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2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Congo, Republic of the

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 - Congo, Republic of the, 27 August 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48caa46816.html [accessed 17 September 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 Labor867
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 (%), 2005:107
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:53
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%):
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2002:66
ILO-IPEC participating country:Associated
* Must pay for miscellaneous school expenses.

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children in the Republic of the Congo work with their families on farms or in informal business activities.868 In Brazzaville and other urban centers, there are significant numbers of street children, primarily from the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), who engage in street vending and begging as well as cleaning sewers and latrines by hand.869 Children, many of them from West Africa, reportedly work as domestic servants, fishermen, shop workers, and street sellers.870 Isolated cases of children involved in commercial sexual exploitation occurred, which included trafficking victims from the DRC.871 Children from Benin are trafficked to Pointe-Noire for forced labor in trading and domestic service.872 There are unconfirmed accounts that child trafficking into the Republic of the Congo has been perpetrated by family members of immigrants from West African nations, primarily Benin but also Cameroon, Guinea, Mali, Senegal, and Togo.873

Although reports of violence in the Pool region have continued since the country's civil conflict formally ended in 2003, it is unclear whether children remain involved as child soldiers in the region.874

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age for employment, including apprenticeships, at 16 years. Exceptions may be permitted by the Ministry of Education after an inspection of the place of employment.875 However, children if working in an apprenticeship are prohibited to work beyond their physical capacity.876 The law prohibits forced or compulsory labor, though there are exceptions for military service and other civic duties.877 The minimum age of enlistment for service in the armed forces in the Republic of the Congo is 18 years.878

The law criminalizes procuring a person for the purpose of prostitution. Furthermore, it establishes a penalty of 10 years of imprisonment if such an act is committed with respect to a minor, defined as a person less than 15 years of age.879 While the law does not specifically prohibit trafficking in persons, traffickers can be prosecuted for child abuse, forced labor, illegal immigration, prostitution, rape, extortion, slavery,880 and kidnapping.881 There were no reports that the Government prosecuted any traffickers under these laws.882

The Ministry of Labor is responsible for enforcing child labor laws and monitors businesses in the formal sector; however, because of resource constraints, regular inspections for child labor were not possible. According to USDOS, child labor continues to occur in the informal sector and in rural areas that lack effective Government oversight.883

Although the Government has not ratified CRC Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict and CRC Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography, it has adopted and promulgated legislation to adhere to both treaties.884

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

In response to the recruitment of child soldiers during the civil conflict that formally ended in 2003, the Government of the Republic of the Congo participated in a global USD 7 million, USDOL-funded project implemented by ILO-IPEC to prevent the involvement of children in armed conflict and support the rehabilitation of former child soldiers.885 Since the conflict in the Republic of the Congo ended several years ago, the project initiated a campaign to identify ex-combatants, including children, and created a national committee to address the worst forms of child labor. The project withdrew and prevented a total of 4,335 and 4,560 children, respectively, from involvement with armed groups in seven countries.886

In 2007, the President of the Republic of the Congo received technical and professional training on post-conflict development with respect to children associated with armed forces and groups. 887 The Government's National Program for Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration became effective in August 2006 and continues into 2007.888 The program includes a component to offer socioeconomic reintegration, including financial support and technical training, to former child soldiers.889

The Government is assisting the Consulate of Benin to repatriate child trafficking victims.890 UNICEF and the Justice and Peace Diocesan Commission are also collaborating with the Government on a USD 245,000 project that focuses on child trafficking, including rehabilitation, reintegration, and education programs.891 The Government also worked with UNICEF on a joint research effort regarding trafficking in the country in June 2007.892


867 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 Republic of Congo, The Constitution of the Republic of Congo, (January 20, 2002), articles 23, 34; available from http://www.accpuf.org/images/pdf/cm/congobrazzaville/031-tf-txt_const.pdf See also Government of the Republic of Congo, Loi Nº 45-75, Code du travail de la République populaire du Congo, (1975), article 11; available from http://www.droit-afrique.com/images/textes/Congo/Congo%20-%20Code%20du%20travail.pdf. See also U.S. Department of State, "Republic of Congo," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2007, Washington, DC, March 11, 2008, section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100476.htm. 868 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Congo," section 6d.

869 Ibid., section 5. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention, Concluding Observations: The Republic of the Congo, CRC/C/COG/CO/1, October 20, 2006; available from http://tb.ohchr.org/default.aspx?country=cg. 17.

870 U.S. Embassy – Brazzaville, reporting, November 29, 2007, para E. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Congo," section 5.

