Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 May 2016, 09:24 GMT

2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Mauritius

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 - Mauritius, 10 September 2009, available at: [accessed 24 May 2016]
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, 5-14 years:
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:16
Compulsory education age:16
Free public education:Yes*
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2007:101.4
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2007:95.4
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%):
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2006:99.0
ILO Convention 138:7/30/1990
ILO Convention 182:6/8/2000
ILO-IPEC participating country:No

* In practice, must pay for various school expenses

** Accession

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In Mauritius, children work in agriculture, commerce, and domestic service. Children also work as informal street traders, shop merchants, household workers, and in small businesses. Children, especially young girls, are trafficked within Mauritius for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Some are exploited by prostitution rings.

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for employment and apprenticeship in Mauritius is 16 years. It is illegal to employ young persons under 18 years in activities that are dangerous, harmful to their health, or otherwise unsuitable, including operating lifting machines; working in confined spaces; working with explosives, asbestos, and heavy metals; and being exposed to ionizing radiation, benzene, and harmful solvents. In addition, young persons who have not been fully instructed or adequately supervised are prohibited from operating dangerous machinery. The health and safety of young persons working aboard ships is also provided for by law. Young persons cannot be required to work more than 10 hours per day or between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. Employers found employing a child under 16 years may be imprisoned for up to 1 year and fined. Cases of child employment can result in the prosecution of employers.

Child labor laws are enforced, and frequent child labor inspections are conducted by the Ministry of Labor, Industrial Relations, and Employment. USDOS reports that of the 1,050 labor inspections conducted in 2008, four cases of child labor were found and are currently being prosecuted.

Forced labor and slavery are prohibited. There is no system of military conscription, and the minimum age for voluntary recruitment is 18 years. Child pornography and causing, inciting, or allowing any child to engage in prostitution are crimes punishable by imprisonment of up to 8 years, or up to 15 years if the victim is mentally handicapped. Acting as an accomplice to child prostitution is unlawful, and violators are subject to 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine. The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation outside or within Mauritius is prohibited. These crimes are punishable by up to 15 years of imprisonment. The Minors Brigade within the police force is dedicated to investigating cases of child prostitution and child trafficking. The Attorney General's Office and the Office of the Ombudsperson for Children also play an important role in anti-trafficking efforts. In 2008, investigations were still ongoing for two reported child prostitution cases, for which four people were arrested. USDOS reports that even with law enforcement officials' efforts, locating and arresting criminals involved in child prostitution remains a challenge because of the illicit nature of this activity.

During 2008, the Government of Mauritius passed the Judicial Provisions Act, which provides for heavier penalties, including increased fines, and allows for sentencing discretion for a number of offenses, including child trafficking.

Current Government Efforts to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor

During 2008, the Government of Mauritius implemented a National Plan of Action to combat the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). As part of this plan, the Government is developing CSEC monitoring indicators and empowering the public to protect children against child sexual exploitation. Local NGOs that educate the public on the issue of commercial sexual exploitation are also funded by the Government.

To prevent the employment of underage children, the Ministry of Labor developed vocational training programs. The Ministry of Women's Rights, Child Development and Family Welfare operates a hotline to respond to children in need of immediate support services and administers a Child Watch Network, which detects children at risk and refers them to the appropriate authorities. The Child Development Unit funds a drop-in center, providing counseling, psychological treatment, and educational services for children exploited in the commercial sex industry. The drop in center promotes its activities through bumper stickers, its toll-free number, and outreach in schools and the wider community.

The police training school held specialized training courses on trafficking, and the police initiated awareness campaigns for students and school administrators. The police have held awareness sessions in schools and villages.

A formal protocol to assist victims of commercial sexual exploitation was established, whereby a child welfare officer accompanies victims when they give police statements and receive priority treatment at the hospital.

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