Last Updated: Monday, 15 September 2014, 14:12 GMT

2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Madagascar

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 10 September 2009
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Madagascar, 10 September 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4aba3ed3c.html [accessed 16 September 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
Population, children, 6-14 years, 2001:3,728,808
Working children, 6-14 years (%), 2001:24.3
Working boys, 6-14 years (%), 2001:24.8
Working girls, 6-14 years (%), 2001:23.7
Working children by sector, 5-14 years (%):
     – Agriculture
     – Manufacturing
     – Services
     – Other
Minimum age for work:15
Compulsory education age:14
Free public education:Yes
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2007:141.4
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2007:98.5
School attendance, children 6-14 years (%), 2001:65.6
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2006:42.3
ILO Convention 138:5/31/2000
ILO Convention 182:10/4/2001
CRC:3/19/1991
CRCOPAC:9/22/2004
CRCOPSC:9/22/2004
Palermo:9/15/2005
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In rural areas of Madagascar, children work in agriculture on family subsistence farms and sisal plantations. Children also perform tasks such as fruit tree picking and cattle herding. In coastal areas, children work in fishing, deep sea diving, and the shrimp industry. In the informal sector, children work in bars and restaurants; petty trading; welding and mechanical work; transporting goods by rickshaw; and begging. Children in the areas of Diego Suarez, Majunga and Manakara work for traveling vendors by loading and selling merchandise. Children are sent from the South East and Upper Center zones to the cities to work as domestic laborers. The 2007-2008 ILO-IPEC lead survey supported by the Government of Madagascar and UNICEF and implemented by the National Bureau of Statistics of Madagascar was published in 2008. The survey report indicates that the majority of children (85 percent) work in rural areas and in agriculture. The greatest proportion of working children are found in the regions of Vakinankaratra, Betsiboka, Melaky, d'Ihorombe and Amoron'i Mania. The study also found an estimated 90,000 children, many girls, working in the domestic service sector. In addition, of the children engaged in labor, the study found an estimated 430,000 children (or 23 percent) engaged in the worst forms of child labor. Many of the children engaged in the worst forms of child labor work in hazardous labor in stone quarries and mines. As of writing, data were not available to UCW for analysis for use in this report. For information on data used in this report, please see the Data Sources and Definitions section.

Children are involved in mining precious and semi-precious stones (e.g., sapphires) and in informal-sector work in and around the mines, particularly in the town of Ilakaka; most of this work is performed alongside their families. Children also engage in salt mining and production in Tulear; work in granite mines near Antananarivo; and work in stone quarries, working long hours performing tasks such as breaking and carrying baskets full of stones. These children do not wear protective gear and as a result, suffer serious physical ailments.

Girls are engaged in commercial sexual exploitation, mostly in urban areas, including Antananarivo, Tulear, Ilakaka, and Sakaraha. In addition, according to USDOS, child sex tourism is a growing problem in Antananarivo and small coastal of Tamatave, Nosy Be, and Diego Suarez. While victims of child sex tourism are commonly girls, boys are exploited as well.

Madagascar is a source country for internal trafficking of children for sexual exploitation and forced labor. Malagasy children are mostly trafficked from rural to urban areas for forced labor in product vending, prostitution, domestic service, and possibly mines. Children are reportedly trafficked by a number of different people, including by 'friends,' taxi drivers, and relatives.

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for admission to work is 15 years. Children between 15 and 17 years can perform light work if the work does not exceed their strength; is not hazardous; and does not interfere with the child's health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral, and social development. In addition, children between 14 and 15 years can perform light work under exceptional circumstances, including when the child has finished school and only with authorization from a labor inspector. The law prohibits children under 18 years to be employed in work that is immoral, hazardous, or forced. The law prohibits children from working in the proximity of toxic materials and pesticides. The law bars children from work in bars, discos, casinos, mines, and as domestic laborers. The law also prohibits children less than 18 years from performing work at night or in excess of 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week. The law stipulates the weight a child can carry by gender. Before children are hired, a medical examination is required. Violation of the minimum age laws results in a fine and 1 to 3 years of imprisonment.

The law prohibits the production and dissemination of pornographic materials. The use of children in pornography is punishable by 2 to 5 years of imprisonment and a fine, with increased penalties of 3 to 10 years of imprisonment and a higher fine if the child is under 15 years. In addition, forced labor, commercial sexual exploitation, and trafficking of children are forbidden by law. Commercial sexual exploitation of children under 15 years that includes sex tourism or trafficking is punishable by forced labor for life. The law also allows for extradition of Malagasy nationals and persons charged with trafficking in other countries. The minimum age for voluntary and compulsory military service under Malagasy law is 18 years.

