Last Updated: Friday, 19 December 2014, 13:25 GMT

2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Tanzania

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 22 September 2005
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Tanzania, 22 September 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48c8ca7637.html [accessed 21 December 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 Child Labor Measures Adopted by Governments
Ratified Convention 138 (12/16/1998)X
Ratified Convention 182 (09/12/2001)X
ILO-IPEC MemberX
National Plan for Children 
National Child Labor Action PlanX
Sector Action Plan 

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

The Tanzanian National Bureau of Statistics estimated that 35.4 percent of children ages 5 to 14 years in Tanzania were working in 2000-2001.[3823] The survey found that majority of working children were unpaid family workers who engaged in agricultural and non-agricultural work on family farms. An estimated 77.4 percent of children ages 5 to 14 work in the agricultural, forestry, and fishing sectors, while 49.9 percent of children ages 5 to 14 engage in housekeeping activities.[3824] The survey found that 55.7 percent of working children ages 5 to 14 years attended school.[3825]

Children work on commercial tea,[3826] coffee,[3827] sugar cane,[3828] sisal, cloves,[3829] and tobacco farms,[3830] and in the production of wheat and corn.[3831] Children also work in underground mines and near mines in bars and restaurants.[3832]

In the informal sector, children are engaged in scavenging, fishing, fish processing, and quarrying.[3833] Other children work as barmaids, street vendors, car washers, shoe shiners, cart pushers, carpenters, auto repair mechanics, and in garages.[3834] Children also work in paid domestic service.[3835]

Girls as young as 7 years, and increasingly boys, are reportedly victims of commercial sexual exploitation.[3836] According to an ILO study, children have been exploited in the production of pornographic films.[3837] Children from Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda also engage in prostitution in Tanzania.[3838] Children are reportedly trafficked internally to work in the fishing industry, mines, commercial agriculture, and domestic service.[3839] Children are trafficked from rural areas for exploitation in the commercial sex sector.[3840] It is reported that girls are trafficked from Tanzania to South Africa, the Middle East, and Europe for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Children are also trafficked from Tanzania for the purpose of forced labor. Children are reportedly trafficked into Tanzania from India, Kenya, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to work in forced agricultural labor and prostitution.[3841]

Education in Tanzania is compulsory for 7 years, until children reach the age of 15 years.[3842] In 2001, the gross primary enrollment rate was 70 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 54.4 percent.[3843] Gross and net enrollment ratios are based on the number of students formally registered in primary school and therefore do not necessarily reflect actual school attendance. In 2001, 56.9 percent of children aged 5 to 17 years attended school.[3844] The Tanzanian Parliament voted in 2002 to drop primary school fees, but a lack of resources for additional teachers, classrooms, books, or uniforms, led to primary schools becoming overwhelmed by the massive increase in children seeking to take advantage of free primary education.[3845] Moreover, families must pay for enrollment fees, books, and uniforms. In contrast to mainland Tanzania, tuition also must be paid on Zanzibar.[3846]

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Employment Ordinance of 1955 prohibits employment of children under the "apparent" age of 12 years. This ordinance also prohibits children under the age of 15 years and young people under the age of 18 years from employment in any work that could be injurious to health, dangerous or otherwise unsuitable. It prohibits children under the age of 15 years from working near machinery, and young people under the apparent age of 18 years from engaging in underground work. Children under the "apparent" age of 18 years are prohibited from working between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 am. The law does not restrict children from family work or light agriculture work that has been approved by the proper authority.[3847] Under the Employment Ordinance, employers are obliged to maintain registers listing the age of workers, working conditions, the nature of employment, and commencement and termination dates.[3848] In Zanzibar, the law prohibits employment of children under the age of 18 years depending on the nature of the work.[3849]

Tanzania's Constitution prohibits forced or compulsory labor.[3850] Tanzanian law considers sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 18 years to be rape, which is punishable with life imprisonment. Tanzanian law prohibits the procuring of a child under the age of 18 for the purpose of sexual intercourse or indecent exhibition. The law further prohibits the procurement or attempted procurement of a person under the age of 18 years for the purpose of prohibited sexual intercourse either inside or outside the country.[3851] In 2001, the Tanzanian Penal Code was amended to include a provision criminalizing trafficking of persons within or outside Tanzania.[3852]

