Last Updated: Friday, 19 December 2014, 13:25 GMT

2006 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 31 August 2007
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Côte d'Ivoire, 31 August 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d7492d13.html [accessed 22 December 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 in 2002:15%1182
Minimum age of work:141183
Age to which education is compulsory:Not compulsory1184
Free public education:Yes1185*
Gross primary enrollment rate in 2003:72%1186
Net primary enrollment rate in 2002:56%1187
Percent of children 5-14 attending school in 2002:55.9%1188
As of 2000, percent of primary school entrants likely to reach grade 5:88%1189
Ratified Convention 138:2/7/20031190
Ratified Convention 182:2/7/20031191
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes1192

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 2002, approximately 14.4 percent of boys and 15.7 percent of girls ages 5 to 14 were working in Côte d'Ivoire.1193 In Côte d'Ivoire, many children work in agriculture on family farms. Children also work in the informal sector, including as street vendors, shoeshiners, errand runners, car washers and watchers, and as food sellers in street restaurants. They also work in small workshops and in family-operated gold and diamond mines. Ivorian girls as young as 9 years old work as domestic servants, and some are subject to mistreatment including sexual abuse.1194

Children work in the cocoa sector in Côte d'Ivoire. According to a study carried out by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in 2002, a majority of children work alongside their families on farms owned either by immediate or extended relatives.1195 Some of the working children come from outside the country's cocoa zone, either from other regions of Côte d'Ivoire or from neighboring countries such as Burkina Faso.1196 There are also credible reports of trafficked children from Burkina Faso, Mali, and Togo working on Ivorian cocoa and coffee farms.1197 According to the IITA study, approximately one-third of children who live in cocoa-producing households do not attend school.1198 Children working on cocoa farms are at risk of being involved in hazardous tasks, such as carrying heavy loads, spraying pesticides without protection, using machetes to clear undergrowth, and burning vegetation.1199 According to a 2005 Government of Côte d'Ivoire survey conducted in the district of Oumé, some 92 percent of children working on cocoa farms carry heavy loads, including children as young as 5 years.1200

Pro-government militia and rebel groups recruit children for use in armed conflict, sometimes on a forced basis.1201

Côte d'Ivoire is a source and destination country for trafficked children.1202 Children are trafficked into the country from Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Mauritania to work as domestic servants, farm laborers, fishermen, and for sexual exploitation.1203 In particular, trafficked boys from Ghana, Mali, and Burkina Faso work on cocoa, coffee, pineapple, and rubber plantations. Guinean boys are trafficked to work in the mining sector, while boys trafficked from Togo work in construction and those from Benin in carpentry.1204 Ivorian girls are trafficked to Gabon to work as domestic servants; girls from Ghana, Togo, and Benin are trafficked to Côte d'Ivoire to work as domestic servants and street vendors and from Nigeria, China, Ukraine, and the Philippines to work as waitresses and prostitutes in street-side restaurants. Girls are trafficked domestically to work as domestic servants, waitresses, and in prostitution.1205 Refugee and displaced children in the refugee zone in western Côte d'Ivoire are trafficked to work as domestic servants, in mines, and on palm oil plantations.1206

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age for employment at 14 years, including for apprenticeships.1207 Ivorian law requires parents or legal guardians to sign employment contracts on behalf of children under 16 years and to serve as witnesses to contracts signed by children between 16 and 18.1208 Night work by children under 18 is prohibited, and all children are required to have at least 12 consecutive hours of rest between work shifts.1209 The Labor Inspectorate can require children to take a medical exam to ensure that the work for which they are hired does not exceed their physical capacity.1210

Ivorian law prohibits forced or compulsory labor.1211 In 2005, the government adopted a decree defining hazardous work that is forbidden for children under 18 years. The decree outlines prohibited work in the categories of agriculture, forestry, mining, commerce and the urban informal sector, handicrafts, and transport.1212 The minimum age for both voluntary and compulsory recruitment into the military is 18 years.1213 Persons convicted of procuring a prostitute under 21 may be imprisoned for 2 to 10 years and charged a fine.1214

The constitution and law do not specifically prohibit trafficking in persons.1215 However, traffickers may be prosecuted for kidnapping, mistreating, or torturing children with a punishment of 1 to 5 years of imprisonment and a fine. Alienation of a person's freedom is punishable with 5 to 10 years of imprisonment, with the maximum penalty enforced if the victim is under 15.1216 Individuals who receive or leave a person as financial security face a fine and a penalty of 6 months to 3 years in prison, which automatically increases to 5 years when the victim is under 15 years. If labor is imposed on a person, the penalty is 1 to 5 years in prison and a fine.1217

