Last Updated: Monday, 22 January 2018, 12:53 GMT

2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Tonga

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 10 September 2009
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Tonga, 10 September 2009, available at: [accessed 23 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.

Selected Statistics and Indicators on Child Labor
Population, children, 5-14 years (%):
Working children, 5-14 years (%):
Working boys, 5-14 years (%):
Working girls, 5-14 years (%):
Working children by sector, 5-14 years (%):
     – Agriculture
     – Manufacturing
     – Services
     – Other
Minimum age for work:None
Compulsory education age:14
Free public education:Yes*
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2006:113.1
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:95.9
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%):
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2004:92.1
ILO Convention 138:No
ILO Convention 182:No
ILO-IPEC participating country:No

* In practice, must pay for various school expenses

** Accession

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Some family-owned operations in Tonga may employ child family members. In 2007, the most recent date such information was available, the National Center for Women and Children, a Government-supported NGO, reported that an increasing number of children were either not attending school or dropping out of school to work in the informal sector. There were reports of foreign fishing crews procuring girls for sexual exploitation.

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

Tonga does not have legislation setting the minimum age for work. The law prohibits forced or compulsory work, including slavery. The owning and/or operating of a brothel, pimping, and soliciting a prostitute in a public place are all prohibited by law. Penalties for offenses range from imprisonment for 6 months to 2 years, and may include whipping. The law also prohibits any person from assaulting a child, abducting girls, and procuring or attempting to procure any girl under 21 years for prostitution either within or outside the country. The maximum punishment for these offenses is imprisonment for up to 5 years.

There is no military conscription in Tonga. The minimum age of voluntary service is 18 years.

The Department of Immigration, Ministry of Police, Crown Law Office, Tonga Defense Services, resident embassies, and high commissions share information related to criminal matters, including human trafficking. According to USDOS, the Government did not conduct any investigations related to trafficking in persons during the reporting period.

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

Research has not identified any policies or programs by the Government of Tonga to address exploitive child labor.

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