2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Samoa

Selected Statistics and Indicators on Child Labor
Percent of children 5-14 estimated as working:Unavailable
Minimum age for admission to work:153633
Age to which education is compulsory:143634
Free public education:No3635
Gross primary enrollment rate in 2004:100%3636
Net primary enrollment rate in 2004:90%3637
Percent of children 5-14 attending school:Unavailable
As of 2000 percent of primary school entrants likely to reach grade five:94%3638
Ratified Convention 138:No3639
Ratified Convention 182:No3640
ILO-IPEC participating country:No3641

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children are frequently found working as street vendors in Apia, Samoa's capital.3642 Children in rural areas work on village farms, and those who do not work willingly may be compelled to do so by village chiefs (matai).3643 Children also work as domestics in private homes, and may perform tasks that are potentially injurious or not suited to their physical capacities.3644

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age of employment at 15, except for safe and light work suited to the capacity of the child, as determined by the Commissioner of Labor. Children under 15 may not work on dangerous machinery, in any occupation or place under working conditions likely to be harmful to their physical or moral health, or on any vessel not under the personal charge of his or her parent or guardian.3645 Since Samoan labor laws cover only employees with a fixed place of employment, the government has not determined whether street vending and other outdoor work by children is illegal.3646 Violations of child labor laws are punishable by fines.3647 The minimum age for work is inconsistent with the age to which schooling is compulsory (14 years). This inconsistency may result in children dropping out of school to work.

Samoan law prohibits forced or compulsory labor, but this provision does not cover work or service required by Samoan custom.3648 The crime of conspiring to induce a female of any age into sexual relations with any male is punishable by up to 5 years of imprisonment.3649 Soliciting or procuring a female of any age for prostitution as well as benefiting from the earnings thereof are crimes punishable by 3 years of imprisonment.3650 Abduction of any child under 16, or taking away or detaining a woman or girl with intent to cause her to have sexual relations with anyone, is punishable by up to 7 years of imprisonment.3651 Kidnapping any person with the intent to transport the individual out of the country or hold the individual for service is a crime punishable by up to 10 years of imprisonment.3652

The Ministry of Labor refers complaints of illegal child labor to the Attorney General for enforcement. No cases of child labor were prosecuted during 2006, the most recent year for which such information is available.3653

Current Government Efforts to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor

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


3633 Government of Samoa, Labour and Employment Act, (1972), Article 32; available from http://www.paclii.org/ws/legis/consol_act/laea1972228/.

3634 U.S. Department of State, "Samoa," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2006, Washington, DC, March 6, 2007, Section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78789.htm.

3635 Ibid.

3636 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Gross Enrolment Ratio. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/.

3637 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Net Enrolment Rate. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/.

3638 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Survival Rate to Grade 5. Total, accessed December 18, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/.

3639 ILO, Ratifications by Country, accessed October 12, 2006; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/cvlistE.htm.

3640 Ibid.

3641 ILO, IPEC Action Against Child Labour Highlights 2006, Geneva, October 2006, 30; available from http://www.ilo.org/iloroot/docstore/ipec/prod/eng/20061013_implementati….

3642 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Samoa," Section 6d.

3643 Ibid., Sections 6c and 6d.

3644 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention: Initial Report of States Parties Due in 1996, November 1, 2005, 90; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/898586b1dc7b4043c1256a450044f331/7a53d…$ FILE/G0640507.pdf.

3645 Labour and Employment Act, Article 32.

3646 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Samoa," Section 6d.

3647 Labour and Employment Act, Article 41.

3648 Constitution of the Independent State of Western Samoa, (January 1, 1962), Article 8; available from http://www.paclii.org/ws/legis/consol_act/cotisows1960535/.

3649 Government of Samoa, Crimes Ordinance, (December 16, 1961), Articles 55 and 58; available from http://www.paclii.org/ws/legis/consol_act/co1961135/.

3650 Ibid., Article 58.

3651 Ibid., Article 83B.

3652 Ibid., Article 83A.

3653 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Samoa," Section 6d.

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