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Cablegate: Ethiopia: Update of Worst Forms of Child Labor Information

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDS #3435/01 3370453
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 030453Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8721
INFO RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 4073

UNCLAS ADDIS ABABA 003435

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR DRL/IL: TU DANG
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR/ILAB: TINA MCCARTER
DEPARTMENT FOR AF/E

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB EIND ETRD PHUM SOCI USAID ET
SUBJECT: ETHIOPIA: UPDATE OF WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR INFORMATION
FOR MANDATORY CONGRESSIONAL REPORTING REQIREMENTS

REF: A) STATE 00158223, B) STATE 149662, C) STATE 143552

1. Requested information about the worst forms of child
labor in Ethiopia follows and is organized per reftel
instructions.

2. For further references, please contact Political/Economic Affairs
Officer Kimberly Wright at: WRIGHTKE2@STATE.GOV

3. Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 2005, approximately 58.1 percent of boys and 41.6 percent of
girls ages 5 to 14 were working in Ethiopia. The majority of working
children were found in the agricultural sector (95.2 percent),
followed by services (3.4 percent), manufacturing (1.3 percent), and
other sectors (0. percent). The number of working children is higher
in the Amhara, Oromiya, Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples
(SNNP) and Tigray regions compared with other regions. According to
the Ministry of Social and Labor Affairs (MOLSA), many Ethiopian
children work for their families without pay. In both rural and
urban areas, children often begin working at young ages, with many
starting work at 5. In rural areas, children work in agriculture on
commercial and family farms, and in domestic service. Children in
rural areas, especially boys, engage in activities such as cattle
herding, petty trading, plowing, harvesting and weeding, while other
children, mostly girls, collect firewood and water. In urban areas,
many children, including orphans, work in domestic service. Child
domestic workers work long hours, which may prevent them from
attending school regularly. Many feel unable to quit their jobs and
fear physical, verbal, and sexual abuse from their employers while
performing their work. Children in urban areas work in construction,
manufacturing, shining shoes, making clothes, portering, directing
customers into taxis, petty trading, and herding animals. Estimates
of the population of street children vary, with the government
estimating it to be between 150,000 and 200,000 for the whole
country, and UNICEF estimating it to be 600,000 children. In the
capital city of Addis Ababa alone, there are an estimated 50,000 to
60,000 street children according to the government, and 100,000
according to UNICEF. Some of these children work in the informal
sector in order to survive. The commercial sexual exploitation of
children is increasing in Ethiopia, particularly in urban areas.
Girls as young as 11 have reportedly been recruited to work in
brothels, often sought by customers who believe them to be free of
sexually transmitted infections. Girls are also exploited as
prostitutes in hotels, bars, resort towns and rural truck stops.
Reports indicate that some young girls have been forced into
prostitution by their family members. Within Ethiopia, children are
trafficked from rural to urban areas for domestic service,
commercial sexual exploitation, and forced labor in street vending
and other activities. Reports indicate that children have been
trafficked from Oromiya and SNNP to other regions of the country for
forced or bonded labor in domestic service.

4.

A. LAWS AND REGULATIONS PROSCRIBING THE WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR

Ethiopia has ratified all eight core ILO conventions. Ethiopia's
Labor Proclamation (42/93) prohibits children below the age of 14
from working. The same proclamation limits conditions of work for
children between the ages of 15 and 18. Children in the 15-18 year
old age bracket are allowed to work so long as it is not hazardous
to their health or developmental progress. Prohibited activities
include transporting goods by air, land, or sea; working with
electric power generation plants; and performing underground work.
Young workers are prohibited from working more than 7 hours per day,
between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., during weekly rest days, and on public
holidays. The law states that children have the right to be
protected against exploitive practices and work conditions and
should not engage in employment that could threaten their health,
education, or well-being.

Age 15 is consistent with the age of primary education completion,
while 18 years is roughly consistent with the age of secondary
school completion. Article 176 of Ethiopia's Criminal Code
identifies minors as age 15 or younger, identifies age 18 as the age
of legal majority, and notes that those between age 15 to 18 belong
to an "intermediary age group."

