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: 0.597 (2018)
Mean School Years: 6.8 years (2018)
Vulnerable Employment: 70.8% (2018)
Working Poverty Rate: No data available
- ILO Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, P029: Not Ratified
- ILO Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, C182: Ratified 2006
- UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (Palermo Protocol): Not Ratified
Social Protection Coverage
General (at least one): No data
Unemployed: No data
Pension: 3.5% (2011)
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 Vanuatu.
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 Vanuatu.
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 Vanuatu between 2005 and 2015. Only certain sample years have data disaggregated by sex.
The most recent year of the HDI, 2015, shows that the average human development score in Vanuatu is 0.592. 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 Vanuatu 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, Vanuatu 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 Vanuatu.
Achieving SDG Target 8.7 will require national governments to take direct action against the forms of exploitation through policy implementation.
“5. Fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual
(1) The Republic of Vanuatu recognises, that, subject to any restrictions imposed by law on non-citizens, all persons are entitled to the following fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual without discrimination on the grounds of race, place of origin, religious or traditional beliefs, political opinions, language or sex but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and to the legitimate public interest in defence, safety, public order, welfare and health –
(e) freedom from inhuman treatment and forced labour; ”
6. Enforcement of fundamental rights (1) Anyone who considers that any of the rights guaranteed to him by the Constitution has been, is being or is likely to be infringed may, independently of any other possible legal remedy, apply to the Supreme Court to enforce that right. (2) The Supreme Court may make such orders, issue such writs and give such directions, including the payment of compensation, as it considers appropriate to enforce the right.
“7. Forced or compulsory labour
(1) No person shall exact, procure, or employ forced or compulsory labour.
(2) The expression “”forced or compulsory labour”” in subsection (1) means all work or service which is exacted from any person under the threat of any penalty and for which that person has not offered himself
voluntarily except –
(a) any work or service exacted in the course of compulsory military service for work of purely military character;
(b) any work or service which forms part of the normal civic obligations of citizens;
(c) any work or service exacted from any person as a consequence of a conviction by a court:
Provided that such work or service shall be carried out under the supervision and control of a public authority and that no person shall be hired to, or placed at the disposal of, private individuals, companies or associations;
(d) any work or service exacted in cases of emergency, that is to say, in the event of war, or of a calamity or threatened calamity such as fire, flood, famine, earthquake, violent epidemic or animal disease, invasion by animal or vegetable pests, and, in general any circumstances that would endanger the existence or the well-being of the whole or part of the community;
(e) any minor communal services of a kind performed by members of a community in the direct interest of such community and which is therefore a normal civic obligation incumbent upon members of such community:
Provided that before exaction of such minor services consultation shall have been had with the members of the community or their representatives in regard to the need for such services.”
“38. Prohibition of employment of persons under 12
No person under the age of 12 years shall be employed in any capacity, except on light work suitable to his capacity in an agricultural undertaking owned and managed by the family of which he is a member.
39. Employment of persons under 14
A person under the age of 14 years shall not be employed except on light work of an agricultural or domestic character in which members of the employer’s family are employed with him, or on agricultural light work carried on collectively by the local community”
Worst Forms of Child Labour
“40. Employment of persons under 15
A person under the age of 15 years shall not be employed on work –
(a) in any industrial undertaking except in employment approved by the Commissioner;
(b) on any ship.
41. Employment of persons under 18
(1) A person under the age of 18 years shall not be employed during the night in any industrial undertaking, except that, if such person is over the age of 16 years, he may be so employed subject to the written consent of a labour officer.
(2) In subsection (1) “”night”” means a period of at least 7 consecutive hours falling between 10 o’clock in the evening and 6 o’clock in the morning.
42. Employment of persons under 18 on ships
A person under the age of 18 years shall not be employed on any kind of work on a ship unless certified by a medical practitioner to be fit for such work:
Provided that in urgent cases a labour officer may permit the engagement of a person under the age of 18 years without prior medical examination, and in such case the employer shall at his own expense have such a person medically examined at the first place of call at which there is a medical practitioner, and should such practitioner not attest such person as fit for the work, the employer shall at his own expense return such person as a passenger to the port or place where he was engaged, or to his home, whichever is the nearer.”
2. (1) In this Act, unless the contrary intention appears:
“child” means a person under 18 years;
“exploitation” includes all forms of sexual exploitation (including sexual servitude and exploitation of another person’s prostitution), forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude and the removal of organs;
“trafficking in persons” means the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a person for the purpose of exploitation;”
No person shall –
Offences against the Person
(a) take or keep another in slavery; or (b) engage in any traffic in persons.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 20 years.”
National Action Plans, National Strategies
Aims to create an environment that protects children from abuse, exploitation, human trafficking, neglect, and violence. Provides children with equitable access to services to support reintegration and recovery when needed.
Provides guidelines for protecting children from abuse, including child labor, violence, sexual abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Provides a reporting mechanism for identifying and responding to child abuse.
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, General
“26. Compulsion and coercion
(1) Criminal responsibility shall be diminished in the case of an offence committed by a person acting –
(a) under actual compulsion or threats, not otherwise avoidable, of death or grievous harm;
(b) under the coercion of a parent, spouse, employer or other person having actual or moral authority over such person.
(2) Criminal responsibility shall not be diminished under subsection (1) if the person acting has voluntarily exposed himself to the risk of such compulsion, threats or coercion.”
“64. Power of criminal court to order payments to employees
(1) Where, in the course of proceedings against a person being an employer in respect of any offence under this Act, it is proved to the satisfaction of the court, that a sum of money is owning by that person to his employee, by way of remuneration or otherwise, under, or arising out of, his contract of employment, the court, in addition to dealing with that person in any other way, may, on application or otherwise, make an order requiring him to pay that sum to the employee.
