Last Updated: Monday, 28 July 2014, 16:37 GMT

2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Yemen

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 - Yemen, 27 August 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48caa49937.html [accessed 29 July 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 Labor3668
Working children, 5-14 years (%), 1999:11.1
Working boys, 5-14 years (%), 1999:11.2
Working girls, 5-14 years (%), 1999:11
Working children by sector, 5-14 years (%), 1999:
     – Agriculture92
     – Manufacturing1
     – Services6.2
     – Other0.8
Minimum age for work:15
Compulsory education age:15
Free public education:Yes
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:87
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2004:74
School attendance, children 6-14 years (%), 1999:55.1
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2003:73
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children living in rural areas of Yemen are more likely to work than are children living in urban areas. 3669 A study by Understanding Children's Work, a research project of ILO-IPEC, UNICEF, and the World Bank, estimated that 87 percent of working children work in a family enterprise.3670 The majority of working children are found in agricultural sectors, including in the production of qat (a mild narcotic found in the region).3671 Children working in agriculture are confronted with hazardous conditions and activities, including the use of pesticides and heavy equipment, prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures, and carrying heavy loads.3672 Children also work under hazardous conditions as street vendors, beggars, and domestic servants, as well as in the fishing, construction, textile, and automobile repair sectors.3673

Children employed in domestic service and restaurants are particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation.3674

Children are trafficked internally for commercial sexual exploitation.3675 Saudi Arabia is the primary destination for children trafficked out of the country, where children work as street beggars, domestics, unskilled laborers, or street vendors.3676 Reports indicate that these children sell such items as flour and basic commodities, as well as qat, which is an illegal substance in Saudi Arabia.3677 The Child Labor Unit estimates that 10 children per week are trafficked into Saudi Arabia.3678

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum working age in Yemen is 15 years.3679 Children between 13 and 15 years may perform light work that does not interrupt their attendance at school.3680 The law prohibits the exploitation of children, as well as hazardous or socially damaging working conditions.3681 The law limits the work hours of children ages 15 to 17 years to 6 hours per day between the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., with a break period of 1 hour after 4 consecutive hours worked.3682 Additionally, employers must grant 24 hours compulsory paid rest and must also grant every working child ages 15 to 17 years annual leave, comparable to the terms due other workers for every 12-month period of labor.3683 Penalties for non-compliance with child labor laws include fines and up to 3 months of imprisonment.3684

Forced or compulsory labor is prohibited.3685 Children under 18 years are prohibited from entering the Armed Forces.3686 However, children are allowed to carry weapons3687 and reportedly participate in ongoing conflicts among tribal groups and in the defense of qat fields.3688 The law prohibits the trafficking of children.3689 The law also stipulates a prison sentence of 5 to 8 years for anyone who pushes or incites a child to engage in drug trafficking. The prison term may be doubled for repeat offenders.3690 Yemen law also stipulates a maximum prison sentence of 10 years for those who force a child into prostitution, and a term of 10 to 15 years for those who buy or sell a child.3691 Kidnapping is punishable by up to 7 years in prison; kidnapping cases involving sexual assault or murder are punishable by the death penalty.3692 The Government reported 14 arrests for child trafficking in 2007.3693

The Child Labor Unit of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs is responsible for implementing and enforcing child labor laws, and has approximately 20 monitors throughout the country.3694 According to USDOS, the Government's enforcement of these laws is limited due to a lack of resources, especially in rural and remote areas.3695

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

The Government of Yemen is implementing policies to curb child labor, as outlined in the National Strategy to Combat Child Labor.3696 The 2007 National Policy and Program Framework will guide future Ministry of Social and Labor Affairs' efforts to combat child labor.3697 The Ministry of Youth and Sports' National Strategy for Integrating Youth into Development includes strategic actions to combat child labor, such as advocating for the enforcement of laws and legislation that prohibit child labor, and working against any exploitation of young people.3698 Child labor concerns are addressed in the Third Five-Year Plan for Socioeconomic Development (2006-2010), which includes a chapter on child and youth that addresses child labor.3699 In 2007, the Ministry of Social and Labor Affairs was establishing a Website which will contain statistics, studies, and research on child labor.3700

The Government of Yemen is participating in a USDOL-funded USD 3 million regional project implemented by ILO-IPEC that aims to promote the collection and analysis of child labor information; strengthen enforcement and monitoring mechanisms; build capacity; raise awareness of the negative consequences of child labor; and withdraw 4,700 and prevent 3,400 children from engaging in the worst forms of child labor.3701 The Government is also participating in a USD 8.4 million sub-regional project, funded by USDOL and implemented by CHF International, to combat child labor through education in Lebanon and Yemen. The project aims to withdraw 4,505 children and prevent 4,195 children from entering exploitive labor.3702

In 2007, the Government established a technical committee to combat child trafficking.3703 The Yemeni and Saudi Governments cooperated to prevent and address the cross-border trafficking of children through a bilateral governmental committee.3704 With the support of UNICEF, the Government trained 80 female police officers on how to work with trafficked children.3705 The Government is also conducting an information campaign to raise awareness among parents and community leaders about the dangers of child trafficking.3706 The Government, in cooperation with UNICEF, operates two reception centers in the Haradh and Hodeida districts which receive, rehabilitate, and educate repatriated child trafficking victims. The centers received approximately 762 children in 2007.3707 In 2008, the Government opened an additional reception center in Sana'a.3708


3668 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 U.S. Department of State, "Yemen," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2007, Washington, DC, March 11, 2008, section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100610.htm. See also U.S. Embassy – Sana'a, reporting, November 29, 2007, para 5.

3669 Republic of Yemen, Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper: 2003-2005, May 31, 2002, 11; available from http://www.imf.org/external/np/prsp/2002/yem/01/053102.pdf. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Yemen," section 6d.

