Last Updated: Thursday, 18 September 2014, 13:28 GMT

2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Senegal

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 31 August 2007
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Senegal, 31 August 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d749501a.html [accessed 19 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
Percent of children 5-14 estimated as working in 2005:30%3675
Minimum age for admission to work:153676
Age to which education is compulsory:163677
Free public education:Yes3678*
Gross primary enrollment rate in 2004:76%3679
Net primary enrollment rate in 2004:66%3680
Percent of children 5-14 attending school in 2004:47.9%3681
As of 2003, percent of primary school entrants likely to reach grade 5:78%3682
Ratified Convention 138:12/15/19993683
Ratified Convention 182:6/1/20003684
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes, associated3685
* Must pay for school supplies and related items.

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 2005, approximately 33.4 percent of boys and 26.7 percent of girls ages 5 to 14 were working in Senegal.3686 The majority of working children can be found in agriculture, hunting, fishing, domestic service, transportation, construction, manufacturing, as well as in automobile repair shops, restaurants, and hotels. Children also work in hazardous conditions in rock quarrying and mining. Children are exploited in such activities as begging, forced labor, prostitution, drug trafficking and other illegal activities, recycling of waste and garbage, and slaughtering of animals.3687

Senegal is a source, transit, and destination country for child trafficking.3688 Boys are trafficked within and to Senegal from The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, and Guinea for forced begging for Koranic teachers.3689 Official statistics put the total number of these boys, known as talibés, at over 100,000. They are vulnerable to sexual and other exploitation.3690 Some Koranic teachers bring children from rural areas to Senegal's major cities, holding them under conditions of involuntary servitude.3691 Some talibés have revealed to NGOs and shelters that they are often beaten and shackled if they do not bring a minimum amount of money to their Koranic teachers at the end of each day. In 2005, two Koranic teachers were convicted and sentenced to prison for such abuse.3692

There are reports of young girls trafficked from rural to urban areas for forced domestic service. Senegalese girls are also trafficked both internally and to other countries for exploitive labor and commercial sexual exploitation.3693 Child prostitution occurs on beaches, in bars, and at hotels and other tourist areas.3694

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for employment, including apprenticeships, is 15 years.3695 With permission from the Minister of Labor, children 12 years and older may perform light work within a family setting, provided that it does not jeopardize their health, morals, or schooling.3696

The Constitution protects children from economic exploitation and from involvement in hazardous work.3697 Children are prohibited from working at night and cannot work more than 8 hours a day.3698 The law also identifies businesses in which children under 18 years are forbidden from working or can work only under certain conditions. These include workshops where there are toxic or harmful fumes.3699 In addition, children under 16 are prohibited from working on fishing vessels.3700

Activities considered to be worst forms of child labor are prohibited by law.3701 The government has identified the worst forms of child labor as forced labor, slavery, prostitution, drug trafficking, forced begging, and work that imperils the health, safety or morality of children. Specific examples of such work include pornography involving children, gold mining, work underwater, work with toxic chemicals or complex tools and machinery.3702 Procuring a minor for the purpose of prostitution is punishable by imprisonment for 2 to 5 years.3703

Under the law, traffickers are subject to imprisonment of between 5 and 10 years.3704 The minimum age for voluntary recruitment into the military is 18 years, and 20 years for compulsory recruitment.3705

The Ministry of Labor and its Social Security Inspectors are responsible for investigating child labor cases and enforcing child labor laws. However, because of a lack of resources, inspectors do not initiate workplace visits and instead depend on violations to be reported. According to the U.S. Department of State, the Ministry of Labor monitors and enforces minimum age laws within the formal sector, including in state-owned corporations, large private enterprises, and cooperatives.3706

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

The Government of Senegal has raised awareness of the dangers of child labor and exploitive begging through seminars with local officials, NGOs, and civil society. The government is participating in a USD 2 million, USDOL-funded, ILO-IPEC Timebound Program. The project aims to withdraw 3,000 children and prevent 6,000 children from exploitive child labor in agriculture, fishing, begging, and domestic service.3707 The government also participates in a French-funded ILO-IPEC project to combat child labor.3708 UNICEF also works to eliminate the worst forms of child labor through its child rights promotion and protection program.3709

To reduce the incidence of exploitive begging, the Ministry of Women, Family, Social Development, and Women's Entrepreneurship is implementing a program to help support 48 Koranic schools whose teachers do not force their students to engage in the practice.3710

The Government of Senegal's Ministry of Women, Family, Social Development, and Women's Entrepreneurship operates the "Ginddi Center" in Dakar to receive and care for street children, including trafficking victims. Children from The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, and Mali also receive assistance at the center. The Center operates a 24-hour toll-free child protection hotline.3711

In July 2006, Senegal was 1 of 24 countries to adopt the Multilateral Cooperative Agreement to Combat Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, in West and Central Africa and the Joint Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children in the West and Central African Regions. As part of the Multilateral Cooperative Agreement, the governments agreed to put into place the child trafficking monitoring system developed by the USDOL-funded ILO-IPEC LUTRENA project; to ensure that birth certificates and travel identity documents cannot easily be falsified or altered; to provide assistance to each other in the investigation, arrest and prosecution of trafficking offenders; to protect, rehabilitate, and reintegrate trafficking victims; and to improve educational systems, vocational training and apprenticeships.3712


3675 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates, March 1, 2007.

