Last Updated: Thursday, 27 November 2014, 13:39 GMT

2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Swaziland

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 18 April 2003
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Swaziland, 18 April 2003, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d748b069.html [accessed 28 November 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

In 1992,3425 the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland announced a National Program of Action for children for 1993 to 2000. The program involved the formation of government committees on children's issues.3426 The program addressed most articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child except free and compulsory education, which the government cannot ensure due to financial constraints.3427 In 2002, the government established a Children's Unit to promote and protect child rights. The unit collaborates with law enforcement on child protections issues, has developed guidelines for management of child abuse cases and has established professional networks through cooperation with the government's legal branch and NGOs.3428

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 2000, the ILO estimated that 12.3 percent of children ages 10 to 14 years were working.3429 Children work in agriculture (particularly in the cotton-growing region), and as domestics, herders and street workers.3430 There are reports that Mozambican girls have been involved in child prostitution in Swaziland.3431

Education is neither free nor compulsory in Swaziland. The Ministry of Education pays teacher salaries, while student fees and money raised from the community pay for costs such as building upkeep and teacher housing.3432 In 1998, the gross primary school enrollment rate was 117.4 percent, and the net primary school enrollment rate was 76.8 percent.3433 In 1996, Swaziland spent 8.6 percent of GDP per capita on primary education.3434 The government pays teachers' salaries but families must pay for books, building upkeep and teacher housing.3435

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Employment Act of 1980 sets the minimum age of employment at 15 years for non-hazardous industrial work, although children may work in the commercial sector beginning at age 13.3436 Employment of children under 18 years is not permitted in mines, quarries or underground work, or in any sector that is dangerous to their safety or health.3437 The law allows children under 15 to work in family industrial enterprises or in technical schools under supervision, and limits children to six hours of work per day and 33 hours per week.3438 The Ministry of Labor is responsible for enforcing child labor laws, but its effectiveness is limited by a lack of personnel.3439

The Criminal Code prohibits the procurement of a child for purposes of prostitution.3440 There is no law prohibiting trafficking in persons.3441

The Government of Swaziland ratified ILO Convention 138 and ILO Convention 182 on October 23, 2002.3442


3425 UNICEF and Government of Swaziland Ministry of Education, "The National Programme of Action for the Children of Swaziland 1993-2000," in Common Country Assessment- Swaziland, ed. M.D. McDermott Mbabane: Environmental Consulting Services, 1997, Chapter 4 [cited August 30, 2002]; available from http://www.ecs.co.sz/cca/ cca_4.htm.

3426 The Honorable Dr. Phetsile Dlamini, Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Statement at the United Nations Special Session on Children, May 10, 2002, [cited December 18, 2002]; available from http://www.un.org/ga/children/ swazilandE.htm.

3427 UNICEF and Government of Swaziland Ministry of Education, "The National Programme of Action."

3428 Statement at the United Nations Special Session on Children.

3429 World Bank, World Development Indicators 2002 [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2002. See also UNICEF, Statistics, [cited August 30, 2002]; available from http://www.childinfo.org/eddb/work/edu1.htm. See Government of Swaziland, Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey Model: Full Report, 2000, 25.

3430 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2001: Swaziland, Washington, D.C., March 4, 2002, 665-68, Sections 5 and 6d [cited December 18, 2002]; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/ hrrpt/2001/af/8406.htm. See also UNICEF and Government of Swaziland Ministry of Education, "The National Programme of Action."

3431 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Swaziland, 666-68, Section 6d.

3432 Ibid., 665-66, Section 5.

3433 World Bank, World Development Indicators 2002. In 1996 the government reported a 90.6 percent primary school
attendance rate. See also Government of Swaziland, Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, 11.

3434 Government of Swaziland, Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey.3435 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Swaziland, 665-66, Section 5.

3436 ILO-IPEC, Child Labour: Targeting the Intolerable, Geneva, 1998, Report VI(1) [cited August 30, 2002]; available
from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/comp/child/publ/target/target.pdf.3437 Ibid.

3438 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Swaziland, 666-68, Section 6d.

3439 Ibid.

3440 Protection Project, "Swaziland," in Human Rights Report on the Trafficking of Persons, Especially Women and Children, March 2002, [cited August 30, 2002]; available from http://www.protectionproject.org.

3441 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Swaziland, 666-68, Section 6f.

3442 ILO, Ratifications by Country, in ILOLEX, [database online] [cited November 18, 2002]; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/newratframeE.htm.

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