Last Updated: Friday, 26 December 2014, 13:50 GMT

2003 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Madagascar

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 29 April 2004
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2003 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Madagascar, 29 April 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48c8ca23c.html [accessed 27 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.

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

The Government of Madagascar has been a member of ILO-IPEC since 1998.[2657] In 2003, the Ministry of Labor and ILO-IPEC conducted a child labor awareness campaign in the capital cities of Madagascar's provinces.[2658] The government launched an action plan in 2001 to eliminate the worst forms of child labor, which included programs to remove child workers from the informal sector in the major cities.[2659] ILO-IPEC, in coordination with the government, has implemented three programs to remove children from working in quarries through prevention and education efforts.[2660] The government is also working with ILO-IPEC to compile all laws and texts governing child labor and make them more widely available, and to create a new list of occupations that represent the worst forms of child labor in the country.[2661]

The government has created a national interministerial steering committee to coordinate and supervise all activities related to child labor and to provide support in the implementation of child labor action plans.[2662] Child labor issues are included in conferences, in-service workshops, and training curricula for labor inspectors.[2663] The government has collaborated with UNICEF and ILO-IPEC to conduct a survey and studies on child prostitution.[2664] The Ministry of Labor also cooperates with NGOs that attempt to reduce or eliminate child labor.[2665] It has been reported that the government will be providing additional funds for child labor-related activities through the Public Investment Program in the future.[2666]

The Education of Girls Office in the Ministry of Education has implemented an assisted home study program that provides non-traditional education for working children.[2667] The Ministry of Education has also promoted educational opportunities through a safety net program for public primary schools that loans books to primary schools, renovates and expands schools, and increases staff.[2668] With a loan from the World Bank, the Ministries of Education and Higher Education are focusing on ensuring universal basic education and improving the overall quality of education in the country.[2669] A loan from the African Development Bank funded a project with a similar goal of supporting universal basic education.[2670] Funding from the World Bank, UNICEF, and other donors supports the School Nutrition Program, which is implemented by the Ministry of Secondary and Basic Education. This program seeks to meet the nutritional needs of school children ages 3 to 14 years, and is due to finish in 2003.[2671]

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 2000, UNICEF estimated that 35.7 percent of children ages 5 to 14 years in Madagascar were working.[2672] Most child labor occurs in the agricultural sector, where children work as unpaid laborers on family farms,[2673] while other children work as domestic servants for third parties in both rural and urban areas.[2674] Children also work in the commercial and industrial sectors.[2675] In urban areas, children work as petty traders and casual transport workers.[2676] Some children are also employed in the clandestine mining sector.[2677]

The commercial sexual exploitation of children occurs and is on the rise in Madagascar, particularly in tourist areas and coastal fishing areas.[2678] In December 2003, the government, in collaboration with ILO-IPEC and UNICEF, released a study estimating that approximately 3,000 children, mostly girls between the ages of 13 and 18, engaged in prostitution in three of Madagascar's largest cities (Antananarivo, Toamasina, and Mahajanga).[2679] The study cited poverty, permissive societal attitudes, peer pressure, and inadequate law enforcement as contributing factors in such sexual exploitation.[2680] There have been reports in recent years that women and girls were trafficked between Madagascar, Reunion, a French overseas departement, and Mauritius for the purpose of prostitution.[2681]

Primary education is free and compulsory.[2682] Enforcement of compulsory education laws is generally weak.[2683] In 2000, the gross primary enrollment rate was 103.1 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 67.7 percent.[2684] Attendance rates are not available for Madagascar. While enrollment rates indicate a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children's participation in school.[2685] The percentage of students who began school in 1995 and reached grade 2 was 77.0 percent, while the percentage of students who reached grade 5 in 1995 was 40.0 percent.[2686]

