Article 4: Fundamental human rights and freedoms
(1) Whereas every person in Lesotho is entitled, whatever his race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status to fundamental human rights and freedoms, that is to say, to each and all of the following—
(b) the right to personal liberty;
(c) freedom of movement and residence;
(d) freedom from inhuman treatment;
(e) freedom from slavery and forced labour;
the provisions of this Chapter shall have effect for the purpose of affording protection to those rights and freedoms, subject to such limitations of that protection as are contained in those provisions, being limitations designed to ensure that the enjoyment of the said rights and freedoms by any person does not prejudice the rights and freedoms of others or the public interest.
(2) For the avoidance of doubt and without prejudice to any other provision of this Constitution it is hereby declared that the provisions of this Chapter shall, except where the context otherwise requires, apply as well in relation to things done or omitted to be done by persons acting in a private capacity (whether by virtue of any written law or otherwise) as in relation to things done or omitted to be done by or on behalf of the Government of Lesotho or by any person acting in the performance of the functions of any public office or any public authority.
Article 6: Right to personal liberty
(1) Every person shall be entitled to personal liberty, that is to say, he shall not be arrested or detained save as may be authorised by law in any of the following cases, that is to say—
Article 7: Freedom of movement
(1) Every person shall be entitled to freedom of movement, that is to say, the right to move freely throughout Lesotho, the right to reside in any part of Lesotho, the right to enter Lesotho, the right to leave Lesotho and immunity from expulsion from Lesotho.
(2) Any restriction on a person’s freedom of movement that is involved in his lawful detention shall not be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this section.
(3) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this section to the extent that the law in question makes provision—
(a) for the imposition of restrictions in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health on the movement or residence within Lesotho of any person or any person’s right to leave Lesotho:
Article 8: Freedom from inhuman treatment
(1) No person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading punishment or other treatment.
(2) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this section to the extent that the law in question authorises the infliction of any description of punishment that was lawful in Lesotho immediately before the coming into operation of this Constitution.
Article 9: Freedom from slavery and forced labour
(1) No person shall be held in slavery or servitude.
(2) No person shall be required to perform forced labour.
(3) For the purposes of this section, the expression “forced labour” does not include—
(a) any labour required in consequence of the sentence or order of a court;
(b) any labour required of any person while he is lawfully detained that, though not required in consequence of the sentence or order of a court, is reasonably required in the interests of hygiene or for the maintenance of the place at which he is detained;
(c) any labour required of a member of a disciplined force in pursuance of his duties as such or, in the case of a person who has conscientious objections to service as a member of a military or air force, any labour that that person is required by law to perform in place of such service;
(d) any labour required during any period when Lesotho is at war or a declaration of emergency under section 23 of this Constitution is in force or in the event of any other emergency or calamity that threatens the life or well-being of the community, to the extent that the requiring of such labour is reasonably justifiable, in the circumstances of any situation arising or existing during that period or as a result of that other emergency or calamity, for the purpose of dealing with that situation; or
(e) any labour reasonably required by law as part of reasonable and normal community or other civic obligations.
Article 30: Just and favourable conditions of work
Lesotho shall adopt policies aimed at securing just and favourable conditions of work and in particular policies directed to achieving—
(a) remuneration which provides all workers, as a minimum with—
(i) fair wages and equal remuneration for work of equal value without distinction of any kind, and in particular, women being guaranteed conditions of work, including pension or retirement benefits, not inferior to those enjoyed by men, with equal pay for equal work; and
(ii) a decent living for themselves and their families;
(b) safe and healthy working conditions;
(c) equal opportunity for men and women to be promoted in their employment to an appropriate higher level, subject to no considerations other than those of seniority and competence;
(d) the protection of women who are in employment during a reasonable period before and after childbirth; and
(e) rest, leisure and reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay, as well as remuneration for public holidays.
THE CONSTITUTION OF LESOTHO 1993 (AMENDMENTS THROUGH 1998) (PDF)
Article 46. Abduction
(1) A person who unlawfully takes or entices a child or any person of unsound mind out of the custody of the lawful guardian of such person, with or without the consent of such guardian, for the purpose of marriage, sexual intercourse, or commercial and labour exploitation, commits the offence of abduction.
(2) A guardian who consents to the enticement or taking of any child or person of unsound mind out of his or her custody for the purpose of marriage, sexual intercourse or commercial and labour exploitation, commits the offence of constructive abduction.
Article 47. Unlawful detention
(1) A person who unlawfully by force, threats, deception or any other unlawful means deprives another person of his or her freedom of movement, commits the offence of unlawful detention.
(2) A person who unlawfully detains another with the intention of causing that person serious bodily harm or death, or with the intention of securing payment or any other advantage for the release of the unlawfully detained person commits an offence.