The Ministry of Civil Service, Employment and Administrative Reform is the government agency responsible for enforcement of child labor laws.1218 Enforcement of child labor prohibitions is hindered by a lack of resources, weak institutions, and the lack of a regulatory and judicial framework.1219 In 2006, the Ministry of Security created a department of child trafficking and juvenile delinquency within the criminal police division to centralize all police activities related to children in the government-controlled areas of the country.1220 The government rarely investigates trafficking cases and only prosecuted five cases in 2006.1221

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

In 2006, USDOL awarded a 3-year USD 4.3 million contract to Tulane University to oversee the efforts of the international cocoa industry and the Governments of Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana to eliminate the worst forms of child labor in the cocoa sector. The project will assess progress being made toward implementation of a cocoa certification system free of child labor, covering at least 50 percent of the cocoa-growing areas in the two countries, and the establishment of child labor monitoring and verification systems in the cocoa sector.1222 Between 2002 and 2006, Côte d'Ivoire participated in a USD 6 million, ILO-IPEC regional project funded by USDOL and the Cocoa Global Issues Group to combat hazardous and exploitive child labor in the cocoa sector. The project helped withdraw 6,154 children and prevent another 1,324 children from exploitive labor in Côte d'Ivoire through the provision of education or training opportunities.1223 The Government of Côte d'Ivoire also is actively involved in a 6-year, USD 9.25 million regional USDOL-funded project implemented by ILO-IPEC to combat the trafficking of children for exploitive labor in West and Central Africa (LUTRENA). The project aims to withdraw and prevent 9,000 children from trafficking situations in the region.1224 In 2006, the U.S. Department of State provided additional funding for Côte d'Ivoire under the LUTRENA project to strengthen the National Committee for Combating Trafficking and Child Exploitation.1225 USAID and the international cocoa industry fund the Sustainable Tree Crops Program in Côte d'Ivoire, a public-private partnership that promotes sustainable tree crop systems, including coffee, cocoa, and cashews, and contains a component to prevent and eliminate the worst forms of child labor on farms.1226 GTZ is also partnering with the Government of Côte d'Ivoire to combat trafficking and the worst forms of child labor.1227 UNICEF has demobilized and reintegrated 1,000 former child soldiers into society.1228

In 2006, the government reinstated its Child Labor Task Force.1229 The government is implementing a National Action Plan to Combat Child Labor and Trafficking, which contains strategies for providing education, shelter, and repatriation services to trafficking and child labor victims.1230 The National Committee for the Combating Trafficking and Child Exploitation (NCFTCE), a joint Ministerial committee chaired by the Ministry of Family and Social Affairs, coordinates the government's anti-trafficking efforts and is implementing a child trafficking monitoring system.1231 Nine government ministries are involved in antitrafficking efforts in Côte d'Ivoire, and, in 2006, many of these ministries created specific antitrafficking units.1232

The Ministry of Family and Social Affairs has conducted awareness-raising campaigns targeting children at risk of being trafficked and industries that employ child labor. The ministry has also provided school supplies to at-risk children to allow them to attend primary school.1233 The government also provides a local NGO with a building, utilities, and staff for a shelter for trafficking victims; it also has given funding for reintegration services to trafficking victims.1234

In July 2006, Côte d'Ivoire was 1 of 24 countries to adopt the Multilateral Cooperative Agreement to Combat Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, in West and Central Africa and the Joint Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children in the West and Central African Regions.1235 As part of the Multilateral Cooperative Agreement, the governments agreed to put into place the child trafficking monitoring system developed by the USDOL-funded ILO-IPEC LUTRENA project; to ensure that birth certificates and travel identity documents cannot easily be falsified or altered; to provide assistance to each other in the investigation, arrest and prosecution of trafficking offenders; to protect, rehabilitate, and reintegrate trafficking victims; and to improve educational systems, vocational training and apprenticeships.1236 Côte d'Ivoire is a signatory to a nine-member multilateral cooperative agreement to combat child trafficking in West Africa in 2005, and while the government cooperated with international investigations of trafficking in 2006, the government did not prosecute any traffickers during the year.1237 On a bilateral level, the government cooperates with Malian authorities to combat child trafficking and to repatriate Malian children found in Côte d'Ivoire.1238

The Ministry of National Education has opened primary mobile schools and community education centers in cocoa-growing communities to protect children from hazardous work.1239 Through funding by the World Cocoa Foundation, the Government of Côte d'Ivoire is partnering with Winrock International to provide educational alternatives to child labor in cocoa-growing areas of Côte d'Ivoire.1240


1182 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank Surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates, March 1, 2007, Section 5.

