Last Updated: Thursday, 17 April 2014, 12:25 GMT

2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Fiji

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 - Fiji, 10 September 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4aba3ede37.html [accessed 17 April 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 Labor
Population, children, 5-14 years:
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:15
Compulsory education age:15
Free public education:Yes*
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:94.5
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:86.6
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%):
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2003:86.0
ILO Convention 138:1/3/2003
ILO Convention 182:4/17/2002
CRC:8/13/1993
CRCOPAC:No
CRCOPSC:No
Palermo:No
ILO-IPEC participating country:No

* In practice, must pay for various school expenses

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children work in agriculture in Fiji, including on tobacco and sugar farms. Children also work in the informal sector, in family businesses, and on the streets, selling snacks, shining shoes, and delivering goods. Children are exploited through prostitution, pornography, and sex tourism. Children are also trafficked within Fiji for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation by Fiji citizens.

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets a minimum age for work of 15 years. Children from 13 to 15 years of age may perform "light work" or work with family members or communal or religious group members, provided it is not harmful to their health or development and does not adversely affect their schooling. The law prohibits all children under 18 years of age from working during school hours or for periods prejudicial to their education, except when the employment is an apprenticeship lawfully entered into by contract. Children may not be employed for more than 8 hours a day and must be given 30 minutes of paid rest for every continuous 4 hours worked. Children may be employed at night under conditions prescribed by the Minister.

Children may not work underground in a mine, and the Minister may, after consulting with the National Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Board, declare any employment or workplace unsuitable for children. This may include environments where children work with machinery, hazardous substances, drive motor vehicles, or perform heavy physical labor. Employers of children must keep a register of their employment, including ages, dates of employment, and conditions and nature of employment, maintained separate from other registers and available for inspection. Individuals who violate the law are subject to fines, imprisonment of up to 2 years, or both, and companies, corporations, or trade unions are subject to fines and, where applicable, disqualification from holding a post as an officer of a trade union for 5 years from conviction.

The Constitution prohibits forced labor. The law prohibits the worst forms of child labor, including slavery, practices similar to slavery, and procurement for and use of children in armed conflict, illicit activities, prostitution, and pornography. Individuals who violate the law are subject to fines, imprisonment of up to 2 years, or both, and companies, corporations, or trade unions are subject to fines and, where applicable, disqualification from holding a post as an officer of a trade union for 5 years from conviction.

The 1978 Penal Code prohibits the procurement or attempted procurement of any girl or woman to become a prostitute, and the individual's consent is no defense. Violators are guilty of a misdemeanor charge and liable for 2 years of imprisonment, with the possibility of corporal punishment. Individuals who buy or sell minors under 16 years for "immoral purposes" are subject to the same misdemeanor charge and terms of imprisonment. A person who knowingly permits a girl under 13 years to be "defiled" on his or her premises is guilty of a felony and liable for imprisonment for 5 years with the possibility of corporal punishment. Such violations involving girls between 13 and 16 years carry a misdemeanor charge and liability of 2 years of imprisonment, with the possibility of corporal punishment. The 2003 Immigration Act prohibits trafficking, the attempt to traffic, and aiding and abetting or conspiring to traffic persons and children for both labor and sexual exploitation. The Act carries stiffer penalties; violators can be punished with fines or 20 years of imprisonment.

There is no law on the minimum age of conscription into the military. The minimum age for voluntary military service is 18 years, but commanders may enlist 16-year-olds as the commander deems necessary.

USDOS has reported that children in Fiji remain vulnerable to exploitation due to inadequate enforcement of child labor laws. According to USDOS, the Government "does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so."

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

In 2008, Fiji re-launched its National Decent Work Action Plan, in cooperation with ILO, which calls for awareness of child labor issues, particularly the worst forms of child labor. Fiji is a partner in the EU-funded USD 23,840,531 ILO-IPEC inter-regional Tackling Child Labour through Education, which began in March of 2008 and runs through February 2012.

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