2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Chad

Selected Statistics and Indicators on Child Labor
Population, children, 5-14 years, 2004:2,898,858
Working children, 5-14 years (%), 2004:53.0
Working boys, 5-14 years (%), 2004:56.1
Working girls, 5-14 years (%), 2004:49.7
Working children by sector, 5-14 years (%):
     – Agriculture
     – Manufacturing
     – Services
     – Other
Minimum age for work:14
Compulsory education age:14
Free public education:Yes*
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:75.6
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2003:60.2
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%), 2004:39.6
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2003:33.2
ILO Convention 138:3/21/2005
ILO Convention 182:11/6/2000
ILO-IPEC participating country:No

* In practice, must pay for various school expenses

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children work in agriculture throughout Chad. In the urban informal sector, children work as domestic servants, street vendors, servers at bars, solderers, forgers, and manual laborers. Herding is a traditional activity in which children work, including children as young as 6 years who have been reportedly contracted by their parents to work for nomadic herders or trafficked into herding. In some towns and the capital, N'Djamena, street children number in the thousands, and some may have been conscripted by the Government into its armed forces.

The practice of sending boys to Koranic teachers to receive education, which may include a vocational or apprenticeship component, is a tradition in various countries, including Chad. While some boys receive lessons, others are forced by their teachers to beg and surrender the money that they have earned.

Children in refugee camps in Eastern Chad have been reported making bricks, conducting street sales, carrying firewood and water from outside the camps, and working outside the camps as farmers and domestic servants. Many of these children report being injured at work. Domestic servants report not getting paid, and farm workers report long hours.

Within Chad, children are trafficked for sexual exploitation and forced labor in domestic service, herding, begging, fishing, and small-scale commerce. Children may be trafficked from the Central African Republic and Cameroon to Chad's oil-producing regions for commercial sexual exploitation. Chadian children are also trafficked to the Central African Republic, Nigeria, and Cameroon for cattle herding, and to Saudi Arabia for involuntary servitude as forced beggars and street vendors.

There are reports of children trafficked in Chad for the purposes of child soldiering to the Chadian National Army and rebel groups, including rebel groups that operate in Sudan. Estimates of the number of child soldiers range from 4,000 to 10,000, although figures can not be verified. It is reported that children as young as 8 or 10 years are forcibly recruited to work as bodyguards, drivers, and cooks, as well as fighters and lookouts in the conflicts in Chad. In Eastern Chad, some children have been forcibly recruited or kidnapped from within refugee camps by Sudanese rebel groups.

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Labor Code sets the minimum age for employment in Chad at 14 years. However, the law permits exceptions to be established through decrees issued by either the Ministry of Labor and Social Security or the Ministry of Public Health. Light work in agriculture and domestic service are specifically permitted to children at least 12 years. Apprenticeships can also begin at 13 years. Night work by children under 18 years is prohibited.

Labor inspectors may require an examination of young workers to determine whether the tasks for which they are employed exceed their strength. Violation of child labor laws is subject to a fine for the first offense; repeat offenders are subject to a fine and/or 6 days to 3 months in prison. The law stipulates that punishment will not be incurred for child labor offenses committed as a result of inaccurate age determination if the employer is not at fault.

The labor code prohibits forced labor. The voluntary age of military recruitment is 18 years, although with parental consent children less than 18 years may volunteer. The minimum age for compulsory recruitment is 20 years. Under the law, prostitution is illegal, and those who procure a prostitute are subject to more stringent penalties if the offense is related to a minor. Offenders of this law may be fined and imprisoned for 2 months to 2 years. If an offender is a relative or guardian, the punishment is increased to 5 to 10 years in prison. The law does not specifically prohibit trafficking, but traffickers can be prosecuted under charges of kidnapping, sale of children, and violations of labor statutes.

Chad was 1 of 24 countries to adopt the Multilateral Cooperative Agreement to Combat Trafficking in Persons and the Joint Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, in West and Central African Regions. As part of the regional Multilateral Cooperation Agreement to Combat Trafficking in Persons, the Government agreed to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenders; to rehabilitate and reintegrate trafficking victims; and to assist fellow signatory countries to implement these measures under the Agreement.

The Office of Labor Inspection is responsible for implementing and enforcing child labor laws. Although this unit has 16 labor inspectors, it reportedly has not received funding to carry out inspections. According to USDOS, a lack of resources, coupled with a weak judiciary system, has resulted in a lack of prosecution for child labor offenses. Police were reported to have resorted to extra-judicial actions, such as beating offenders and imposing unofficial fines for traffickers and child labor offenders that they have arrested.

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

In 2008, the Government of Chad created regional committees to address worst forms of child labor in each region. The Government also developed a plan and program of action in consensus with the Islamic Committee and masters at Koranic schools to introduce reforms as part of its efforts at ending the exploitation of the boys sent to such schools.

The Government also continued to support efforts to remove children from forced labor as herders, including putting in place a Plan of Action for 2008-2010 to target this worst form of child labor.


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