Last Updated: Friday, 29 August 2014, 14:18 GMT

2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Uganda

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 27 August 2008
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Uganda, 27 August 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48caa49628.html [accessed 31 August 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 Labor3483
Working children, 5-14 years (%), 2005-2006:31.1
Working boys, 5-14 years (%), 2005-2006:32.4
Working girls, 5-14 years (%), 2005-2006:29.8
Working children by sector, 5-14 years (%), 2005-2006:
     – Agriculture95.5
     – Manufacturing1.3
     – Services3.0
     – Other0.2
Minimum age for work:14
Compulsory education age:Not compulsory
Free public education:Yes*
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:118
Net primary enrollment rate (%):
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%), 2005-2006:84.2
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2004:49
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Working children in Uganda are commonly engaged in crop farming and in commercial agriculture including the production of tea, sugarcane, tobacco, rice, cocoa, vanilla, and coffee. Children also work in fishing, and care for livestock.3484 Some children work long hours, carry heavy loads, and report work-related injuries.3485 In the urban informal sector, children sell small items on the streets, and work in shops, garages, bars, restaurants, and in brick making and laying.3486 Children also work in cross border trade with counterparts in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Sudan, most often undertaking activities in the transportation and loading of goods.3487 Children also engage in domestic work, and stone quarrying and crushing.3488 Some children as young as 10 years are victims of commercial sexual exploitation.3489

Uganda is a source, destination, and transit country for the trafficking of children. Children are trafficked internally from rural to urban and border towns for domestic service, sexual exploitation, and herding. Karamojong children for example, are sold at cattle markets or by intermediaries for forced labor.3490 Children are largely recruited through offers of food and money. 3491 Children are trafficked to destinations outside the country for commercial sexual exploitation, including to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.3492 There are reports that children are trafficked to Egypt, Pakistan, and Turkey.3493 Children from India are also trafficked to Uganda for commercial sexual exploitation and pornography3494

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for admission to work in Uganda is 14 years.3495 Children under 12 years are prohibited from working in any business or workplace.3496 Children between the ages of 12 and 14 years may engage in light work that does not hinder their education and is supervised by an adult over 18 years. The law states that no child under 18 years may be employed in hazardous work or between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.3497

The law prohibits slavery and forced labor.3498 While trafficking in persons is not a specific violation under Ugandan law, related offenses such as abduction and detention of a person for sexual intent are punishable by up to 7 years of imprisonment; trading in slaves up to 15 years of imprisonment; and "defilement," defined as having sex with a girl under 18 years, can receive up to the death penalty.3499 The minimum age for military service in Uganda is 18 years.3500

The Ministry of Gender, Labor, and Social Development (MGLSD) is charged with enforcing child labor laws and investigates child labor complaints through district labor officers.3501 In 2007, the MGLSD had 60 district labor officers.3502 According to USDOS, local district officials and labor inspectors in the north collaborated with ILO-IPEC to enhance their capacity to cover the region. This included increasing labor inspectors' mobility and information collection, and working with district child labor committees, with the aim of overcoming the lack of resources for the north.3503

The MGLSD is also charged with overseeing and coordinating national efforts to combat trafficking.3504 In 2007, the Government uncovered child trafficking rings in Uganda, including trafficking of girls from India; child trafficking to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia as destinations; and child trafficking through Dubai as a transit point.3505 In 2007, the Government arrested a number of suspected child traffickers and rescued several children who had been trafficked to Uganda from different countries.3506

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

The MGLSD increased the budget for the Child Labor Unit for fiscal year 2007, as a result of the official launch of the National Child Labor Policy in May, 2007.3507 The Child and Family Protection Unit of the National Police participated in training 163 police, security, and other officials on child labor, with the support of ILO-IPEC. In turn, the trained police officers trained over 150 additional officers.3508 Sensitization workshops were also conducted by local police child protection officers to encourage communities to report crimes involving trafficking. In 2007, the Government continued awareness raising activities on child trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation through radio and television programs.3509

In 2007, USDOL awarded a 4-year USD 6.1 million project to the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the Italian Association for Volunteers in International Service (AVSI), to implement the Livelihoods, Education & Protection to End Child labor in Uganda (LEAP) project, which aims to contribute to the prevention and elimination of child labor in Northern Uganda and the Karamoja region through awareness raising and improving access to and quality of education. The project aims to withdraw a total of 6,519 children and prevent another 4,756 children from exploitive labor.3510 The Government also participated in a 4-year USD 3.6 million project funded by USDOL and implemented by the IRC and the AVSI, which ended in August 2007, and withdrew or prevented 5,657 children from exploitive labor in Northern Uganda.3511

