Gov’t And NGO Says Child Abuse Remains A Significant Problem

2020 US Human Rights Report 

Child Abuse: The law provides a legal framework, including within domestic violence laws, for the protection of children.

The Family Services Division of the Ministry of Social Development monitored and protected the welfare of children. The division referred all reports of child abuse to police for action and provided assistance in cases where children applied for protection orders with the family court.

Child abuse cases were reported. Unlawful sexual intercourse with children younger than age 15 remained a problem, with some cases possibly linked to transactional sex. Government and NGO interlocutors indicated that child abuse remained a significant problem.

Child, Early, and Forced Marriage: The legal minimum age for marriage is 18. Parental consent is required for underage marriage.

Sexual Exploitation of Children: The law does not include provisions that expressly prohibit the use of children for prostitution, pornography, or pornographic performances.

The law prohibits girls younger than age 15 and boys younger than 16 from engaging in consensual sexual relations, and the government enforced the law. The law prohibits statutory rape, with special provisions for persons younger than age 13. Observers noted that male and female teenagers engaged in prostitution and transactional sex.

NGO and government representatives reported some mothers pressured their daughters to have sexual relations with older men as a way to generate family income. Government officials conducted sensitization workshops in the community and schools to address the problem.

International Child Abductions: The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

PROHIBITION OF CHILD LABOR AND MINIMUM AGE FOR EMPLOYMENT

The law bars the worst forms of child labour and sets the minimum working age at 14. Compulsory education ends at age 16. The law prohibits children and youth from working between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Children younger than age 18 may not work for more than 12 hours a day. The laws and regulations do not specify the types of hazardous work prohibited to children.

The government did not effectively enforce child labour laws, and penalties were not commensurate with those for analogous crimes. The Department of Labor did not conduct any inspections specifically related to child labour.

Instead, the government relied on general labour inspections to identify any child labour violations, but these inspectors had no specialized training on identifying child labour.

The government, however, reported hiring an additional labour inspector to improve overall labour enforcement. There were no reported complaints related to child labour.

Covered under national trafficking-in-persons legislation, penalties for child labour could result in 20 years imprisonment and were sufficient to deter violations.

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