Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 April 2014, 14:04 GMT

2001 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Mauritius

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 7 June 2002
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2001 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Mauritius, 7 June 2002, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48c8c9dc32.html [accessed 17 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.

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

The Government of Mauritius is currently in consultation with relevant social partners to develop a comprehensive policy on child labor.[1636] The Ministry of Women's Rights, Child Development, and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Labor's Education and Training branch have programs to inform and sensitize the public on labor legislation and the prevention of child employment.[1637]

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 1999, the ILO estimated that 2.2 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 14 in Mauritius were working.[1638] The Ministry of Women's Rights, Child Development, and Family Welfare reports that in 1998, 2,000 children between the ages of 12 and 14 were either employed or looking for work.[1639] Child labor is usually found in street trade, small businesses, and in agriculture.[1640] On the island of Rodrigues, children are found working in homes, on farms, and in shops.[1641] There are reports of girls being sexually exploited as prostitutes, some as young as 13 years old. In 1999, reports indicated that children from Madagascar were trafficked to Mauritius for prostitution.[1642]

According to the Education Act, primary schooling is compulsory and free.[1643] In 1997, the gross primary enrollment rate was 106 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 97.6 percent.[1644]

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Labor Act of 1975 sets the minimum age for employment at 15 years.[1645] Under the Occupational Safety, Health and Welfare Act of 1989, children between the ages of 15 and 18 are allowed to work in hazardous work settings provided they are trained to operate machinery and are supervised by another individual who also has training in using the same machinery.[1646] The Criminal Code as amended in 1998 contains provisions prohibiting child prostitution, and the sale, trafficking and abduction of children. Penalties for persons operating brothels are fines not to exceed 100,000 rupees (USD 3,340) and imprisonment up to 5 years, and penalties for persons convicted of the sale, trafficking, or abduction of a child are at least 10,000 rupees (USD 334) or a prison sentence up to 5 years.[1647] Forced labor outside the Export Processing Zone is also illegal.[1648]

The Ministry of Labor and Industrial Relations is the government agency that oversees the enforcement of child labor laws. There are 39 labor inspectors and 8 labor officers whose duties include investigating child labor practices. In 2000, 5,277 child labor inspections were conducted. From January to June 2001, 2,421 child labor inspections were conducted.[1649]

Mauritius ratified ILO Convention 138 on July 30, 1990, and ILO Convention 182 on June 8, 2000.[1650]


[1636] Responses to child labor questionnaire by the Ministry of Labour and Industrial Relations for the Republick of Mauritius, September 13, 2001 [hereinafter Child labor questionnaire].

[1637] Ibid.

[1638] World Development Indicators 2001 (Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2001) [CD-ROM] [hereinafter World Development Indicators 2001].

[1639] Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2000 – Mauritius (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of State, 2001) [hereinafter Country Reports 2000], Section 6d, at http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2000/af/index.cfm?docid=857.

[1640] Child labor questionnaire.

[1641] Country Reports 2000 at Section 6d.

[1642] Ibid.

[1643] Child labor questionnaire. Children begin primary school at the age of 5 and are expected to complete primary education at age 12.

[1644] World Development Indicators 2001.

[1645] Child labor questionnaire. The country's child labor laws cover all sectors.

[1646] Ibid. Children are not required to clean machinery if this would expose them to the risk of injury.

[1647] Ibid. For currency conversion, see http://www.carosta.de/frames/convert.htm on 1/30/02.

[1648] Country Reports 2000 at Section 6c.

[1649] Child labor questionnaire.

[1650] ILOLEX database: Mauritius at http://ilolex.ilo.ch:1567/cgi-lex/ratifce.pl?c138 and http://ilolex.ilo.ch:1567/cgi-lex/ratifce.pl?C182.

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