2019 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor: Uganda


In 2019, Uganda made a minimal advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The government adopted a new National Action Plan for the Elimination of Child Labor, and the Anti-Human Trafficking National Task Force published updated regulations to prevent trafficking in persons and drafted a new national action plan against human trafficking. In addition, the government approved funding to increase services to street children working in Kampala. However, despite new initiatives to address child labor, Uganda is receiving an assessment of minimal advancement because it implemented a regression in practice that delayed advancement to eliminate child labor. The government failed to take active measures to prosecute, convict, and sentence public officials, including police and immigration officers, who participate in or facilitate the worst forms of child labor, including child trafficking. Despite public acknowledgement by the Speaker of Parliament of official complicity in child trafficking, no government officials have been held accountable for their role in facilitating child trafficking. Children in Uganda engage in the worst forms of child labor in commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking. Children also perform dangerous tasks in gold mining. The lack of a centralized supervisory authority, and inadequate funding, training, and resources, hampered the capacity of law enforcement agencies to conduct child labor inspections and investigations. Gaps in the legal framework persist, including insufficient laws regulating the minimum age for employment and hazardous work. In addition, existing programs are inadequate to address child labor in the country.

I. Prevalence and Sectoral Distribution of Child Labor

Children in Uganda engage in the worst forms of child labor in commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking. (1-3) Children also perform dangerous tasks in gold mining. (4-7) Table 1 provides key indicators on children's work and education in Uganda.

Table 1. Statistics on Children’s Work and Education




Working (% and population)

5 to 14

22.2 (2,525,644)

Working children by sector

5 to 14











Attending School (%)

5 to 14


Combining Work and School (%)

7 to 14


Primary Completion Rate (%)



Source for primary completion rate: Data from 2017, published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2020. (8)
Source for all other data: International Labor Organization's analysis of statistics from Labour Force Survey (LFS), 2016–17. (9)

Based on a review of available information, Table 2 provides an overview of children's work by sector and activity.

Table 2. Overview of Children's Work by Sector and Activity




Cultivating and harvesting cocoa, coffee, corn, tea,† tobacco,† rice,† sugarcane,† and vanilla, and acting as scarecrows in rice fields (10-16)


Working with livestock, including herding cattle† (3,11,16-18)


Fishing,† including catching, smoking,† and selling fish, and paddling† and loading boats† (3,4,11,17,19)


Producing charcoal (11)


Collecting grasshoppers (3,17,18)


Construction,† including making and laying bricks (3,16,17)


Quarrying stone† and mining gold, sand,† and salt (3-5,11,17,20-22)


Manufacturing, including in steel rolling mills† and carpentry workshops† (3,11,17)


Domestic work† (1,3,4,16-18,23,24)


Street work, including vending,† begging,† car washing,† working as porters,† scavenging,† and collecting and selling scrap metal (1,3,11,17,18,25-28)


Working in hair salons, hotels,† restaurants,† bars,† and video halls† (3,11,16,17,25)


Collecting firewood for sale (29)


Producing alcoholic beverages (3,17,30)

Categorical Worst Forms of Child Labor‡

Commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking (1-3,17,18,25)


Forced labor in agriculture, fishing, cattle herding, working in bars and restaurants, begging, brickmaking, mining, stone quarrying, street vending, and domestic work, each sometimes as a result of human trafficking (2,17,18,28,30-32)


Use in the production of pornography and pornographic performances (3,17,33)


Use in illicit activities, including smuggling, burglary, and car and house break-ins, each sometimes as a result of human trafficking (3,11,17)

† Determined by national law or regulation as hazardous and, as such, relevant to Article 3(d) of ILO C. 182.
‡ Child labor understood as the worst forms of child labor per se under Article 3(a)–(c) of ILO C. 182.

