Press Release: Eswatini makes progress in eliminating child labor

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Eswatini makes progress in eliminating child labor

In 2018, Eswatini made progress toward eliminating the worst forms of child labor according to a newly released report from the U.S. Department of Labor. In the 18th annual edition of the U.S. report ‘Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor’, U.S. Department of Labor investigators found that Eswatini made moderate advancement toward ending child labor.

This positive assessment comes in part due to advancement of legal protections codified in new legislation. In 2018, the King signed the Sexual Offenses and Domestic Violence Act, which provides new legal protections for child victims of commercial sexual exploitation. Additionally, the government drafted a revised Employment Bill that will expand the authority of labor inspectors and criminalize the non-state recruitment of children. During the reporting period, investigators and officers received refresher training on handling cases of child labor, including the worst forms of child labor. The country has also ratified all key international conventions concerning child labor.

The report, prepared by the Department’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB), shines a spotlight on child labor globally and assesses the progress some countries have made in upholding their international commitments to eliminate this practice.

Based on the assessments of the different sectors, DOL investigators suggest actions that would continue Eswatini’s advancement toward the elimination of child labor. They include:

  • Establishing a compulsory education age that is consistent with the minimum age for
    work;
  • Identifying an appropriate partner to provide shelter for victims of human trafficking, and
    ensuring all government and partner staff members receive sufficient training to address
    victims of human trafficking;
  • Ensuring that the hazardous occupations and activities prohibited for children are
    comprehensive.

The report, mandated by the Trade and Development Act of 2000, is the most comprehensive research product on the state of child labor worldwide. The International Labor Organization estimates there are still over 152 million child laborers, one in every 10 children globally. The report serves as a useful tool to raise awareness and promote efforts to address child labor, including its worst forms. It analyzes governments’ efforts to eliminate child labor through their legislation, enforcement, coordination, policies, and social programs. It also identifies both efforts in several areas and where gaps exist and then makes country-specific suggestions regarding actions governments can take to address areas of concern. Each country receives one of five possible assessments: Significant Advancement, Moderate Advancement, Minimal Advancement, No Advancement, or No Assessment.

Over 60 percent of the more than 1,900 suggested actions in this year’s Findings relate to the need to strengthen laws or improve the enforcement of such laws – highlighting the substantial gaps that remain worldwide. By focusing on adoption of strong legislative frameworks and better enforcement of national laws, governments can create a strong foundation of protections for vulnerable children and families from child labor and other labor abuses. In addition, the Findings provide vital information to governments for targeting and coordinating appropriate policy responses to accelerate global efforts to end these practices.