Last Updated: Friday, 11 July 2014, 13:14 GMT

2001 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Côte d'Ivoire

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 7 June 2002
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2001 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Côte d'Ivoire, 7 June 2002, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48c8c9c53c.html [accessed 13 July 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.

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

Côte d'Ivoire is one of nine countries participating in the ILO-IPEC project to combat the trafficking of children for exploitative labor in West and Central Africa, which is funded by USDOL.[681] In September 2000, Côte d'Ivoire and Mali signed a bilateral agreement to curb the trafficking of Malian children into Côte d'Ivoire.[682] The Government of Côte d'Ivoire is in discussions with Burkina Faso and Togo to establish similar agreements.[683] In July 2001, the National Committee for Combating Trafficking and Exploitation of Children was created by presidential decree.[684] The government has also undertaken several educational and training programs to discourage domestic trafficking[685] and is now utilizing the police along the country's borders to stop international trafficking.[686]

The Government of Côte d'Ivoire has stated its support for efforts to combat exploitation of children in the country's cocoa sector. A program, funded by USDOL, will seek to withdraw children from hazardous work in this sector, provide income generation and economic alternatives, and promote education.[687] In addition, the USAID-supported Sustainable Tree Crops Program is incorporating elements into its program and is coordinating with the USDOL-funded ILO-IPEC program to address child labor in the cocoa sector.[688] The government has agreed to various surveys and studies on child labor and labor conditions in the cocoa sector funded by USAID, USDOL, and the Chocolate Manufacturers' Association.[689] A national child labor survey is also planned for 2002 in Côte d'Ivoire with technical assistance from ILO-IPEC's SIMPOC.[690]

The Government of Côte d'Ivoire allocates more than 40 percent of its budget to education[691] and has implemented a National Development Plan for Education, which calls for universal primary school education by 2010.[692]

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 2000, UNICEF estimated that 40.3 percent of children between the ages of 5 and 14 in Côte d'Ivoire work.[693] Children work on family farms or as vendors, carpenters, and automobile mechanics.[694] They also work in restaurants and cafes, shine shoes, run errands, watch cars, and wash car windows.[695] Children are reportedly trafficked from Côte d'Ivoire to African, European, and Middle Eastern countries.[696] Children have also been trafficked within Côte d'Ivoire and into the country from Mali, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Togo to work as domestic servants, farm laborers, and indentured servants.[697] These children are sometimes forced to work for owners of commercial farms harvesting cocoa, cotton, corn, rice, and pineapples.[698] Other children are forced to work in the country's gold and diamond mines or in sweatshop conditions in small workshops.[699] There have been reports of the trafficking of Nigerian girls into Côte d'Ivoire for the purpose of child prostitution.[700]

Primary education in Côte d'Ivoire is compulsory for children between the ages of 7 and 13.[701] Beginning in the 2001-2002 school year, tuition fees for primary school students are waived.[702] However, parents must still pay an annual fee of 2,600 FCFA (USD 3.50) for each child's enrollment in public secondary schools and a monthly fee of 3,000 FCFA (USD 4) for transporting their secondary school children.[703] Parents also are responsible for buying books and school supplies.[704] In 1996, the gross primary enrollment rate was 71.3 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 55.2 percent.[705] A UNICEF study in 2000 indicated that 56.9 percent of Ivorian children ages 6 to 11 attend school and that 69.3 percent of children who enter Grade 1 actually reach Grade 5.[706] There is a disparity in primary school attendance between children in urban areas (66.5 percent) and rural areas (48.5 percent), as well as between boys (61.4 percent) and girls (51.8 percent).[707]

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Labor Code sets the minimum age for employment at 14 years and prohibits children under 18 years from working more than 12 consecutive hours or at night, unless working as an apprentice.[708] Decree No. 96-204 also prohibits night work by children between 14 and 17 years, unless granted on exception by the Labor Inspectorate.[709] The Minority Act requires parents or legal guardians to sign employment contracts on the behalf of children under 16 years of age and to serve as witnesses to the signing for children between the ages of 16 and 18.[710] The Labor Inspectorate can require children to take a medical exam to ensure that they can undertake the work for which they are hired. If the child cannot perform the required tasks, the employer must move him/her to a suitable job, and if that is not possible, the contract must be cancelled.[711] Decree No. 96-193 restricts children from working in bars, hotels, pawnshops, and second-hand clothing stores.[712] Forced or compulsory labor is prohibited,[713] as is having sexual relations with a minor 15 years or younger.[714]

The child labor laws in Côte d'Ivoire apply to all sectors and industries in the country, although the lack of government resources make them difficult to enforce in the informal sector.[715] Côte d'Ivoire has not ratified ILO Convention 138 or ILO Convention 182.[716]


[681] ILO-IPEC, Combating the Trafficking of Children for Labour Exploitation in West and Central Africa (Phase II): Country Annex IV: Côte d'Ivoire (Geneva) [hereinafter Combating the Trafficking of Children] [fact sheet on file]. See also ILO-IPEC, Combating the Trafficking of Children for Labour Exploitation in West and Central Africa (Phase II): Project Document.

