2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Bahrain

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:14
Compulsory education age:15
Free public education:Yes
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2006:119.5
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:98.2
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%):
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2004:98.9
ILO Convention 138:No
ILO Convention 182:3/23/2001
ILO-IPEC participating country:No

* Accession

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children in Bahrain work in family businesses. Children have also been reported to work in the Manama Central Market.

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law forbids the employment of children younger than 14 years. Working minors 14 to 16 years must obtain permission from their guardian, receive authorization to work from the Ministry of Labor (MOL), and have a medical examination prior to employment. These children then may work no more than 6 hours per day and may not work overtime or at night. The law also establishes a list of 25 hazardous occupations in which no person younger than 16 years may work. However, none of these provisions apply to children working in family enterprises or under the supervision of a family member. Violations of child labor laws are punishable by fines. In addition to levying punishment against employers and supervisors, the law holds responsible any person acting as a guardian who permits the employment of a minor in violation of the law's provisions. The MOL enforces child labor laws and regulations and had 43 labor inspectors as of January 2009. The MOL also grants permits to Bahraini companies to employ foreign workers, and immigration officials ensure that foreign workers entering Bahrain are 18 years of age or older.

The Constitution outlaws compulsory labor, except in cases specified by law for national exigency or pursuant to a judicial hearing. The anti-trafficking law defines trafficking as the recruitment, harbor, transport, and receiving of victims through coercive or forceful means. It also establishes intergovernmental committees to oversee trafficking-related issues, such as the welfare of victims, awareness programs, and research to combat trafficking. The punishment for trafficking is a prison term of 3 to 15 years and a fine. When a person under 15 years is trafficked, the maximum sentence is increased to life imprisonment.

Forcing or enticing a child into prostitution is punishable by 3 to 10 years of imprisonment. The production and distribution of pornographic materials is against the law. However, CEACR notes that the use or procurement of a child in the production of pornography is not as a separate offense prohibited.

While there is no compulsory military service in Bahrain, the law states that cadets can be recruited at 15 years and soldiers can be recruited at 17 years.

The Ministry of Interior has a specialized unit to investigate trafficking violations. From April 2007 to March 2008, the Government did not report any prosecutions or convictions for any cases of trafficking children for involuntary servitude or forced prosecution.

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

The Government passed the Anti-Trafficking Law of 2008, which increases the fine and prison term penalties for trafficking minors. In addition, the Government continued its anti-trafficking efforts of distributing multilingual pamphlets on workers' rights and resources. The Government has also committed resources to expand IOM's role in providing anti-trafficking training to Government officials.


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