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Labor Code sets the minimum age for employment at 14 years.[2687] Decree 62-152 prohibits minors from engaging in work that could endanger their health, safety or morals.[2688] Children under the age of 18 are also prohibited from performing night work.[2689] Article 334 bis of the Penal Code prohibits the procurement of children for prostitution with a sentence of imprisonment for 5 to 10 years and a fine of 20 million to 100 million Malagasy francs (USD 3,505.08 to 17,525.40). The same punishment can be imposed on any person who is the cause of the corruption of a child under the age of 16.[2690] Forced or bonded labor by children is prohibited under the Labor Code.[2691]

The Ministry of Civil Services and Ministry of Labor enforces child labor laws through inspections, and enforcement in the informal economic sector is difficult.[2692] Violations of labor laws are punishable with fines of up to 1.5 million Malagasy francs (USD 270.32),[2693] imprisonment or closure of the workplace if it poses an imminent danger to workers. The government has not earmarked resources for investigations of exploitative child labor cases, and the Ministry of Labor does not have an adequate number of trained inspectors.[2694] There are approximately 40 labor inspectors who do general inspections; none focus solely on child labor issues.[2695] With funds from the Public Investment Program, however, the Ministry is planning to hire and train 35 new inspectors in 2004.[2696] When violations are found, the fines reportedly are low and employers are not jailed.[2697]

The Government of Madagascar ratified ILO Convention 138 on May 31, 2000 and ILO Convention 182 on October 4, 2001.[2698]


[2657] ILO-IPEC, All About IPEC: Programme Countries, [online] August 13, 2001 [cited June 11, 2003]; available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/ipec/about/countries/t_country.htm.

[2658] U.S. Embassy-Antananarivo, unclassified telegram no. 0863, August 2003.

[2659] U.S. Embassy-Antananarivo, unclassified telegram no. 1787, October 2001.

[2660] Ibid.

[2661] Ibid. See also U.S. Embassy-Antananarivo, unclassified telegram no. 0863. In early 2002, the government, with support from Unicef, released a compilation of Madagascar laws and international conventions relating to children's rights.

[2662] U.S. Embassy-Antananarivo, unclassified telegram no. 1787.

[2663] Ibid.

[2664] Ibid.

[2665] Mamy Ratovomalala, letter to Ambassador of the United States of America in Madagascar, September 4, 2000.

[2666] U.S. Embassy-Antananarivo, unclassified telegram no. 0863. At least some of the funds will likely be used to build additional youth centers that provide children engaged in the worst forms of child labor with education, training, and job placement services.

[2667] U.S. Embassy-Antananarivo, unclassified telegram no. 1787.

[2668] Ibid.

[2669] World Bank, Madagascar: Education Section Development Project, in Projects Database, [database online] May 15, 2003 [cited May 19, 2003]; available from http://web.worldbank.org/external/projects/main?pagePK=104231&piPK=73230&theSitePK=40941&menuPK=228424&Projectid=P001559.

[2670] Project Information Sheet: Projet Education III, The African Development Bank, [online] [cited May 19, 2003]; available from http://www.afdb.org/projects/projects/madagascar_education3.htm.

[2671] Madagascar, School Health, [online] [cited May 19, 2003]; available from http://www.schoolsandhealth.org/countries/madagascar.htm. See also World Bank, Community Nutrition Project II, in Projects Database, [database online] May 15, 2003 [cited May 19, 2003]; available from http://web.worldbank.org/external/projects/main?pagePK=104231&piPK=73230&theSitePK=40941&menuPK=228424&Projectid=P001568.

[2672] Working children are defined as those working for payment or those carrying out more than four hours of domestic work a day. See Demographie et des Statistiques Sociales, MICS 2000 Madagascar Rapport Complet, UNICEF, 2000, 144 and 42; available from http:///www.childinfo.org/MICS2/newreports/madagascar/madagascar.PDF. In 2001, the World Bank reports that 33.76 percent of children ages 10-14 are in the labor force. See also World Bank, World Development Indicators 2003 [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2003.

[2673] According to a 1993-1994 labor force survey, 94 percent of working children between 7 and 14 years of age engage in agricultural activities. Nine times out of 10, family work is unpaid. See Francois Roubaud and Diane Coury, Le travail des enfants au Madagascar: Un etat des lieux, MAG/97/M01/FRA, ILO-IPEC, Geneva, 1997. See also Demographie et des Statistiques Sociales, MICS Madagascar, 151.