Several government agencies have jurisdiction over areas related to child labor, but primary responsibility for enforcing the country's child labor laws rests with the Ministry of Labor, Youth Development and Sports. The ministry's Child Labor Unit works together with other government ministries and networking with other stakeholders. It gathers, analyzes, and disseminates child labor related data, and is involved in training and sensitizing labor inspectors on child labor issues. The Child Labor Unit also acts as the secretariat for the National Child Labor Elimination Steering Committee (NCLESC). The NCLESC is responsible for defining objectives and priorities for child labor interventions, approving and overseeing implementation of child labor action projects, and advising the government on various child labor issues.[3853] At the community level, child labor monitoring committees have been established in areas with a high incidence of child labor.[3854] The Ministry of Labor, Youth Development and Sports, however, lacks sufficient inspectors to monitor for child labor violations.[3855]

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

The Government of Tanzania is working with ILO-IPEC to implement a Timebound Program (TBP) to eliminate the worst forms of child labor in the country by 2010, including child labor in commercial agriculture, domestic service, mining, and commercial sexual exploitation of children.[3856] The Child Labor Unit of the Ministry of Labor, Youth Development and Sports is working with ILO-IPEC under the TBP to provide training for district child labor coordinators and district officials in the TBP's 11 target districts, to increase their capacity to combat the worst forms of child labor.[3857] In 2004, the Department of Information Services conducted 11 orientation workshops to raise awareness among communities and the media about the worst forms of child labor.[3858] As part of the TBP, the Ministry of Education's Complementary Basic Education in Tanzania (COBET) Program its Vocational Education Training Authority (VETA) are providing basic education and vocational training to children withdrawn or prevented from involvement in the worst forms of child labor in the TBP's 11 target districts.[3859]

In addition, the Government of Japan, through UNICEF, is supporting a basic education project targeting out-of-school children in Tanzania that will provide text books, reading materials on HIV/AIDS, and community workshops on HIV/AIDS with support from COBET.[3860] Tanzania is also working with four other countries participating in an ILO-IPEC program, funded by USDOL, to remove children from exploitative work in commercial agriculture.[3861]

In March 2004, the Tanzanian Ministry of Education and Culture signed an MOU with the NGO Education Development Center (EDC) stipulating areas of collaboration, roles, and responsibilities in support of the education component of the Tanzania TBP. The EDC project seeks to ensure that children engaged in or at risk of engaging in the worst forms of child labor have access to basic, quality education, as a means of helping to eliminate the worst forms of child labor.[3862]

The Government of Tanzania's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper includes the elimination of child labor as an objective and the preparation of a child labor action plan in its workplan.[3863] The strategy paper established the Poverty Monitoring Master Plan (PMMP), which includes children in the labor force as a poverty monitoring indicator.[3864] An Education Fund to support children from poor families is called for within the PMMP strategy paper.[3865] Tanzania's Development Vision 2025 and its Poverty Eradication Strategy 2015 both identify education as a strategy for combating poverty. The country's poverty eradication agenda includes ensuring all children the right to basic quality education.[3866]

The government's Basic Education Master Plan aims to achieve universal access to basic education for children over the age of 7 years, and ensure that at least 80 percent of children complete primary education and are able to read and write by the age of 15 years.[3867] The government is implementing a 5-year Primary Education Development Plan (PEDP), begun in 2002, which aims to expand enrollment, improve the quality of teaching, and build capacity within the country's educational system. Under the PEDP, the government has committed up to 25 percent of its overall recurrent expenditures on the education sector, with 62 percent to be allocated to primary education.[3868] The government abolished school fees to promote children's enrollment in primary school under the PEDP.[3869]

The Government of Tanzania receives funding from the World Bank and other donors under the Education for All Fast Track Initiative, which aims to provide all children with a primary school education by the year 2015.[3870]


[3823] The survey also found that 58.9 percent of children ages 15 to 17 were working. According to the survey, economically active children are defined as working children who supplied labor for payment in cash or in kind or who were self employed for profit or family gain. Collecting firewood, fetching water, and working as domestic servants in other households were included as economic activities. Unpaid domestic work in children's own homes was considered non-economic; these activities included cooking, cleaning, washing dishes, taking care of young children or the elderly, and shopping. See National Bureau of Statistics, Child Labor in Tanzania, Country Report: 2000/2001 Integrated Labour Force and Child Labour Survey, no date, 10, 22, 39.

