Data Dashboards

Bhutan
Measurement
Measuring the Change

using prevalence data providing the widest temporal coverage of the most complete and comparable measures available by ICLS standards.

Child labour data with a complete statistical definition is only provided for 2003. There is no change to report.

Best Target 8.7 Data: Child Labour Rate

The data visualization displays yearly child labour statistics based on a variety of nationally-representative household surveys. All years of data hold up to standards set by interagency collaboration between ILO, UNICEF and World Bank, though, in some cases are not perfectly comparable between years. Detailed information on each data point is provided in the Measurement tab (above).

Data Availability
  • Child labour: ILO/UNICEF data
  • Forced labour: No nationally representative data
  • Human trafficking: No nationally representative data
Context
Human Development

Human Development Index Score: 0.617 (2018)

Mean School Years: 3.1 years (2018)

Labour Indicators

Vulnerable Employment: 71.3% (2018)

Working Poverty Rate: 1.1% (2020)

Government Efforts
Key Ratifications
  • ILO Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, P029: Not Ratified
  • ILO Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, C182: Not Ratified
  • UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (Palermo Protocol): Not Ratified
National Strategies
Social Protection Coverage

General (at least one): No data

Unemployed: No data

Pension: 3.2% (2012)

Vulnerable: No data

Children: No data

Disabled: No data

Poor: No data

Measurement of child labour prevalence has evolved considerably over the past two decades. Estimates of child labour incidence are more robust and exist for more countries than any other form of exploitation falling under SDG Target 8.7.

Child Labour Rate, Aged 5-17 (Source: ILO)

Based on the international conventions and the International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS)  resolution, and consistent with the approach utilized in the ILO global child labour estimates exercise, the statistical definition of child labour used includes:

a) children aged 5-11 years in all forms of economic activity;
b) children aged 12-14 years in all forms of economic activity except permissible “light” work;
c) children and adolescents aged 15-17 years in hazardous work; and
d) children aged 5-14 years performing household chores for at least 21 hours per week.

Only the measure provided for 2003 covers the full definition of hazardous work and cannot be compared directly with data from other sample years.

The chart displays differences in the percentage of children aged 5-17 in child labour by sex and region. Complete disaggregated data is only provided for 2010.

Children in Hazardous Work, Aged 5-14 (Source: ILO)

Hazardous child labour is the largest category of the worst forms of child labour with an estimated 73 million children aged 5-17 working in dangerous conditions in a wide range of sectors. Worldwide, the ILO estimates that some 22,000 children are killed at work every year.

In Bhutan, the latest estimates show that 0.1 percent of children aged 5-14 were engaged in hazardous work in 2010.

Only the measure provided for 2003 covers the full definition of hazardous work and cannot be compared directly with data from other sample years.

The chart displays differences in the percentage of children aged 5-14 in hazardous labour by sex and region. Complete disaggregated data to compare groups is only provided for 2010.

Children in Hazardous Work, Aged 15-17 (Source: ILO)

Children aged 15-17 are permitted to engage in economic activities by international conventions in most cases, except when the work is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children (Article 3 (d) of ILO Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour, 1999 (No. 182)). 

 In Bhutan, the latest estimates show that 1.6 percent of children aged 15-17 were engaged in hazardous work in 2010.

Only the measure provided for 2003 covers the full definition of hazardous work and cannot be compared directly with data from other sample years.

The chart displays differences in the percentage of children aged 15-17 in hazardous labour by sex and region. Complete disaggregated data to compare groups is only provided for 2010.

Weekly Work Hours, Children Aged 5-14 (Source: ILO)

Children aged 5-11 are considered to be subjected to child labour when engaging in any form of economic activity. Children aged 12-14 are permitted to engage in “light” work that is not considered hazardous and falls below 14 hours per week.

According to the latest 2010 estimates, the average number of hours worked per week by children aged 5-14 in Bhutan was 10.1 hours. The average number of hours worked has decreased from 44.7 hours in 2003.

