The fight against child labor: The US Government ranks Côte d’Ivoire among the 4 countries that have made significant progress

It’s another trophy for Côte d’Ivoire in its commitment to the fight against child labor. The American government has just ranked Côte d’Ivoire among the top 4 countries that have made significant progress in the fight against child labor. According to the latest USDOL report on the worst forms of child labor, entitled “Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor”, four (04) countries out of 131, compared with 9 last year, received the highest rating, i.e. significant progress in the fight against child labor. These are Argentina, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire and Uzbekistan.  Côte d’Ivoire is therefore the only African country among the four to receive the highest rating.

This new ranking in the USDOL Report acknowledges the tireless efforts undertaken since 2011 and the leadership of the First Lady, Ms Dominique Ouattara, who has been committed to the fight against this phenomenon since 2011.

Ms Dominique Ouattara was appointed head of the National Oversight Committee for Actions to Combat Trafficking, Exploitation and Child Labor (CNS) on November 03, 2011 by the President of the Republic. To this end, she has worked with national and international partners to eliminate this scourge in Côte d’Ivoire and the West African sub-region.

The committee’s mission is to monitor and evaluate government action to combat child exploitation. The activities of the CNS and its partners have led to the successive adoption of two National Action Plans (2012-2014 then 2015-2017), to significantly reduce the worst forms of child labor in the country. The third (2019-2023) is currently underway.

The First lady’s most recent project to adress child labor is  the construction of three transit centers for children, in the towns of Soubré, Ferkessédougou and Bouaké (Côte d’Ivoire), to help children who were rescued from the hands of trafickers. These transit centers provide the assistance and protection needed to keep children stable and reintegrate them into their families. The first of them, opened its doors in Soubré in April 2018 and the last of them in Ferkessédougou on Thursday, October 28, 2021. The Soubré and Ferkessédougou centers are transit centers designed to combat trafficking, exploitation and child labor. The Bouaké center is a rehabilitation center for minors.

In the same vein, and thanks to Ms Dominique Ouattara’s intervention with the International Labour Office, a list of hazardous work, and light work allowed for children aged 13 to 17, have been drawn up. This is indeed a sign of significant progress in the fight against child labor, which has earned Côte d’Ivoire a favorable reclassification by the United States in the list of countries making considerable efforts to eradicate this phenomenon.

Ms Dominique Ouattara has also fostered the involvement of other First Ladies on this issue by hosting the Conference of First Ladies of West Africa and the Sahel held in Abidjan in November 2017.

 In addition, six (06) regional branches of the Criminal Police Sub-Directorate in charge of trafficking and juvenile delinquency are open in San-Pedro, Soubré, Bouaké, Bondoukou, Man and Korhogo.  With a staff of 200 police officers, these regional branches enable this special unit of the national police force to cover the entire country and stop child traffickers and exploiters.

All these bold measures have enabled Côte d’Ivoire to be recognized by the American government as one of only four (04) countries out of a total of 131 to have made significant progress in the fight against child labor.