la publication du Code de la protection de l'enfant, (November 9, 1995), article 2, 3, 20, 25, 26; available from http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/WEBTEXT/42904/64989/F95TUN01.htm.

3420 U.S. Embassy – Tunisia, reporting, April 4, 2006.

3421 Government of Tunisia, Written communication, submitted in response to U.S. Department of Labor Request for information (November 8, 2007) Washington, DC, February 7, 2008.

3422 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Tunisia," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=838.

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