The chart displays differences in the number of hours that children aged 5-14 work in economic activities by sex and region. The sample includes all children of this age group. Complete disaggregated data to compare groups is only provided for 2010. 

Weekly Work Hours Children Only in Economic Activity, Aged 5-14 (Source: ILO)

Children not attending school who are engaged in economic activity can be subjected to longer working hours. 

In 2010, the latest year with available data, children in economic activity only, meaning they are not in school, worked an average of 17.1 hours per week. This number has decreased since 2003, when the average number of hours worked by this age group was 44.9 

The chart displays differences in the number of hours worked by children aged 5-14 who are not in school, by sex and region. Complete disaggregated data to compare groups is only provided for 2010.

Weekly Hours Household Chores, Children Aged 5-14 (Source: ILO)

Researchers recognize that children involved in economic activities are not the only children working. The ICLS recommended definition of child labour includes children aged 5-14 performing household chores for at least 21 hours per week. 

Children aged 5-14, on average, are found to work on household chores 6.2 hours per week according to the 2010 estimate.

The chart displays differences in the number of hours children aged 5-14 work on household chores by sex and region. Complete disaggregated data to compare groups is provided for 2010. 

 

Children in Economic Activity by Sector, Aged 5-14: total (Source: ILO)

Identifying the sectors in which the most child labour exists can help policy actors and practitioners target efforts toward those industries. 

The latest data available on child labour by sector for Bhutan is from 2003. By the 2003 estimate, the Agriculture sector had the most child labourers, followed by the Other Services sector, the Commerce, Hotels and Restaurants sector, and the manufacturing sector. 

The chart to the right displays child labour prevalence in each sector for all children. The charts below show the differences in child labour by sector with comparisons between groups by sex and region.

Children in Economic Activity by Sector, Aged 5-14: sex (Source: ILO)

Measuring the incidence of forced labour is a much more recent endeavour and presents unique methodological challenges compared to the measurement of child labour.

No nationally representative data is available on forced labour prevalence in Bhutan.

Visit the How to Measure the Change page for information on new guidelines presented by the International Labour Organization and adopted by the International Conference of Labour Statisticians.

The challenges in estimating human trafficking are similar to those of estimating forced labour, though recent innovations in estimation have begun to produce prevalence estimates in developed countries.

No nationally representative data is available on human trafficking prevalence in Bhutan.

Visit the How to Measure the Change page to learn about measuring human trafficking prevalence, including information on collecting data through national referral mechanisms and producing prevalence statistics using Multiple Systems Estimation (MSE).

Case Data: International and Non-Governmental Organizations

Civil society organizations (CSOs) focused on human trafficking victim assistance can serve as crucial sources of data given their ability to reach a population that is notoriously difficult to sample.

Counter Trafficking Data Collaborative (CTDC): The International Organization for Migration (IOM), Polaris and Liberty Asia have launched a global data repository on human trafficking, with data contributed by counter-trafficking partner organizations around the world. Not only does the CTDC serve as a central repository for this critical information, it also publishes normed and harmonized data from various organizations using a unified schema. This global dataset facilitates an unparalleled level of cross-border, trans-agency analysis and provides the counter-trafficking movement with a deeper understanding of this complex issue. Equipped with this information, decision makers will be empowered to create more targeted and effective intervention strategies.

Prosecution Data

UNODC compiles a global dataset on detected and prosecuted traffickers, which serves as the basis in their Global Report for country profiles. This information is beginning to paint a picture of trends over time, and case-specific information can assist investigators and prosecutors.

Key aspects of human development, such as poverty and lack of education, are found to be associated with risk of exploitation. Policies that address these issues may indirectly contribute to getting us closer to achieving Target 8.7.

Human Development Index (Source: UNDP)

The Human Development Index (HDI) is a summary measure of achievements in three key dimensions of human development: (1) a long and healthy life; (2) access to knowledge; and (3) a decent standard of living. Human development can factor into issues of severe labour exploitation in multiple ways.

The chart displays information on human development in Bhutan between 2005 and 2018. Only certain sample years have data disaggregated by sex. 