The results from the last National Labour Force Survey, published in 2018, show that an estimated 2,057,000 children are in child labor, which is a slight increase from the previous 2011/2012 survey. (34) Children in Uganda, including boys and girls, are vulnerable to human trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation. (2) While child victims of human trafficking in Uganda have typically been trafficked internally from rural to urban areas, recent media reports highlighted the trafficking of children to countries such as Kenya and Somalia, some of whom were rumored in unverified media reports to have ended up in the hands of the terrorist group Al-Shabaab. (35,36) Some children were also trafficked as far as the Middle East and South Central Asia. (37) Children from rural areas, especially the Karamoja region, are vulnerable to human trafficking, and at times willingly migrate to Kampala and other urban centers, where they engage in begging, street vending, domestic work, and commercial sexual exploitation. (1,2,28) NGO and media reports have indicated that children from Karamoja are sold in open-air markets or through intermediaries and forced into domestic work, begging, herding, and commercial sexual exploitation. (3,38,39) Networks of traffickers run by "elders" force children into street begging and, for girls, into commercial sexual exploitation. These children are often physically abused for failing to meet quotas. (2) Children from neighboring countries are exploited in forced agricultural labor and commercial sexual exploitation in Uganda. (2)

Although the law provides for free compulsory education, the costs of school supplies, uniforms, and other materials often prohibit children from attending school. (3,4,7,40-42) Research also found that children experience physical and sexual abuse at school by teachers and classmates. (33,41) Furthermore, a lack of teachers and school infrastructure, and poor transportation in remote rural areas, have created barriers to children's access to education. (3,17,43) Although laws on free compulsory education apply equally to refugee children, a UNHCR report from 2018 notes that 149,806 refugee children are either not enrolled in or not attending school. Girls, especially those in refugee camps, are at particular risk of being out of school and vulnerable to exploitation due to pressure to undertake domestic duties, gender-based violence, and harassment. (37,44,45) In addition to the same obstacles faced by Ugandan children, refugee children may face discrimination from fellow pupils and teachers due to their refugee status, and they may also experience language barriers. (46) For a number of refugee settlements, such as Nakivale, schools are often located far from where refugees live and are inadequately equipped to meet the needs of the large student population. (47)

II. Legal Framework for Child Labor

Uganda has ratified most key international conventions concerning child labor (Table 3).

Table 3. Ratification of International Conventions on Child Labor



ILO C. 138, Minimum Age

ILO C. 182, Worst Forms of Child Labor


UN CRC Optional Protocol on Armed Conflict

UN CRC Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography

Palermo Protocol on Trafficking in Persons


The government has established laws and regulations related to child labor (Table 4). However, gaps exist in Uganda's legal framework to adequately protect children from the worst forms of child labor, including the minimum age for work.

Table 4. Laws and Regulations on Child Labor


Meets International Standards



Minimum Age for Work



Section 7 of the Children (Amendment) Act (48)

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work



Section 7 of the Children (Amendment) Act; Section 32 of the Employment Act; and Regulations 5 and 8 of the Employment (Employment of Children) Regulations (48-50)

Identification of Hazardous Occupations or Activities Prohibited for Children



Regulation 6 and the First Schedule of the Employment (Employment of Children) Regulations; Section 7 of the Children (Amendment) Act (48,50)

Prohibition of Forced Labor



Sections 2 and 5 of the Employment Act; Sections 3–5 of the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act (49,51)

Prohibition of Child Trafficking



Section 8 of the Children (Amendment) Act; Sections 2–5 of the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act (48,51)

Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children



Section 8A of the Children (Amendment) Act; Sections 2–5 of the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act; Sections 131and 139 of the Penal Code; and Section 14 of the Anti-Pornography Act (48,51-53)

Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities



Article 5(d) of the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act; Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Act (51, 85)

Minimum Age for Voluntary State Military Recruitment



Article 52(2)(c) of the Defence Forces Act (54)

Prohibition of Compulsory Recruitment of Children by (State) Military



Prohibition of Military Recruitment by Non-state Armed Groups



Section 5(b) of the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act (51)

Compulsory Education Age



Sections and 10(3)(a) of the Education Act (40)

Free Public Education



Section 10(3)(a) of the Education Act (40)

* No conscription (54)
‡ Age calculated based on available information (40)

In 2018, the government began a process to harmonize the country's legal provisions and bring the allowable minimum age for work in line with international standards. (17) The process will require approval from the cabinet, parliament, and the president before enactment and was expected to conclude in 2019. However, the finalization is now expected in 2020. (3)

Uganda's Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act complies with international standards on prohibiting child trafficking. However, the Children (Amendment) Act of 2016 conflicts with the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act in that it defines child trafficking as requiring force, fraud, or coercion. (48,51)

The law's minimum age protections do not apply to children working without a formal employment relationship, which does not conform to international standards that require all children to be protected by the minimum age to work. (49) Although Uganda has a list of hazardous occupations prohibited to children under age 18, Section 8 of the Employment of Children Regulations permits a commissioner to allow children age 12 and older enrolled in an educational training or apprenticeship program to engage in hazardous work, in violation of international standards. (50)

