Last Updated: Friday, 29 August 2014, 14:18 GMT

2005 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Madagascar

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 - Madagascar, 29 August 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d748f91a.html [accessed 30 August 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     5/31/2000
Ratified Convention 182     10/4/2001
ILO-IPEC Member
National Plan for Children 
National Child Labor Action Plan
Sector Action Plan 

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

An estimated 24.3 percent of children ages 6 to 14 years were counted as working in Madagascar in 2001. Approximately 24.8 percent of all boys 6 to 14 were working compared to 23.7 percent of girls in the same age group.2853 Children work in agriculture, commercial fishing, domestic service, salt production, gemstone mining, and stone quarries.2854 They also work as porters, cattle herders, and welders.2855 Children can also be found working in bars and night clubs.2856 Commercial sexual exploitation is a problem in most of Madagascar's urban areas and child sex tourism is most common in small coastal towns and villages.2857 Child labor is one of many problems associated with poverty. In 2001, 61 percent of the population in Madagascar were living on less than USD 1 a day.2858

Children from Madagascar are trafficked internally for sexual exploitation and possibly forced labor. Children in Antananarivo are trafficked to coastal cities for commercial sexual exploitation under false pretenses of legitimate job prospects, such as domestic service.2859

The Constitution guarantees children the right to a free education,2860 but parents must pay for furniture and teachers' salaries.2861 In 2002, the gross primary enrollment rate was 120 percent and the net primary enrollment rate was 79 percent.2862 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. In 2001, 65.6 percent of children ages 6 to 14 years were attending school.2863 As of 2001, 53 percent of children who started primary school were likely to reach grade five.2864 Student repetition and dropout rates are high, at 24.5 percent and 7.4 percent respectively.2865 A government policy requiring all children to have a birth certificate prior to enrolling in school has limited school attendance in Madagascar.2866 The education system is further hindered by a lack of materials and equipment in schools; unmotivated teachers; uneven class and school sizes; poorly developed vocational and technical training programs; few non-formal education programs for dropouts; and parents' lack of confidence in the education system.2867

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Government of Madagascar reformed its Labor Code in 2005, increasing the minimum age for employment to 15 years2868 from 14 years.2869 In addition, the newly-reformed Labor Code strengthened the penalties for child labor violations. All violations of the Labor Code will now result in 1 to 3 years' imprisonment and a fine of 1 to 3 million Ariary (USD 470 to 1409).2870 The Labor Code also prohibits children from engaging in work that is harmful to their health and normal development.2871 Children under the age of 18 are prohibited from performing work at night, on Sundays, or in excess of 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week.2872 A labor inspector can request a medical examination to ensure that children's work does not exceed their capacity.2873

The worst forms of child labor may be prosecuted under different statues in Madagascar. Forced or bonded labor by children is prohibited under the Labor Code.2874 The Penal Code prohibits engaging in sexual activities of any type with children under the age of 14, and the production and dissemination of pornographic materials showing minors is illegal.2875 The Penal Code also bars children under the age of 18 years from entering discotheques and nightclubs. While there is no law that prohibits trafficking in persons, the government is currently working to overhaul its trafficking-related laws.2876 Malagasy law does not allow children under 18 years to be recruited for service in armed conflicts.2877 Since 1999, the Government of Madagascar has submitted to the ILO a list or an equivalent document identifying the types of work that it has determined are harmful to the health, safety or morals of children under Convention 182 or Convention 138.2878 The Government of Madagascar considers domestic service, stone quarry work, gemstone mining, hazardous and unhealthy work in the rural and urban informal sectors, and the commercial sexual exploitation of children to be worst forms of child labor.2879

The Ministry of Civil Service, Social Laws, and Labor enforces child labor laws through inspections.2880 At the end of 2005, there were 74 labor inspectors in Madagascar.2881 Labor inspectors are not responsible for enforcing laws in rural areas or the informal sector, where most children work, and they lack the resources to enforce labor laws properly.2882 According to the U.S. Department of State, enforcement of child labor laws in Madagascar's informal sector was inadequate.2883