The most recent year of the HDI, 2018, shows that the average human development score in Bhutan is 0.617. This score indicates that human development is medium. 

 

HDI Education Index (Source: UNDP)

Lack of education and illiteracy are key factors that make both children and adults more vulnerable to exploitive labour conditions.

As the seminal ILO report Profits and Poverty explains:

“Adults with low education levels and children whose parents are not educated are at higher risk of forced labour. Low education levels and illiteracy reduce employment options for workers and often force them to accept work under poor conditions. Furthermore, individuals who can read contracts may be in a better position to recognize situations that could lead to exploitation and coercion.”

The bars on the chart represent the Education Index score and the line traces the mean years of education in Bhutan over time.

 

Decent work, a major component of SDG 8 overall, has clear implications on the forms of exploitation within Target 8.7. Identifying shortcomings in the availability of equitable, safe and stable employment can be a step in the right direction towards achieving Target 8.7.

HDI Vulnerable Employment (Source: UNDP)

There are reasons to believe that certain types of labour and labour arrangements are more likely to lead to labour exploitation. According to the ILO:

“Own-account workers and contributing family workers have a lower likelihood of having formal work arrangements, and are therefore more likely to lack elements associated with decent employment, such as adequate social security and a voice at work. The two statuses are summed to create a classification of ‘vulnerable employment’, while wage and salaried workers together with employers constitute ‘non-vulnerable employment’.”

Between 1991 and 2018, Bhutan showed a decrease in the proportion of workers in vulnerable employment as compared to those in secure employment.

 

Working Poverty Rate (Source: ILO)

Labour income tells us about a household’s vulnerability. As the ILO explains in Profits and Poverty

“Poor households find it particularly difficult to deal with income shocks, especially when they push households below the food poverty line. In the presence of such shocks, men and women without social protection nets tend to borrow to smooth consumption, and to accept any job for themselves or their children, even under exploitative conditions.”

ILO indicators that measure poverty with respect to the labour force include working poverty rate, disaggregated by sex, with temporal coverage spanning from _(year) to _(year). The chart displays linear trends in working poverty rate over time for all individuals over 15 years of age.

 

Labour Productivity (Source: ILO)

Labour productivity is an important economic indicator that is closely linked to economic growth, competitiveness, and living standards within an economy.” However, when increased labour output does not produce rising wages, this can point to increasing inequality. As indicated by a recent ILO report (2015), there is a “growing disconnect between wages and productivity growth, in both developed and emerging economies”. The lack of decent work available increases vulnerability to situations of labour exploitation. 

Labour productivity represents the total volume of output (measured in terms of Gross Domestic Product, GDP) produced per unit of labour (measured in terms of the number of employed persons) during a given period.

 

Research to date suggests that a major factor in vulnerability to labour exploitation is broader social vulnerability, marginalization or exclusion.

Groups Highly Vulnerable to Exploitation (Source: UNHCR)

Creating effective policy to prevent and protect individuals from forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour means making sure that all parts of the population are covered, particularly the most vulnerable groups, including migrants.

According to the 2016 Global Estimates of Modern Slavery: “Almost one of every four victims of forced labour were exploited outside their country of residence, which points to the high degree of risk associated with migration in the modern world, particularly for migrant women and children. “

As IOM explains: “Although most migration is voluntary and has a largely positive impact on individuals and societies, migration, particularly irregular migration, can increase vulnerability to human trafficking and exploitation.” UNODC similarly notes that: “The vulnerability to being trafficked is greater among refugees and migrants in large movements, as recognized by Member States in the New York declaration for refugees and migrants of September 2016.”

The chart displays UNHCR’s estimates of persons of concern in Bhutan.

Achieving SDG Target 8.7 will require national governments to take direct action against the forms of exploitation through policy implementation.

 

Official Definitions
Forced Labour

Labour and Employment Act, 2007

“Prohibition of forced or compulsory labour
6. No person shall make use of, cause or permit any form of forced or compulsory labour that is extracted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the person has not offered himself or herself voluntarily.
7. Section 6 does not apply to:

(a) work required of a prisoner to assist in public services;
(b) work required of a person in times of an emergency such as war, fire, flood, famine, earthquake, violent epidemic or epizootic diseases, that would endanger the existence or the well-being of the whole or part of the population; and
(c) work required of a person for shabtog lemi or other labour contributions for important local and public celebrations.”

