Last Updated: Monday, 24 November 2014, 12:20 GMT

2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Yemen

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 31 August 2007
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Yemen, 31 August 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d7495c36.html [accessed 24 November 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 Labor
Percent of children 6-14 estimated as working in 2001:23.7%4472
Minimum age of work:154473
Age to which education is compulsory:154474
Free public education:Yes4475
Gross primary enrollment rate in 2002:83%4476
Net primary enrollment rate in 2002:72%4477
Percent of children 6-14 attending school in 2001:52.9%4478
As of 2001, percent of primary school entrants likely to reach grade 5:76%4479
Ratified Convention 138:6/15/004480
Ratified Convention 182:6/15/004481
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes4482

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 2001, approximately 27.2 percent of boys and 20.1 percent of girls ages 6 to 14 were working in Yemen.4483 Children living in rural areas are more likely to work than are children in urban areas.4484 Eighty-seven percent of child workers are estimated to work in a family enterprise.4485 The majority of working children work in agricultural sectors, including in the production of qat (a mild narcotic found in Yemen).4486 Children working in agriculture are exposed to hazardous conditions and activities, including the use of pesticides, prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures, the use of heavy equipment, and carrying heavy loads.4487 Children also work under hazardous conditions as street vendors, beggars, and domestic servants, as well as in the fishing, leather, construction, textile, and automobile repair sectors.4488 Street children and children employed in domestic service and restaurants are particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation.4489

Children are trafficked internally for sexual exploitation. Saudi Arabia is the primary destination for children trafficked out of the country, where children between 7 and 16 years are forced to work as street beggars. Children trafficked to Saudi Arabia also work as domestic workers, unskilled laborers, or street vendors.4490 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.4491 Press reports allege that approximately 200 children are trafficked out of the country per week.4492 The minimum age for entering military service is 18 years. However, children are allowed to carry weapons4493 and reportedly participate in ongoing conflicts among tribal groups and in the defense of qat fields.4494

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum working age at 15 years for the private sector and at 18 years for the public sector.4495 Children between 12 and 15 years may work by special permit.4496 The law prohibits all types of exploitation of children, as well as hazardous or socially damaging working conditions. Moreover, employers must grant every youth a 30-day annual leave for every 12-month period of labor completed. Neither the child nor the parent may waive this annual leave. Further, employers are required to pay young persons not less than two-thirds of the minimum wage provided to an adult for the specific occupation performed. Payments must be made directly to the child. The child labor provisions do not apply to young persons working under the supervision of a guardian if the work is performed under suitable health and social conditions.4497 Penalties for non-compliance with child labor laws include fines and up to 3 months of imprisonment.4498

Forced or compulsory labor is prohibited, including that performed by children.4499 Children under 18 are prohibited from entering the government armed forces.4500 Although Yemeni law does not specifically prohibit trafficking in persons, there are provisions in the Penal Code to prosecute and punish traffickers.4501 The law stipulates a prison sentence of 10 years for "anyone who buys, sells, or gives as a present, or deals in human beings; and anyone who brings into the country or exports from it a human being with the intent of taking advantage of him." If the offense is committed against a child, the prison term can be extended to 15 years. Kidnapping is punishable by up to 7 years in prison; kidnapping cases involving sexual assault or murder are punishable by the death penalty.4502

The Ministry of Labor's Child Labor Unit is responsible for enforcing child labor laws, but according to the U.S. Department of State, because of a lack of resources, the government's enforcement of these provisions is limited, especially in rural and remote areas.4503 Prostitution laws have been used to detain and prosecute child victims of commercial sexual exploitation.4504 The government increased the number of convictions for child trafficking in 2005, the most recent date such information is available, from 2 successful convictions from April 2004 to March 2005 to 19 convictions from April 2005 to March 2006.4505 The arrests were attributed to an increase in patrolling on the Saudi Arabian border.4506

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.4507 The Ministry of Youth & 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.4508 The Ministry of Human Rights operates a hotline to receive complaints concerning the exploitation, trafficking, and sexual or other abuse of children;4509 it has also circulated information on the hotline in areas where child trafficking is prevalent.4510 In August 2006, the government presented the Third Five-Year Plan for Socioeconomic Development (2006-2010) that includes a chapter directly addressing child labor through the Childhood and Youth Strategy.4511

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; to strengthen enforcement and monitoring mechanisms; to build capacity; to raise awareness of the negative consequences of child labor; and to withdraw 3,400 and prevent 3,500 children from engaging in the worst forms of child labor.4512 The government is also participating in a USD 8 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 4,305 children and prevent 3,195 children from entering exploitive labor.4513

The Government of Yemen is increasing its efforts to combat trafficking in children.4514 Yemeni and Saudi officials met to discuss combating child trafficking for the first time in June 2006. Border and airport officials were trained to identify and prevent child trafficking by the government in cooperation with UNICEF and the IOM.4515 The government is also conducting an information campaign to raise awareness among parents and community leaders about the dangers of child trafficking, and it is operating a hotline to report child trafficking.4516 The Yemeni Government, in cooperation with UNICEF and ILO-IPEC, opened a reception center at the Haradh border with Saudi Arabia to receive, rehabilitate, and educate repatriated child trafficking victims, which received more than 300 children during its first 6 months.4517


4472 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank Surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates, October 7, 2005.