[2674] Demographie et des Statistiques Sociales, MICS Madagascar, 151.

[2675] The 1993-1994 survey reported that 3 percent of working children are employed in services; 2 percent work in the commercial sector; and 1 percent work in the industrial sector. See Roubaud and Coury, Le travail des enfants au Madagascar. See also Demographie et des Statistiques Sociales, MICS Madagascar.

[2676] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2002: Madagascar, Washington, D.C., March 31, 2003, Section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2002/18212.htm. See also Demographie et des Statistiques Sociales, MICS Madagascar, and. See also Roubaud and Coury, Le travail des enfants au Madagascar.

[2677] U.S. Embassy-Antananarivo, unclassified telegram no. 1787. See also Demographie et des Statistiques Sociales, MICS Madagascar, 151.

[2678] According to the Ministry of Tourism, 25 percent of prostitutes in the tourist area of Tulear are under 18 years of age. See ECPAT International, Madagascar, in ECPAT International, [database online] [cited May 19, 2003]; available from http://www.ecpat.net/eng/Ecpat_inter/projects/monitoring/online_database/index.asp. See also U.S. Embassy-Antananarivo, unclassified telegram no. 1787. See also U.S. Embassy-Antananarivo official, electronic communication, February 19, 2004.

[2679] Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Work and Social Laws, Etude sur l'Exploitation Sexuelle.

[2680] U.S. Embassy-Antananarivo official, electronic communication, February 19, 2004. See also U.S. Embassy-Antananarivo, unclassified telegram no. 1800. See also Ravaozanany, Madagascar Rapid Assessment.

[2681] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Madagascar, Section 6f. See also The Protection Project, "Madagascar," in Human Rights Report on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children: A Country-by-Country Report on a Contemporary Form of Slavery Washington, D.C.; available from http://www.protectionproject.org/main1.htm.

[2682] Constitution of Madagascar, 1992, (August 19, 1992), Article 24; available from http://www.oefre.unibe.ch/law/icl/ma00000_.html.

[2683] U.S. Embassy-Antananarivo, unclassified telegram no. 1787.

[2684] World Bank, World Development Indicators 2003. For an explanation of gross primary enrollment and/or attendance rates that are greater than 100 percent, please see the definitions of gross primary enrollment rate and gross primary attendance rate in the glossary of this report.

[2685] For a more detailed discussion on the relationship between education statistics and work, see the preface to this report.

[2686] UNESCO, World Education Report 2000: The Right to Education, Towards Education for All throughout Life, Geneva, 2000, 144.

[2687] Labor Code, Chapter 3, Articles 95 and 100 (August 25, 1995); available from http://natlex.ilo.org/txt/F95MDG01.htm. See also U.S. Embassy-Antananarivo, unclassified telegram no. 0863.

[2688] The decree was issued in 1962. U.S. Embassy-Antananarivo, unclassified telegram no. 1787.

[2689] Ibid.

[2690] Ministry of Justice, Droits de l'Enfant, UNICEF, December 28, 2001. For currency exchange, see FXConverter, [online] [cited March 17, 2004]; available from http://www.oanda.com/convert/classic.

[2691] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Madagascar, Section 6c.

[2692] Ibid., Section 6d. See also Ratovomalala, letter, September 4, 2000.

[2693] U.S. Embassy-Antananarivo, unclassified telegram no. 1787. For currency conversion see FXConverter.

[2694] U.S. Embassy-Antananarivo, unclassified telegram no. 1787.

[2695] Ibid. Additional labor inspectors, 25 in total, are currently undergoing training and will be available to perform inspections by December 2003. See U.S. Embassy-Antananarivo, unclassified telegram no. 0863.

[2696] U.S. Embassy-Antananarivo, unclassified telegram no. 0863.

[2697] U.S. Embassy-Antananarivo, unclassified telegram no. 1787.

[2698] ILO, Ratifications by Country, in ILOLEX, [database online] [cited May 19, 2003]; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/newratframeE.htm.

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