Child Labour

Regulation: Acceptable Forms of Child Labour, 2009

“Purpose
4. The purpose of this regulation is to indicate the forms of acceptable child labour and the occupations in which children between the ages of 13 to 17 years can legally be employed.”

“Scope
5. This regulation protects children as defined in the Labour and Employment Act, 2007 from employment that is considered dangerous to their safety, health and moral well-being, indicates the occupations and employment arrangements considered acceptable for children, and indicates the working conditions that shall apply to acceptable occupations for children.”

“6. This regulation shall apply to all workplaces, employees and employers falling within the scope of the Labour and Employment Act, 2007.
7. This regulation applies exclusively to children aged 13 to 17 years. The employment of children under 13 years in an employer- employee relation is prohibited and such children are excluded from the scope of this regulation.”

“11. Children are permitted to be employed in the occupations, jobs and activities not listed under Section 9 of the Act and Section 9 of this Regulation provided the work does not take place in an environment that is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of the children and does not prejudice their attendance at school, vocational orientation and training programs.
12. Children may be employed to perform work that is supervised by their schools to complement the children’s education and training or to assist the children’s choice of vocation through work experience provided that the work is not likely to prejudice the health or safety, personal or social development or education or training of the children, and the children are under the supervision of their parents or guardians or teachers.
14. The employment of children below 18 years of age shall be notified to the Chief Labour Administrator by the employer.”

“Deeming employment
26. If a person causes or permits a child to-

a. work as a domestic servant in a home which is not the home of the child’s immediate family; or
b. participate or assist in a business, trade, calling or occupation carried on for profit that is not owned by the child’s immediate family.
The person is deemed to have employed the child whether or not the child receives payment or other reward for his or her participation or assistance.”

Labour and Employment Act, 2007

“Age of employment
170. Minimum age of employment shall be 18 years.”

171. The employment of a child between 13 to 17 years of age shall be limited only to the categories of work and in workplaces as specified in the rules and regulation to this Act subject however, to the conditions laid down under section 9

“Deeming employment
175. If a person causes or permits a person to:
(a) work as a domestic servant in a home which is not the home of the person’s immediate family; or
(b) participate or assist in a business, trade, calling or occupation carried on for profit:
the person is deemed to be employed whether or not he or she receives payment or other reward for his or her participation or assistance.”

Worst Forms of Child Labour

Regulation: Acceptable Forms of Child Labour, 2009

“Prohibited forms of child labour
8. The employment of children in occupations and jobs that are covered by section 9 of the Labour and Employment Act, 2007 is prohibited. For the purpose of this section an occupation is a group of jobs that are reasonably similar with regard to the tasks performed, and the knowledge, skills and abilities required for the successful performance of those tasks. A job consists of a set of specific tasks, both mental and physical, that are undertaken in order to produce something or provide a service.”

“9. In addition to the work activities identified in section 9 of the Act, employment of children between the ages of 13 to 17 years in the following occupations, jobs, tasks and situations is prohibited.

a. Mining or quarrying
b. Confined spaces
c. Heavy laboring and lifting
d. Manufacturing processes using toxic materials and substances
such as lead, mercury, manganese, chromium, cadmium,
benzene, pesticides and asbestos
e. Slaughterhouses
f. Cement manufacturing
g. Construction except minor and light construction works at non-
risky and non-dangerous construction sites
h. Logging
i. Gas and electricity supply
j. Sanitary services
k. Transport, except those who are 15 years and above l. Bars
m. Discotheques
n. Drayangs
o. Scrap yards
p. Carpet weaving”

“Chapter 4 Working Conditions
15-22”

“Prohibition of the worst forms of child labour 9. No person shall subject a child to:

(a) any form of practices such as sale and trafficking, debt bondage, forced or compulsory labour, including recruitment for use in armed conflict;
(b) the use, procuring or offering of the child for prostitution, for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances;
(c) the use, procuring or offering of the child for illicit activities, in particular for the production and trafficking of drugs;
(d) work under particularly difficult conditions such as work for long hours or during night or work where the child is unreasonably confined to the premises of the employer; or (e) work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of a child including:

(i) work which exposes a child to physical, psychological or sexual abuse;
(ii) work underground, under water, at dangerous heights or in confined spaces;
(iii) work with dangerous machinery, equipment or tools, or which involves the manual handling or transport of heavy loads; or
(iv) work in an unhealthy environment that may expose the child to hazardous substances, agents or processes, or to temperatures, noise levels, or vibrations damaging to his or her health.”

Human Trafficking

Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan

“Article 9
17. The State shall endeavour to take appropriate measures to eliminate all forms of discrimination and exploitation against women including trafficking, prostitution, abuse, violence, harassment and intimidation at work in both public and private spheres.
18. The State shall endeavour to take appropriate measures to ensure that children are protected against all forms of discrimination and exploitation including trafficking, prostitution, abuse, violence, degrading treatment and economic exploitation.”

Penal Code, 2004

“Trafficking a person
154. A defendant shall be guilty of the offence of trafficking a person, if the defendant transports, sells or buys a person within, into or outside of Bhutan for any purpose.”

 

 

Governments can take action to assist victims and to prevent and end the  perpetration of forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour. These actions should be considered in wider societal efforts to reduce prevalence and move towards eradication of these forms of exploitation.

Programs and Agencies for Victim Support

Policies for Assistance

Penal Code, 2004

“Justification in general
88. Justification may be a defence as provided in this Penal Code.”

“CHAPTER 5
DAMAGES, RESTITUTION, CONFISCATION AND RECOVERY ”

Civil and Criminal Procedure Code, 2001

“Criminal Trial does not Bar Civil Suit
212. Completion of a criminal trial shall not preclude the right of a victim or person otherwise harmed by the defendant from filing a civil suit against the same defendant and associated parties.”

Evidence Act, 2005

“Exclusion of relevant evidence
32. Although relevant, evidence may be excluded if:

(a) Its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice;
(b) It could cause undue confusion of the issues;
(c) It could mislead the Court;
(d) It could cause undue delay or a waste of time; or
(e) It is cumulative.

33. No person’s identification shall be revealed, if the person is the source of evidence or a witness to the issue and the Court believes that his identification needs to be protected. ”

“Evidence of a victim’s sexual behaviour in a sexual misconduct
65. In a sexual offence or any criminal or civil case in which sexual misconduct is at issue, evidence of a victim’s past sexual behaviour or alleged sexual predisposition is not relevant except:

(a) If offered to show the victim’s consent;
(b) If offered to show that a person other than the accused
was the attacker or aggressor; or
(c) The victim puts past sexual behaviour or
predisposition in issue.”

 

Penalties
Penalties, Forced Labour

Labour and Employment Act, 2007

“Prohibition of forced or compulsory labour
6. No person shall make use of, cause or permit any form of forced or compulsory labour that is extracted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the person has not offered himself or herself voluntarily.
7. Section 6 does not apply to:

(a) work required of a prisoner to assist in public services;
(b) work required of a person in times of an emergency such as war, fire, flood, famine, earthquake, violent epidemic or epizootic diseases, that would endanger the existence or the well-being of the whole or part of the population; and
(c) work required of a person for shabtog lemi or other labour contributions for important local and public celebrations.

8. A person who contravenes section 6 shall be guilty of an offence which shall be a felony of the fourth degree.”

Penalties, WFCL

Regulation: Acceptable Forms of Child Labour, 2009

10. A person who employs children in any occupation or job indicated in Sections 8 and 9 of this Regulation is liable for the same penalty as for the contravention of Section 9 of the Act.

13. A person who employs children in any occupation or stipulated in sections 9, and 12 of this commits an offence and the penalty shall be same as for the contravention of Section 9 of the Act.