The Ethiopian Penal Code outlaws work specified as hazardous by the
International Labor Organization (ILO) convention, but the labor law
of Ethiopia does not define or specify the worst forms of child
labor. The GOE ratified Convention 182 on May 8, 2003. As the
Ethiopian constitution states that all international conventions and
covenants ratified by Ethiopia are an integral part of the law of
the land, the list of occupations listed by the ILO Convention also
apply in Ethiopia.

Children are prohibited from working in the following
sectors: transportation of passengers and goods by road,
railway, air or water; work carried out on dockside and
warehouse involving heavy weight lifting, pulling or pushing of
heavy items or any other related type of work; work connected with
electric power generation plants, transformers or transmission
lines; underground work such as mines, quarries and similar work;
construction work on high scaffolding; working in sewers and digging
in tunnels; street cleaning; toilet cleaning; separation of dry and
liquid waste materials and transportation of waste materials;
working on production of alcoholic drinks and cigarettes; hotels,
motels, nightclubs and similar service giving activities; grinding,
cutting and welding of metals; work involving electrical machines to
cut, split or shape wood, etc.; felling timber; and, work that
involves mixing of chemicals and elements which are known to be
harmful and hazardous to health. Most forms of human trafficking
have been criminalized under the new penal code; the trafficking of
women and children carries a penalty of up to 20 years of
imprisonment and a fine. The law also prohibits the compulsory or
forced labor of children. The minimum age for conscription and
voluntary recruitment into the military is 18 years. While MOLSA is
charged with the enforcement of child labor laws, its efforts to
provide oversight and resources have been inadequate. Some efforts
have been made to enforce child labor laws in the formal industrial
sector; however, this was not where most child labor occurred in the
country.

MOLSA, in collaboration with local police, is responsible for
monitoring trafficking, while the Ministry of Justice is responsible
for enforcing laws related to trafficking. In July 2006, the
government convicted and sentenced a trafficker to 13 years in
prison and imposed a fine.

MOLSA noted that the Ethiopian government is in the process of
developing a list of occupations considered to be the worst forms of
child labor.

B. REGULATIONS FOR IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT

Child labor issues are currently covered by a newly formed Ministry
of Women and Children's Affairs. Courts are responsible for
enforcing children's rights. Criminal and civil penalties may be
levied in child rights violation cases. According to MOLSA, a
national strategy is being formulated to enforce child labor laws.
Due to the absence of a national strategy, investigation and
disposition of child rights violation cases is minimal. In 2005,
the Forum for the Street Children in Ethiopia reported that only one
of 213 child rights cases had been adjudicated in a court of law.

In 2006, MOLSA conducted a national workshop and established a
committee to develop a national child labor policy. Ethiopia is one
of four countries participating in the 4-year, USD 14.5 million
Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Ethiopia Together (KURET) project, funded
by USDOL and implemented by World Vision in partnership with the
International Rescue Committee and the Academy for Educational
Development. The KURET Project aims to withdraw or prevent a total
of 30,600 children from exploitive labor in HIV/AIDS-affected areas
of these four countries through the provision of educational
services. In 2006, the GOE indicated its support for KURET's
Alternative Basic Education (ABE) centers by committing to pay part
of their staffing costs. Ethiopia also participates in the 5-year
USDOL-funded Reducing Child Labor through Education (CIRCLE 1)
global project being implemented by Winrock International through
2007, which aims to reduce exploitive child labor through the
provision of educational opportunities.

C. SOCIAL PROGRAMS

The GOE encourages children to attend school, but it is not/not
compulsory. In recent years, the government increased its budget
for primary education. A number of schools, particularly in rural
and remote areas, have been under construction, while existing
schools have been rehabilitated, to maximize capacity for
enrollment.

There are not enough schools, however, to accommodate
Ethiopia's population of school age children. According to the
Ministry of Education (MoE), 77.5 percent of school age children
attended school in the 2005/2006 academic year. In 2006 91.3 percent
of primary school age children attended school. The MoE goal is to
reach 100 percent of children enrolled in primary education by
2015.