Children in Uganda are required to attend school only up to age 13. This standard makes children ages 13 to 15 vulnerable to child labor because they are not required to attend school, but are not legally permitted to work. (40) Finally, although Uganda has adopted policies to extend universal education through secondary level, by law free education is limited to the primary level. (40, 86)

III. Enforcement of Laws on Child Labor

The government has established institutional mechanisms for the enforcement of laws and regulations on child labor (Table 5). However, gaps exist within the authority of the Ministry of Gender, Labor, and Social Development (MGLSD) that may hinder adequate enforcement of their child labor laws.

Table 5. Agencies Responsible for Child Labor Law Enforcement



Ministry of Gender, Labor, and Social Development (MGLSD)

Sets labor inspection priorities and inspection guidelines. (43,55) Includes the Industrial Court, which judges labor dispute cases that are referred by labor officers. (11) Operates the Uganda Child Helpline known as Sauti. (56)

Ministry of Internal Affairs

Enforces criminal laws on the worst forms of child labor. The Uganda Police Force's Child and Family Protection Unit (CFPU) investigates forced labor cases, the Special Investigations Division and the Anti-Human Trafficking Desk investigate cases related to human trafficking and the use of children in illicit activities, and the Sexual Offenses Desk investigates commercial sexual exploitation. (11)

Ministry of Local Government

Oversees district labor officers who refer cases to the Industrial Court. (11) Deploys community development officers at the district level when district labor officers are not available. (29)

Directorate of Public Prosecutions

Prosecutes criminal cases related to the worst forms of child labor that are referred by the Uganda Police Force. (57)

Labor Law Enforcement

In 2019, labor law enforcement agencies in Uganda took actions to combat child labor (Table 6). However, gaps exist within the authority of the MGLSD that may hinder adequate labor law enforcement, including the ability to assess penalties.

Table 6. Labor Law Enforcement Efforts Related to Child Labor

Overview of Labor Law Enforcement



Labor Inspectorate Funding

Unknown (17)


Number of Labor Inspectors

73 (17)

81 (3)

Inspectorate Authorized to Assess Penalties

No (17)

No (3)

Initial Training for New Labor Inspectors

Yes (17)

Yes (3)

Training on New Laws Related to Child Labor

No (17)


Refresher Courses Provided

Yes (17)

Yes (3)

Number of Labor Inspections Conducted

Unknown (17)


Number Conducted at Worksite

Unknown (17)


Number of Child Labor Violations Found

Unknown (17)


Number of Child Labor Violations for Which Penalties Were Imposed

Unknown (17)


Number of Child Labor Penalties Imposed that Were Collected

Unknown (17)


Routine Inspections Conducted

Yes (17)

Yes (3)

Routine Inspections Targeted

Yes (17)

Yes (3)

Unannounced Inspections Permitted

Yes (17)

Yes (3)

Unannounced Inspections Conducted

Yes (17)

Yes (3)

Complaint Mechanism Exists

Yes (17)

Yes (3)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Labor Authorities and Social Services

Yes (17)

Yes (3)

In 2019, the government held three child labor-specific inspections in gold mining areas as part of World Day Against Child Labor. The government provided initial training for new inspectors during the reporting period, while existing inspectors received training at two stakeholder engagements held in February and August of 2019. (3) However, research indicates that the training was not sufficient because labor inspectors still lacked the expertise to follow through on child labor cases. Labor unions meanwhile noted that the number of inspections was insufficient and that inspections were only carried out when complaints were received. (3) Labor inspectors in Uganda have the authority to inspect private farms and residences, but the MGLSD noted that inspectors rarely exercise this authority despite the prevalence of child domestic labor in the country. (3)

Uganda is signatory to ILO Convention 81 that requires labor inspection to be placed under the supervision and control of a central authority. (58,59) Research found, however, that coordination among the various agencies responsible for child labor law enforcement remains a challenge because labor officers are under district government authority, rather than of the MGLSD. (60,61) For example, although under the Employment Act labor officers are required to submit monthly reports, in practice the MGLSD does not receive labor reports from districts. (55) In addition, due to budgetary limitations and a lack of child labor prioritization at the district level, the majority of districts in Uganda did not have labor officers and did not have sufficient funds to carry out inspections. (3,43) Research also found that follow-up inspections rarely happen due to insufficient funding at the district level. (55) Given the lack of resources for inspections, local civil society organizations often train labor inspectors and even assist them in conducting inspections. (17,30)

