Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 April 2014, 10:56 GMT

2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Lebanon

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 27 August 2008
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Lebanon, 27 August 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48caa47bc.html [accessed 23 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 Labor1968
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:14
Compulsory education age:12
Free public education:Yes
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2006:94
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2006:82
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%):
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2005:91
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes
* Must pay for school supplies and related items

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

According to a 2000 Government of Lebanon study supported by ILO-IPEC, there is a higher prevalence of working children in poor rural areas of the country.1969 Children work under hazardous conditions in several sectors, including metal works, construction, automobile repair, equipment installation and maintenance, painting, street work, carpentry, construction, welding, and seasonal agriculture.1970 The 2000 Government assessment estimated that of the 100,000 working children in Lebanon, 25,000 children were working in tobacco cultivation; the majority of whom worked for family enterprises and were unpaid.1971 Non-Lebanese children, particularly boys from Syria and Palestinian boys living in Lebanese refugee camps, constitute approximately 85 percent of children working on the street.1972 The most common types of street work are selling goods, shoe polishing, and washing car windshields.1973 Forty-seven percent of working street children who participated in a 2004 study conducted by the Ministry of Labor (MOL) were forced by adults to work long hours on the streets.1974

Lebanese children are trafficked internally for sexual exploitation.1975 Child prostitution, including situations in which girls have been forced into prostitution by their own families, as well as children involved in drug trafficking, have been reported by NGOs; however, no cases have been officially reported, according to Secretary General of the Higher Council for Childhood, Ministry of Social Affairs.1976 Children have also been used in drug trafficking.1977 While children are not known to participate in the armed forces, Palestinian children living in refugee camps in Lebanon are known to be involved with various Palestinian armed groups operating in the country.1978

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age for employment at 14 years.1979 Children ages 14 to 17 years may not work more than 6 hours per day, require 1 hour of rest for work that is more than 4 hours, must have a 13-hour period of rest between workdays, and may not work between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. In addition, children ages 14 to 17 years must pass a medical examination to ensure that they can undertake the work in which they are to be engaged, and the prospective employer must request the child's identity card to verify his or her age.1980 Additionally, the law requires an annual paid leave of 21 days.1981 Penalties for non-compliance with provisions relating to child labor include fines and from 3 to 6 months of imprisonment.1982 Vocational training establishments may be permitted to employ children who have reached 14 years by receiving approval from both the Ministry of Labor and the Public Health Services.1983

Youth under 17 years are prohibited from working in dangerous environments that threaten their life, health, or morals.1984 Industrial work and work such as mining and quarrying, manufacturing or selling alcohol; work with chemicals or explosives; demolition work; work in tanneries or with machinery; street vending; begging; and domestic service, are not permitted for children under 16 years.1985 There are no laws specifically prohibiting trafficking or forced labor; however, the laws are used to address such offenses.1986 Prostitution is prohibited. Persons who threaten, intimidate, or force a child into prostitution may be sentenced with 3 to 15 years of imprisonment.1987 The minimum age for voluntary recruitment into the Armed Forces is 18 years.1988

The Ministry of Labor is responsible for the enforcement of child labor laws.1989 According to USDOS, enforcement of the laws has witnessed slight improvement in recent years.1990 There is a Labor Inspection Team, composed of 60 labor inspectors nationwide. However, according to USDOS, the Ministry of Labor's Child Labor Unit lacked adequate personnel and resources, which limited its ability to enforce the law.1991

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

A National Policy and Program Framework (NPPF) outlines effective strategies to eliminate child labor in priority sectors within an established timeframe, using common measures of progress and a plan for coordination among all actors.1992 The MOL is implementing the NPPF strategy to combat child labor, in cooperation with ILO-IPEC and the National Council for Children.1993 The Government is also conducting programs to raise awareness on the worst forms of child labor.1994

The Government of Lebanon is participating in a USDOL-funded USD 3 million regional project implemented by ILO-IPEC that aims to promote the collection and analysis of child labor information; strengthen enforcement and monitoring mechanisms; build capacity; raise awareness on the negative consequences of child labor; and withdraw 4,700 and prevent 3,400 children from engaging in the worst forms of child labor.1995 The Government is also participating in a USD 8.4 million sub-regional project funded by USDOL and implemented by CHF International to combat child labor through education in Lebanon and Yemen. The project aims to withdraw 4,530 children and prevent 4,195 children from entering exploitive labor.1996 The Government of France is also supporting a project to prevent and eliminate child labor in Lebanon.1997


1968 For statistical data not cited here, see the Data Sources and Definitions section. For data on ratifications and ILO-IPEC membership, see the Executive Summary. For minimum age for admission to work, age to which education is compulsory, and free public education, see Government of Lebanon, Code du travail-Travail des enfants, Loi no 536, (July 24, 1996); available from http://www.lebaneselaws.com/. See also U.S. Embassy – Beirut, reporting, November 23, 2007, para. 5. See also U.S. Department of State, "Lebanon," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2007, Washington, DC, March 11, 2008, section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100600.htm. See also U.S. Embassy – Beirut, E-mail communication USDOL official, July 24, 2008.

