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2001 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Togo

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 - Togo, 7 June 2002, available at: [accessed 28 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.

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

With the assistance of ILO-IPEC, the Government of Togo formulated a national child trafficking action plan, gathered data, began a community awareness program, and took steps to enhance its institutional capabilities to combat trafficking.[2512] Togo is one of nine countries participating in a regional project sponsored by ILO-IPEC and funded by USDOL to combat the trafficking of children in West and Central Africa.[2513]

Togo's education goals are to make education more accessible, to raise the quality and relevance of the curriculum, and to strengthen vocational and non-formal education.[2514] The national education plan, devised in 1995 and implemented in 1998 with assistance from the World Bank and UNICEF, focuses on increasing the number of qualified teachers and administrators, improving enrollment and retention rates, and making education more relevant to local needs.[2515] The World Bank also supports programs designed to support the construction and repair of schools and the provision of textbooks to primary schools.[2516] UNICEF is assisting Togo to raise the low attendance rates among girls.[2517]

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 1999, the ILO estimated that 27.2 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 14 in Togo were working.[2518] Child labor is found mainly in the informal sector, particularly in agriculture and petty trading.[2519] Many children, especially girls, work as child domestics, some as young as 7 years old.[2520] In remote parts of the country, a form of bonded labor occurs in the traditional practice known as trokosi, where young girls become slaves to religious shrines for offenses allegedly committed by a member of their family.[2521] Children are trafficked from Togo to Cote d'Ivoire, Gabon, Nigeria, and other African countries, as well as to the Middle East, Asia, and Europe, where they work in indentured or domestic servitude or as farm laborers or are sexually exploited.[2522]

Education is compulsory for six years.[2523] In 1996, the gross primary enrollment rate was 119.6 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 81.3 percent.[2524] Primary school attendance rates are unavailable for Togo. While enrollment rates indicate a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children's participation in school.[2525] The education system has suffered from teacher shortages, lower educational quality in rural areas, and high repetition and dropout rates.[2526] In the north part of the country, 41 percent of the primary school teachers are remunerated by the parents compared with only 17 percent in Lome, where incomes are substantially higher.[2527]

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Labor Code sets the minimum age of employment in any enterprise at 14 and a minimum age of 18 for certain industrial and technical jobs.[2528] The Ministry of Labor enforces the law only in the urban, formal sector.[2529] Article 78 of the Penal Code prohibits the corruption, abduction, or transfer of children against the will of a child's guardian but does not cover cases that are consensual.[2530] Legislation prevents foreign consulates based in Togo from issuing visas to minors without first consulting a social worker.[2531] Articles 91 to 94 of the Penal Code prohibit the solicitation and procurement of minors.[2532]

Togo ratified ILO Convention 138 on March 16, 1984, and ILO Convention 182 on September 19, 2000.[2533]

[2512] ILO-IPEC, Combating the Trafficking of Children for Labour Exploitation in West and Central Africa (Phase II): Executive Summary (Geneva, 1999).

[2513] Ibid.

[2514] UNESCO, Education for All: Year 2000 Assessment (Paris, 2000) [CD-ROM].

[2515] Ibid.

[2516] UN, Summary Record of the 422nd Meeting: Togo, UN Document No. CRC/C/SR.422 (Geneva: UN Committee on Rights of the Child, February 3, 1998) [hereinafter Summary Record of the 422nd Meeting: Togo].

[2517] UNICEF, "Costs of Education," at See also "Summary Record of the 422nd Meeting: Togo."

[2518] World Development Indicators 2001 (Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2001) [hereinafter World Development Indicators 2001].

[2519] Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2000 – Togo (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of State, 2001) [hereinafter Country Reports 2000], Section 5, at

[2520] One survey on child domestic workers found that 96 percent of the domestics working full time were between 7 and 17 years old; another survey found that 16 percent of domestics were 10 years of age or younger. See ILO, Child Domestic Workers, at on 11/29/01, and ILO, Tolerating the Intolerable, at on 11/29/01. Children between 6 and 18 years of age reportedly do menial work as domestic servants in military barracks. See Coalition to End the Use of Child Soldiers, Global Report 200 – Togo, at

[2521] Jesse Sage, American Anti-Slavery Group, electronic correspondence to GMIS, November 6, 2000, as cited in "The Worst Forms of Child Labour: Country-wise Data," Togo, October 2000, The Global March Against Child Labor.

[2522] U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report: Togo, July 2001. See also Country Reports 2000 at Section 6f. In one month, January 1998, 199 trafficked children from the border between Togo and Benin were repatriated and returned to their families. See Africa News Service,"Child Peddling Serious Problem in Togo and Benin," March 23, 1998, at

[2523] See also Preliminary Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, Katatina Tomaševski, submitted in accordance with Commission on Human Rights Resolution 1998/33, UN Document No. E/CN.4/Sub.2/1998/12 (Geneva: Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, 1999), Table 6.

[2524] The disparity between boys and girls is significant: The net primary enrollment rate is 93 percent for boys and 69 percent for girls. See World Development Indicators 2001.

[2525] For a more detailed discussion on the relationship between education statistics and work, see Introduction to this report.

[2526] M. Egnonto Koffi-Tessio, "Human Resource Development for Poverty Reduction and Household Food Security: Situation of Education and Training in Togo" (Lome, Togo: University of Lome, Advanced School of Agronomy, 2000). See also Summary Record of the 420th Meeting: Togo], and World Bank, Togo Country Assistance Evaluation, Operations Evaluation Department, Report No. 21410, November 20, 2000 [hereinafter Togo Country Assistance Evaluation], 5.

[2527] Togo Country Assistance Evaluation at 5.

[2528] Country Reports 2000 at Section 6d.

[2529] Ibid.

[2530] Summary Record of the 422nd Meeting: Togo at para. 37.

[2531] Ibid at para. 35.

[2532] Summary Record of the 422nd Meeting: Togo at para. 37.

[2533] ILOLEX database: Togo at on 12/11/01.

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