Research found that child labor cases rarely reach the Industrial Court because of poor monitoring and the court's limited access to communities outside of urban centers, where child labor is most likely to occur. (59) Finally, the number of labor inspectors is likely insufficient for the size of Uganda's workforce, which includes more than 15 million workers. According to the ILO's technical advice of a ratio approaching 1 inspector for every 40,000 workers in less developed countries, Uganda would employ about 400 inspectors. (62-65)

Criminal Law Enforcement

In 2019, criminal law enforcement agencies in Uganda took actions to combat child labor (Table 7). However, gaps exist within the operations of the criminal enforcement agencies that may hinder adequate criminal law enforcement, including training for criminal investigators.

Table 7. Criminal Law Enforcement Efforts Related to Child Labor

Overview of Criminal Law Enforcement



Initial Training for New Criminal Investigators

Yes (17)

No (3)

Training on New Laws Related to the Worst Forms of Child Labor

No (17)


Refresher Courses Provided

Yes (17)

No (3)

Number of Investigations

30 (62)


Number of Violations Found

155 (62)


Number of Prosecutions Initiated

Unknown (17)


Number of Convictions

Unknown (17)


Imposed Penalties for Violations Related to The Worst Forms of Child Labor

Unknown (63)


Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Criminal Authorities and Social Services

Yes (17)

Yes (3)

In October 2019, Uganda's Parliamentary Speaker acknowledged that immigration officials are complicit and involved in human trafficking, including the trafficking of children. (35) Research has also found that some police are allegedly complicit in the commercial sexual exploitation of child refugees. Meanwhile, other high-level government officials own or are associated with labor recruitment companies and networks of traffickers run by "elders" that engage in child trafficking. (2,35,63) The involvement of government officials in trafficking networks has significantly impeded operations against the worst forms of child labor. (2) Uganda's State House Anti-Corruption Unit, which works on human trafficking issues on an ad hoc basis, has initiated some investigations related to official complicity in human trafficking, but has not made any of these reports public, nor has it arrested any government officials. (35) Although complicity in trafficking in persons by officials has long been a concern in Uganda, the government has made very limited efforts to investigate such allegations and failed to initiate any prosecutions or achieve any convictions of complicit government officials. (2)

Reports have also indicated that investigators rarely follow up on domestic child labor claims. When child domestic workers complain to their employers for not being paid, the employers report the children to the police for theft and police subsequently treat them as criminals rather than as victims who have not been paid for their work. (3)

Research found that street children, including potential human trafficking victims and child laborers, have faced conflict with local authorities and are sometimes detained and beaten by police. (2,39,64,66) According to the government, police officers identify and refer street children to probation officers and civil society organizations to place children in homes and shelters and do not keep them in detention facilities; however, some children may have been housed in juvenile rehabilitation centers because shelters are frequently full. Police intermittently rounded up street children, housed them in children's homes and shelters for several days while social workers completed background checks and family tracing, and then returned them to their families. (67,68)

In December 2019, Ugandan authorities prevented 96 teenage girls from being trafficked to Kenya. In January of 2020. Ugandan and Kenyan authorities cooperated to investigate the trafficking of another group of 96 Karamajong teenage girls who were identified in Nairobi and placed in the care of the Ugandan Ministry for Gender, Labour and Social Development for family reunification. (35,37,69,70)

Research indicates there is not a sufficient number of criminal law enforcement officials responsible for investigating child labor. (11) The Uganda Police Force's Child and Family Protection Unit also noted that none of its investigators received training in child labor issues in 2019, though the Kampala Capital City Authority indicated it provided training for its own officers and for officers in other Ugandan agencies on conducting rescues of street children. (3) Training is insufficient, in part due to regular staff turnover and transfers. Some criminal law enforcement officials were not aware of key human trafficking laws, and some officers misclassified cases, conducted insufficient investigations, or encouraged victims to accept payment from their traffickers to settle cases. (2,30,35)

IV. Coordination of Government Efforts on Child Labor

The government has established mechanisms to coordinate its efforts to address child labor (Table 8). However, gaps exist that hinder the effective coordination of efforts to address child labor, including funding.

