2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Swaziland

Selected Statistics and Indicators on Child Labor
Population, children, 10-14 years, 2000:282,227
Working children, 10-14 years (%), 2000:9.6
Working boys, 10-14 years (%), 2000:9.6
Working girls, 10-14 years (%), 2000:9.6
Working children by sector, 10-14 years (%):
     – Agriculture
     – Manufacturing
     – Services
     – Other
Minimum age for work:15
Compulsory education age:12
Free public education:No
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:106.0
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:78.0
School attendance, children 10-14 years (%), 2000:74.3
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2004:84.0
ILO Convention 138:10/23/2002
ILO Convention 182:10/23/2002
ILO-IPEC participating country:Associated

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children in Swaziland work in agriculture, herding, and domestic service. In the agriculture sector, children are employed to pick cotton and harvest sugarcane. Children also work in street vending and as bus and taxi conductors, porters, and car washers. Children are also reportedly employed in textile factories. Children are reportedly used by adults to steal from homes and sell drugs. Some children also engage commercial sexual exploitation and distribute alcohol in liquor outlets.

Swaziland is a possible source, destination, and transit country for child trafficking. Anecdotal evidence indicates that Swazi girls are trafficked to South Africa and Mozambique for domestic service and commercial sexual exploitation. Swazi children are reportedly trafficked within Swaziland for domestic service and farm work.

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age for employment in an industrial undertaking in Swaziland at 15 years. Children under 15 years may work in industrial enterprises where family members are employed or in technical schools under supervision. The law distinguishes between a "child" – under 15 years – and a "young person" – between 15 and 18 years. Children and young persons are prohibited from working in mines, quarries, or underground, in premises that sell alcohol for consumption on site, or in any sector that is dangerous to their safety, health, or moral development. Children are prohibited from working during school hours and more than 4 continuous hours, 6 hours per day or 33 hours per week. Children and young persons may not work between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m., unless the young person is engaged in an apprenticeship or vocational training activity approved by the Minister of Labor and the Labor Advisory Board. If such approval is obtained, the young person is entitled to 13 consecutive hours of rest between shifts. The Department of Labor within the Ministry of Enterprise and Employment is responsible for enforcing child labor laws; however, according to USDOS its effectiveness is limited by shortages of personnel and resources. In 2008, the Government did not conduct any child labor investigations.

Forced and bonded labor is prohibited. Children are protected by law from commercial sexual exploitation including child pornography. Although there is no law specifically prohibiting trafficking in persons, trafficking violations can be prosecuted under existing laws prohibiting kidnapping, prostitution, and forced labor. The minimum age for conscription and voluntary recruitment is 18 years.

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

The Government of Swaziland participated in a regional project funded by USDOL and implemented by the American Institutes for Research. This 4-year, USD 9 million project improved the quality and access to education for children who were working in, or were at risk of working in, the worst forms of child labor in five countries, including Swaziland. Over its lifetime, the project withdrew 2,388 children and prevented 8,739 children from engaging in exploitive labor in five countries, including Swaziland. The Government also participated in another regional project funded by USDOL and implemented by ILO-IPEC. This 4-year USD 5 million project drafted national child labor plans of action and conducted targeted research on the worst forms of child labor in five countries, including Swaziland.


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