2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Samoa

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:15
Compulsory education age:14
Free public education:No
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2007:95.4
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2007:87.0
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%):
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2000:93.8
ILO Convention 138:10/29/2008
ILO Convention 182:6/30/2008
ILO-IPEC participating country:No

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children in rural areas of Samoa work on village farms, where village chiefs may compel children to work against their will. Children also work as street vendors in Apia, Samoa's capital, and increasingly in outlying areas. Children who work in domestic service may be unable to attend school due to their employment.

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age of employment at 15 years except for safe and light work suited to the capacity of the child, as determined by the Commissioner of Labor. Children under 15 years may not work with dangerous machinery, in any occupation or place where working conditions are likely to harm their physical or moral health, or on any vessel not under the personal charge of a parent or guardian. Since Samoan labor laws cover only employees with a fixed place of employment, the Government has not determined whether street vending and other informal work by children is illegal. Violations of child labor laws are punishable by fines.

Samoan law prohibits forced or compulsory labor, but this provision does not cover work or service required by Samoan custom. Complaints of illegal child labor are investigated by Employment Investigators of the Ministry of Labor and referred to the Ministry of Police and Attorney General for enforcement.

The crime of inducing a female of any age into sexual relations through fraudulent means is punishable by up to 5 years of imprisonment. Soliciting or procuring a female of any age for prostitution, or benefiting from the earnings thereof, is a crime punishable by 3 years of imprisonment. The abduction or detaining of any female child less than 16 years, with the intent to have sexual relations, is punishable by up to 7 years of imprisonment.

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. Although there are no laws against trafficking per se, trafficking related investigations are conducted by the Transnational Crimes Unit of the Ministry of Police.

There is no minimum age of conscription as there are no armed forces maintained by the Government of Samoa.

Current Government Efforts to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor

In 2008, the Government of Samoa ratified ILO Convention 138 on Minimum Age and ILO Convention 182 on Worst Forms of Child Labor.

The Government also passed the Education Bill 2008 which fines guardians who allow children 5 to 14 years to work as street vendors and other jobs.


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