Table 8. Key Mechanisms to Coordinate Government Efforts on Child Labor

Coordinating Body

Role & Description

National Steering Committee on the Elimination of Child Labor

Coordinates child labor issues and implements the National Action Plan for the Elimination of Child Labor. Led by MGLSD, includes members from several ministries, CFPU, trade unions, development organizations, civil society, and media agencies. (17) Met quarterly in 2019 and coordinated World Day Against Child Labor activities in Busia district. (3)

Uganda Parliament Forum for Children (UPFC)

Multi-partisan body of Members of Parliament focused on issues affecting Ugandan children, particularly those in vulnerable situations, including street children. In 2019, the UPFC conducted a fact-finding mission to eastern Uganda to investigate reports of children sold at a local market. (3)

Anti-Human Trafficking National Taskforce

Coordinates government efforts on human trafficking. Led by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, includes 30 members from government agencies and civil society. (69) Met eight times in 2019. In collaboration with the Coordination Office for Prevention of Trafficking in Persons, the Taskforce published the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Regulations in 2019, and worked to finalize the National Referral Guidelines and national action plan. (3) The Taskforce also organized the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons event in conjunction with local NGOs and held on July 30th, which was the first time Uganda had marked the day. (3)

National Child Protection Working Group

Monitors the quality of services provided to orphans and vulnerable children. Led by MGLSD, includes members from five government agencies and civil society organizations. (11) Members met quarterly in 2019 to share respective activities over the course of the reporting period. (3)

National Children's Authority

Works to ensure that member organizations integrate child labor concerns into their policies and budgets. Members include 10 government agencies. (11) The National Children's Authority was inactive during the reporting period due to a lack of funding, according to MGLSD. (3)

The Stop Child Labor Partners Forum, which was created to coordinate, monitor and evaluate child labor-related programs and policies in Uganda, met one time in 2019; the MGLSD noted that additional meetings were not possible due to a lack of funding. (3)

V. Government Policies on Child Labor

The government has established policies related to child labor (Table 9). However, policy gaps exist that hinder efforts to address child labor, including implementation.

Table 9. Key Policies Related to Child Labor



National Action Plan for the Elimination of Child Labor 2017/2018–2021/2022†

Aims to reduce child labor in Uganda by 4 percent by 2022 through strengthening governmental frameworks on child labor, increasing coordination, expanding access to social services for children, enhancing research and advocacy, and improving the Monitoring and Evaluation System for the elimination of child labor. The government approved the plan in February 2019 and it was officially launched in April 2019. (3,71,72)

National Social Protection Policy

Aims to reduce poverty and socioeconomic inequalities for inclusive development by targeting vulnerable people, including child laborers. (74) In November 2019, the Kampala Capital City Authority, in collaboration with UNICEF, launched "Girls Empowering Girls," an urban social protection program for 1,500 adolescent girls in Kampala. (3)

National Strategy for Girls' Education in Uganda (2015–2019)

Promoted girls' education and identified child labor, particularly domestic work, as a key barrier to girls' access to education. (70) The policy ended in 2019. During the reporting period, the Ministry of Education began drafting a new plan for 2020–2025 that is expected to be completed in 2020. (3)

National Multi-Sectoral Coordination Framework for Adolescent Girls (2017/2018–2021/2022)

Coordinates government, civil society, and community efforts to provide services and programs that focus on issues affecting adolescent girls ages 10 to 19, including exploitation in domestic work and gender-based violence in schools. (17,75) Research was unable to determine whether activities were undertaken to implement the National Multi-Sectoral Coordination Framework for Adolescent Girls during the reporting period.

† Policy was approved during the reporting period.

‡ The government had other policies that may have addressed child labor issues or had an impact on child labor. (76,77)

Uganda launched a new National Action Plan on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor, but because of the decentralized nature of inspections in Uganda, some districts have developed their own labor action plans that do not always reflect MGLSD priorities. (59)

VI. Social Programs to Address Child Labor

In 2019, the government funded and participated in programs that include the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor (Table 10). However, gaps exist in these social programs, including the adequacy of efforts to address the problem in all sectors.

