Data Dashboards

Measuring the Change

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

Due to lack of nationally representative data, there is no change to report.

Best Target 8.7 Data: Child Labour Rate

No data available

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

Human Development Index Score: 0.689 (2018)

Mean School Years: 7.3 years (2018)

Labour Indicators

Vulnerable Employment: 25.9% (2018)

Working Poverty Rate: 0.3% (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: Ratified 2001
  • UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (Palermo Protocol): Accession 2009
Social Protection Coverage

General (at least one): No data

Unemployed: No data

Pension: No data

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.

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 Iraq, the latest estimates show that 0.3 percent of children aged 5-14 were engaged in hazardous work in 2011. The number is lower than in 2006, and has decreased from 1.4 percent in 2000.

All measures provided do not cover the full definition of hazardous work, but use the same, reduced definition.

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 provided for 2000, 2006 and 2011. 



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 2011 estimates, the average number of hours worked per week by children aged 5-14 in Iraq was 13.8 hours. The average number of hours worked has increased from 12.2 hours in 2006. 

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 provided for 2000, 2006 and 2011. 

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 2011, the latest year with available data, children in economic activity only, meaning they are not in school, worked an average of 20.3 hours per week. This number has increased since 2006, when the average number of hours worked by this age group was 15.5. 

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 provided for 2000, 2006 and 2011.

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  7.4 hours per week according to the 2011 estimate. This estimate represents a decrease in hours worked across all age groups since the last estimate in 2006, which found that children aged 5-14 in Iraq worked an average of 9.6 hours per week.

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 2000, 2006 and 2011. 

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 Iraq.

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 Iraq.

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 Iraq between 1990 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 Iraq is 0.689. 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 Iraq 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, Iraq 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 2000 to 2020. 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 Iraq.

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

Constitution of the Republic of Iraq, 2005

“Article 37
First: The liberty and dignity of man shall be protected.
Third: Forced labor, slavery, slave trade, trafficking in women or children, and sex trade shall be prohibited.”

Labour Law, 2015

“Article 1- For the purposes of this law, the following terms and expressions shall have the meaning ascribed to them below:
12 – Forced Labor: Any work or service imposed on any person under threat of any sanction, and which this person did not volunteer to perform of his own free will.”

“Article 6 – Freedom of work is safeguarded and the right to work may not be restricted or denied. The State adopts the policy of promoting full and productive work and respects its fundamental principles and rights, whether in the Law or in the implementation, which include the following:

1- Freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining
2- Elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labor.
3- Effective abolition of child labor.
4- Elimination of discrimination in employment and occupation.”

“Article 9 – 1- This law prohibits forced or compulsory labor in all its forms, including:

a- Slavery and bonded labor
b- Secrete human trafficking, trafficking of immigrant workers, which is by nature a non-freely chosen work.
c- Domestic work, which includes compulsory factors.

2- The work shall not be deemed forced or compulsory labor, if performed according to the following:

a- Any work or service imposed on any person based on the conviction of a court of law, provided that these works or services are performed under the supervision and control of the public authorities, and that this person is not rented to individuals, companies or associations or put at their disposal.
b- For the completion of any work or service, which is part of the normal civic duties in accordance with the provisions of this law.
c- Any work or service which is imposed in emergency situations and in general, in any circumstance threatening the survival or well-being of the whole population or part of the population.”

Child Labour

Instruction No. 19 of 1987 (on Child Labour)

Labour Law, 2015

“Article 1- For the purposes of this law, the following terms and expressions shall have the meaning ascribed to them below:
20 – Minor Worker: For the purpose of this law, any person, whether male or female, who has reached the age of (15) fifteen but has not reached the age of (18) eighteen.
21 – Child: Any person who has not reached the age of (15) fifteen.”

“Article 6 – Freedom of work is safeguarded and the right to work may not be restricted or denied. The State adopts the policy of promoting full and productive work and respects its fundamental principles and rights, whether in the Law or in the implementation, which include the following:

1- Freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining
2- Elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labor.
3- Effective abolition of child labor.
4- Elimination of discrimination in employment and occupation.”