23. An employer who contravenes Sections 15 to 22 of this regulation commits an offence punishable by fine of a minimum of 90 times and a maximum of 360 times the National Minimum Wage.

Child Care and Protection Act, 2011

“Employment of a child for begging
216. A person shall be guilty of the offence of employment of a child for begging, if a person employs or uses any child for the purpose of begging or causes any child to beg. The offence of the employment of a child for begging shall be a misdemeanor.”

“Engagement of child for commission of crime
220. A person shall be guilty of the offence of engagement of child for the commission of crime if the person engages such child in the commission of a felony crime. The offence of the engagement of a child for the commission of the crime shall be one degree higher than the punishment for the offence committed.”

“Sale of a Child
221. A person shall be guilty of the offence of sale of a child if a person sells a child for remuneration or any other consideration. The offence of sale of child shall be felony of the third degree.
Child prostitution
222. A person shall be guilty of child prostitution if a person uses a child in sexual activity for remuneration or any other form of consideration. The offence of child prostitution shall be felony of the third degree.”

“Trafficking of a child
224. A person shall be guilty of trafficking of a child if a person recruits, transport, transfer, harbour or procure a child by means of threat, use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power, position of vulnerability, transaction involving payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. The offence of trafficking of a child shall be felony of the third degree.”

“Categories of work for child in conflict with law
229. The convicted child in conflict with law shall not be given any work beyond their physical and mental capabilities. Further, no child who is under adjudication shall be engaged for daily labour.”

Labour and Employment Act, 2007

9.10. A person who contravenes section 9 shall be guilty of an offence which shall be a felony of the third degree. (WFCL)

“172. A person who contravenes section 170 and 171 shall be guilty of an offence which shall be a felony of the third degree.”

Penalties, General

Penal Code, 2004

“Trafficking of a child
227. A defendant shall be guilty of the offence of trafficking of a child, if the defendant, sells, buys or transports a child for any illegal purpose.
Grading of Trafficking of a child
228. The offence of trafficking of a child shall be a felony of the third degree.”

“Trafficking a person
154. A defendant shall be guilty of the offence of trafficking a person, if the defendant transports, sells or buys a person within, into or outside of Bhutan for any purpose.
Grading of trafficking a person
155. The offence of trafficking a person shall be a felony of the fourth degree.”

“Trafficking a person for prostitution
379. A defendant shall be guilty of the offence of trafficking a person for prostitution, if the defendant transports, sells or buys a person into or outside of Bhutan with the purpose of engaging that person in prostitution.
Grading of trafficking a person for prostitution
380. The offence of trafficking a person for prostitution shall be a felony of the:

(a) Third degree;
(b) Second degree, if the person is a child of above 12 years and below 18 years;
(c) First degree, if the person is a child of 12 years and below.”

Data Commitments

A Call to Action to End Forced Labour, Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking, Not signed

1.ii. Take steps to measure, monitor and share data on prevalence and response to all such forms of exploitation, as appropriate to national circumstances;

 

Programs and Agencies for Enforcement

Measures to address the drivers of vulnerability to exploitation can be key to effective prevention. A broad range of social protections are thought to reduce the likelihood that an individual will be at risk of exploitation, especially when coverage of those protections extends to the most vulnerable groups.

Social Protection Coverage: General (at Least One)
Social Protection (Source: ILO)

The seminal ILO paper on the economics of forced labour, Profits and Poverty, explains the hypothesis that social protection can mitigate the risks that arise when a household is vulnerable to sudden income shocks, helping to prevent labour exploitation. It also suggests that access to education and skills training can enhance the bargaining power of workers and prevent children in particular from becoming victims of forced labour. Measures to promote social inclusion and address discrimination against women and girls may also go a long way towards preventing forced labour.

If a country does not appear on a chart, this indicates that there is no recent data available for the particular social protection visualized.

Social Protection Coverage: Pension
Social Protection Coverage: Vulnerable Groups
Social Protection Coverage: Poor
Social Protection Coverage: Children
Social Protection Coverage: Disabled