Table 10. Key Social Programs to Address Child Labor



Combating Child Labor in Tobacco Growing (2013–2021)

Eliminating Child Labor in Tobacco Growing Foundation (ECLT)-funded program implemented by ILO that improves the capacity of the government and social partners to develop and implement policies to combat child labor in agriculture. (71,78) The ECLT indicated during the reporting period that it had prevented or withdrawn 2,800 children from engaging in child labor and reached 3,400 households through livelihood and literacy programs. (3)

Uganda Child Helpline (Sauti)†

Funded primarily by UNICEF with in-kind contributions from MGLSD, comprises District Action Centers (DACs) and a physical call center located in Wakiso that screens all calls on reported cases of child abuse. Caseworkers at DACs follow up directly on cases of child abuse, including child labor and exploitation, assigned to them by the National Call Center and liaise with local authorities to address the reported incidents. (56) In 2019, reported receiving 71 calls related to child labor, including 2 involving commercial sexual exploitation of children, and 42 child trafficking cases. The Helpline coordinated with law enforcement and local authorities to initiate investigations into cases. (3,35)

Realizing Livelihood Improvement Through Savings and Education 2019–2021*†

NGO-implemented program in partnership with the government that focuses on addressing child labor issues in tobacco-growing regions. (33,79) The project was relaunched during the reporting period to cover more areas in the Hoima and Kikube districts. (79) ECLT, through its implementing partners Uganda Women's Effort to Save Orphans and the Uganda ECLT Affiliate Office, worked with 12 schools, with an average of 400 children per school, in 2019. The program trained teachers, held community meetings to discuss child labor, and dispersed learning materials and sanitary products. (3)

Back Home Campaign for Karamoja Children†

Government program that rescues Karamoja street children working in Kampala and places them in newly completed rehabilitation centers in Wakiso and Moroto districts before reuniting them with their families. (17,80) In 2019, the Ugandan cabinet approved approximately $1.5 million in funding as part of a strategic action plan that aims to expand efforts to remove street children working in Kampala and provide services. (81)

* Program was launched during the reporting period.

† Program is funded by the Government of Uganda.
‡ The government had other social programs that may have included the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor. (82-84)

Although Uganda has implemented programs that address child labor, the scope of these programs is insufficient to fully address the extent of the problem, particularly in agriculture and commercial sexual exploitation. For example, the government lacks its own facilities to house child victims of labor exploitation or human trafficking, and must instead rely on local community services organizations. (3) Furthermore, the MGLSD has noted that programs are concentrated in specific districts and thus do not cover child labor issues throughout the country. (3)

VII. Suggested Government Actions to Eliminate Child Labor
Table 11. Suggested Government Actions to Eliminate Child Labor


Suggested Action

Year(s) Suggested

Legal Framework

Ratify the Palermo Protocol on Trafficking in Persons.

2013 – 2019


Ensure that all children are protected by the minimum age law, including children who do not work under a formal employment relationship.

2016 – 2019


Ensure that only minors age 16 and older who have received adequate, specific instruction or vocational training are permitted to perform hazardous work, and that their health, safety, and morals are fully protected.

2017 – 2019


Align the definition of child trafficking in the Children (Amendment) Act with international standards by ensuring that force, fraud, or coercion are not required elements in child trafficking cases.



Ensure that the law requires free, compulsory education up to age 16 so that it is commensurate with the minimum age for work.

2009 – 2019


Publish information on the labor inspectorate's funding, number of labor inspections conducted, number of child labor violations found, number of child labor penalties imposed, and number of penalties collected.

2013 – 2019


Enhance the authority of the labor inspectorate by enabling it to assess penalties and ensure the inspectorate is utilizing its existing authorities to inspect private farms and homes and to conduct sufficient routine and unannounced inspections.

2017 – 2019


Provide sufficient training to labor inspectors, initial training to new criminal investigators, and refresher training to existing investigators, to ensure officials understand and are able to identify, categorize, and investigate child labor cases.



Ensure coordination between the Ministry of Gender, Labor, and Social Development and the Ministry of Local Government so that labor dispute cases are referred to the Industrial Court.

2015 – 2019


Provide the labor inspectorate with sufficient funding and resources at the district level to ensure inspectors are present in all districts and are able to carry out their duties.

2013 – 2019


Improve coordination between national and district level child labor enforcement bodies to ensure that relevant data is shared, child labor inspections are prioritized across the country, and funding for labor inspectorate operations is adequate in all districts.



Ensure that child labor cases reach the Industrial Court and that penalties are assessed by addressing monitoring issues, combating corruption, and improving the court's reach outside of urban centers.



