Last Updated: Friday, 21 November 2014, 09:37 GMT

2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Bahrain

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 31 August 2007
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Bahrain, 31 August 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d74921c.html [accessed 21 November 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
Percent of children 5-14 estimated as working:Unavailable
Minimum age for work:14252
Age to which education is compulsory:15253
Free public education:Yes254
Gross primary enrollment rate in 2004:104%255
Net primary enrollment rate in 2004:97%256
Percent of children 5-14 attending school:Unavailable
As of 2003, percent of primary school entrants likely to reach grade 5:100%257
Ratified Convention 138:No258
Ratified Convention 182:3/23/2001259
ILO-IPEC participating country:No260

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Small numbers of children in Bahrain perform nonhazardous work in the Manama Central Market, and although not common, some children work in family businesses.261

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law forbids the employment of children younger than 14 years.262 Minors 14 to 16 years may work no more than 6 hours per day, with one hour of rest during daytime hours only; minors may not work overtime or be paid on a piece-rate basis.263 The law also establishes a list of 25 occupations in which no person younger than 16 years may work. These occupations include quarrying; oil refining; auto repair; butchering; construction; and any work that involves lifting heavy loads or contact with radiation, asbestos, furnaces, explosives, batteries, cranes, electricity, pressurized gas, or poisonous dust, vapors, or fumes.264 Working minors 14 to 16 years must obtain authorization to work from the Ministry of Labor (MOL); must undergo a medical examination prior to being employed; and must be granted annual leave of not less than a full month.265 However, these provisions do not apply to workers, including children, in the domestic service and agricultural sectors or in enterprises owned by their immediate family members.266

The MOL is responsible for enforcing child labor laws and regulations.267 Violations of child labor laws are punishable by fines. In addition to levying punishment against employers and supervisors, the law holds responsible any person acting as a guardian who permits the employment of a child or minor in violation of the law's provisions.268 The U.S. Department of State reports that MOL enforcement of child labor laws is adequate in the industrial sector, but not as effective outside that sector.269

The Constitution outlaws compulsory labor,270 and employers found guilty of using forced labor can be liable to imprisonment of up to 10 years.271 Prostitution is illegal; forcing or enticing a child under 18 years into prostitution is punishable by 3 to 10 years of imprisonment.272 Child pornography is not explicitly outlawed, but it is illegal to print, possess, or display publications, pictures, and other media that violate public morals.273 There is no law prohibiting trafficking in persons,274 but trafficking-related crimes may be prosecuted under laws prohibiting forced labor, forced prostitution,275 the abduction or kidnapping of children, or exposure of children to danger.276 However, according to the U.S. Department of State, prosecutions for trafficking-related offenses are rare.277 While there is no compulsory military service in Bahrain, juveniles can be recruited into the Bahraini Defense Force from the age of 17 years.278

The MOL grants permits to Bahraini companies to employ foreign workers, and immigration officials ensure that foreign workers entering Bahrain are 18 years of age or older.279 There have been isolated incidents of the use of false documents to gain entry into the country for workers under age 18.280

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

The government has supported anti-trafficking training workshops for law enforcement officers, judges, prosecutors, lawyers, NGOs, and employers.281 In 2006, the government opened a shelter to provide medical care as well as psychosocial and legal services to female victims of trafficking.282


252 Government of Bahrain, Labour Law for the Private Sector, as amended, No. 23, (June 16, 1976), Article 50; available from http://www.bah-molsa.com/english/chap8.htm.

253 Government of Bahrain, The Education Act (2005), as cited in U.S. Embassy – Manama, reporting, August 27, 2005.

254 U.S. Department of State, "Bahrain," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices-2006, Washington, DC, March 6, 2007, Section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78850.htm.

255 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Gross Enrolment Ratio. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/.

256 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Net Enrolment Rate. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/.

257 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Survival Rate to Grade 5. Total, accessed December 18, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org.

258 ILO, Ratifications by Country, accessed October 20, 2006; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/newratframeE.htm.

259 Ibid.

260 ILO-IPEC, IPEC Action Against Child Labour: Highlights 2006, Geneva, October 2006, 29; available from http://www.ilo.org/iloroot/docstore/ipec/prod/eng/20061013_implementationreport_eng.pdf.

261 U.S. Embassy – Manama, reporting, August 27, 2005. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Bahrain," Section 6d. See also ILO Committee of Experts, Direct Request, Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention (No. 182) Bahrain (ratification: 2001), [online] 2004 [cited November 2, 2006]; available from http://webfusion.ilo.org/public/db/standards/normes/appl/.

262 Government of Bahrain, Labour Law for the Private Sector, as amended, Article 50.

263 Ibid., Articles 49, 51, 52, 53, and 54.

264 Ibid., Article 51. See also Government of Bahrain, Subsidiary Legislation Enacted Under the Provisions of the Labour Law for the Private Sector, No. 23, (1976), Article 1; available from http://www.bah-molsa.com/english/.

265 Government of Bahrain, Labour Law for the Private Sector, as amended, Articles 51 and 55.

266 Ibid., Articles 2 and 58.

267 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Bahrain," Section 6d.

268 Government of Bahrain, Labour Law for the Private Sector, as amended, Article 163.

269 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Bahrain," Section 6d.

270 Government of Bahrain, Constitution of the State of Bahrain, (February 14, 2002), Article 13(c); available from http://www.oefre.unibe.ch/law/icl/ba00000_.html.

271 U.S. Embassy – Manama, reporting, March 5, 2007.

272 Penal Code, Articles 324(1) and 325, as cited in ILO Committee of Experts, Direct Request: Bahrain. See also ECPAT International CSEC Database, Bahrain, accessed October 10, 2006; available from http://www.ecpat.net/. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Bahrain," Section 5.

273 ILO Committee of Experts, Direct Request: Bahrain.

274 U.S. Embassy – Manama, reporting, March 5, 2007.

275 US Embassy – Manama official, E-mail communication USDOL official, July 29, 2007.

276 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 1994, July 23, 2001, 77; available from http://www.bayefsky.com/reports/bahrain_crc_c_11_add.24_2000.pdf.

277 U.S. Department of State, "Bahrain (Tier 2 Watch List)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006, Washington, DC, June 5, 2006; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2006/65988.htm.

278 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Bahrain," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, November 17, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=845.

279 U.S. Embassy – Manama official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, March 19, 2007.

280 U.S. Embassy – Manama, reporting, March 5, 2007.

281 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Bahrain."

282 U.S. Department of State, "Bahrain," in Trafficking in Persons Interim Assessment, Washington, DC, January 19, 2007; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/rpt/78948.htm. See also U.S. Embassy – Manama, reporting, March 5, 2007.

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