3670 ILO, UNICEF, and World Bank, Understanding Children's Work in Yemen, Geneva, March 2003, 3; available from http://www.ucw-project.org/resources/pdf/yemen/Report_Yemen_draft.pdf.

3671 Republic of Yemen, Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, 11. See also ILO, UNICEF, and World Bank, Understanding Children's Work in Yemen, 2. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Third Periodic Reports of State Parties due in 2003: Yemen, CRC/C/129/Add.2, December 3, 2004, para 319; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/55f20ff8a72f20c0c1256f8800329002?Opendocument. See also CHF International, Alternatives to Combat Child Labor through Education and Sustainable Services in the Middle East and North Africa (ACCESS-MENA) Project Document, Silver Spring, MD, January 2007, 5, 6.

3672 ILO, UNICEF, and World Bank, Understanding Children's Work in Yemen, 2. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Third Periodic Reports of State Parties: Yemen, para 319.

3673 ILO, UNICEF, and World Bank, Understanding Children's Work in Yemen, 2. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Yemen," section 6d. See also ILO-IPEC, Supporting the National Policy and Programme Framework for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Lebanon and Yemen: Consolidating Action against the Worst Forms of Child Labour, Project Document, RAB/04/P51/USA, Geneva, September 3, 2004, 32. See also CHF International, Alternatives to Combat Child Labor through Education and Sustainable Services in the Middle East and North Africa (ACCESS-MENA) 5, 6.

3674 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Yemen, CRC/C/15/Add.267, September 21, 2005, para 65(b); available from http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/1296a4127ff7b38ac1257018002e6633?Opendocument. See also ILO, UNICEF, and World Bank, Understanding Children's Work in Yemen, 2.

3675 U.S. Embassy – Sana'a, reporting, February 27, 2008, 1. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Yemen," section 5.

3676 U.S. Department of State, "Yemen (Tier 2)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007, Washington, DC, June 12, 2007; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2007/82807.htm. See also U.S. Embassy – Sana'a, reporting, February 27, 2008, 1.

3677 Joseph Risploli, Feasibility Study on Recovery and Reintegration Schemes for Children Victims of Trafficking: Case Studies of Hajja, Hodeida, and Al Mahweet Governorates, December 2006, 25; available from http://www.iom.int/jahia/webdav/shared/shared/mainsite/projects/showcase_pdf/ye20061219_rep.pdf. See also U.S. Embassy – Sana'a, reporting, February 27, 2008, 1.

3678 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Yemen," section 5.

3679 ILO, UNICEF, and World Bank, Understanding Children's Work in Yemen, 31. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Third Periodic Reports of State Parties: Yemen, para 312, 313.

3680 Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, Ministerial Decree No. 56 for 2004, (December 28, 2004), article 6. See also US Embassy Sanaa official, E-mail communication USDOL official, December 12, 2007.

3681 Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, Ministerial Decree No. 56, article 8, 21-23.

3682 Ibid., article 12.

3683 Ibid., article 13.

3684 ILO, UNICEF, and World Bank, Understanding Children's Work in Yemen, 31.

3685 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Yemen," section 6c.

3686 ILO, UNICEF, and World Bank, Understanding Children's Work in Yemen, 2. See also Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Yemen," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=956.

3687 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports of State Parties (Continued): Third Periodic Report of Yemen, CRC/C/SR.1049, June 1, 2005, para 41; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/43ba7a8950f906ecc125708400311306?Opendocument.

3688 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Global Report – 2004: Yemen." See also ILO, UNICEF, and World Bank, Understanding Children's Work in Yemen, 2.

3689 Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, Ministerial Decree No. 56, articles 26-28.

3690 Ibid., article 27.

3691 Ibid., articles 27-28.

3692 U.S. Embassy – Sana'a, reporting, March 15, 2005, 4a.

3693 U.S. Embassy – Sana'a, reporting, February 27, 2008, 4.

3694 U.S. Embassy – Sana'a, reporting, November 29, 2007, para 3. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Yemen," section 6d.

3695 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Yemen," section 6d. See also U.S. Embassy – Sana'a, reporting, August 23, 2004.

3696 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Third Periodic Reports of State Parties: Yemen, para 8.

3697 ILO-IPEC, Supporting the National Policy and Programme Framework for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Lebanon and Yemen, Technical Progress Report, RAB/04/P51/USA, March 2008, 8, 9.

3698 Ministry of Youth and Sport Republic of Yemen, The National Strategy for Integrating Youth Into Development, Second Edition, 2002, 20.

3699 ILO-IPEC, Supporting the National Policy and Programme Framework for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Lebanon and Yemen, Technical Progress Report, RAB/04/P51/USA, September 2006, 3, 4. See also U.S. Embassy – Sana'a, reporting, November 29, 2007, 6.

3700 ILO-IPEC, Supporting the National Policy and Programme Framework for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Lebanon and Yemen, Technical Progress Report, RAB/04/P51/USA, September 2007, 10.

3701 U.S. Department of Labor, Supporting the National Policy and Program Framework for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Lebanon and Yemen: Consolidating Action Against the WFCL, ILAB Technical Cooperation Project Summary, Washington, DC, 2007.

3702 U.S. Department of Labor, Alternatives to Combat Child Labor through Education and Sustainable Services in the Middle East and North Africa (ACCESS-MENA) ILAB Technical Cooperation Project Summary, Washington, DC, 2007.

3703 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Yemen."

3704 Ibid.

3705 U.S. Embassy – Sana'a, reporting, February 27, 2008, 4.

3706 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Yemen," section 6d. See also U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Yemen."

3707 U.S. Embassy – Sana'a, reporting, February 27, 2008, 5.

3708 Ibid.

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