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

The Government of Madagascar began implementing the first phase of its 15-year National Action Plan on Child Labor in the second half of 2004. The government is also implementing an ILO-IPEC Timebound Program, funded by USDOL, which aims to eliminate the worst forms of child labor and provide education and other services to vulnerable children.2884 The Timebound Program focuses on eliminating exploitative child labor in domestic service, stone quarry work, gemstone mining, child prostitution, and hazardous and unhealthy work in the rural and urban informal sectors.2885 The Government of Madagascar continued to participate in two French-funded ILO-IPEC projects to combat child labor in Francophone African countries.2886 In addition, UNICEF, the National Council for the Fight Against HIV/AIDS, and Groupe Developpement have worked with the government to raise awareness about commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) and have expressed interest in collaborating with the government to implement National Plan of Action activities to eliminate CSEC in Madagascar.2887

The Committee on the National Action Plan to Eliminate Child Labor undertook numerous efforts in 2005. The Committee conducted a series of child labor workshops and met to refine its child labor strategy for 2005-2008. The Committee has also been implementing systems at the regional and provincial levels to track the incidence of child labor in Madagascar.2888 The government also continues its efforts to construct Welcome Centers for children involved in the worst forms of child labor, including forced labor and trafficking. The Ministry of Labor has provided education or professional training to over 70 children through its Welcome Centers.2889 The government is active in raising public awareness about trafficking, prostitution, and child labor through skits, radio programs, films, and children's drawing, poetry, and essay contests.2890 The Ministry of Labor collaborated with ILO-IPEC to launch an awareness-raising campaign in June 2005 that included televised public service announcements by high-level government officials.2891

The Government of Madagascar is making significant efforts to reduce the sexual exploitation of children by increasing its enforcement of laws that bar children from nightclubs.2892 The government collaborated with UNICEF in training 180 police officers on how to identify, investigate, and prosecute trafficking cases, and also sponsored a workshop on sex tourism that was widely attended. In 2005, the government named "combating trafficking in persons" as one of its strategic goals that it published in the country's major newspapers.2893

The government distributes school supplies to primary school children as part of the Education for All program.2894 A World Bank-funded project working to universalize quality primary education, improve the capacity of the education ministry at local levels, and improve access to quality student and teacher learning materials in primary schools was completed in 2005.2895 The Government of Madagascar is currently receiving support from the Education for All Fast Track Initiative to achieve its goal of implementing universal quality primary education.2896 In 2005, the World Bank approved a USD 80 million credit for Madagascar to implement its Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, which includes continued support for Education for All activities. The credit will continue support for policy measures to increase both quality and access to primary education, including material support to all primary students and the elimination of school fees.2897 The WFP is collaborating with the government to improve access to basic education for children, especially girls, through its Madagascar food program.2898 UNICEF is working to help the government adopt a new "competency-based learning approach," which will encourage girls to attend and participate in schools, and provide outreach services to children who are out of school.2899 The Government of Madagascar, in collaboration with UNICEF, continued to implement a program to issue birth certificates to all Malagasy children, which is expected to increase school enrollment.2900


2853 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates, October 7, 2005. 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 "Data Sources and Definitions" section of this report.

2854 ILO-IPEC, Combating the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Madagascar – IPEC's Contribution to the National Action Plan to Eliminate Child Labour, Project Document, MAD/04/P50/USA, Geneva, 2004, 2-8. See also, Demographie et des Statistiques Sociales, MICS 2000 Madagascar Rapport Complet, UNICEF, 2000, 151; available from http:///www.childinfo.org/MICS2/newreports/madagascar/madagascar.PDF. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2004: Madagascar, Washington, D.C., February 28, 2005, Section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2004/41612.htm.

2855 ILO-IPEC, Combating the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Madagascar, 7, 5, 8.

2856 Ibid., 5-6.

2857 Ibid., 6. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Madagascar, Section 5.

2858 World Bank, World Development Indicators 2005 [CD-ROM], Washington, DC, 2005.

2859 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report, Washington, D.C., June 3, 2005; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2005/46614.htm.

2860 Constitution of Madagascar, 1992, (August 19, 1992); available from http://www.oefre.unibe.ch/law/icl/ma00000_.html. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Madagascar, Section 5.

2861 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations: Madagascar, CRC/C/15/Add.218, prepared by Government of Madagascar, pursuant to Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, October 27, 2003, para. 57.

2862 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, http://stats.uis.unesco.org/TableViewer/tableView.aspx?ReportId=51 (Gross and Net Enrolment Ratios, Primary; accessed December 2005). For an explanation of gross primary enrollment rates that are greater than 100 percent, please see the definition of gross primary enrollment rates in the "Data Sources and Definitions" section of this report.

2863 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates.