1183 Government of Côte d'Ivoire, Code du travail, 1995, no. 95/15, Article 23.8; available from http://natlex.ilo.org/txt/F95CIV01.htm.

1184 U.S. Department of State, "Côte d'Ivoire," 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/2006/78730.htm.

1185 Ibid.

1186 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank Surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates.

1187 Ibid.

1188 Ibid.

1189 Ibid.

1190 ILO, Côte d'Ivoire Ratified 34 Instrument(s), accessed October 19, 2006; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/cgi-lex/ratifce.pl?Côte+d+Ivoire.

1191 Ibid.

1192 ILO-IPEC, IPEC Action Against Child Labour – Highlights 2006, Geneva, October 2006; available from http://www.ilo.org/iloroot/docstore/ipec/prod/eng/20070228_Implementationreport_en_Web.pdf.

1193 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank Surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates.

1194 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Côte d'Ivoire," Sections 5 and 6d.

1195 International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Child Labor in the Cocoa Sector of West Africa: A Synthesis of Findings in Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria, August 2002, 16. See also Government of Côte d'Ivoire, Child Labor Monitoring System in the Cocoa Sector in Côte d'Ivoire Pilot Project (CLMS PP), Abidjan, December 2005, 23-24.

1196 International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Child Labor in the Cocoa Sector of West Africa: A Synthesis of Findings, 12.

1197 German Agency for Technical Cooperation, La traite et les pires formes de travail des enfants dans les plantations de café-cacao en Côte d'Ivoire: La situation dans les départements Abengourou, Oumé, et Soubré (Abidjan: 2005). See also International Cocoa Initiative official, Meeting with USDOL official, October 4, 2006.

1198 International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Summary of Findings from the Child Labor Surveys in the Cocoa Sector of West Africa: Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria, IITA, July 2002. See also Government of Côte d'Ivoire, CLMS Pilot Project, 22.

1199 International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Summary of Findings from the Child Labor Surveys in the Cocoa Sector of West Africa. See also Government of Côte d'Ivoire, CLMS Pilot Project, 35. See also USAID, USAID and Labor Department Release Data from Collaborative Survey on Child Labor on Cocoa Farms in West Africa: W. African Governments and Global Chocolate Industry Working Jointly with U.S. to Combat Problem, press release, Washington, DC, July 26, 2002; available from http://www.usaid.gov/press/releases/2002/pr020726_2.html.

1200 Government of Côte d'Ivoire, CLMS Pilot Project, 25 and 35.

1201 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Côte d'Ivoire," Sections 5 and 6d. See also United Nations Economic and Social Council, Rights of the Child: Annual Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Olara Otunnu, E/CN.4/2004/70, January 28, 2004, 11.

1202 U.S. Embassy – Abidjan, reporting, August 23, 2004. See also U.S. Department of State, "Côte d'Ivoire (Tier 2)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006, Washington, DC, June 5, 2006; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2006/65988.htm.

1203 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Côte d'Ivoire," Section 5. See also U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Côte d'Ivoire ". See also German Agency for Technical Cooperation, La traite et les pires formes de travail des enfants dans les plantations de café-cacao en Côte d'Ivoire, 28. See also U.S. Embassy – Abidjan.

1204 U.S. Embassy – Abidjan.

1205 Ibid.

1206 Ibid. See also U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Côte d'Ivoire ".

1207 Government of Côte d'Ivoire, Code du travail, 1995, Article 23.8.

1208 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of States Parties Due in 1993, Addendum, CRC/C/8/Add.41, prepared by Government of Côte d'Ivoire, pursuant to Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 2000, para. 85.

1209 Government of Côte d'Ivoire, Code du travail, 1995, Articles 22.2 and 22.3

1210 Ibid., Article 23.9.

1211 Ibid., Article 3.

1212 Government of Côte d'Ivoire, Arrêté n° 2250 portant détermination de la liste des travaux dangereux interdits aux enfants de moins de dix huit (18) ans, (March 14, 2005).