4473 U.S. Department of State, "Yemen," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2006, Washington, DC, March 6, 2007, Section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61703.htm.

4474 Ibid., Section 5.

4475 Ibid.

4476 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Gross Enrolment Ratio. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/.

4477 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Net Enrolment Ratio. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/.

4478 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank Surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates.

4479 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Survival Rate to Grade 5. Total, accessed December 18, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/.

4480 ILO, Ratifications by Country, accessed October 18, 2006; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/newratframeE.htm.

4481 ILO, Ratifications by Country, [online database] 2004 [cited March 12, 2004]; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/newratframeE.htm.

4482 ILO, IPEC Action Against Child Labour: Highlights 2006, Geneva, February 2007; available from http://www.ilo.org/iloroot/public/english/standards/ipec/doc-view.cfm?id=3159.

4483 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank Surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates.

4484 Republic of Yemen, Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP): 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 – 2006: Yemen," Section 6d.

4485 Understanding Children's Work (UCW), Understanding Children's Work in Yemen, prepared by ILO, UNICEF, and World Bank, March 2003, 3; available from http://www.ucw-project.org/resources/pdf/yemen/Report_Yemen_draft.pdf.

4486 Republic of Yemen, PRSP, 11. See also Understanding Children's Work (UCW), UCW in Yemen, 2. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Third Periodic Reports of States Parties due in 2003: Yemen, CRC/C/129/Add.2, prepared by Government of Yemen, pursuant to Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 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.

4487 Understanding Children's Work (UCW), UCW in Yemen, 2. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Third Periodic Reports of States Parties, para 319.

4488 Understanding Children's Work (UCW), UCW in Yemen, 2. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: 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.

4489 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, prepared by Government of Yemen, pursuant to Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, September 21, 2005; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/1296a4127ff7b38ac1257018002e6633?Opendocument. See also Understanding Children's Work (UCW), UCW in Yemen, 2.

4490 U.S. Department of State, "Yemen (Tier 2 Watch List)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006, Washington, DC, June 5, 2006; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2006/65987.htm. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Yemen," Section 5.

4491 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; available from http://www.iom.int/jahia/webdav/shared/shared/mainsite/projects/showcase_pdf/ye20061219_rep.pdf. See also Paul Garwood, "Yemen Steps up Fight vs. Child Smuggling," Associated Press (Seattle), October 29, 2005; available from http://www.childtrafficking.org/cgi-bin/ct/main.sql?ID=2117&file=view_news.sql&h2=1&TOPIC=-1&YEAR=-1&LISTA=No&GEOG=545&FULL_DETAIL=Yes.

4492 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Yemen," Section 5.

4493 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports of States Parties (Continued): Third Periodic Report of Yemen, CRC/C/SR.1049, prepared by Government of Yemen, pursuant to Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, June 1, 2005, para 41; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/43ba7a8950f906ecc125708400311306?Opendocument.

4494 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. See also Understanding Children's Work (UCW), UCW in Yemen, 2.

4495 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Yemen," Section 6d.

4496 Ibid.

4497 Labor Code, Act No. 5 of 1995, (1995), Articles 49-53; available from http://natlex.ilo.org/txt/E95YEM01.htm.

4498 Understanding Children's Work (UCW), UCW in Yemen, 31.

4499 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Yemen," Section 6c.

4500 Understanding Children's Work (UCW), UCW in Yemen, 2. See also Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Global Report 2004."

4501 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Yemen." See also U.S. Embassy – Sana'a, reporting, March 15, 2005.

4502 U.S. Embassy – Sana'a, reporting, March 15, 2005.

4503 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Yemen," Section 6d. See also U.S. Embassy – Sana'a, reporting, August 23, 2004. See also Understanding Children's Work (UCW), UCW in Yemen.

4504 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Yemen."

4505 Ibid.

4506 U.S. Department of State, "Yemen," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2005, Washington, DC, March 8, 2006, Section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61703.htm.

4507 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Third Periodic Reports of States Parties, para 8.

4508 Ministry of Youth and Sport Republic of Yemen, The National Strategy for Integrating Youth Into Development, Second Edition, 2002, 20.

4509 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports, para 56.

4510 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Yemen."

4511 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.

4512 ILO-IPEC, Supporting the National Policy and Programme Framework , project document, 28, 35-38, 49.

4513 CHF International, Alternatives to Combat Child Labor through Education and Sustainable Services in the Middle East and North Africa (ACCESS-MENA) cover page, 12.

4514 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports, para 22. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Yemen," Section 5.

4515 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Yemen," Section 5.

4516 Ibid. See also U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Yemen."

4517 UN Commission on Human Rights, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography: Addendum, E/CN.4/2006/67/Add.1, prepared by Government of Yemen, pursuant to Sixty-second session, March 2006.

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