LIBERIA: Labor Ministry Releases Child Labor Survey

The Labor Ministry has released its Child Labor Survey, revealing that some three-quarters (78.8 percent) of Liberian children work in the agriculture, forestry and fishery industries.

The survey indicated that 13.5 percent of children work in the wholesale and retail industries, while 3.1 percent work in the manufacturing industry and 2.9 percent in the accommodation and food industries.

The survey also disclosed that across the regions almost two out of five children aged between 6 and 17 years in north-central Liberia were in employment, while north-western Liberia came second with an estimated of 26.3 percent, which is equivalent to 64,000 children.

Greater Monrovia came last with only 2.8 per cent of children resident there in employment.    

According to the survey, the number of children who were attending school in 2010 was estimated at 738,100 or 87.7 per cent of the total number of children.

The survey put the proportion of boys in school at 50.6 per cent, while the proportion of girls was put at 49.4 percent, indicating that boys in school were higher than girls in school by only 1.2 percent.

The report observed that the Liberia’s Labor Law section 74 prohibits employing or hiring a child under the age of 16 at any time of the month when school is in session.

The survey revealed that Liberia’s population of children from 6 to 17 years old was 937,310 in 2010 and that out these children, 15 years and below accounted for 86.9 percent of all children between the ages of 6 to 17 years.   

The survey further indicated that almost three out of 10 of these children lived either in Greater Monrovia or in north-central Liberia, while 18.8 percent lived in the south-central region and the rest of each of the other regions was less than 7 percent.

The survey was conducted in north-western Liberia, which includes Grand Cape Mount, Bomi and Gbarpolu Counties and north-central Liberia which includes Lofa, Bong and Nimba Counties.

Also covered in the survey is south-central Liberia, which includes Margibi, Grand Bassa and rural Montserrado counties; southeastern Liberia A, which includes Grand Gedeh, Sinoe and Rivercess Counties, while southeastern Liberia B comprises River Gee, Maryland, Grand Kru Counties and Greater Monrovia.

According to the Labor Ministry, the Child Labor Survey is intended to provide national and regional estimates of the extent of child labor and child employment in Liberia.

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