The Ministry of Civil Services and Labor is charged with enforcing child labor laws and conducting workplace inspections. The Ministry of Labor has 52 labor inspectors, with an additional 5 labor inspectors specifically for children. The law requires State Prosecutors to submit cases of child labor violations directly to court judges. According to USDOS, enforcement of child labor laws in the informal sector was an issue due to budgetary constraints and lack of personnel. The Ministry of Justice is responsible for the enforcement of trafficking laws. According to USDOS, the Government has made progress in addressing the issue of child sex tourism. For example, the Government reprimanded local Government officials who were involved with child sex tourism; coordinated with governments of other countries to prosecute child trafficking cases; and shut down nightclubs in Nosy Be and Fort Dauphin that allowed children in their establishment.

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

According to USDOS, the military coup and civil unrest in Madagascar negatively impacted the Government's efforts to combat child labor and trafficking during the reporting period.

Prior to the crisis, the Government of Madagascar with support from ILO-IPEC, developed a Decent Work Program for 2008 to 2012. The Program aims to improve the access of vulnerable groups to employment, as well as the overall productiveness of work through social dialogue and implementation of fundamental labor rights and social protection. In November 2008, the Government set specific benchmarks for the reduction of child labor, including decreasing the incidence of child labor to 10 percent by 2012. During the reporting period, four additional Regional Committees to Combat Child Labor were established in the regions of Diana, Analamanga, Anosy, and Haute Matsiatra. Further, the regions of Diana, Boeny, Atsimo Andrefana, and Atsinanana incorporated child labor in their Regional Development Programs. The Ministry of Labor expended USD 275,000 on child labor activities in 2008. However, this amount does not include expenditures by other ministries that also implement activities to combat child labor.

The Government of Madagascar continued to implement its 15-year national action plan to combat the worst forms of child labor. In September 2008, with support from the USDOJ's International Crime Investigative Training Assistance program, the Government created a "Criminal Analysis Center" that hosts a nationwide information database with the aim of tracking trafficking cases. In addition, with support from UNICEF, the Government expanded its child protection network to include 65 communes, which handle cases of child labor and trafficking. The Government participated in the ILO-IPEC supported training of the child protection network in Antananarivo on child domestic labor laws. UNICEF also provided training to the police, social workers, and other groups on how to identify, investigate, and prosecute trafficking cases.

The Government continued to assist victims of child labor and trafficking through support to rehabilitation centers in Antananarivo, Tulear, and Tamatave. The Government's financial contribution to these three shelters was over USD 12,689. In addition, the Government, with support from NGOs, assisted similar centers in Antananarivo and Fianarantsoa that provided counseling to child sex trafficking victims. Overall, assistance was provided to over 105 child victims, which also included support for education, health, and other services. With support from UNICEF, the Government implemented a child birth registration project to prevent child labor and trafficking.

During the reporting period, the Government of Madagascar distributed copies of the 2007 Anti-Trafficking and Sex Tourism Law to parliament, police, and other bodies. The Government continued its campaign against child sexual exploitation, which included awareness-raising messages on child sex tourism on posters and other media. The Government also continued awareness-raising campaigns on child trafficking, including in high risk areas such as airports, hotels, and health clinics. Messages were aired over the radio and viewed on television.

In 2008, USDOL awarded a 4-year USD 4.5 million project to the Private Agencies Collaborating Together, to implement the Combating Exploitive Child Labor in Madagascar project. The project aims to contribute to the prevention and elimination of child labor in the sectors of agriculture, commercial sexual exploitation, domestic service, mining, and quarrying. The project is implemented in Antananarivo, Alaotra Mangoro, Analamanga, Anosy, Atsinanana, Diana, Haute Matsiatra, and Vakinankaratra. The project aims to withdraw a total of 4,500 children and prevent another 4,500 children from exploitive labor.

The Government of Madagascar is participating in a 4-year USD 4.75 million Timebound Program implemented by ILO-IPEC and funded by USDOL. The Timebound Program aims to combat the worst forms of child labor by withdrawing 3,500 children and preventing an additional 6,500 children from exploitive labor. The project focuses on the agriculture, domestic work, stone quarrying and mining, and fishing sectors, as well as combating commercial sexual exploitation. In August 2008, with support from ILO-IPEC, the Government trained labor inspectors on child labor detection. In addition, with support from ILO-IPEC, the Government continued its partnership with the Malagasy Soccer Federation to raise awareness on child labor, as part of its "red card" to child labor campaign.

The Government of Madagascar participates in a 2-year USD 400,000 USAID-funded anti-trafficking project in Madagascar. The Government participates in a 3-year regional project funded by France at USD 4.34 million and implemented by ILO-IPEC. The French-funded project aims to combat the worst forms of child labor in Francophone Africa. The Government of Madagascar is participating in a 4-year USD 23.8 million project funded by the EU and implemented by ILO-IPEC to combat child labor through education in 11 countries, including Madagascar. The Government also participated in a 2-year USD 276,476 project funded by UNICEF to combat child labor and trafficking in four regions and ended in October 2008.

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