1213 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers. "Côte d'Ivoire", In Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=771.

1214 U.S. Embassy – Abidjan.

1215 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Côte d'Ivoire," Section 5.

1216 U.S. Embassy – Abidjan.

1217 Ibid.

1218 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Côte d'Ivoire," Section 6d.

1219 U.S. Embassy – Abidjan.

1220 Ibid.

1221 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Côte d'Ivoire," Section 5. See also U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Côte d'Ivoire ".

1222 U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Labor Department Funds Project to Evaluate Effectiveness of Anti-Child-Labor Efforts in the Cocoa Industry, press release, October 3, 2006.

1223 International Child Labor Program U.S. Department of Labor, West Africa Cocoa/Commercial Agriculture Program to Combat Hazardous and Exploitative Child Labor (WACAP), project summary, 2006. See also ILO-IPEC, West Africa Cocoa/Commercial Agriculture Programme to Combat Hazardous and Exploitative Child Labour (WACAP) Final Technical Progress Report, technical progress report, Geneva, June 2006, 40-41.

1224 International Child Labor Program U.S. Department of Labor, Combating Trafficking in Children for Labor Exploitation in West and Central Africa, Phases 1 & 2 (LUTRENA), project summary, 2006.

1225 ILO-IPEC Geneva official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, November 16, 2006.

1226 USAID, "Chocolate Companies Help West African Farmers Improve Harvest," USAID Frontlines (September, 2005); available from http://www.usaid.gov/press/frontlines/fl_sep05/pillars.htm. See also International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Sustainable Tree Crops Program, [online] [cited October 19, 2006]; available from http://www.treecrops.org/index.htm.

1227 Government of Côte d'Ivoire, Les efforts de la Cote d'Ivoire en matiere de lutte contre les pires formes de travail des enfants, submitted in response to U.S. Department of labor Federal Register Notice (December 5, 2006) "Request for Information on Efforts by Certain Countries to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor", January 16, 2007. See also German Agency for Technical Cooperation, Programs and projects in Côte d'Ivoire [online] [cited April 7, 2007]; available from http://www.gtz.de/en/weltweit/afrika/cote-d-ivoire/580.htm. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Côte d'Ivoire," Section 5.

1228 UNICEF, At a Glance: Côte d'Ivoire, [online] [cited October 20, 2006]; available from http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/cotedivoire.html.

1229 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Côte d'Ivoire ", U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Côte d'Ivoire."

1230 U.S. Embassy – Abidjan, reporting, October 4, 2005. See also U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Côte d'Ivoire ". See also Government of Côte d'Ivoire, Les efforts de la Cote d'Ivoire en matiere de lutte contre les pires formes de travail des enfants.

1231 U.S. Embassy – Abidjan.

1232 Ibid.

1233 Ibid.

1234 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Côte d'Ivoire ".

1235 ILO-IPEC, Combating the Trafficking of Children for Labour Exploitation in West and Central Africa (LUTRENA), technical progress report, Geneva, September 1, 2006. See also Catholic Relief Services official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, October 2, 2006.

1236 ECOWAS and ECASS, Multilateral Cooperation Agreement to Combat Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, in West and Central Africa, Abuja, July 7, 2006. See also ILO-IPEC, LUTRENA technical progress report September 2006. See also Goujon, Emmanuel, "African States Sign up to Fight Human Trafficking," Agence France-Presse, July 7, 2006.

1237 Government of Côte d'Ivoire, Multilateral Cooperation Agreement to Combat Child Trafficking in West Africa, July 27, 2005.

1238 Government of Côte d'Ivoire, Les efforts de la Cote d'Ivoire en matiere de lutte contre les pires formes de travail des enfants. See also U.S. Embassy – Abidjan.

1239 U.S. Embassy – Abidjan. See also Government of Côte d'Ivoire, Les efforts de la Cote d'Ivoire en matiere de lutte contre les pires formes de travail des enfants.

1240 Government of Côte d'Ivoire, Les efforts de la Cote d'Ivoire en matiere de lutte contre les pires formes de travail des enfants. See also World Cocoa Foundation, Africa – West Africa Winrock CLASSE Program, [online] [cited February 3, 2007]; available from http://www.worldcocoafoundation.org/difference/africa-classe.asp.

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