Last Updated: Thursday, 24 April 2014, 11:39 GMT

2005 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Dominica

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 29 August 2006
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2005 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Dominica, 29 August 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d748e756.html [accessed 25 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 Child Labor Measures Adopted by Governments
Ratified Convention 138     09/27/1983
Ratified Convention 182     01/04/2001
ILO-IPEC Member 
National Plan for Children 
National Child Labor Action Plan 
Sector Action Plan 

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Statistics on the number of working children under the age of 15 in Dominica are unavailable.1442 However, some children periodically help their families in agriculture.1443 According to the World Bank, children, particularly schoolgirls, have also been exploited in prostitution as a way to obtain basic necessities, such as school fees or food.1444

Under the Education Act of 1997, schooling is compulsory from age 5 to 16.1445 In 2002, the gross primary enrollment rate was 88 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 81 percent.1446 Gross and net enrollment ratios are based on the number of students formally registered in primary school and therefore do not necessarily reflect actual school attendance. Primary school attendance statistics are not available for Dominica.1447 Poor physical conditions and overcrowded classrooms affect the quality of education, while poverty, the need for children to help with seasonal harvests,1448 increasing rates of teen pregnancy,1449 and the termination of a school lunch program have negatively affected school attendance.1450

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children Act prohibits the employment of children, night employment of young adults, false representation of age, night employment of women, and places liability with the employer.1451 However, conflicting legislation establishes the minimum age for employment at both 12 and 14 years, although the government has stated it enforces a standard of 15 years.1452 The ILO's Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Ratifications has repeatedly urged the Government of Dominica to increase the legal minimum age to 15.1453

The worst forms of child labor may be prosecuted under different statutes in Dominica. The Constitution prohibits slavery, servitude, and forced labor,1454 and protects the fundamental rights and freedoms of every person in Dominica, whether a national or foreign national.1455

There are no laws that specifically prohibit child pornography,1456 but the Sexual Offenses Act of 1998 prohibits the defilement of girls less than 16 years of age, unlawful detention of a woman or girl for sexual purposes, and the procurement of any person using threats, intimidation, false pretenses, or the administration of drugs.1457

Dominican law prohibits trafficking in persons,1458 and violators are subject to a fine of USD 37,000 and up to 7 years of imprisonment.1459 Dominica has no military force and no conscription policy.1460

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

Since 2004, the World Bank, in partnership with CARICOM and other international donor organizations, has been carrying out a regional HIV/AIDS prevention project active in Dominica. One of the goals of this project is to target young people who are at-risk for contracting the HIV/AIDS virus and who contracted AIDS through commercial sexual exploitation. It aims to provide support to orphans, increase access to HIV/AIDS prevention and services for out of school youth, integrate HIV/AIDS information into reproductive health programs, and promote peer counseling for youth, parents and teachers. The first phase of this project is expected to end in 2007.1461

The Government of Dominica currently sponsors an Education Trust Fund to support students in secondary schools by providing assistance with uniforms, books, and external examination fees; as well as a Text Book Scheme to assist primary and secondary students to purchase textbooks.1462


1442 This statistic is not available from the data sources that are used in this report. Please see the "Data Sources and Definitions"section for information about sources used. Reliable data on the worst forms of child labor are especially difficult to collect given the often hidden or illegal nature of the worst forms, such as the use of children in the illegal drug trade, prostitution, pornography, and trafficking. As a result, statistics and information on children's work in general are reported in this section. Such statistics and information may or may not include the worst forms of child labor. For more information on the definition of working children and other indicators used in this report, please see the section in the front of the report titled "Data Sources and Definitions."

1443 U.S. Embassy – Bridgetown, unclassified telegram no. 1126, June 23, 2000. Reliable data on the worst forms of child labor are especially difficult to collect given the often hidden or illegal nature of the worst forms, such as the use of children in the illegal drug trade, prostitution, pornography, and trafficking. As a result, statistics and information on children's work in general are reported in this section. Such statistics and information may or may not include the worst forms of child labor. For more information on the definition of working children, please see the section in the front of the report titled "Data Sources".

1444 The World Bank, Project Appraisal Document on a Proposed IDA Grant in the Amount of SDR 6.1 Million Equivalent to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) for The Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS Project, The World Bank, Washington, D.C., March 4, 2004; available from http://wwwwds.worldbank.org/servlet/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2004/03/09/000160016_20040309103136/Rendered/INDEX/272670 LCR.txt.

1445 Education Planning Unit Official, Ministry of Education, Sports, and Youth Affairs, facsimile communication to USDOL official, August 22, 2002.

1446 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, http://stats.uis.unesco.org/TableViewer/tableView.aspx?ReportId=51 (Gross and Net Enrolment Ratios, Primary; accessed December 2005).

1447 This statistic is not available from the data sources that are used in this report. Please see the "Data Sources and Definitions"section for information about sources used.

1448 U.S. Embassy – Bridgetown, unclassified telegram no. 1126.

1449 Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by State Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention: Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Dominica, CRC/15/Add.238, June 30, 2004; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/50842131889894cdc1256eef002d1afa?Opendocument.

1450 U.S. Embassy – Bridgetown, unclassified telegram no. 1126.

1451 Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children Act (L.f.5 of 1938), (February 1, 1939), [cited August 28, 2003]; available from http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/natlex_browse.details?p_lang=en&p_country=DMA&p_classification=04&p_origin=COUNTRY.

1452 Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2004: Dominica, Washington, DC, February 28, 2005; available from www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2004/41757.htm.

1453 ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Ratifications, Observation concerning Convention No. 138, Minimum Age, 1973 Dominica (ratification: 1983), International Labor Organization, 2005; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/gbe/ceacr2004.htm.

1454 The Commonwealth of Dominica Constitution Order,1978 No. 1027, (November 3, 1978), Chapter 1, Section 4, 1-2 [cited June 29, 2005]; available from http://www.georgetown.edu/pdba/Constitutions/Dominica/const.html.

1455 Ibid., Chapter 1, Section 1. See also Edward A. Alexander, Caribbean Workers on the Move: Dominica, IOM, June 19-20, 2000, 2-4.

1456 Interpol, Legislation of Interpol Member States on Sexual Offences Against Children: Dominica, Interpol.int, [online] [cited April 2, 2004]; available from http://www.interpol.int/Public/Children/SexualAbuse/NationalLaws/csaDominique.asp.

1457 These provisions are found in Articles 2, 3, 4, and 7 of the Sexual Offenses Act. See Ibid., III.

1458 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Dominica, Section 5.

1459 Ibid.

1460 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Caribbean" in Global Report 2004, November 17, 2004, available from: http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=814.

1461 The World Bank, Project Appraisal Document on a Proposed IDA Grant in the Amount of SDR 6.1 Million Equivalent to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) for The Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS Project.

1462 International Monetary Fund, Dominica: Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, 04/7, International Monetary Fund, Washington, D.C., January 2004; available from http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2004/cr0407.pdf.

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