Article 94. Crimes against humanity
(1) A person commits an offence of a crime against humanity if he or she engages in the following acts as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack -
(e) imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law;
(g) rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual or comparable gravity;
(2) For the purpose of subsection (1) -
(c) “enslavement” means the exercise of any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership over a person and includes the exercise of such power in the course of trafficking in persons, in particular women and children;
Article 95.War crimes
(1) A person commits a war crime if he or she engages in acts involving the following -
(b) other serious violations of the laws and customs applicable in international armed conflict, within
the established framework of international law, namely, any of the following acts -
(xxi) committing rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, as defined in section 95 (2), enforced sterilization, any other form of sexual violence also constituting a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions;
(d) other serious violations of the laws and customs applicable in armed conflicts not of an international character, within the established framework of international law, namely, any of the following acts –
(vi) committing rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, as defined in section 95 (2), enforced sterilization, and any other form of sexual violence also constituting a serious violation of article 3 common to the four Geneva Conventions;
Article 3. Terms defined
"forced labour" means any work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself or herself voluntarily, but does not include
(a) any work or service exacted by virtue of any compulsory military service law for work of a purely military character;
(b) any work or service exacted from any person as a consequence of a conviction in a court of law, provided that such work or service is carried out under the supervision and control of a public authority, and that the said person is not hired to or placed at the disposal of any private individual, company, association or other such body;
(c) any work or service exacted in case 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 epizootic disease, invasion by animals or insect pests or plant diseases or pests, and in general any circumstances which would endanger the existence or well-being of the whole or part of the population;
(d) minor communal services of a kind which are to be performed by the members of a community in the direct interests of such community and not for purposes of economic development, and which are civic obligations normally incumbent upon the members of such community. However, before any exaction of such minor communal services, consultation shall have been had with the inhabitants of the place, town or village concerned and their Chief, or other direct representatives, in regard to the need for such services;
Article 7: Forced labour prohibited
(1) Any person who exacts or imposes forced labour, as defined in the Code, or causes or permits forced labour to be exacted or imposed for his or her own benefit or for the benefit of any other private individual, association or other such body shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding two thousand maloti or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or to both such fine and imprisonment.
(2) Any Chief or public officer who puts any constraint upon the population under his or her charge, or upon any individual member of such population, to work for any private individual, company, association or other such body shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding two thousand maloti or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or to both such fine and imprisonment.
Article 124: Minimum age for employment
(1) No child shall be employed or work in any commercial or industrial undertaking other than a private undertaking in which only members of the child's own family, up to five in total number, are employed.
(2) The provisions of subsection (1) shall not apply to light work done by children between the ages of 13 and 15 in technical schools or similar institutions where the work has been approved by the Department of Education.
(3) If a candidate for employment states his or her age as 21 years or under, he or she shall present proof of age to the employer.
(4) Any person who employs a child contrary to the provisions of this section shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of three hundred maloti or to imprisonment for three months or both.
Article 125: General restrictions on employment of children and young persons
(1) No person shall employ a child or young person on any work which is injurious to health or morals, dangerous or otherwise unsuitable, or on any work which the Minister, by notification in the Gazette, or the Labour Commissioner, acting in accordance with any directions of the Minister, has declared, by notice in writing, to be of a kind which is injurious to the health or morals of a child or young person.
(2) No persons shall, after receiving notice either orally or in writing from the parent or guardian that he or she is employing a child or young person against the wishes of such parent or guardian, continue to employ such child or young person.
(3) Where, under the provision of subsection (1) or (2), it becomes necessary to discontinue the employment of any child or young person, such discontinuance shall be without prejudice to the right of the child or young person to be paid such wages as he or she may have earned up to the time of such discontinuance.
(4) No person under the age of 16 years shall be required or permitted to work for more than four consecutive hours without a break of at least one hour, or for more than eight hours in any one day.
(5) No person under the age of 16 years shall be employed under conditions preventing him or her from returning each night to the place of residence of his or her parent or guardian. This provision shall not apply to domestic servants.
(6) Any person who employs a child or young person in contravention of any of the provisions of this section shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction therefor to a fine of six hundred maloti or to imprisonment for six months or both.
Article 2. Interpretation
“debt bondage” means the pledging by a person of his personal services or labour, or those of a person under his control as security or payment for debt owed or claimed to be owed, when the length and nature of services is not clearly defined or when the value of the services as reasonably assessed is manifestly excessive and is not applied towards the debt;
“exploitation” includes, at the minimum, induced prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation, forced marriage, forced or bonded services, or practices similar to slavery, servitude of the removal of human organs;
“forced labour” means labour or services obtained or maintained through threats, use of force, intimidation and other forms of coercion, or physical restraint;
“servitude” means a condition in which the labour or services of a person are provided or obtained through threats of harm to that person or another, or through any scheme, plan or pattern intended to cause the person to believe that, if the person does not perform the labour or services, that person or another will suffer harm;
“slavery” means the status or conditions of a person over whom any or all the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised;
Article 5. Offence of Trafficking
(1) A person who trafficks another person commits an offence of trafficking and is liable, on conviction, to a fine of M1,000,000.00 or imprisonment for a period of 25 years.