The Government of Uganda continues to participate in the 4-year Combating Exploitive Child Labor Through Education in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Ethiopia Together (KURET) project, funded by USDOL at USD 14.5 million and World Vision at USD 5.8 million. Implemented by World Vision, in partnership with the IRC and the Academy for Educational Development, the KURET Project aims to withdraw or prevent a total of 30,600 children from exploitive labor in HIV/AIDS-affected areas of these four countries through the provision of educational services.3512 The Government is also participating in the USDOL funded USD 3 million ILOIPEC project to combat HIV/AIDS-induced child labor in Uganda and Zambia. The project aims to withdraw 1,600 and prevented 2,000 children from exploitive child labor through community-based social protection schemes.3513

During 2007, according to USDOS, the Government continued to provide assistance to returning children who had been abducted by the Lord's Resistance Army, and transferred 546 children to rehabilitation centers.3514 During fiscal year 2007, USDOS funded a USD 380,000 project implemented by the IOM in Northern Uganda. The project aims to reintegrate trafficking victims including children from the Democratic Republic of Congo. During fiscal year 2007, USAID funded a USD 500,000 project implemented by the IRC and UNICEF to provide care to returnees from abduction by the Lord's Resistance Army.3515 In addition, the European Commission provided USD 940,000 to UNICEF for the child protection program in Northern Uganda, including support for formerly abducted children.3516 UNICEF implements a Karamoja Alternative Basic Education program for children working as cattle herders.3517


3483 For statistical data not cited here, see the Data Sources and Definitions section. For data on ratifications and ILO-IPEC membership, see the Executive Summary. For minimum age for admission to work, age to which education is compulsory, and free public education, see Government of Uganda, The Employment Act, 2006, (June 8, 2006), Act 6, 32 (1-3); available from http://www.oit.org/public/english/protection/trav/aids/laws/ugandalaw.pdf. See also U.S. Department of State, "Uganda," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices-2007, Washington, DC, March 11, 2008, section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/c25283.htm. See also Government of Uganda, Constitution, (1995), objective XVIII; available from http://www.ugandaonlinelawlibrary.com/files/constitution/constitution_1995.pdf. See also Ministry of Education and Sports, National Report on the Development of Education in Uganda at the Beginning of the 21st Century, Kampala, August 30, 2004, para 2.7; available from http://www.ibe.unesco.org/International/ICE47/English/Natreps/reports/uganda_rev.pdf.

3484 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Uganda," section 6d. See also World Vision, Situation of Child Labor and Education in East Africa: A Baseline Study and Situational Analysis for Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Ethiopia Together, Washington, DC, February 2, 2006, table 10. See also ILO-IPEC, Report of Baseline Survey on Child Labour in Commercial Agriculture in Uganda, Geneva, October 2002, 20-23, 43. See also ILO-IPEC, A Report on Child Labour in General Agriculture in Uganda, Geneva, 2006, IX. See also Uganda Bureau of Statistics, Uganda National Household Survey 2002/2003: Report on the Labour Force Survey, Kampala, November 2003, 48-49.

3485 ILO-IPEC, Survey on Child Labour in Commercial Agriculture, ix. See also ILO-IPEC, Child Labour in General Agriculture, IV. See also Social Development Consultants, Report on the Study of Child Labour in Tobacco Growing Areas in Uganda British American Tobacco (U), LTD, Kampala, June 2002, section 4.1.7; available from http://www.eclt.org/filestore/BAT-Ugandareport.pdf.

3486 ILO-IPEC, Report of the Sectoral Study on: Child Labour and the Urban Informal Sector in Uganda, Geneva, June 2004, iv-v, 36-37; available from http://www.ilo.org/iloroot/docstore/ipec/prod/eng/2004_ug_urban_en.pdf. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Uganda," section 6d. See also Darlington Akabwai Elizabeth Stites, Dyan Mazurana, Priscillar Ateyo, Angering Akuj : Survival and Suffering in Karamoja: A Report on Livelihoods and Human Security in the Karamoja Region of Uganda, Tufts University, Medford, December 2007, 32; available from http://fic.tufts.edu/downloads/AngeringAkuju – SurvivalandSufferinginKaramoja.pdf.

3487 ILO-IPEC, Child Labour and Cross Border Trade in Uganda, Geneva, June 2004, viii, 3; available from http://www.ilo.org/iloroot/docstore/ipec/prod/eng/2004_ug_crossborder_en.pdf.

