Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

2001 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Tonga

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 - Tonga, 7 June 2002, available at: [accessed 29 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

The Ministry of Education has set goals to further improve upon the educational system by providing universal access to quality basic education up to form 6, restructuring the Ministry of Education, expanding and developing vocational education, establishing formal pre-school programs, and establishing a national university by the year 2010.[2534]

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Statistics on the number of working children in Tonga under age 15 are unavailable. There is also no information available on the incidence of child labor.[2535]

Education is compulsory for children through the end of high school.[2536] In 1995, the gross primary enrollment rate was 122.2 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 95.3 percent.[2537] Primary school attendance rates are unavailable for Tonga. While enrollment rates indicate a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children's participation in school.[2538]

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

Legislation prohibits forced or bonded labor of children; violations of these regulations are not known.[2539] Although there is no specific law regarding trafficking or child prostitution, the Criminal Code of Tonga prohibits any person from procuring or attempting to procure any girl under the age of 21 for the purposes of unlawful sexual exploitation.[2540] The punishment for this offense is to be any term of imprisonment not to exceed 5 years.[2541] The Government of Tonga is not a member of the ILO and has not ratified ILO Conventions on child labor.[2542]

[2534] Pacific Human Development, "Broadening Opportunities for Education," 1999, 40.

[2535] Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2000 – Tonga (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of State, 2001) [hereinafter Country Reports 2000], Section 6d, at

[2536] Ibid.

[2537] UNESCO, Education for All: Year 2000 Assessment (Paris, 2000) [CD-ROM]. See also World Development Indicators 2001 (Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2001) [CD-ROM].

[2538] For a more detailed discussion on the relationship between education statistics and work, see Introduction to this report.

[2539] Country Reports 2000 at Section 6d.

[2540] The Criminal Code of Tonga, Article 126, at

[2541] Ibid.

[2542] ILO, ILOLEX database, Ratifications of the ILO Fundamental Conventions, at

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