Last Updated: Thursday, 26 May 2016, 08:56 GMT

2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Togo

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 - Togo, 10 September 2009, available at: [accessed 27 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 (%), 2006:1,461,377
Working children, 5-14 years (%), 2006:32.7
Working boys, 5-14 years (%), 2006:33.7
Working girls, 5-14 years (%), 2006:31.6
Working children by sector, 5-14 years (%), 2006:
     – Agriculture83.0
     – Manufacturing1.2
     – Services15.1
     – Other0.6
Minimum age for work:15
Compulsory education age:15
Free public education:Yes
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2007:97.1
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2007:77.2
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%), 2006:72.4
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2006:54.4
ILO Convention 138:3/16/1984
ILO Convention 182:9/19/2000
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In Togo, children work in urban and rural areas, particularly on family-based farms, and in small-scale trading and workshops. Children working in agriculture risk injury from exposure to insecticides and herbicides, and typically do not attend school for most of the year. Children also work in rock quarries, transporting stones and extracting sand used for making bricks. Children, especially girls, work as domestic servants, risking physical abuse. Children also work in the streets as porters. Children also engage in prostitution, including the sex tourism industry.

Togo is a country of origin, destination, and transit for children trafficked for forced labor, including in domestic service and commercial sexual exploitation. Maritime, West, Central, and Kara are the regions most affected by internal trafficking, often of girls, for the purposes of domestic service, market work, portering, or commercial sexual exploitation. Children from Burkina Faso are also reportedly trafficked to Togo. Children, especially boys, are trafficked from Togo's central and northern villages to other African nations, chiefly Nigeria, where they work on plantations, in stone quarries, markets, and homes. Togolese boys are trafficked to Côte d'Ivoire for forced labor in fishing and construction. A research project found that girls more often than boys report being subjected to beatings, deprivation, or sexual abuse while being trafficked and at their destination. Some children are also trafficked to Benin, Burkina Faso, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of Congo.

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for employment in any enterprise is 15 years. Children of at least 15 years may engage in light work as regulated by a ministerial decree. For example, boys from age 15 to 16 years may carry only up to 15 kilograms, while girls of the same age may carry only up to 8 kilograms. For certain industrial and technical employment, 18 years is the minimum age for entry. Children less than 18 years are also prohibited from certain activities, such as producing charcoal or slaughtering animals.

The Labor Code prohibits children less than 18 years from working at night, except if the Minister of Labor, by regulation, exempts a particular industry because of its nature. The law also requires a daily rest period of at least 12 consecutive hours for all working children. The penalty for noncompliance with the minimum age provisions, except if caused by an error related to the child's age, is a fine and possible prison sentence of up to 3 months, which may be doubled for repeat offenders. Violations of the daily rest period for children are subject to a fine and sentence of up to 1 month; however, the Labor Code does not establish any penalties related to violations of the provision governing children working at night.

The Labor Code also prohibits children from working in the worst forms of child labor, which are defined parallel to ILO Convention 182 to include: slavery or similar practices; forced or bonded labor; the use or recruitment of children into armed conflict, illicit activities, or prostitution; and any work whose nature is detrimental to the health, security, or morals of a child. Labor inspectors may require a health assessment to verify that work does not exceed the capacities of a child. The Child Code of 2007 expands on the definition of the worst forms of child labor and increases the penalties for noncompliance. Child sex tourism is specifically prohibited, and penalties for this range from 1 to 10 years of imprisonment as well as fines, depending on the age of the child. The law also establishes penalties for child traffickers and their accomplices of up to 10 years' imprisonment and fines.

The minimum age for military recruitment, including conscription, is 18 years.

Togo was 1 of 24 countries to adopt the Multilateral Cooperative Agreement to Combat Trafficking in Persons and the Joint Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, in West and Central African Regions. As part of the regional Multilateral Cooperation Agreement to Combat Trafficking in Persons, the Government agreed to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenders; to rehabilitate and reintegrate trafficking victims; and to assist fellow signatory countries to implement these measures under the Agreement.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Promotion of Women is the agency responsible for enforcing prohibitions on the worst forms of child labor. Ministry of Labor inspectors are responsible for enforcing the minimum age for employment, but only enforced these age restrictions in the urban formal sector. USDOS reports that the Government of Togo did not effectively enforce child labor laws due to limited resources and that there were no formal child labor inspections during the year.

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

In 2008, the Government of Togo continued to implement various sector-specific action plans that target children being exploited in domestic work, as well as the use of children as porters. Togo's National Steering Committee for the Prohibition of the Worst Forms of Child Labor continued work with NGOs to coordinate and monitor child labor programs. The Government also worked with local NGOs on awareness-raising campaigns related to the exploitation of children.

The Ministry of Social Action, the Promotion of Women and the Protection of Children and Aged Persons spearheads the Government's anti-trafficking efforts. Through this Ministry, the Government established a hotline, which was used as a tool to prevent the trafficking of children. There is also a National Committee for the Reception and Social Reinsertion of Trafficked Children that serves to coordinate statistics on child trafficking. The committee worked with local officials this year to repatriate 52 trafficked children.

The Government of Togo is participating in a 4-year USDOL-funded USD 5 million ILO-IPEC project designed to combat exploitive child labor. This project, launched in 2007, aims to withdraw 4,000 children and prevent 6,000 children from exploitive child labor in urban informal sectors, domestic service, hazardous rural agriculture, and in commercial sexual exploitation.

Togo is participating in a 3-year USD 4.8 million regional ILO-IPEC project, funded by the Government of France, which runs through December 2009 and includes vocational training and apprenticeship programming.

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