2012 Child Labor in Jordan

 Full Report - PDF File  النسخة العربية

Executive Summary

·   Jordan has made moderate efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor, including the creation of a National Committee on Child Labor, the adoption of child labor enrichment materials, the creation of a subcommittee to address child labor issues among Syrian refugee populations, and enhancements to the National Framework to Combat Child Labor

·   However, the law lacks protections against some of the worst forms of labor, such as prostitution for boys under 18 and work in dangerous activities

Key Findings


·   Among children aged 5-14 years, less than 1% are working, 95% are in school, and 0.7% are both working and attending school. The primary completion rate is 89.9%

·   The majority of child labor is in services (48.8%), while 40.5% is in agriculture and 8% is in manufacturing

·   Agricultural work is dangerous for children, as they may use dangerous tools, carry heavy loads, and apply harmful pesticides. Boys sometimes work in hazardous activities in electrical repair and mine construction

·   Syrian child refugees are involved in some of the worst forms of child labor. Children aged 12-18 may be required to work 12 hours a day, and girls may be married off in non-consensual marriages to wealthy men then later abandoned or forced into prostitution in some cases

Laws and Regulations

·   The minimum age for work is 16 and 18 for hazardous work. Children under 18 years are prevented from working on the weekends, nights, or more than 6 hours a day

·   Children are required to attend school until 16 years of age, and there is free public education though costs of schooling such as books, uniforms, and transportation are not covered

·   Labor code protections do not apply to children who work in family businesses or the agricultural sector, which employ many children

·   The Anti-Human Trafficking Law prohibits all forms of human trafficking. The Penal Code prohibits solicitation of sex from a male under 18 or a female of any age.  A women under 20 may not be procured for prostitution, though these protections do not protect boys aged 15-18

Mechanisms for Coordination and Enforcement

·   Jordan contains numerous official mechanisms for dealing with child labor

·   The National Committee on Child Labor forms new policy and oversees policy implementation. In light of the Syrian crisis, the NCCL has also become responsible for Syrian child labor. The NCCL’s main work product has been a web-based national child labor database for the Ministry of Labor

·   The Ministry of Labor’s Directorate of Labor Affairs and Inspection is the main government body responsible for conducting investigations into child labor

·   The National Committee for the Prevention of Human Trafficking coordinates and implements the National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking

·   The National Framework to Combat Child Labor (NFCL) is tasked with referring child laborers to social support centers, non-formal education centers, or other NGOs. The NFCL’s implementation has been delayed since it was approved in 2011

Social Programs to Mitigate Child Labor

·   The Government has partnered with donor agencies to enact development programs to combat child labor. Key donor agencies are the US Department of Labor and UNICEF

·   Key initiatives to combat child labor include: delivering non-formal education and vocational training, conducting awareness activities on the damage child labor causes to communities, and providing cash transfers to vulnerable families

Recommended Actions and Initiatives

Improve Laws and Regulations

·   Enact laws to increase the protection of children who work in the agricultural sector

·   Amend the penal code to ensure that prostitution of males under 18 is prohibited

·   Enact the NFCL and address the impact of existing social protection policies on child labor

Coordination and Enforcement

·   Increase funding to the Directorate of Labor Affairs and Inspection to increase its child labor inspection and reporting capacities

·   Establish a coordinating mechanism to address third-country child domestic workers

Social Programs

·   Assess the impact the existing education and social protection programs may have on addressing child labor

·   Increase protection programs for working children in vulnerable sectors, such as agriculture

·   Conduct research on begging rings, under-age forced marriages, and commercialized sexual exploitation

·   Develop a monitoring mechanism for street children once they leave shelters


Report Name



2012 Child Labor in Jordan


Not Available


Supporting Donor

US Department of Labor

US Department of Labor


Lead Ministry

Social Policy

Not Available

Key Topics

Agriculture – Anti-Human Trafficking Law – Child Labor – Forced Marriages – National Child Labor Database – National Committee on Child Labor – National Framework to Combat Child Labor – Non-formal education – Penal Code – Prostitution – Syrian Refugees


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