2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Somalia

Selected Statistics and Indicators on Child Labor
Population, children, 5-14 years, 2006:2,544,081
Working children, 5-14 years (%), 2006:39.8
Working boys, 5-14 years (%), 2006:41.2
Working girls, 5-14 years (%), 2006:38.4
Working children by sector, 5-14 years (%):
     – Agriculture
     – Manufacturing
     – Services
     – Other
Minimum age for work:Not applicable
Compulsory education age:Not compulsory
Free public education:No
Gross primary enrollment rate (%):
Net primary enrollment rate (%):
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%), 2006:48.9
Survival rate to grade 5 (%):
ILO Convention 138:No
ILO Convention 182:No
ILO-IPEC participating country:No

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children in Somalia work in agriculture, herd animals, sell water and cigarettes, wash cars, and shine shoes. Children market a narcotic plant chewed by adults and young people throughout Somalia. Children also engage in prostitution and break rocks for gravel.

It is believed that Somalia is a source, destination, and transit country for child trafficking. Children are reportedly trafficked for forced labor and sexual exploitation by armed militias. There have also been reports that children are trafficked from Somalia to Djibouti, Malawi, and Tanzania for prostitution and exploitive labor, and to South Africa for prostitution.

Armed groups and militias continue to recruit and use Somali children from military operations. Some of conscripted children plant roadside bombs, operate checkpoints, and are trained to conduct assassinations.

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

Three distinct entities have governed Somalia since 1991: the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Mogadishu; the self-declared Republic of Somaliland in the northwest; and the semiautonomous region of Puntland in the northeast. The 2004 TFG Charter calls on the Government to establish a minimum age for employment and prohibits forced labor and military service for children under 18 years. According to USDOS, government institutions in Somalia, Somaliland, and Puntland did not enforce child labor laws during the reporting period.

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 Somalia to address exploitive child labor.


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