The Ministry of Education provided the following primary
School completion rates for the 2006/2006 academic year:

GRADE GR 5 GR.8
-------------------------

BOYS 69.2% 50.1%
GIRLS 56.0% 32.9%
TOTAL 62.7% 41.7%

Of the programs that have been implemented in 2006, the Agricultural
Federation has designed a new manual, based on ILO curriculum models
specific to child and women's labor issues, featuring information
about HIV/AIDS.

Another ILO/IPEC program has had some success addressing child labor
issues on plantations. The Agricultural Federation and local
administration has run stakeholder workshops which highlight the
negative impact of child labor in plantation harvest work, while
emphasizing the benefits of primary schooling. Plantation owners
responded well to the Federation message that child labor negatively
affects Ethiopia's international branding and image in export
markets. The Federation has noted increased regional government
efforts to protect children from harvest labor exploitation.

D. COUNTRY POLICIES AIMED AT ELIMINATING WORST FORMS OF
CHILD LABOR

There is no particular policy in Ethiopia designed to ensure the
effective abolition of child labor or to raise the minimum working
age progressively, but there are various economic and social
policies that have indirectly addressed the issue. For example, the
Ethiopian government initiated an education and training policy
aimed at achieving universal enrollment in primary school by 2015.
A new National Plan of Action (NPA) is in near final-draft form and
seeks to include a component on improving the well-being of
Ethiopian children. Little information about the implementation and
effectiveness of government policies involving the protection of
children is available however at this time.

E. PROGRESS TOWARDS ELIMINATING WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR

Child labor is widespread in Ethiopia. A 2001 ILO report estimates
that Ethiopia has 18 million children (age 5-17) who comprise 33
percent of the population; one-third of those children combine work
and school, while one-half work without attending school. MOLSA
reports that 92 percent of children work in households without pay,
while 3 percent are engaged in activities other than domestic
chores. On average, children work 33 hours per week. Thirty-eight
percent confirm that their work affects their schooling. Two in
three children indicate that they volunteer to assist with household
work, while one in four children indicate they must work to
supplement household income. According to MOLSA, two out of five
working children in Ethiopia are below the age of six.

Child labor in Ethiopia is generally comprised of children working
in subsistence farming alongside their parents in rural areas.
(Note: Eighty-five percent of Ethiopian population is engaged in
subsistence agriculture. End Note.) The GOE does not perceive this
as a child labor issue as much as a development problem, and
therefore tries to tackle it through school construction and
agricultural development.

MOLSA's most recent child labor activity data was last generated in
2001:

Table 1.

ENGAGED IN ENGAGED IN
PRODUCTIVE HOUSE-KEEPING NOT
AGE WORK ACTIVITIES WORKING
------ ---------- ------------- -------
5-9 38.9% 35.4% 25.7%
10-14 62.4 32.9 4.7
15-17 67.5 29.7 2.8

Table 2.

EMPLOYMENT
TYPE (CHILDREN 5-17) MALE FEMALE TOTAL
-------------------- ---- ------ -----
Domestic Employee 0.4 1.8 0.9
Employee (not domestic) 4.1 1.3 3.0
Self-Employed 2.2 4.1 3.0
Unpaid Family Work 92.6 91.7 92.3
Apprentice 0.1 0.0 0.1
Not Stated 0.6 1.1 0.7

Though the government lacks the resources to provide material
assistance to trafficking victims, joint police-NGO child victim
identification and referral mechanism operates in the capital. The
Child Protection Units (CPU's) in each Addis Ababa police station
rescued and collected information on trafficked children that
facilitated their return to their families; the CPUs referred 240

trafficked children to IOM and local NGOs for care in 2006. The
child protection units also collect data on rescued children to
facilitate their reunification with their families. A USAID-funded
center in Addis Ababa provides shelter, medical care, counseling,
and reintegration assistance to girls victimized by trafficking.
NGOs, such as the Forum on Street Children-Ethiopia, provide
assistance to children engaged in commercial sexual exploitation,
including such services as a drop-in center, shelter, educational
services, skills training, guidance, assistance with
income-generating and employment activities, and family
reunification services. IOM runs a shelter for TIP victims in Addis
and partners with ILO on child labor and child trafficking issues.
Such assistance often accompanies interaction with the government in
order to develop long-term policy and program objectives.

YAMAMOTO

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