(2) where the victim is a child, the offender shall be liable to a fine of M2,000,000.00 or life imprisonment.
(3) The following acts are acts of trafficking for purposes of subsection (1) to –
(a) recruit, transport, transfer, harbor, provide, or receive a person by any means, include those done under the pretext of domestic or overseas employment or training or apprenticeship, for the purpose of prostitution, pornography, sexual exploitation, forced labour, drug trafficking, slavery, involuntary servitude or debt bondage;
(b) introduce or match for money, profit or material, economic or other consideration, any person to a foreign national, for marriage, for the purpose of acquiring, buying, offering, selling or trading a person to engage in prostitution, pornography, sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery, involuntary servitude or debt bondage;
(c) offer to control marriage, real or simulated, for the purpose of acquiring, buying, offering, selling or trading a person to engage in prostitution, pornography, sexual exploitation, forced labour, or slavery, involuntary servitude or debt bondage;
(e) maintain or hire a person to engage in prostitution or pornography;
(f) adopt or facilitate the adoption of a person for the purpose of prostitution, pornography, sexual exploitation, forced-labour, slavery, involuntary servitude or debt bondage
(g) recruit, hire, adopt, transport or abduct a person, by means of threat or use of force, fraud, deceit, violence, coercion, or intimidation for the purpose of removal or sale of organs of the said person,
(4) A person who-
(a) performs an act which is directly or indirectly aimed at committing;
(b) organises, facilitates, incites, instigates, commands, directs, aids, advises, recruits, encourages or procures another person to commit;
(c) attempts or conspires with another to commit,
an offence or trafficking commits an offence and is liable on conviction, to the same punishment to which a person who is convicted of the actual commission of the offence of trafficking would be liable.
(5) The consent of an adult victim of trafficking, or in the case of a child, a person having control or authority over the child to an intended exploitation shall be irrelevant.
(6) A victim shall not be liable for comes committed in connection with his own trafficking.
(7) The past sexual behaviour of a victim of trafficking is irrelevant and inadmissable for purpose of proving that the victim was engaged in other sexual behaviour or to prove sexual predisposition of the victim.
Article 9. Debt bondage
A person who intentionally and unlawfully engages in a conduct that causes another to enter into a situation of debt bondage commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for a period of 15 years.
Section 77. A person who –
(a) sells, lets for hire or otherwise disposes of, or procures or hires or otherwise obtains possession of, a child with intent that the child is to be employed or used for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation, either within or outside Lesotho, or knowing or having reason to believe that the child will be so employed or used;
(b) procures a child for purposes of commercial sexual exploitation or for purposes of having sexual intercourse with any other person, either within or outside Lesotho;
(c) by or under any false pretences, false representation, or fraudulent or deceitful means made or used, either or within or outside Lesotho, brings or assists in bringing into, or takes out of or assists in taking out of Lesotho, a child with intent that the child is to be employed or use d for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation, either within or outside Lesotho, or knowing or having reason to believe that the child will be so employed or used;
(d) brings into Lesotho, receives or harbours a child knowing or having reason to believe that the child has been procured for purposes of commercial sexual exploitation or for the purposes of having sexual intercourse with any other person, either within or outside Lesotho;
(e) knowing or having reason to believe that a child has been brought into Lesotho in the circumstances as set out in paragraph (c) or has been sold, let for hire, or hired or procured in the circumstances as set out in paragraph (a), or in contravention of any other written law, receives or harbours the child with intent that he is to be employed or used for purposes of commercial sexual exploitation either within or outside Lesotho;
(f) detains or confines a child in a brothel or similar place;
(g) detains or confines a child in any place with intent that the child is to be employed in hazardous labour or used for purposes of commercial sexual exploitation or for any unlawful or immoral purpose;
(h) by means of any advertisement or other notice published in any manner or displayed in any place offers a child for purposes of commercial sexual exploitation or seeks information for that purpose or accepts such advertisements or notice for publication or display;
(i) acts as an intermediary on behalf of a child or exercises control or influence over the movements of the child in such a manner as to show that the person is aiding or abetting or controlling the commercial sexual exploitation of that child;
(j) engages or hires a child to provide services for that person's sexual gratification;
(k) attempts to do any act in contravention of this section
Commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding thirty thousand Maloti or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years and six months or both.