Last Updated: Monday, 30 May 2016, 14:07 GMT

2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Tanzania

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 - Tanzania, 10 September 2009, available at: [accessed 30 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, 2001:9,829,325
Working children, 5-14 years (%), 2001:35.4
Working boys, 5-14 years (%), 2001:36.2
Working girls, 5-14 years (%), 2001:34.5
Working children by sector, 5-14 years (%), 2001:
     – Agriculture77.4
     – Manufacturing0.1
     – Services22.4
     – Other0.1
Minimum age for work:14
Compulsory education age:15
Free public education:Yes*
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2006:110.3
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2006:97.8
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%), 2000:57.0
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2006:87.2
ILO Convention 138:12/16/1998
ILO Convention 182:9/12/2001
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes

* In practice, must pay for various school expenses

** Accession

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

The United Republic of Tanzania comprises a union between mainland Tanzania and the semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar. In rural areas of mainland Tanzania, children work in small-scale agriculture on clove, coffee, sisal, sugarcane, tea, and tobacco farms. Some children also work in mines and quarries, including tanzanite and gold mines. Girls who live around mines also sell food and haul food supplies, water, and rocks. Boys, known as "snake boys," run errands in unregulated mines, which include gathering stones by crawling through narrow tunnels in the mines.

Children work in the informal sector in stone-crushing, food processing, brick making, tailoring, basket making, preparing fish, or scavenging for items to sell such as plastic, metal, and bottles. Other children work as barmaids, street vendors, and auto mechanics. Children work as domestics, known as "house girls," in third-party homes. After fleeing abusive employers, some are exploited in prostitution.

On Zanzibar, children work in agriculture, fishing, markets, and hotels. Zanzibari children also work in the tourism industry, petty trading, seaweed farming, clove picking, and domestic service, and are involved in commercial sexual exploitation near tourist locations. The commercial sexual exploitation of children is also a problem in mainland Tanzania.

Children in Tanzania are trafficked internally; boys are trafficked for exploitive labor in agriculture, mines, and fishing, and girls are trafficked from rural to urban areas for forced domestic service and commercial sexual exploitation. A limited number of Tanzanian girls are reportedly trafficked to the Middle East and Europe for sexual exploitation and forced domestic service.

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The labor laws of mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar provide for the protection of children from exploitation in the workplace, and prohibit forced or compulsory labor. Mainland Tanzanian laws prohibit the employment of children under 14 years except for light work that is not likely to harm the child's health and development, and that does not limit the child's attendance at school. The law also prohibits children under 18 years from working in mines, factories, ships, or other worksites that the Minister of Labor deems to be hazardous. The Government of Tanzania maintains a list of the worst forms of child labor.

The labor law of mainland Tanzania establishes a criminal punishment for anyone using illegal child labor or forced labor. Violators can be penalized by a fine, 1 year of imprisonment, or both.

Zanzibar is governed by its own labor laws. In Zanzibar, the minimum age for employment is 18 years. Zanzibari law provides for the following two categories of child labor offenses: (a) ordinary practices for child labor, and (b) worst forms of child labor. Penalties for these offenses are similar to mainland Tanzania's; the penalty for category (a) offenses is a fine or imprisonment for up to 6 months; while penalties for category (b) offenses include a fine, imprisonment for a minimum of 1 year, or both.

Tanzanian law also prohibits the military recruitment of children under 18 years, though children may volunteer with parental consent. The law also prohibits the procuring of a child less than 18 years for indecent exhibition or for sexual intercourse, either inside or outside the country.

The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Law became effective in February 2009, and formally criminalized trafficking in persons in both mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar. Trafficking in children is a form of "severe trafficking in persons" and punishable by a fine and 10 to 20 years' imprisonment. The procurement, promotion or facilitation of trafficking is punishable by a fine and 1 to 7 years' imprisonment.

The Ministry of Labor carries the primary responsibility of enforcing mainland Tanzania's labor laws. USDOS reports child labor cases were brought to court in 2008, but that effective enforcement is impacted by the insufficient number, low pay, and high turnover of labor officers. The police Interpol Office of Transnational Crimes incorporates a former anti-human trafficking unit, which received additional funding and training in order to effectively investigate cases of trafficking, including child trafficking. Zanzibar has its own Ministry of Labor, which is responsible for enforcing the island's child labor laws.

Current Government Efforts to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Tanzania's National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty (NSGRP) 2005-2010 includes specific references to the reduction of the worst forms of child labor. The NSGRP commits the Government to reducing the percentage of children engaged in child labor to less than 10 percent by 2010 and linking former child laborers with a range of educational alternatives. It also aims to increase the rates of primary school enrollment, attendance, and completion for child laborers, as well as orphans and other vulnerable children.

At the district and community level, child labor committees identify and monitor children engaged in exploitive child labor. The Dar Es Salaam Police Department has a special officer dedicated to identifying children involved in child labor and referring them to education and healthcare assistance provided by a local NGO.

The Government of Tanzania is participating in a USDOL-funded, USD 5.09 million Child Labor Education Initiative project, TEACH, implemented by Winrock International. This 4-year project aims to withdraw 5,145 children and prevent 5,270 children from exploitive child labor through the provision of educational services. The Government also works with ILO-IPEC to implement its Timebound Program, supported by a USD 4.87 million, 4-year, USDOL-funded project to continue efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor in commercial agriculture, domestic service, mining, fishing, and prostitution in mainland Tanzania by 2010. The project ends in December 2009 and targets 10,250 children for withdrawal and 11,750 children for prevention in Mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar.

The Government of Tanzania partners with ILOIPEC on the implementation of additional child labor and education projects including a 2-year, USD 428,040 inter-regional project to combat child labor and youth employment, funded by the Government of Sweden, and a 4-year, USD 1.44 million project to combat child labor in tobacco farming in the Urambo district, funded by the Foundation for the Elimination of Child Labor in the Tobacco Industry.

The Ministry of Education and Vocational Training operates learning centers initially established by Education Development Center through a USDOL-funded project, providing radio-based curriculum and awareness raising activities.

The Government collaborated with IOM in a campaign to train law enforcement officials, NGOs, and community leaders on all aspects of child trafficking and child labor. Police officers, immigration officials, and prosecutors were trained by USDOJ on anti-trafficking measures. The Government established an anti-trafficking fund, which is used to trace families of victims of human trafficking, including young girls lured to foreign countries with promises of employment that end up in commercial sexual exploitation.

The Government of Tanzania continues to participate in the 2-year, USD 460,000 regional anti-trafficking technical assistance project implemented by the UNODC's Regional Office for Eastern Africa and funded by Norway and Sweden. The project aims to bolster coordination among the 11 EAPCCO countries through the Regional Action Plan to Prevent and Combat Human Trafficking in Eastern Africa, and harmonize national legislation with the Palermo Protocol.

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