3676 Government of Senegal, Code du travail 1997, Loi No. 97-17, (December 1, 1997); available from http://www.gouv.sn/textes/TRAVAIL.cfm.

3677 U.S. Department of State, "Senegal," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices-2006, Washington, DC, March 6, 2007, Section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78754.htm.

3678 Ibid.

3679 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Gross Enrolment Ratio. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/.

3680 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Net Enrolment Rate. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org.

3681 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Survival Rate to Grade 5. Total, accessed December 18, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org.

3682 Ibid.

3683 ILO, Senegal ratified 37 Conventions, [database online] [cited October 23, 2006]; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/cgi-lex/ratifce.pl?Senegal.

3684 Ibid.

3685 ILO-IPEC, IPEC Action Against Child Labor; Highlights 2006, Geneva, 2006; available from http://www.ilo.org/iloroot/docstore/ipec/prod/eng/20070228_Implementationreport_en_Web.pdf.

3686 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates.

3687 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Senegal," Section 6d. Djiga Thiao et. al., Etude des pires formes de travail des enfants dans le secteur de la peche artisanale maritime sénégalaise: Rapport final, Dakar, December, 2002.

3688 U.S. Department of State, "Senegal," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006, Washington, DC, June 5, 2006; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2006/65990.htm.

3689 Ibid., Section 5, U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Senegal."

3690 ECPAT International CSEC Database, Senegal; accessed October 13, 2006, June 15,; available from http://www.ecpat.net. U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Senegal," Section 5.

3691 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Senegal," Section 5. IRINnews.org, "Senegal: Kids beg for hours to fund Muslim teachers", Irinnews.org, [online], May 24, 2004 [cited June 16, 2006]; available from http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=41241&SelectRegion=West_Africa&SelectCountry=SENEGAL.

3692 U.S. Embassy – Dakar Official, E-mail correspondence to USDOL Official, August 11, 2006.

3693 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Senegal," Section 5.

3694 ECPAT International CSEC Database, Senegal.

3695 Government of Senegal, Code du travail 1997, Article L. 145. Government of Senegal, Arrêté ministériel n° 3748 MFPTEOP-DTSS en date du 6 juin 2003, relatif au travail des enfants, (June 6, 2003), Article premier; available from http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/SERIAL/64609/64950/F1520394879/SEN64609.pdf.

3696 Government of Senegal, Arrêté Ministériel n° 3748 MFPTEOP-DTSS, Article 1. See also Government of Senegal, Arrêté ministériel n° 3750 MFPTEOP-DTSS en date du 6 juin 2003, fixant la nature des travaux dangereux interdits aux enfants et jeunes gens, (June 6, 2003), Article 1; available from http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/SERIAL/64611/64953/F1229124862/SEN64611.pdf.

3697 Government of Senegal, Constitution of the Republic of Senegal, (January 7, 2001); available from http://www.primature.sn/textes/constitution.pdf. See also U.S. Department of State official, electronic communication regarding Constitution of Senegal to USDOL official, August 18, 2003.

3698 Government of Senegal, Arrêté Ministériel n° 3748 MFPTEOP-DTSS, Article 3.

3699 Government of Senegal, Arrêté ministériel n° 3751 MFPTEOP-DTSS en date du 6 juin 2003, fixant les categories d'entreprises et travaux interdits aux enfants et jeunes gens ainsi que l'âge limite auquel s'applique l'interdiction, (June 6, 2003), Article 2; available from http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/SERIAL/64612/64952/F364251671/SEN64612.pdf.

3700 Government of Senegal, Arrêté Ministériel n° 3750 MFPTEOP-DTSS, Article 10.

3701 Government of Senegal, Arrêté Ministériel n° 3748 MFPTEOP-DTSS, Article 3.

3702 Government of Senegal, Arrêté ministériel n° 3749 MFPTEOP-DTSS en date du 6 juin 2003, fixant et interdisant les pires formes du travail des enfants, (June 6, 2003), Article 2; available from http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/SERIAL/64610/64951/F2020269921/SEN64610.pdf.

3703 Government of Senegal, Criminal Code, Section V: Offenses Against Public Morals, [database online], Articles 323, 324; available from http://209.190.246.239/protectionproject/statutesPDF/Senegal.pdf.

3704 U.S. Embassy – Dakar, reporting, March 05, 2007, para 29.

3705 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Senegal," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=793.

3706 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Senegal," Section 6d. See also Government of Senegal, Code du travail 1997, Article L. 146.

3707 ILO-IPEC, Support to the Timebound Programme Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour, TPR, technical progress report, Geneva, March 11, 2005.

3708 ILO-IPEC official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, November 16, 2006.

3709 UNICEF, At a Glance: Senegal, accessed October 23, 2006; available from http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/senegal.html.

3710 U.S. Embassy – Dakar official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, August 11, 2006.

3711 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Senegal," Section 5.

3712 ECOWAS and ECASS, Multilateral Cooperation Agreement to Combat Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, in West and Central Africa, Abuja, July 7, 2006. See also ILO-IPEC, Combating the Trafficking of Children for Labour Exploitation in West and Central Africa (LUTRENA), technical progress report, Washington, DC, September 1, 2006.

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