Last Updated: Friday, 19 January 2018, 17:46 GMT

2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Fiji

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 18 April 2003
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Fiji, 18 April 2003, available at: [accessed 20 January 2018]
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 Government of Fiji signed an MOU with the Australian Government for joint action to combat child sexual abuse, including cooperative law enforcement mechanisms, as part of Australia's plan of action against Sexual Exploitation of Children.1421 The Ministry of Education is working with the Save the Children Fund to compile data on school enrollment, attendance, completion and dropout rates.1422

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Statistics on the number of working children under the age of 15 in Fiji are unavailable. Children work on family farms or businesses, in homes as domestic workers, as shoe shiners, or in car repair shops.1423 Homeless children also work in the informal sector,1424 and the number of street children in Suva is reported to be growing.1425 Children are also lured into the commercial sex industry by both local and foreign adults wishing to profit from the pornography trade.1426

Primary school education is compulsory for eight years.1427 In 1998, the gross primary enrollment rate was 112.1 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 100.9 percent.1428 Primary school attendance rates are unavailable for Fiji. While enrollment rates indicate a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children's participation in school.1429 In general terms, school attendance is reported to be decreasing due to security concerns, the burden of school fees, and the cost of transportation.1430

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Employment Act sets the minimum age for employment at 12 years, and establishes that working children between the ages of 12 and 15 years of age are prohibited from harsh conditions, long hours and night work.1431 The Constitution forbids forced labor.1432 The Penal Code prohibits the sale or hiring of minors under 16 years of age for prostitution.1433 There is no enforcement mechanism written into legislation relating to child labor.1434

The Government of Fiji has not ratified ILO Convention 138, but ratified ILO Convention 182 on April 17, 2002.1435

1421 Australia Department of Family and Community Services, Australia's National Plan of Action Against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, 2000, [cited November 5, 2002]; available from DOCS/English/AustraliaPlanAction.htm.

1422 With funding from the Australian Government, the Save the Children Fund is also working in Fiji to improve school facilities and increase school accessibility for disadvantaged children. See U.S. Embassy – Suva, unclassified telegram no. 0756, September 2001.

1423 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2001: Fiji, Washington, D.C., March 4, 2002, 956-58, Section 5 [cited July 25, 2002]; available from

1424 International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, Internationally-Recognized Core Labour Standards in Fiji: Report for the World Trade Organization General Council Review of the Trade Policies of Fiji, April 9-10, 1997, Brussels, 1997, [cited November 5, 2002]; available from displaydocument.asp?Index=990916254&Language=EN&Printout=Yes.

1425 According to this 1999 report, approximately 200 street children live in Suva. See UN Commission on Human Rights, Rights of the Child: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography; Addendum, Report on the Mission of the Special Rapporteur to the Republic of Fiji on the Issue of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (October 11-16, 1999), E/CN.4/2000/73/Add.3, prepared by Ofelia Calcetas-Santos, December 7, 1999.

1426 Exploitation of children through both prostitution and pornography occurs both by local and foreign abusers. Ibid.

1427 Ministry of Education, Report of the Fiji Islands Education Commission/Panel, 2001, "Conclusion- Directions for Change" [cited November 5, 2002]; available from

1428 World Bank, World Development Indicators 2002 [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2002.

1429 For a more detailed description on the relationship between education statistics and work, see the preface to this report.

1430 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Fiji, 956-60.

1431 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of States Parties due in 1995, Addendum: Fiji, CRC/C/ 28/Add.7, prepared by Government of Fiji, pursuant to Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, September 24, 1996, para. 258.

1432 Fiji Constitution, 1988, Section 24 [cited November 5, 2002]; available from law.icl.fj00000.html.

1433 Fiji Islands Penal Code, Articles 162 and 63 [cited November 13, 2002]; available from

1434 There are only two inspectors at the Ministry of Labor and no investigators to follow up on claims or reports. Inspections are scheduled once a year, although these inspections are not always carried out. The police department has no mandate to stop child labor practices. See U.S. Embassy – Suva, unclassified telegram no. 0756.

1435 ILO, Ratifications by Country, in ILOLEX, [database online] [cited August 6, 2002]; available from

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