(2) An order made under subsection (1) shall be suspended –
(a) in any case until the expiration of the period prescribed by law for the giving of notice of appeal against a decision of the court;
(b) where notice of appeal is given, until the date of the determination or abandonment of appeal.
(3) Where an order under subsection (1) has been made against a person in respect of any offence taken into consideration in determining his sentence –
(a) the order shall cease to have effect if he successfully appeals against his conviction of the offence or, if more than 1, all the offences, of which he was convicted in the proceedings in which the order was made;
(b) he may appeal against the order as if it were a part of the sentence imposed in respect of the offence or, if more than 1, any of the offences, of which he was so convicted.”
Policies for Assistance, Human Trafficking
“Protection for trafficked persons
38. (1) A trafficked person is not liable to criminal prosecution for:
(a) the act of trafficking in persons or being a party to an offence of trafficking in persons; or
(b) the person’s illegal entry into Vanuatu in connection with the act of trafficking in persons if Vanuatu is the receiving country; or
(c) the person’s period of unlawful residence in Vanuatu after being trafficked if Vanuatu is the receiving country; or
(d) the person’s procurement or possession of any fraudulent travel or identity documents that the person obtained, or with which the person was supplied, for the purpose of entering the receiving country in connection with the act of trafficking in persons.
(2) Subsection (1) does not prevent the removal of a trafficked person in accordance with the Immigration Act [Cap. 66] or any other Act.”
Penalties, Child Labour
“101B. Promoting or engaging in acts of child prostitution
(1) A person must not –
(a) by any means, cause or induce a child to participate in an act of child prostitution; or (b) participate as a client with a child in an act of child prostitution.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 10 years or, if the child is under the age of 14 years, to imprisonment for 14 years.
(2) The consent of a child is not a defence to a charge relating to an offence under this section.
101C. Obtaining benefit from child prostitution
(1) A person must not receive money or any other material benefit knowing that it is derived directly or indirectly from an act of child prostitution.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 10 years.
(2) A person is not guilty of an offence under this section if the person satisfies the court that the money or other material benefit concerned –
(a) was received by the person for the lawful provision of goods or services; or
(b) was paid or provided in accordance with a judgment or an order of a court or a legislative requirement.
101D. Children not to be used for pornographic purposes
(1) A person must not –
(a) use a child for pornographic purposes; or (b) cause or procure a child to be so used; or
(c) having the care (but not necessarily entitled by law to have the custody) of a child, consent to the child being so used or allow the child to be so used.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 5 years or, if the child is under the age of 14 years, to imprisonment for 7 years.”
Penalties, Human Trafficking
“Offence of trafficking in persons
34. (1) A person must not engage in trafficking in a person or be involved in the arranging of trafficking in a person, knowing that the person’s entry into Vanuatu or any other state is or was arranged by specified means.
(2) If a person contravenes subsection (1), the person is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by a term of imprisonment of not more than 10 years or a fine of not more than VT 50 million, or both.
Offence of trafficking in children
35. (1) A person must not intentionally engage in trafficking in a person who is a child or be involved in the arranging of trafficking in a person who is a child, regardless of whether the child’s entry into Vanuatu or any other state is or was arranged by specified means.
(2) If a person contravenes subsection (1), the person is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by a term of imprisonment of not more than 15 years or a fine of not more than VT 75 million, or both.”
No person shall –
Offences against the Person
(a) take or keep another in slavery; or (b) engage in any traffic in persons.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 20 years.”
(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) any person who contravenes or fails to comply with any provisions of this Act or with any order or direction made by the Commissioner or a labour officer acting in the exercise of his functions under this Act shall be guilty of an offence.
(2) Any person who –
(a) contravenes the provisions of section 7 which relates to forced or compulsory labour or section 16(3) which relates to payment of remuneration in intoxicating liquor or noxious drugs;
(b) obstructs the Commissioner or a labour officer in the exercise of his functions under this Act;
(c) knowingly makes a statement false in any material particular when required to make a statement under this Act;
(d) makes, or knowingly allows to be made, any entry in a record required to be kept by an employer which he knows to be false or misleading in a material particular, shall be guilty of an offence.
Penalty: VT 100,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or both.
79. Continuing offences
Every act or default under this Act constituting an offence shall constitute a new offence in every week during which it continues.”
“Exploitation of people not legally entitled to work
36. (1) An employer who allows an unlawful employee to undertake employment in the employer’s service must not take any action with the intention of preventing or hindering the employee from:
(a) leaving Vanuatu; or
(b) ascertaining or seeking that person’s entitlement under the law of Vanuatu; or
(c) disclosing to any person the circumstances of that person’s employment by the employer.
(2) Without limiting subsection (1), the following are examples of actions of the kind mentioned in that subsection:
(a) taking or retaining possession or control of a person’s passport, any other travel or identity document, or travel tickets;
(b) preventing or hindering a person from:
(i) having access to a telephone; or
(ii) using a telephone; or
(iii) using a telephone privately; or
(iv) leaving premises; or
(v) leaving premises unaccompanied;
(c) preventing or hindering an authorised officer from entering or having access to any place or premises to which the person is entitled to have access under any law.
(3) If a person contravenes subsection (1), the person is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by a term of imprisonment of not more than 10 years or a fine of not more than VT 50 million, or both.”
“35. Inciting and soliciting commission of offence
It shall be unlawful to incite or solicit another person to commit any offence, whether or not that offence is committed. A person guilty of inciting or soliciting an offence may be charged and convicted as a principal offender.”
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.