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
- Child labour: No ILO/UNICEF data
- Forced labour: No nationally representative data
- Human trafficking: No nationally representative data
Human Development Index Score: 0.854 (2019)
Mean School Years: 10.2 years (2019)
Vulnerable Employment: 2.9% (2018)
Working Poverty Rate: 0.0% (2020)
- 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): Ratified 2007
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.
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 Saudi Arabia.
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 Saudi Arabia.
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.
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 Saudi Arabia between 1990 and 2019. Only certain sample years have data disaggregated by sex.
The most recent year of the HDI, 2019, shows that the average human development score in Saudi Arabia is 0.854. This score indicates that human development is very high.
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 Saudi Arabia 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, Saudi Arabia showed a decrease in the proportion of workers in vulnerable employment as compared to those in secure employment.
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 Saudi Arabia.
Achieving SDG Target 8.7 will require national governments to take direct action against the forms of exploitation through policy implementation.
“Article 61.: In addition to the duties provided for in this Law and the regualtions and decisions issued for its implementation, the employer shall be required to:
1. Refrain from using the worker without pay and shall not, without a judicial instrument, withold the worker’s wages or any part thereof. The employer shall treat his workers with due respect and refrain from any action or utterances that may infringe upon their dignity and religion. ”
1. Any person under the age of fifteen years may not be employed or allowed to enter places of work. The Minister may, pursuant to a decision by him, raise this age limit in certain industries or areas or for certain categories of minors.
2. As an exception to Paragraph 1 of this Article, the Minister may allow the employment or work of person between 13 and 15 years of age in light works, subject to the following conditions:
2.1. Such jobs shall not be potentially harmful to their health or growth.
2.2 Such jobs shall not hinder their school attendance, participation in orientation or vocational training programs, or impair their ability to benefit from their schooling. ”
“Article 167. The provisions provided for in this Part shall not apply to work undertaken by children and minors in schools for general, vocational or technical education, and in other training institutions, nor shall they apply to work undertaken in firms by person who are at least fourteen years of age if such work is performed in accordance with the conditions set forth by the Minister and the work constitutes an essential part of the following:
1. An education or training course the primary responsibility for which lies with a school or a training institution.
2. A training program all or the major part of which is implemented in a firm if approved by the competent authority
3. An orientation program aimed at facilitating the selection of the career or type of training. ”
Worst Forms of Child Labor
Article 161: Minors may not be employed in hazardous jobs or harmful industries or in occupations or jobs that may endanger their health, safety or morals due to the nature or conditions of the same. A minister’s decision shall specify such jobs, industries and occupations.
Article 163. Minors may not work during a period of night the duration of which is not less than twelve consecutive hours, except in cases determined pursuant to a decision by the Minister.
“””This Ministerial Order provides that minors under the age of 17 years are prohibited to engage in the following works:
1. Work in mines, quarries and extracting mineral materials from the underground.
2. Industries that involves health hazards .
3. Hard Works.
4. Life-threatening racing.
5. Any work may expose the child to psychological and moral problems.”””
“Article 1. The following terms, wherever mentioned in this Law, shall have the meanings assigned thereto, unless otherwise required by context:
1. Trafficking in persons: Use, recruitment, transportation, harboring or receipt of a person for the purpose of exploitation. ”
Article 2. It is prohibited to commit any act of trafficking in persons, including coercion, threat, fraud, deceit or abduction of a person, abuse of position or power or any authority thereon, taking advantage of the person’s vulnerability, giving or receiving payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person for the purpose of sexual assault, forced labor or services, mendicancy, slavery or slavery-like practices, servitude or the removal or organs or for conducting medical experiments thereon.
Slavery abolished by royal decree
National Action Plans, National Strategies
UN Special Procedures
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
“Article 15. The following measures shall be adopted regarding victims of trafficking in persons during investigation or prosecution:
1. Inform the victim of his legal rights, using a language that he understands.
2. Avail the victim of the opportunity to set forth his status as a victim of trafficking in persons, as well as his legal, physical, psychological and social status.
3. Refer the victim to the relevant physician if he appears to be in need for medical or psychological care or if he requests such care
4. Admit the victim to a medical, psychological or social rehabilitation center if so necessitated by his medical or psychological condition or age.
5. Admit the victim to a specialized center if he needs shelter.
6. Provide police protection for the victim if necessary.
7. If the victim is non-Saudi and there is a need for him to stay or work in the Kingdom during investigation or prosecution, the Public Prosecution or competent court shall have the discretion to decide upon such need. “
Penalties, Child Labour
Article 239. A violator of any of the provisions of this Law and the regulations and decisions issued hereunder shall be subject to a fine of not less than two thousand riyals and not more than five thousand riyals, for punishments not provided for herein.
Penalties. Human Trafficking
Article 3. Any person who commits a
“Article 4. Penalties provided for in this Law shall be made harsher in the following cases:
1. If the crime is committed by an organized crime group.
2. If the crime is committed against women or people with special needs.
3. If the crime is committed against a child, even if the perpetrator is not aware of the fact that the victim is a child.
4. If the perpetrator uses or threatens to use a weapon.
5. If the perpetrator is the spouse, ascendant, descendant or guardian of, or has authority over the victim.
6. If the perpetrator is a law enforcement officer.
7. If the crime is committed by more than one person.
8. If the crime is transnational.
9. If the crime inflicts severe harm on or results in permanent disability of the victim.”n act of trafficking in persons shall be punished by imprisonment for a period not exceeding fifteen years or a fine not exceeding one million riyals or by both.
Article 8. Any person who participates in trafficking in persons or takes part in any of the crimes provided for in Articles 2, 4, and 6 of this Law shall receive the same penalty as a perpetrator.
Article 10. Attempts to commit any of the crimes provided for in Articles 2, 4 and 6 of this Law shall receive the penalties prescribed for completed crimes.
Article 11. The competent court may, in all cases, confiscate private property, personal effects, tools and other items used, prepared for use in or resulting from trafficking in persons.
National Statistical Office
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.