Search

 

Cablegate: Sierra Leone: Worst Forms of Child Labor Update

VZCZCXRO6945
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHFN #0749/01 3541833
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 201833Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY FREETOWN
TO RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1602
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0242

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 FREETOWN 000749

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR DRL/IL TUDANG
DOL/ILAB: TMMCARTER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB EIND ETRD PHUM SOCI SL

SUBJECT: SIERRA LEONE: WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR UPDATE

REF: SECSTATE 149662

1. This cable responds to reftel request for information
for the Worst Forms of Child Labor Report. Most new
information since the previous year's report is a result of
the passage of the 2007 Child Rights Act.

--------------------------------------------- -----
A) Laws and regulations
--------------------------------------------- -----

2. In July 2007 Sierra Leone enacted a very comprehensive
"Child Rights Act" which not only guarantees and defines
children's rights, but also prescribes that these rights be
respected and implemented at every level and branch of
government, society, and family. As the law is still
fairly new, its impact remains to be seen.

3. Though a member of the International Labour
Organization (ILO), Sierra Leone has ratified neither
Convention 182 nor Convention 138. As a non-ratifying
member, Sierra Leone submits annual follow-up reports.
There does not appear to be any definition of worst forms
of child labor as per Convention 182, but some of the items
are covered by the 2005 Anti-Human Trafficking Act. The
Child Rights Act does define "light work" consistently with
Convention 138.

4. The Child Rights Act mandates that the minimum age for
light work in Sierra Leone is now 13. The minimum age for
full-time employment is 15, which the Child Rights Act
mandated to now be the new ending age for compulsory
education. The minimum age for all forms of hazardous work
is now 18. It is illegal to subject a child to
exploitative labor (any work other than light work).

5. The Anti-Human Trafficking Act of 2005 prohibits all
forms of trafficking, including forced labor and
exploitative prostitution. The penalty for trafficking is
generally a fine up to 50 million Leones ($16,666) and/or
imprisonment up to ten years. International trafficking
for the purposes of prostitution is usually penalized by up
to five years' imprisonment. However, if the offense
involves the transport of children for such acts, a
sentence of up to 10 years' imprisonment can be imposed.
Other than the latter penalty, there is no statutory
distinction between adult and child exploitative
prostitution.

6. The country's minimum age for military recruitment is
18.

--------------------------------------------- -----
B) Implementation & Enforcement Against Child Labor
--------------------------------------------- -----

7. Law enforcement addresses some complaints and
violations regarding child labor. Government entities have
a range of criminal penalties, fines and court orders they
may impose in such cases. However, whether they are
adequate or how often they are used is unclear. Although
the government has worked to raise awareness and
understanding of the laws pertaining to child labor,
insufficient funds have precluded training activities.

--------------------------------------------- -----
C) Social Programs Against Child Labor
--------------------------------------------- -----

8. In accordance with the 2005 the Anti-Human Trafficking
Act, the Anti-Trafficking Task Force is tasked with
formulating measures that impede recruiting potential
trafficking victims of trafficking. These programs are
aimed at keeping children in school and educating those at
risk of becoming victims of trafficking.

--------------------------------------------- -----
D) Comprehensive Policy to Eliminate Child Labor
--------------------------------------------- -----

9. The 2007 Child Rights Act requires the formation of a
National Commission for Children to oversee many facets of
children's rights, including enforcing some child labor
prohibitions. This commission has not yet been
established. The Act also calls for child welfare
committees to be established at the district, chiefdom, and
village levels. While these committees would mostly be

FREETOWN 00000749 002 OF 002


tasked to monitor and provide guidance, they will have the
authority to deliver "instructions." If their
"instructions" are ignored, the committees will be able to
levy fines of not less than 50,000 leones ($16.75). The
committees will not have any other sanctioning or punitive
powers. Legally, education is compulsory until age 15, but
this is not enforced. Although the government pays tuition
fees, students are expected to pay a variety of other
charges such as school materials, uniforms, and extra
classes. These charges can add up and deter attendance by
those who cannot afford them.

--------------------------------------------- -----
E) Continual Progress
--------------------------------------------- -----

10. There is some evidence that, because the Child Rights
Act has empowered local authorities, including Paramount
Chiefs, many communities have developed local procedures
that have been effective in reducing worst forms of child
labor, particularly in the mining industry, including sand
mining. Nonetheless, enforcement of the rule of law and
implementation of the Child Rights Act across all sectors
will be an ongoing challenge in resource-strapped Sierra
Leone.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN SDG: UN Appoints Twenty Eminent Thinkers To Shed New Light On The World’s Greatest Challenges

New York, 21 January 2021 – Twenty prominent personalities, globally renowned for their intellectual leadership in economic and social fields, will form the second United Nations High-level Advisory Board (HLAB) on Economic and Social Affairs, the ... More>>

UN: As COVID Deaths Pass Two Million Worldwide, Guterres Warns Against Self-Defeating ‘Vaccinationalism'

With more than two million lives now lost worldwide to COVID-19, the UN Secretary-General appealed on Friday for countries to work together and help each other to end the pandemic and save lives. In a video statement , Secretary-General António Guterres ... More>>

UN: Violent Attempt At US Capitol To ‘overturn’ Election, Shocking And Incendiary

A group of independent UN rights experts released ... More>>

UN: Guterres To Seek Second Five-year Term
António Guterres will be seeking a second five-year term as UN Secretary-General, which would begin in January 2022.... More>>