871 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Congo," sections 5, 6d. See also Integrated Regional Information Networks, "Congo: Street Children a Growing Problem in Brazzaville", IRINnews.org, [online], April 21, 2005 [cited December 11, 2007]; available from http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=46742&SelectRegion=Great_Lakes&SelectCountry. See also Integrated Regional Information Networks, "Congo: Child trafficking on the rise", IRINnews.org, [online], May 21, 2007 [cited December 10, 2007]; available from http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?ReportId=72268.

872 ILO Committee of Experts, Individual Observation concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Congo (ratification: 2002), [online] 2007 [cited December 11, 2007], para 1; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/gbe/ceacr2005.htm.

873 U.S. Embassy – Brazzaville, reporting, February 21, 2008, section 1, para A. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Congo," section 5.

874 ILO-IPEC, Prevention and Reintegration of Children Involved in Armed Conflict: An Inter-Regional Programme, technical progress report, Geneva, September 2006, 2. See also Reuters Foundation: Alertnet, "Congo (Brazzaville) troubles", Reuters-Alertnet, [online], March 26, 2007 [cited March 12, 2008]; available from http://www.alertnet.org/db/crisisprofiles/CG_TEN.htm?v=in_detail.

875 Government of the Republic of Congo, Loi no 45-75, Code du travail, sections 11, 116. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention, Initial reports of States parties due in 1999: Congo, CRC/C/COG/1, February 12, 2006, 77; available from http://tb.ohchr.org/default.aspx?country=cg.

876 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial reports of States parties due in 1999: The Republic of the Congo, 77.

877 Government of the Republic of Congo, Loi no 45-75, Code du travail, article 4. See also ILO Committee of Experts, Individual Observation concerning Forced Labour Convention 1930 (No. 29) Congo (ratification: 1960), [online] 2007 [cited December 11, 2007], para 2; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/gbe/ceacr2005.htm.

878 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Republic of Congo," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004 London, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=768.

879 Government of the Republic of Congo, Penal Code, articles 222-4, 225-7; available from http://www.protectionproject.org/main1.htm [hard copy on file].

880 U.S. Embassy – Brazzaville, reporting, February 21, 2008, section 2, para A. See also U.S. Embassy – Brazzaville, reporting, November 29, 2007. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Congo," section 5.

881 ILO Committee of Experts, Individual Observation concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, para 1.

882 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Congo," section 5.

883 Ibid., section 6d.

884 ILO-IPEC, Prevention and Reintegration of Children Involved in Armed Conflict: An Inter-Regional Programme, final performance report, Geneva, September 2007, section II.B, sub-indicator1a2(i)A.

885 ILO-IPEC, Prevention and Reintegration of Children Involved in Armed Conflict: An Inter-Regional Programme, project document, Geneva, September 17, 2003, 1.

886 ILO-IPEC, Children Involved in Armed Conflict: September 2007, final performance report.

887 Ibid., 4.

888 ILO-IPEC, Children Involved in Armed Conflict: September 2006, technical progress report, 2. See also ILO-IPEC, Children Involved in Armed Conflict: September 2007, final performance report, section II.B, sub-indicator1a2(i)B.

889 World Bank, Technical Annex for a Program of USD 17 Million from the MDRP Multi-Donor Trust Fund to the Republic of Congo for an Emergency Reintegration Program, World Bank, December 14, 2005, 7, 18-9; available from http://www.mdrp.org/PDFs/Country_PDFs/ROC-MDRP-TechAnnex_0506.pdf. See also Integrated Regional Information Networks, "Congo: Interview with Madeleine Yila Bompoto, Coordinator of Efforts to Reintegrate Ex-Child Soldiers", IRINnews.org, [online], March 31, 2006 [cited December 11, 2007]; available from http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?reportid=52536&selectregion=great_lakes.

890 ILO Committee of Experts, Individual Observation concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, para 4.

891 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Compte Rendu Analytique de la 1177e SÉANCE (Chambre A), Examem des Rapports Présentés par les États Parties: Rapport Initial de la République du Congo, CRC/C/SR.1177, November 21, 2006, 8; available from http://tb.ohchr.org/default.aspx?country=cg. See also Integrated Regional Information Networks, "Congo: New bid to stop child trafficking", IRINnews.org, [online], July 20, 2007 [cited December 10, 2007]; available from http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=73335. See also UNICEF, Congo – Background, [online] [cited December 10, 2007]; available from http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/congo.html.

892 U.S. Embassy – Brazzaville, reporting, February 21, 2008, section 1, para C.

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