2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - West Bank and Gaza Strip (Occupied Territories Subject to the Jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority)

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:15
Free public education:Yes
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2007:80.4
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2007:73.3
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%):
Survival rate to grade 5 (%):
ILO Convention 138:N/A
ILO Convention 182:N/A
ILO-IPEC participating country:No

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children in the West Bank and Gaza Strip work for family farms and shops, as street vendors, porters, or in small manufacturing enterprises. Reports indicate that children also collect salvageable materials from garbage dumps. It is noted that children, particularly those who live near the border area, sell goods at military checkpoints and cross into Israel to work. Palestinian children who cross the border to work meet with security problems. There have been reports of Palestinian terrorist groups using minors to conduct attacks, smuggle weapons, and act as human shields.

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for admission to work in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is 15 years, as indicated by the Palestinian Authority (PA) Labor Law. There are restrictions on the employment of children 15 to 18 years including prohibitions against night work, work under conditions of hard labor, or jobs that require travel outside one's residence. The Ministry of Labor requires children between 15 and 18 years to be cleared by a medical exam before starting work and receive check-ups every 6 months while working. Exceptions are made for children who work for direct relatives and are under their supervision. The law prohibits the exploitation of children and does not allow children to perform work that might damage their safety, health, or education.

The law states that work is a right, duty, and honor and that PA will strive to provide work to those who are capable. Labor Ministry officials have said that the law prohibits forced and compulsory labor. There is no law specifically prohibiting trafficking in persons. Prostitution is illegal.

PA does not have a system of universal conscription for its security services. Recruitment or government service, including security services, is voluntary beginning at 18 years. The law prohibits the use of children in armed conflicts. USDOS reports that there are eight child labor inspectors for West Bank and Gaza. According to a Ministry of Labor official, the inspectors do not have the training or resources needed for effective monitoring of the law. Ministry of Labor officials also report that there is no enforceable law to monitor and protect Palestinian children working in Israeli settlements and that there are no Israeli inspectors in West Bank settlements and industrial zones.

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

The National Plan of Action for Palestinian Children 2004-2010 includes a strategic goal to monitor all workplaces where children are employed.


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