[3824] Ibid., 22, 34.

[3825] Ibid., 53-54.

[3826] M. J. Gonza and P. Moshi, Tanzania Children Working in Commercial Agriculture – Tea : A Rapid Assessment, ILO-IPEC, Geneva, January 2002.

[3827] George S. Nchahaga, Children Working in Commercial Agriculture – Coffee: A Rapid Assessment, ILO-IPEC, Geneva, 2002, 29-32.

[3828] ILO-IPEC, Investigating the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Tanzania: Rapid Assessments in the Informal Sector, Mining, Child Prostitution and Commercial Agriculture (Draft Report), Dar es Salaam, 2000, 4.

[3829] ILO-IPEC, Tanzania: Focusing on the Worst Forms of Child Labour, Dar es Salaam, 2001.

[3830] A. Masudi, A. Ishumi, F. Mbeo, and W. Sambo, Tanzania Child Labour in Commercial Agriculture – Tobacco: A Rapid Assessment, ILO-IPEC, Geneva, November 2001.

[3831] U.S. Embassy-Dar es Salaam, unclassified telegram no. 1653, August 24, 2004.

[3832] Children ages 7 to 13 years work in mine pits an average of 4 to 5 hours per day, while children ages 14 to 18 years work on average 7 hours per day. J. A. Mwami, A.J. Sanga, and J. Nyoni, Tanzania Children Labour in Mining: A Rapid Assessment, ILO-IPEC, Geneva, January 2002, 37-39. Children, known as "snake boys," crawl through narrow tunnels in unregulated gemstone mines to help position mining equipment and explosives. See U.S. Embassy-Dar es Salaam, unclassified telegram no. 1653. Children ages 10 to 13 years work an average of 14 hours per day in bars and restaurants near mines. See Mwami, Sanga, and Nyoni, Tanzania Children Labour in Mining, 37-39.

[3833] C. Kadonya, M. Madihi, and S. Mtwana, Tanzania Child Labour in the Informal Sector: A Rapid Assessment, ILO-IPEC, Geneva, January 2002, 33-48.

[3834] U.S. Department of Labor, By the Sweat and Toil of Children: Efforts to Eliminate Child Labor (Volume 5), Washington, D.C., 1998, 165. See also ILO, Baseline study and attitude survey on child labour and its worst forms, Dar es Salaam, June 2003, 10.

[3835] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2003: Tanzania, Washington, D.C., May 24, 2004, Section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2003/27756.htm. See also ILO, Baseline study and attitude survey on child labour and its worst forms, 10. Research published by the Tanzania Media Women's Association suggests that 60 percent of female domestic servants, or "housegirls," are sexually abused in the workplace. See Daniel Dickinson, Tanzania 'housegirls' face sexual abuse, BBC News, May 10, 2003 [cited May 24, 2004]; available from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/3015223.stm. In 2000, a survey indicated that children younger than 17 years comprise 80 percent of domestic workers in Tanzania. See Bill Rau for ILO-IPEC, Combating Child Labour and HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa, no. 1, Geneva, July 2002.

[3836] U.S. Embassy-Dar es Salaam, unclassified telegram no. 1948, August 18, 2003. See also The Protection Project, "Tanzania," in Human Rights Report on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children: A Country-by-Country Report on a Contemporary Form of Slavery, March 2002; available from http://209.190.246.239/ver2/cr/Tanzania.pdf. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention: Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: United Republic of Tanzania, CRC/C/15/Add.156, United Nations, Geneva, July 2001, para 62; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/6828b7389ae0a66fc1256a7600453ede?Opendocument.

[3837] E. Kamala, E. Lusinde, J. Millinga, J. Mwaitula, M.J. Gonza, M.G. Juma, and H.A. Khamis, Tanzania Children in Prostitution: A Rapid Assessment, ILO-IPEC, Geneva, November 2001, 23. See also Kadonya, Madihi, and Mtwana, Tanzania Child Labour in the Informal Sector.

[3838] Kamala, Lusinde, Millinga, Mwaitula, Gonza, Juma, and Khamis, Tanzania Children in Prostitution, 20.

[3839] U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report – 2004: Tanzania, Washington, D.C., June 2004; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2004/33189.htm. See also ILO, Baseline study and attitude survey on child labour and its worst forms., page 24.

