2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Bahrain

Selected Statistics and Indicators on Child Labor194
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:14
Compulsory education age:15
Free public education:Yes
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:111
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:98
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%):
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2004:99
ILO-IPEC participating country:No

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Small numbers of children in Bahrain perform non-hazardous work in the Manama Central Market, and although not common, some children work in family businesses.195

The Ministry of Labor (MOL) grants permits to Bahraini companies to employ foreign workers, and immigration officials ensure that foreign workers entering Bahrain are 18 years of age or older.196 There have been isolated incidents of the use of false documents to gain entry into the country for workers under age 18.197

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law forbids the employment of children younger than 14 years.198 Minors 14 to 16 years may work no more than 6 hours per day, with one hour of rest during daytime hours; minors may not work overtime or be paid on a piece-rate basis.199 The law also establishes a list of 25 occupations in which no person younger than 16 years may work.200 Working minors 14 to 16 years must obtain authorization to work from the MOL, must undergo a medical examination prior to being employed, and must be granted annual leave of not less than one full month.201 However, these provisions do not apply to children working in family enterprises. Those under the supervision of a family member are exempt from the Labour Law.202

The MOL is responsible for enforcing child labor laws and regulations.203 There are currently 43 labor investigators who are given training to monitor and enforce the laws regarding child labor.204 Violations of child labor laws are punishable by fines. In addition to levying punishment against employers and supervisors, the law holds responsible any person acting as a guardian who permits the employment of a child or minor in violation of the law's provisions.205 USDOS reports that MOL enforcement of child labor laws is adequate in the industrial sector, but not as effective outside that sector.206

The Constitution outlaws compulsory labor, except in cases specified by law or pursuant to a judicial hearing.207 Also, employers found guilty of using forced labor can be liable to imprisonment of up to 10 years.208 On January 9, 2008, the King enacted a new anti-trafficking law with stiff penalties. It defines trafficking, outlines specific penalties, and grants an intergovernmental committee the right to oversee the victim's welfare.209 Anyone found guilty of any form of trafficking faces a prison term of between 3 and 15 years, along with a fine.210 The law considers trafficking of women or persons under the age of 15 years as aggravating circumstances, and sentences are doubled.211 This increases the maximum sentence to life in prison.212 Prostitution is illegal; forcing or enticing a child under 18 years into prostitution is punishable by between 10 days and 2 years of imprisonment.213 It is illegal to print, possess, or display publications, pictures, and other media that violate public morals.214 While there is no compulsory military service in Bahrain, juveniles can be recruited into the Bahraini Defense Force from the age of 17 years. This age limit can be disregarded in times of necessity. Cadets can be recruited from the age of 15 years.215

Although the Ministry of Interior has enabled the development of a specialized unit to investigate trafficking allegations,216 according to USDOS, prosecutions for trafficking-related offenses are rare. The Government did not prosecute any cases of trafficking for involuntary servitude or forced prostitution, during the April 2006 through March 2007 period, the latest time period for which such information is available.217

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

In 2006, the Government opened a shelter to provide services to female trafficking victims. Victims can only enter the shelter by referral. Foreign victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation do not receive protection from the Government and are immediately processed for deportation.218

194 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 Government of Bahrain, Labour Law for the Private Sector, as amended, No. 23, (June 16, 1976), article 50; available from http://www.mol.gov.bh/MOL/En/Legislations/ListLaws.aspx?ChnlNm=Labour%2…. See also U.S. Department of State, "Bahrain," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2007, Washington, DC, March 11, 2008, section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100593.htm.

195 U.S. Embassy – Manama, reporting, August 27, 2005.

196 U.S. Embassy – Manama official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, March 19, 2007.

197 U.S. Embassy – Manama, reporting, March 5, 2007.

198 Government of Bahrain, Labour Law for the Private Sector.

199 Ibid., chapter 8, articles 52, 53, and 54.

200 Ibid., Article 51. See also U.S. Department of Labor, Laws Governing Exploitative Child Labor Report: Bahrain, Washington, D.C., September 1, 2005; available from http://www.dol.gov/ilab/media/reports/usfta/BahrainLaws.pdf.

201 Government of Bahrain, Labour Law for the Private Sector, Articles 51 and 55.

202 Ibid., chapter 1(article 2), chapter 8 (article 58).

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

204 U.S. Embassy – Manama, reporting, January 23, 2008.

205 Government of Bahrain, Labour Law for the Private Sector, chapter 20, article 163.

206 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Bahrain," section 6d.

207 Government of Bahrain, Constitution of the State of Bahrain, (February 14, 2002), Article 13(c); available from http://www.oefre.unibe.ch/law/icl/ba00000_.html.

208 U.S. Embassy – Manama, reporting, March 5, 2007.

209 Government of Bahrain, Law No. (1) of 2008 with Respect to Trafficking in Persons, (January 9, 2008). See also U.S. Embassy – Manama, reporting, March 8, 2008.

210 Government of Bahrain, Law on Trafficking in Persons, Article 2. See also U.S. Department of State Official, E-mail communication to USDOL Official, July 29, 2008.

211 Government of Bahrain, Law on Trafficking in Persons, Article 4(2). See also U.S. Department of State Official, E-mail communication, July 29, 2008.

212 U.S. Embassy – Manama, reporting, March 8, 2008.

213 ILO Committee of Experts, Direct Request, Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (No. 182) Bahrain (ratification: 2001), [online] 2006 [cited November 21, 2007 2006], article 7(b); available from http://webfusion.ilo.org/public/db/standards/normes/appl/. See also ECPAT International CSEC Database, Bahrain, November 26, 2007; available from http://www.ecpat.net/. Interpol, Legislation of Interpol Member States on Sexual Offenses Against Children: Bahrain, November 26, 2007; available from http://www.interpol.int/Public/Children/SexualAbuse/NationalLaws/csaBah…. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Bahrain."

214 ILO Committee of Experts, Direct Request: Bahrain.

215 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Bahrain," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, November 17, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=940.

216 U.S. Embassy – Manama, reporting, March 8, 2008.

217 U.S. Department of State, "Bahrain (Tier 3)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007, Washington, DC, June 1, 2007; available from http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/82902.pdf.

218 Ibid.


This 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.