Last Updated: Thursday, 17 April 2014, 13:11 GMT

2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Oman

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 27 August 2008
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Oman, 27 August 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48caa4853a.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.

Selected Statistics and Indicators on Child Labor2612
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:15
Compulsory education age:Not compulsory
Free public education:Yes
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2006:82
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2006:74
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%):
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2005:100
ILO-IPEC participating country:No

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children in Oman work in family businesses and informal occupations involving agriculture and fishing.2613 Camel racing is part of the Bedouin cultural heritage; children as young as 7 years reportedly participate in competitive races.2614

Because of limited data, it is difficult to ascertain whether child prostitution, pornography, or trafficking exists in Oman. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has noted that a large number of migrant workers enter Oman each year; trafficked children may be among them. The Committee has recommended that the Government conduct in-depth studies on the possible commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of children.2615

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for admission to work in Oman is 15 years; however, for certain hazardous occupations the minimum age is 18 years.2616 The minimum age provision and other child labor laws do not apply to children working in family businesses.2617 Minors 15 to 18 years are only permitted to work 6 hours per day, and no more than 4 consecutive hours without a break. They are only permitted to work between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., and may not work overtime, on holidays, or on rest days.2618 Workplaces that employ minors are required to post certain items for display, including a copy of the provisions of the law regulating the employment of children; an updated log with the names, ages, and dates of employment of minors employed in the workplace; and a work schedule showing work hours, rest periods, and weekly holidays.2619 A royal decree sets the maximum prison term at 1 month and/or a fine for employers who repeatedly use child labor.2620 In August 2005, the Government began raising annually by one year the minimum legal age to work as a camel jockey until it reaches 18 years in 2009.2621

Forced labor by children is prohibited by law.2622 The minimum age for voluntary military recruitment is 18 years.2623 The crime of inciting a minor under 18 years into prostitution is punishable by not less than 5 years of imprisonment.2624 Child pornography is not explicitly outlawed,2625 but the production, possession, or distribution of pornographic material in general is punishable by up to 1 year of imprisonment.2626

There is no specific legal provision prohibiting trafficking in persons;2627 however, the crime of enslaving a person carries a prison sentence of between 3 and 15 years.2628 Similarly, the crimes of receiving, possessing, acquiring, maintaining, or causing a person to enter or exit Oman in a state of servitude or slavery are punishable by 3 to 5 years of imprisonment.2629 During the reporting period, the Government of Oman did not report any prosecutions for offenses related to acts of trafficking.2630 It is illegal to engage a minor under 18 years in illicit activities such as drug production or trafficking, or any other activity linked with narcotic drugs; such offenses are punishable by the death penalty.2631

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is responsible for the enforcement of child labor laws; however, USDOS reports that enforcement does not often extend to some small businesses, especially those engaged in agriculture and fishing.2632 In 2007, the MOM virtually doubled its capacity for monitoring private sector labor practices by hiring approximately 100 new labor inspectors.2633 In practice, most employers ask each prospective employee for a certificate indicating that he or she has completed basic education through grade 10. Considering that children usually begin their basic education at age 6, this means that workers, in most cases, will be at least age 16 when they begin work.2634

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

In March 2006, the Governments of Oman and Pakistan signed an MOU to increase cooperation in combating organized crime and trafficking in persons.2635 Oman has also entered into bilateral and multilateral agreements with Saudi Arabia, India, and the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council aimed at combating various forms of child sexual exploitation.2636 The Government operates a 24-hour hotline to allow citizens to report claims of labor abuses, including trafficking.2637 In June 2007, the ILO trained 100 MOM inspectors on the requirements of core ILO conventions, as well as on how to recognize signs of trafficking.2638


2612 For statistical data not cited here, see the Data Sources and Definitions section. For data on ratifications and ILO-IPEC membership, see the Executive Summary. For minimum age for admission to work, age to which education is compulsory, and free public education, see Government of Oman, Royal Decree No. 35/2003: Oman Labour Law, (May 3, 2003). See also U.S. Department of State, "Oman," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2007, Washington, DC, March 11, 2008, section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100603.htm.

2613 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Oman," section 5. Also see UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention: Concluding Observations: Oman, CRC/C/OMN/CO/2, Geneva, September 29, 2006; available from http://www.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/docs/co/CRC_C_OMN_CO_2.pdf.

2614 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Oman," section 6d. See also U.S. Embassy – Muscat, reporting, March 3, 2008.

2615 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations: Oman, section 65 and 66(a). See also UNODC, Trafficking in Persons: Global Patterns, Vienna, 2006, 19-20; available from http://www.unodc.org/pdf/traffickinginpersons_report_2006ver2.pdf.

2616 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Oman," section 6d.

2617 Government of Oman, Labour Law, (2003), article 2; available from http://www.directory-oman.com/labourlaw.htm.

2618 Government of Oman, Oman Labour Law, articles 75-77.

2619 Ibid., article 78.

2620 U.S. Embassy – Muscat, reporting, November 7, 2006.

2621 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Oman," section 6d. See also U.S. Embassy – Muscat, reporting, March 3, 2008.

2622 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Oman."

2623 U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook – Oman, [online] November 15, 2007 [cited November 30, 2007]; available from https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/fields/2024.html.

2624 Government of Oman, Penal Code, (1974), article 220; available from http://www.interpol.int/public/Children/SexualAbuse/NationalLaws/csaOman.asp.

2625 ILO Committee of Experts, Direct Request, Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Oman (ratification: 2001), [online] 2006 [cited November 26, 2007]; available from http://webfusion.ilo.org/public/db/standards/normes/appl/appl-displayAllComments.cfm?conv=C182&ctry=2790&hdroff=1&lang=EN.

2626 Government of Oman, Penal Code, article 34 and 224.

2627 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Oman," section 5.

2628 U.S. Embassy – Muscat, reporting, March 3, 2008.

2629 ILO Committee of Experts, Direct Request Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Oman (ratification: 2001).

2630 U.S. Department of State, "Oman (Tier 3 Watch List)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007, Washington, DC, June 23, 2007; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2007/. See also U.S. Embassy – Muscat, reporting, March 3, 2008.

2631 ILO Committee of Experts, Direct Request Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Oman (ratification: 2001).

2632 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Oman," section 6d.

2633 U.S. Embassy – Muscat, reporting, December 5, 2007.

2634 U.S. Embassy – Muscat, reporting, August 23, 2004.

2635 U.S. Department of State official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, March 14, 2006.

2636 ILO Committee of Experts, Direct Request Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Oman (ratification: 2001).

2637 Sultanate of Oman – Ministry of Education, National Report on Quality Education in Oman, Muscat, 2004, 16, 25-28, and 41; available from http://www.ibe.unesco.org/International/ICE47/English/Natreps/reports/oman.pdf.

2638 U.S. Embassy – Muscat, reporting, March 3, 2008.

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