2864 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, "School life expectancy, % of repeaters, survival rates; accessed December 2005," available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/TableViewer/tableView.aspx?ReportId=55.

2865 ILO-IPEC, Combating the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Madagascar, 3.

2866 Ibid., 3-4. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Madagascar, Section 5.

2867 ILO-IPEC, Combating the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Madagascar, 4.

2868 U.S. Embassy – Antananarivo, reporting, August 23, 2005.

2869 Labor Code, (August 25, 1995); available from http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/WEBTEXT/41776/64975/F95MDG01.htm.

2870 U.S. Embassy – Antananarivo, reporting, August 23, 2005. FX Converter, [online] [cited January 17, 2006]; available from http://www.oanda.com/convert/classic.

2871 Labor Code, Article 100. U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Madagascar, Section 6d.

2872 Labor Code, Chapter III, Articles 101 and 95.

2873 Ibid., Chapter III, Article 101.

2874 Ibid., Title I, Article III. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Madagascar, Section 6c.

2875 Ministry of Justice, Droits de l'Enfant, UNICEF, December 28, 2001, 421-423.

2876 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2005.

2877 The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, Child Soldiers Global Report, 2004; available from http://www.child soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=966.

2878 ILO-IPEC official, email communication to USDOL official, November 14, 2005.

2879 ILO-IPEC, Combating the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Madagascar, 5.

2880 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Madagascar, Section 6d. See also ILO-IPEC, Combating the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Madagascar, 10.

2881 U.S. Embassy Antananarivo official, email communication to USDOL official, August 10, 2006.

2882 ILO-IPEC, Combating the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Madagascar, 10.

2883 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Madagascar, Section 6d.

2884 ILO-IPEC, Combating the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Madagascar, 11.

2885 In the rural informal sector, children working on sisal plantations and in fishing will be targeted for services. Ibid., 43. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Madagascar, Section 6d.

2886 One project was funded at USD 1.4 million and ended in June 2005, while the other was funded at USD 1.6 million and is slated to end in December 2006. Both projects include the following countries: Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Mali, Morocco, Niger, and Senegal. ILO-IPEC official, email communication to USDOL official, November 8, 2005.

2887 ILO-IPEC, Combating the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Madagascar, 13.

2888 These systems were operational as of August 2005 in the cities of Antananarivo, Nosy Be, Tamatave, and Diego Suarez. U.S. Embassy – Antananarivo, reporting, August 23, 2005.

2889 Two Welcome Centers are currently operational, and a third is being constructed. Ibid.

2890 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2005.

2891 U.S. Embassy – Antananarivo, reporting, August 23, 2005.

2892 The police unit responsible for enforcing these laws is the Minors' Brigade. The Minors' Brigade in Antananarivo recently performed three raids of nightclubs, discovering a total of 53 children under age 18. Three new Minors' Brigades have been established in the provinces as well. U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2005.

2893 Ibid.

2894 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Madagascar, Section 5.

2895 The 7-year program was funded in 1998. World Bank Projects Database, http://www.worldbank.org [hard copy on file] (Education Sector Development Project; accessed September 29, 2004).

2896 World Bank, Education for All Fast Track Initiative – Frequently Asked Questions, [online] August 19, 2005 [cited September 29, 2005]; available from www.fasttrackinitiative.org/education/efafti/faq.asp.

2897 World Bank, Madagascar: World Bank Approves US$80 Million for Poverty Reduction in Madagascar, press release, Washington, D.C., July 12, 2005; available from http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/AFRICAEXT/MADAGASCAREXTN/0,contentMDK:20579770 ~menuPK:356371~pagePK:141137~piPK:141127~theSitePK:356352,00.html.

2898 The World Food Programme, World Hunger: Madagascar, [cited June 30, 2005]; available from http://www.wfp.org/country_brief/indexcountry.asp?country=450.

2899 UNICEF, At a Glance: Madagascar, [cited June 30, 2005]; available from http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/madagascar.html.

2900 This three-year campaign was launched in 2004. Children are not able to attend school in Madagascar without a birth certificate, and currently there is no uniform system for registering births in the country. U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Madagascar, Section 5. However, in some instances, children are allowed to attend school without a birth certificate, but are required to have a birth certificate in order to take the exam at the end of primary school. U.S.Embassy-Antananarivo official, email communication to USDOL official, August 10, 2006. See also ILO-IPEC, Combating the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Madagascar, 3-4.

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