[3840] Such children are often lured with false promises of work in urban areas as house girls, barmaids, and in hair salons. See Kamala, Lusinde, Millinga, Mwaitula, Gonza, Juma, and Khamis, Tanzania Children in Prostitution, 20. See also U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report: Tanzania.

[3841] U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report: Tanzania.

[3842] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2003: Tanzania, Section 5.

[3843] World Bank, World Development Indicators 2004 [CD-ROM], Washington D.C., 2004.

[3844] School attendance peaked in the 10 to 14 age group, or the age of completion of primary school. See National Bureau of Statistics, 2000/2001 Integrated Labour Force Survey, 24, 25.

[3845] U.S. Embassy-Dar es Salaam, unclassified telegram no. 1653.

[3846] Ibid, U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2003: Tanzania, Section 5.

[3847] The Employment Ordinance states that any employer found to be in violation of child labor laws is subject to a fine of 2,000 shillings (USD 1.93). See FXConverter, Currency Conversion Results, [cited November 3, 2004]; available from http://www.oanda.com/convert/classic.) and/or 3 months of imprisonment. See Law Reform Commission of Tanzania, Report of the Commission on the Law Relating to Children in Tanzania, Dar es Salaam, 1997, 131-32. See also United Republic of Tanzania, Information on Efforts by Tanzania to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor, letter to USDOL USDOL official, October 4, 2002. References to the "apparent age" of a child are based on language in the Employment Ordinance of 1955. The Ordinance does not provide a specific definition for the term "apparent age." See Child Labor Research Initiative, Tanzania Child Labor Legislation: Employment Ordinance, 1955-Part IX Recruitment, University of Iowa, 2003 [cited May 26, 2004]; available from http://db.uichr.org/docs/530.html.

[3848] Law Reform Commission of Tanzania, Report of the Commission, 131.

[3849] UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention: Initial Reports of States Party due in 1993, CRC/C/8/Add.14/Rev.1, United Nations, Geneva, September 25, 2000, para 355; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/898586b1dc7b4043c1256a450044f331/a4d65ef2bb2bc3b6c12569cb003aa328/$FILE/G0044600.pdf.

[3850] Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania of 1977, Chapter 1, Section 25(2); available from http://www.tanzania.go.tz/images/theconstitutionof theunitedrepublicoftanzania1.pdf.

[3851] Section 130 of the Penal Code. See Child Labor Research Initiative, Tanzania Child Labor Legislation: Sexual Offences Special Provisions Act, 1998-Part II: Amendment of the Penal Code, University of Iowa, 2003 [cited May 26, 2004]; available from http://db.uichr.org/docs/449.html.

[3852] U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report – 2003: Tanzania, Washington, D.C., June 2003; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2003/.

[3853] National Roundtable Discussion on the Time-Bound Program on the Worst Forms of Child Labor, Time-Bound Program on the Worst Forms of Child Labor in Tanzania: Summary of the Institutional and Policy Study, April, 2001, 15-16.

[3854] ILO-IPEC, Supporting the Time-Bound Program on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor in Tanzania, project document, Geneva, 2001, 17-18. See also U.S. Embassy-Dar es Salaam, unclassified telegram no. 1948, para 10. U.S. Embassy-Dar es Salaam, unclassified telegram no. 2966, October 23, 2002.

[3855] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2003: Tanzania, Section 6d.

[3856] This project, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, focuses on 11 target districts. ILO-IPEC, Supporting the Time-Bound Program, vii and 27. See President of the United Republic of Tanzania, His Excellency Mr. Benjamin Mkapa, Address at the Special High-level Session on the Launch of the Time Bound Programme on the Worst Forms of Child Labour in the Republic of El Salvador, the Kingdom of Nepal and the United Republic of Tanzania, June 12, 2001; available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/relm/ilc/ilc89/a-mkapa.htm.

[3857] ILO-IPEC, Action Programme to Protect Working Children and to Combat and Eliminate Child Labour by the Child Labour Unit, Ministry of Labour, Youth Development and Sports, ILO-IPEC, Dar es Salaam, October 21, 2002.

[3858] ILO-IPEC, Tanzania Timebound Program June 2004 Technical Status Report, Dar es Salaam, June 2004.