[682] U.S. Embassy-Abidjan, unclassified telegram no. 2176, June 2001 [hereinafter unclassified telegram 2176]. See also Ministry of Families, Women and Children, Combating Trafficking and Economic Exploitation of Children in Côte d'Ivoire (Abidjan, July 2001) [hereinafter Trafficking and Economic Exploitation of Children] [fact sheet on file].

[683] Unclassified telegram 2176.

[684] Trafficking and Economic Exploitation of Children.

[685] Unclassified telegram 2176. See also Trafficking and Economic Exploitation of Children.

[686] Trafficking and Economic Exploitation of Children.

[687] The program will be coordinated by the National Project Advisory Committee established under the ILO-IPEC trafficking program. See ILO-IPEC, Action to Combat Hazardous and Exploitative Child Labour in Commercial Agriculture in West Africa, draft program document (Geneva, December 2001).

[688] ILO-IPEC, Action to Combat Hazardous and Exploitative Child Labour in Commercial Agriculture in West Africa, program overview (December 2001) (Geneva, December 2001). See also Trafficking in Persons: USAID's Response (USAID, September 2001), 4.

[689] U.S. Embassy-Abidjan, unclassified telegram no. 3470, October 2001 [hereinafter unclassified telegram 3470]. See also Chocolate Manufacturers Association, Protocol for the Growing and Processing of Cocoa Beans and Their Derivative Products in a Manner That Complies with ILO Convention 182 Concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor [on file].

[690] ILO-IPEC electronic correspondence on SIMPOC countries to USDOL official, January 18, 2001 [on file]. See also ILO-IPEC, Child Labor Statistics: SIMPOC Countries, at http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/ipec/simpoc/countries.htm on 1/29/02.

[691] 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 1993, Addendum, Côte d'Ivoire, CRC/C/8/Add.41 (Geneva, April 2000) [hereinafter Initial Reports of States Parties], para. 168.

[692] UNICEF, Enquête à Indicateurs Multiples – MICS2000: Rapport Final (Abidjan, December 2000) [hereinafter Indicateurs Multiples – MICS2000: Rapport Final], 24, at http://www.childinfo.org/MICS2/natlMICSrepz/Ivory_Coast/mics2rap.pdf.

[693] Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2 at http://www.ucw-project.org.

[694] Unclassified telegram 3470. See also Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2000 – Côte d'Ivoire (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of State, 2001) [hereinafter Country Reports 2000], Section 6d, at http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2000/af/index.cfm?docid=773.

[695] Country Reports 2000 at Section 6f. See also unclassified telegram 3470.

[696] U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report – Côte d'Ivoire, June 2001.

[697] Unclassified telegram 2176. See also Country Reports 2000 at Section 6f.

[698] Unclassified telegram 3470.

[699] Ibid.

[700] U.S. Embassy-Abidjan, unclassified telegram no. 177014, October 2001.

[701] UNESCO, Education Indicators: Statistical Yearbook, 1996, at http://esa.un.org/socdev/unyin/country3b.asp?countrycode=ci. See also Country Reports 2000 at Section 5.

[702] Unclassified telegram 3470.

[703] Ibid. Currency conversion at http://www.carosta.de/frames/convert.htm on 1/29/02.

[704] Ibid.

[705] World Development Indicators 2001 (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2001) [CD-ROM].

[706] Indicateurs Multiples – MICS2000: Rapport Final at 27, 28. See also UNICEF, Enquête à Indicateurs Multiples – MICS2000: Principaux Résultats (Abidjan, November 2000), at http://www.childinfo.org/MICS2/natlMICSrepz/Ivory_Coast/Principaux_resultats.pdf.

[707] Indicateurs Multiples – MICS2000: Rapport Final at 27.

[708] Code du travail [hereinafter Code du travail], Titre II, Chapitre 2, Articles 22.2, 23.8, at http://www.natlex.ilo.org/txt/F95CIV01.htm.

[709] Decree No. 96-204, as cited in unclassified telegram 3470. Employers found in violation of the night work prohibition are punishable with imprisonment from 10 days to two months and/or a fine ranging from 2,000 to 72,000 FCFA (USD 3 to 97). Currency conversion at http://www.carosta.de/frames/convert.htm on 1/29/02.

[710] Unclassified telegram 3470. See also Initial Reports of States Parties at para. 85.

[711] Code du travail at Titre II, Chapitre 3, Article 23.9.

[712] Unclassified telegram 3470.

[713] Code du travail, Dispositions Générales, Article 3.

[714] The penalty for statutory rape or the attempted rape of children age 15 or younger is imprisonment for 1 to 3 years and a fine of 100,000 to 1,000,000 FCFA (USD 135 to 1,351). Persons convicted of procuring a prostitute under age 21 may be imprisoned for 2 to 10 years. See Country Reports 2000 at Section 5. See also Initial Reports of States Parties at 32. Currency conversion at http://www.carosta.de/frames/convert.htm on 1/29/02.

[715] Unclassified telegram 3470.

[716] The Ivorian Parliament passed ILO Convention 138 and ILO Convention 182 on January 3, 2002. See ILOLEX database: Côte d'Ivoire at http://ilolex.olo.ch:1567. See also Youssoufou Bamba, Ambassador of Côte d'Ivoire, letter to Cadbury International Limited official, January 22, 2002.

Search Refworld

Countries