Significantly increase the number of labor inspectors to meet the ILO's technical advice and increase the number of personnel responsible for investigating criminal violations of laws related to child labor.

2009 – 2019


Publish disaggregated data on prosecutions initiated, convictions achieved, number of investigations, and number of violations for the worst forms of child labor.

2017 – 2019


Investigate, prosecute, and where appropriate, convict and sentence government officials for their role in the worst forms of child labor, including child trafficking.



Strengthen mechanisms for following up on child labor claims and referring street children, including potential human trafficking victims, to social services providers, and prevent these children from being detained by police.

2015 – 2019


Ensure that coordinating mechanisms are active and sufficiently funded to be able to operate and carry out their mandates.


Government Policies

Ensure that district labor action plans reflect the Ministry of Gender, Labor, and Social Development's priorities.

2018 – 2019


Ensure that existing policies addressing child labor are implemented as intended.

2018 – 2019

Social Programs

Enhance efforts to eliminate barriers and make education accessible for all children by eliminating costs for supplies, uniforms and materials; addressing physical and sexual violence; and ensuring sufficient teachers, infrastructure and transportation in rural areas.

2012 – 2019


Enhance efforts to ensure that refugee children have equal access to educational opportunities by addressing gender-based violence, harassment, and refugee discrimination; accommodating the language needs of refugee students; and ensuring that there are well-equipped schools accessible to refugee settlements.

2012 – 2019


Ensure the availability of shelters for victims of child labor, including child trafficking victims.

2017 – 2019


Expand existing social programs to address the scope of the child labor problem, particularly in agriculture and commercial sexual exploitation, in all areas of the country.

2009 – 2019

  1. ANPPCAN-Uganda. Annual Situation Analysis on Karamojong Children and Families' Street Migration in Uganda. April 2015.
    Source of file.

  2. U.S. Department of State. Trafficking in Persons Report- 2019: Uganda. Washington, DC, June 20, 2019.

  3. U.S. Embassy- Kampala. Reporting. January 9, 2020.

  4. World Education/Bantwana. Africa Youth Empowerment Development Initiative Baseline Report. December 2014. Source on file.

  5. Nakabugo, Zurah. Uganda- Where Pupils, Teachers, Parents Prefer Gold Mining to Schooling. The Observer (Kampala). June 12, 2017.

  6. Schipper, Irene et al. No Golden Future: Use of child labour in gold mining in Uganda. SOMO. April 2016.

  7. Platform for Labour Action. Child Labour in Gold Mining: A Study of Bugiri and Moroto Districts of Uganda. 2017.

  8. UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary education, both sexes (%) Accessed March 1, 2020. For more information, please see "Children's Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions" in the Reference Materials section of this report.

  9. ILO. Analysis of Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Statistics from National Household or Child Labor Surveys. Original data from Labour Force Survey (LFS), 2016–17. Analysis received March 2020. Please see "Children's Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions" in the Reference Materials section of this report.

  10. O'Dowd, Vinnie, and Danny Vincent. Catholic Church linked to Uganda child labour. BBC News. January 5, 2016.

  11. U.S. Embassy- Kampala. Reporting. January 15, 2016.

  12. Ngware, Moses et al. The Quality of Education in Uganda: A Case of Iganga and Mayuge Districts. Nairobi, African Population and Health Research Center, May 2016.

  13. Nakato, Tausi. Uganda - Luuka Pupils Abandon School to work on Sugarcane Plantations. The Monitor, Kampala, July 4, 2017.

  14. Austin, Kelly. Brewing Unequal Exchanges in Coffee: A Qualitative Investigation into the Consequences of the Java Trade in Rural Uganda. Journal of World-Systems Research 23, 2 (2017).

  15. Walakira, Eddy et al. The State of the Ugandan Child – An Analytical Overview. November 2015.

  16. Uganda Bureau of Statistics. The National Labour Force and Child Activities Survey 2011/12. Kampala, July 2013.
    http://www.ubos.org/onlinefiles/uploads/ubos/pdf documents/NCLS Report 2011_12.pdf.

  17. U.S. Embassy- Kampala. Reporting. January 11, 2019.

  18. Uganda Child Helpline official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. April 26, 2019.

  19. Yolisigira, Yazid. Mayuge pupils prefer fishing to studying. The Daily Monitor. August 25, 2016.

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