[3859] ILO-IPEC, Programme to Provide Basic Education to 16,000 Children Withdrawn from and/or at Risk of Getting into Worst Forms of Child Labour in 11 Target Districts in Tanzania by Ministry of Education and Culture, ILO-IPEC, Dar es Salaam, November 10, 2003. ILO-IPEC, Action Programme for Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor through the Provision of Vocational Skills Training in Eleven TBP Target Districts in Tanzania by Vocational Education and Training Authority (VETA), ILO-IPEC, Dar es Salaam, November 11, 2003. The government aims to scale up nationally the provision of basic education through COBET, and eliminate gender stereotypes by undertaking a review of curriculum, text books, and classroom practices. IRINNews, Tanzania: UNICEF calls for more efforts to educate girls, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, December 11, 2003 [cited February 12, 2004]; available from http://www.irinnews.org/print.asp?reportID=38364.

[3860] IRINNews, Tanzania: Japan boosts basic education for out-of-school youth, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, December 18, 2003 [cited February 12, 2004]; available from http://www.irinnews.org/print.asp?reportID=38486.

[3861] Other countries participating in the project include Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, and Zambia. See ILO-IPEC, Prevention, Withdrawal and Rehabilitation of Children Engaged in Hazardous Work in the Commercial Agricultural Sector in Africa, program document, November 1, 2000.

[3862] Education Development Center, Status Report: Time Bound Programme on Eliminating Child Labour in Tanzania, Geneva, July 2004. The EDC project is supporting the operation of 186 Mambo Elimu learning centers in Tanzania where approximately 875 children are currently receiving basic education through a radio-based distant learning curriculum. See Education Development Center, Technical Progress Report: Time Bound Programme on Eliminating Child Labour in Tanzania, Geneva, April 9, 2004.

[3863] United Republic of Tanzania, Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper: Progress Report 2000/2001, August 14, 2001, 4, 43. See also ILO-IPEC, IPEC Action Against Child Labour 2000-2001: Progress and Future Priorities, paper, Geneva, January 2002, 15; available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/ipec/about/implementation/ipecreport.pdf.

[3864] Government of Tanzania, The United Republic of Tanzania Poverty Monitoring Master Plan – Tanzania, ILO, [online] 2001 [cited August 15, 2003]; available from http://www.logos-net.net/ilo/150_base/en/init/tan_2.htm.

[3865] United Republic of Tanzania, Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper: Progress Report 2000/2001, 4, 44.

[3866] UNESCO, Education for All 2000 Assessment: Country Reports – Tanzania, prepared by Ministry of Education and Culture, pursuant to UN General Assembly Resolution 52/84, 1999; available from http://www2.unesco.org/wef/countryreports/tanzania/contents.html.

[3867] Ibid., 2.2 See also U.S. Embassy-Dar es Salaam, unclassified telegram no. 2966.

[3868] Government of the United Republic of Tanzania, Education Sector Development Programme: Primary Education Development Plan (2002-2006), Dar es Salaam, July 2001, iv, 21; available from http://www.tanedu.org/educationsctordevelopment1.pdf. The government has received a USD 150 million credit from the World Bank to support this program. See World Bank, Tanzania – Primary Education Development Program, October 10, 2001; available from http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/NEWS/0,, contentMDK:20012776~menuPK:34466~pagePK:64003015~piPK:64003012~theSitePK:4607,00.html.

[3869] IRINNews, Tanzania: UNICEF calls for more efforts to educate girls.

[3870] World Bank, World Bank Announces First Group Of Countries For 'Education For All' Fast Track, press release, Washington, D.C., June 12, 2002; available from http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/NEWS/0,, contentMDK:20049839~menuPK:34463~pagePK:34370~piPK:34424,00.html.

There is limited information regarding the extent and nature of child labor and the quality and provision of education in non-independent countries and territories eligible for GSP, AGOA, and CBTPA benefits. These countries and territories generally are not eligible to become members of the ILO, so ILO Conventions 138 and 182 do not apply to any of them.[4357] Territories are subject to laws of the sovereign country.


[4357] ILO official, electronic communication to USDOL official, January 31, 2002. Most of the areas covered in this summary report are considered by the ILO to be non-metropolitan territories and therefore, are ineligible to become members of the ILO. An ILO member can submit a declaration to the ILO requesting that these conventions apply to their non-metropolitan territories. See Constitution; available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/about/iloconst.htm.

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