“Article 7 – Minimum age of employment in the Republic of Iraq is 15.
Article 103: The provisions of this Chapter do not apply to minors of more than 15 years of age, working in a family business under the authority or supervision of the spouse, father, mother or brother, producing local consumer goods and not employing wage earners.”

Worst Forms of Child Labour

Instruction No. 19 of 1987 (on Child Labour)

Labour Law, 2015

“Article 95: 1) It shall not be allowed to employ minors in activities whose nature or work conditions may harm their health, safety or morality.
2) The Ministry, in consultation with the relevant trade unions and employer’s associations, may make reviews, on a periodic basis and whenever necessary, of the work lists, subject to the provision specified in paragraph 1 of this article. Such works include for example but not limited to:

a- Working in underground and underwater locations or working in dangerous heights or restricted areas.
b- Working with dangerous machines, equipment, or tools requiring a manual intervention or lifting of heavy loads.
c- Working in an unhealthy environment exposing the minors to hazards or to unusual temperatures, noise or to movements harmful to their health.
d- Working in difficult conditions for long hours or in some conditions during night.

3. Minors may not be employed to perform night work or mixed schedule work.”

“Article 96: 1) Minors shall only be employed in the authorized positions, following a comprehensive medical exam by a medical committee, confirming their physical fitness and their ability for the required work.
2) The certificate confirming the minor’s physical fitness for a given work shall be issued in accordance with the following:

a- Specific employment conditions;
b- A specific activity or series of activities involving the same health hazards classified as a category by the competent authority.

Article 97: 1) The minor’s fitness to carry out the activity remains subject to health supervision, until he turns 18.
2) Minors are subject to regular medical exams each year, at least during their employment term.
3) The work fitness medical exams must be repeated until the worker turns 21, at least with respect to the activities the competent authority deems including high health hazards.
4) The minor worker or his parents shall not bear any costs for the medical exams specified in paragraphs 2 and 3 of this article.
5) The competent authority for the purposes of this chapter shall mean the Ministry in charge of labor or the Ministry in charge of health or both.

Article 98: 1) The employment term of the minor worker not yet completing 16 years of age shall not exceed 7 working hours per day.
2) The daily working hours shall include one or more rest periods not less than one hour, provided the consecutive working hours does not exceed 4 hours.”

Article 104: Hazards or unusual temperatures, noise or movement harmful to the minor’s health, safety and morality shall be specified by virtue of instructions issued by the Minister.

Human Trafficking

Law on Combating Trafficking in Persons, 2012

Article 1 First: For purposes of this law, the term “Human Trafficking” shall indicate recruiting, transporting, housing, or receiving individuals by force, threat to use force, or other means, including by coercion, kidnapping, fraud, deception, misuse of power, exchange of money, or privileges to an influential person in order to sell and exploit the trafficked individuals by means of prostitution, sexual abuse, unpaid labor, forced labor, enslavement, beggary, trading of human organs, medical experimentation. Second: the victim here means, the person who suffered from material or moral damage caused by one of the crimes stipulated in this law


Constitution of the Republic of Iraq, 2005

“Article 37:
First: The liberty and dignity of man shall be protected.
Third: Forced labor, slavery, slave trade, trafficking in women or children, and sex trade shall be prohibited.”


International Commitments

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
Policies for Assistance, Human Trafficking

Law on Combating Trafficking in Persons, 2012

Article 11: Concerned State directorates shall commit (while taking into consideration the needs of the babies) to assisting the victims of human trafficking with special consideration to children needs, as follows: First: To provide victims medical examination by a specialized doctor. Second: Provide linguistic assistance to non-Iraqi victims. Third: Provide assistance, legal consultation, and guidance to victims. Fourth: Secure contact with the victim’s family (if any), country of citizenship, and civil society organizations to obtain necessary assistance. Fifth: Provide necessary protection to victims and witnesses. Sixth: Guard information privacy, respect privacy, and preserve the dignity of victims. Seventh: Provide financial assistance and a temporary shelter based on gender and age classification. Eight: To provide social, psychological, and physical rehabilitation by establishing specialized rehabilitation centers or care houses based on special program to reintegrate the victims in society. Ninth: Provide work opportunity, training, and education. Tenth: Facilitate their stay in Iraq by granting temporary entry and residence visas and, if necessary, pertinent travel documents. Eleventh: Provide diplomatic support to non-Iraqi victims to facilitate their return to their home countries.