3488 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Uganda," 6d. See also ILO-IPEC, Child Labour Wages and Productivity: Results from Demand-Side Surveys, SIMPOC, Geneva, May 2007, 7; available from http://www.ilo.org/ipecinfo/product/viewProduct.do?productId=7065.

3489 ILO-IPEC, Report of the Sectoral Study on: Child Labour and Commercial Sex Exploitation of Children in Uganda, Geneva, June 2004, 46, 48; available from http://www.ilo.org/iloroot/docstore/ipec/prod/eng/2004_ug_sexexp_en.pdf.

3490 U.S. Department of State, "Uganda (Tier 2)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007, Washington, DC, June 12, 2007; available from http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/82902.pdf. See also Save the Children, A Chronic Emergency: Child Protection Issues Among Communities in Karamoja Region, Kampala, 2006, sections 8.11, 10.1. See also ILO-IPEC, Rapid Assessment Report on Trafficking of Children into Worst Forms of Child Labor, including Child Soldiers in Uganda, Geneva, February 2007, iii, 35; available from http://www.africanchildinfo.net/documents/child%20trafficking%20study%20in%20Uganda.pdf. See also U.S. Embassy – Kampala, reporting, March 4, 2008, para 27a.

3491 ILO-IPEC, Report on Trafficking of Children into WFCL, iii.

3492 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Uganda." See also ILO-IPEC, Report on Trafficking of Children into WFCL.

3493 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Uganda," section 5.

3494 U.S. Embassy – Kampala, reporting, March 4, 2008, para 3.28F.

3495 Government of Uganda, Employment Act, act 6, 32 (1-3).

3496 Ibid., act 6, 32 (1-4).

3497 Ibid., act 6, part I (2), 32 (1-5)

3498 Government of Uganda, Constitution, chapter 4, article 25.

3499 Government of Uganda, Penal Code, (June 15, 1950), chapter XIV, articles 126, 129, 134, chapter XXIV article 250; available from http://www.ugandaonlinelawlibrary.com/files/free/The_Penal_Code_Act.pdf.

3500 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, November 17, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/home.

3501 U.S. Embassy – Kampala, reporting, October 11, 2007, para 19. See also U.S. Embassy – Kampala, reporting, December 4, 2007, para 7.

3502 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Uganda," section 6d.

3503 U.S. Embassy – Kampala, reporting, March 4, 2008, para 3.28.F.

3504 Ibid., para 3.27D, 3.30E.

3505 Ibid., para 3.28F.

3506 Ibid., para 3.27D, 3.30E.

3507 ILO-IPEC, Combating and Preventing HIV/AIDS-induced Child Labour in Sub-Saharan Africa: Pilot Action in Uganda and Zambia, Technical Progress Report, Geneva, September 2007, 7.

3508 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Uganda." See also U.S. Embassy – Kampala, reporting, December 4, 2007, para 7. See also U.S. Embassy – Kampala, reporting, March 4, 2007, para 28g, 30b.

3509 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Uganda." See also U.S. Embassy – Kampala, reporting, December 4, 2007, para 7. See also U.S. Embassy – Kampala, reporting, March 4, 2007, para 28g, 30b.

3510 International Rescue Committee, Livelihoods, Education, & Protection to End Child labor in Uganda (LEAP), Project Proposal, New York, July 25, 2007, 3, 30-31.

3511 International Rescue Committee, Opportunities for Reducing Adolescent and Child Labor through Education (ORACLE), Final Technical Progress Report, New York, February 2008, 2, 4, 14.

3512 World Vision, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Ethiopia Together (KURET), Project Document, Washington, DC, July 18, 2005, i, 2, 9.

3513 ILO-IPEC, Combating and Preventing HIV/AIDS-induced Child Labour in Sub-Saharan Africa: Pilot Action in Uganda and Zambia, Project Document, Geneva, July, 2004, i, 14.

3514 U.S. Embassy – Kampala, reporting, March 4, 2007, para 27a, 27e, 29b.

3515 U.S. Department of State, U.S. Government Funds Obligated in Fiscal Year 2007 for Trafficking in Persons Projects, [n.d.] [cited March 14, 2008], 3,4; available from http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/101403.pdf.

3516 UNICEF, UNICEF Uganda Thanks European Commission for Latest Contribution, [online] June 26, 2007 [cited December 5, 2007]; available from http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/media_40140.html.

3517 U.S. Embassy – Kampala, reporting, October 11, 2007.

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