2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Solomon Islands

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:12
Compulsory education age:Not compulsory
Free public education:Yes*
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:100.5
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:61.8
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%):
Survival rate to grade 5 (%):
ILO Convention 138:No
ILO Convention 182:No
ILO-IPEC participating country:No

* In practice, must pay for various school expenses

** Accession

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Government officials have acknowledged reports of children working as cooks and performing other tasks in logging camps and have also reported their involvement in the sale and production of homebrewed alcohol. Reports indicate that children, both boys and girls, are engaged in commercial sexual exploitation associated with the logging, tourism, and fishing industries in areas near logging camps; on fishing boats; and in Honiara, the capital city. The use of children in pornography is also indicated.

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for admission to work in Solomon Islands is 12 years. Children under 12 years may participate in light agricultural, domestic, or other labor if they are employed by and in the company of a parent or guardian, and the work has been approved by the Commissioner of Labor. Children under 15 years are prohibited from working in industry or on ships, with the exception of approved school or training ships. It is illegal for children under 16 years to work underground in mines. Children 16 to 18 years are also prohibited from working underground in mines, though boys over 16 years may obtain a medical certificate clearing them for such work.

Children under 18 years may not be employed as trimmers or stokers on ships and must obtain a medical certificate for any other work on a ship. The Commissioner of Labor may allow a boy of less than 18 years to begin work on a ship without medical clearance in certain circumstances, provided that the child is examined and certified at the first port of call where a medical practitioner is available. Children less than 18 years are prohibited from working at night in any industry, though males over 16 years may obtain written permission from the Commissioner to do so. Failure to comply with these provisions is punishable by a fine.

The constitution prohibits forced labor. Several general provisions in the penal code could be applied to prosecute acts of trafficking. Procuring or attempting to procure a girl or woman for the purpose of prostitution or using threats, intimidation, false pretences, drugs, or other matter to procure, attempt to procure, or overpower a woman or girl for sex is punishable by 2 years in prison. Detaining a woman or girl against her will upon any premises with intent that she has sex with any man is a misdemeanor subject to the same sentence. Hiring out or obtaining minors under 15 years with the intent that they be used for prostitution is a crime, again subject to 2 years in prison. There are no armed forces in the Solomon Islands, but the minimum age for recruitment into the police force is 18 years.

The Commissioner of Labor is responsible for enforcing child labor laws. Lack of sufficient capacity and resources in the Labor Department, however, has prevented investigation of violations and enforcement of the laws. USDOS reports that the Government devotes few resources to investigating child labor cases.

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

Research has not identified any policies or programs by the Government of Solomon Islands to address exploitive child labor during the reporting period.


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