Penalties, Human Trafficking

Law on Combating Trafficking in Persons, 2012

“Article 5:
First: A person who commits the crime of Human Trafficking stipulated in Article (1) of this law shall be punished by temporary imprisonment and a penalty not less than 5 million, and not exceeding 10 million, Iraqi dinars. Second: A person who commits the crime of Human Trafficking by the following means shall be punished by imprisonment not exceeding 15 years and penalty not exceeding 10 million Iraqi dinars: A. The use of any form of coercion, including blackmail, threat, and/or confiscation of travel or official documents. B. The use of fraudulent means to deceive or victimize victims. C. Giving or receiving money or privileges in exchange for approval from a person of authority or guardianship over the victim.”

“Article 6:
First: A person who commits the crime of Human Trafficking under one or more of the following circumstances shall be punished by life imprisonment and penalty not less than 15 million, and not exceeding 25 million, Iraqi dinars:
First: If the victim is under 18 years of age.
Second: if the victim is female, or disabled.
Third: If the crime was committed by an organized crime group or of international nature. Fourth: The crime was committed by kidnapping or torture. Fifth: The perpetrator is an immediate or second relative, guardian, or spouse of the victim. Sixth: The trafficking resulted in terminal illness or permanent disability to the victim. Seventh: The trafficking affected multiple persons or for a multiple of times. Eighth: The trafficking was carried out by a government employee or a person commissioned to public service. Ninth: Exploitation of influence or a victim’s weakness or need.”

Article 7: A person who committed one of the following acts shall be punished by imprisonment of not less than 3 years or by a penalty not less than 10 million, and not more than, 20 million, Iraqi dinars, or both penalties: First: Established or managed an internet website to engage in human trafficking Second: Engaged or facilitated a human trafficking contract using the internet Article 8: If the act of Human Trafficking leads to death of the victim, the punishment shall be capital punishment.

Article 9: First: A legal person who is proved to be an accomplice in a crime (committed in person, through an accomplice, or to his personal benefit) shall be punished by a fine not less than 5 million Iraqi dinars and not higher than 25 million Iraqi dinars, provided this punishment does not contravene a sentence determined against a person (authorized or responsible for) administering the legal person if this administrator was proven to have participated in the crime. Second: A court may permanently or temporarily revoke the status, stall the activities, or close the Office of a legal person if it were proven that he has committed a criminal act prohibited by this law.

Penalties, Child Labour

Labour Law, 2015

Article 105: The employer infringing the provisions of this chapter shall pay a penalty of not less than (Dinars 100,000) one hundred thousand Dinars and not more than (Dinars 500,000) five hundred thousand Dinars.

Penalties, General

Labour Law, 2015

“Article 11- 1- The worker may resort to the Labor Court to file a complaint when exposed to any form of forced labor, discrimination or harassment in employment and occupation.
2- Shall be punished by imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months and a fine not exceeding one million dinars or by any of the two sanctions, whoever violates the provisions of the articles contained in this chapter relating to child labor, discrimination, forced labor and sexual harassment, as the case may be.”

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: (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.

The ILO measures social protections coverage through the Social Security Inquiry (SSI). Every two years, national governments, including responsible ministries, provide data to the SSI on social protections including coverage and expenditure.

There are no visualizations, as there is not a sufficient amount of data provided on social protections for the Arab States region.

Delta 8.7 has received no Official Response to this dashboard from Iraq. If you are a representative of Iraq and wish to submit an Official Response, please contact us here.