1969 ILO-IPEC, Lebanon: Child Labour on Tobacco Plantations: A Rapid Assessment, Geneva, May 2002, 8; available from http://www-ilo-mirror.cornell.edu/public/english/standards/ipec/simpoc/lebanon/ra/tobacco.pdf. See also Partners for Development – Civil Group, Gender, Education and Child Labour in Lebanon, ILO, Geneva, 2004, 38; available from http://www.ilo.org/iloroot/docstore/ipec/prod/eng/gender_edu_lebanon_2004_en.pdf.

1970 ILO-IPEC, Child Labour on Tobacco Plantations: A Rapid Assessment, 9. See also ILO-IPEC, Supporting the National Policy and Programme Framework for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Lebanon and Yemen: Consolidating Action Against the Worst Forms of Child Labour, Project Document, Geneva, September 3, 2004, 9, 10. See also U.S. Embassy – Beirut, reporting, November 23, 2007, para 6.

1971 ILO-IPEC, Child Labour on Tobacco Plantations: A Rapid Assessment, viii, 7-8.

1972 U.S. Embassy – Beirut, reporting, November 23, 2007, para 8.

1973 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Lebanon," section 6d. See also U.S. Embassy – Beirut, reporting, August 31, 2005, E(3).

1974 U.S. Embassy – Beirut, reporting, November 23, 2007, para 8.

1975 U.S. Department of State, "Lebanon (Tier 2)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007, Washington, DC, June 12, 2007; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2007/82806.htm.

1976 UNHCR, Expert on Trafficking in Persons Ends Visit to Lebanon, Press Release, Geneva, September 15, 2005; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/huricane/huricane.nsf/0/5F43BE66EDB9D815C125707E00240837?opendocument. See also EPCAT International CSEC Database, Lebanon, accessed December 14, 2007; available from http://www.ecpat.net.

1977 U.S. Embassy – Beirut, reporting, November 23, 2007, para 7.

1978 UN Security Council, Report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict New York, December 21, 2007, 14, 15; available from http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N07/656/04/PDF/N0765604.pdf?OpenElement.

1979 Government of Lebanon, Code du travail, article 22. See also U.S. Embassy – Beirut, reporting, November 23, 2007, para 5.

1980 Government of Lebanon, Code du travail, article 21-24. See also U.S. Embassy – Beirut, reporting, November 23, 2007, para 5.

1981 U.S. Embassy – Beirut, reporting, November 23, 2007, para 5. See also Government of Sri Lanka, Report of the Government of Lebanon on Efforts by GSP Beneficiary Countries to Eliminate Worst Forms of Child Labour, submitted in response to U.S. Department of Labor Federal Register Notice (November 8, 2007) "Request for Information on Efforts by Certain Countries to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor", Beirut, December 21, 2007, 9.

1982 ILO Committee of Experts, Direct Request concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Lebanon (ratification: 2001), Geneva, 2006; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/cgi-lex/countrylist.pl?country=Lebanon.

1983 Government of Lebanon, Modifiant les dispositions des articles 23 et 25 du Code du travail, Loi no 91, (July 24, 1996); available from http://www.lebaneselaws.com.

1984 Government of Lebanon, Code du travail, article 23.

1985 Ibid. See also Government of Lebanon, Decree No. 700, Prohibiting Employment of Young Persons under the Age of 16 or 17 in Occupations That Are Hazardous by Nature or Which Endanger Life, Health or Morals, (June 3, 1999); available from http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/SERIAL/71934/72963/F1415871086/LBN71934.pdf. See also ILO Committee of Experts, Report of the Committee of Experts on the Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention, 1999 (No. 182): Lebanon (ratification: 2001), Geneva, 2004; available from http://webfusion.ilo.org/public/db/standards/normes/appl/.

1986 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Lebanon," section 6c.

1987 EPCAT International CSEC Database, Lebanon.

1988 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Lebanon," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=958.

1989 U.S. Embassy – Beirut, reporting, November 23, 2007, para 10. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Lebanon," section 6d.

1990 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Lebanon," section 6d. See also U.S. Embassy – Beirut, reporting, November 23, 2007, para 10. See also Government of Sri Lanka, Report of Lebanon on Efforts to Eliminate Worst Forms of Child Labour, 1.

1991 U.S. Embassy – Beirut, reporting, November 23, 2007, para 10.

1992 ILO-IPEC, Consolidating Action Against the Worst Forms of Child Labour, Project Document, 8.

1993 U.S. Embassy – Beirut, reporting, November 23, 2007, para 3. See also U.S. Embassy – Beirut, reporting, August 31, 2005.

1994 U.S. Embassy – Beirut, reporting, November 23, 2007, para 12. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Written Replies by the Government of Lebanon Concerning the List of Issues Received by the Committee on the Rights of the Child Relating to the Consideration of the Third Periodic Report of Lebanon April 26, 2006, 21; available from http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G06/415/14/PDF/G0641514.pdf?OpenElement.

1995 ILO-IPEC, Consolidating Action Against the Worst Forms of Child Labour, Project Document, 28, 35-38, 49.

1996 U.S. Department of Labor, Alternatives to Combat Child Labor through Education and Sustainable Services in the Middle East and North Africa (ACCESS-MENA) ILAB Technical Cooperation Project Summary, Washington, DC, 2007.

1997 ILO-IPEC official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, January 4, 2008.

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