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2013 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Significant Advancement

In 2013, Albania made a significant advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The Government released data from its 2010 National Child Labor Survey. The Government also amended the Criminal Code to criminalize possession of child pornography and increase penalties for other offenses against children. Albania trained labor inspectors, police officers, prosecutors, and judges on trafficking issues; identified through inspections 26 cases of child labor and 11 cases of child trafficking; and prosecuted four child labor cases, with one conviction. In addition, the Government funds and participates in a wide range of social programs aimed at improving social inclusion for marginalized groups, reducing school dropout rates, and supplementing the livelihoods of the most disadvantaged families. However, children in Albania continue to engage in child labor in agriculture and in the worst forms of child labor in forced begging. The Government relies on NGOs to provide the bulk of services to children engaged in the worst forms of child labor.


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Previous Reports:

I. Prevalence and Sectoral Distribution of Child Labor

Children in Albania are engaged in child labor in agriculture and in the worst forms of child labor in forced begging.(1-6) During the reporting period, the Government supported the release of a National Child Labor Survey that was conducted by the National Institute of Statistics in 2010. The report provides information on the scope of the child labor situation in Albania.(7) Children, some as young as ages 4 and 5, are forced to beg.(5, 6, 8) Data from the National Child Labor Survey indicate that most child laborers work in agricultural. More girls (84.8 percent) than boys (78 percent) work as child laborers in agriculture.(7) Table 1 provides key indicators on children's work and education in Albania. Data on some of these indicators are not available from the sources used in this report.

Table 1. Statistics on Children's Work and Education
Working children, ages 5 to 14 (% and population): 4.6 (23,665)
Working children by sector, ages 5 to 14 (%)  
Agriculture 87.5
Industry 2.9
Services 9.6
School attendance, ages 5 to 14 (%): 92.5
Children combining work and school, ages 7 to 14 (%): 5.2
Primary completion rate (%): Unavailable

Source for primary completion rate: UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 20 14. (9)
Source for all other data: Understanding Children's Work Project's analysis of statistics from National Child Labour Survey (NCLS), 2010. (10)

Based on a review of available information, Table 2 provides an overview of children's work by sector and activity.

Table 2. Overview of Children's Work by Sector and Activity
Sector/Industry Activity
Agriculture Farming, activities unknown (2, 4, 5, 7)
Working as shepherds* (2)
Harvesting and processing of cannabis* (4)
Industry Mining†(2, 4)
Construction, activities unknown (2, 4, 7, 11, 12)
Working in the textile,* garment,* and footwear* sectors (2, 3, 11)
Services Begging (1-6, 13, 14)
Street work, including vending, washing vehicles, and shining shoes (2, 11)
Working wholesale and retail trade (4, 7)
Working in hotels and restaurants (4, 7)
Categorical Worst Forms of Child Labor‡ Drug running (11)
Commercial sexual exploitation sometimes as a result of human trafficking (2, 5, 6, 11, 15)
Begging and participation in illicit activities as a result of human trafficking (1, 3, 5, 11, 15)

*Evidence of this activity is limited and/or the extent of the problem is unknown.
†Determined by national law or regulation as hazardous and, as such, relevant to Article 3(d) of ILO C. 182.
‡Child labor understood as the worst forms of child labor per se under Article 3(a)-(c) of ILO C. 182.

Albania is primarily a country of origin for children trafficked abroad to Greece, Macedonia, and Kosovo.(14, 16) In addition, children are trafficked within Albania to large cities, tourist sites, border points, and ports. Sources indicate that ethnic minority children from the Roma and Egyptian communities make up the majority of street children and trafficking victims.(2, 17) Traditionally, these communities have suffered from pervasive marginalization and discrimination, which contribute to their acute poverty and difficulty in accessing social services.(14, 18) In addition, marginalized groups such as the Roma often remain outside the Albanian education system due to a lack of civil registration or their families' inability to forgo the lost income from the child leaving work.(14, 17)

II. Legal Framework for the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Albania has ratified all key international conventions concerning child labor (Table 3).

Table 3. Ratification of International Conventions on Child Labor
Convention Ratification
ILO C. 138, Minimum Age
ILO C. 182, Worst Forms of Child Labor
UN CRC Optional Protocol on Armed Conflict
UN CRC Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
Palermo Protocol on Trafficking in Persons

The Government has established relevant laws and regulations related to child labor, including its worst forms (Table 4).

Table 4. Laws and Regulations Related to Child Labor
Standard Yes/No Age Related Legislation
Minimum Age for Work Yes 16 Article 98 of the Labor Code (4, 17, 19)
Minimum Age for Hazardous Work Yes 18 Labor Code (4, 19)
List of Hazardous Occupations Prohibited for Children Yes   Occupational Safety and Health at Work Law; Labor Code (19, 20)
Prohibition of Forced Labor Yes   Labor Code (19)
Prohibition of Child Trafficking Yes   Criminal Code (21)
Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Yes   Criminal Code (21)
Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities Yes   Criminal Code (21)
Minimum Age for Compulsory Military Recruitment N/A*    
Minimum Age for Voluntary Military Service Yes 19 Law on Military Service (4, 22)
Compulsory Education Age Yes 15 Law on Pre-University Education System (11, 23)
Free Public Education Yes   Law on Pre-University Education System (2, 11, 23)

*No conscription or no standing military.

In 2013, the Government amended the criminal code to criminalize the possession of child pornography and stiffen punishment for other offenses against children.(4, 24) Children between the ages of 14 and 16 may be employed part-time during school holidays, provided that the employment does not harm their health and development.(3, 19, 25) However, Article 98 of the Labor Code fails to define what constitutes permissible school holiday work, or the number of hours or conditions that would render employment acceptable.(25) In addition, pursuant to exemptions created by Articles 5 and 6, the Labor Code does not cover children who perform "family jobs" or do not have an employment contract. This leaves children engaged in child labor who do not have an employment contract unprotected under the law.(19, 25)

During the reporting period, the Government drafted an amendment to the Labor Code which, if passed, would increase the minimum age for children to be employed during school holidays and in vocational training from 14 to 15. The Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth also drafted a Decisions of the Council of Ministers (DCM) that would require medical monitoring of child employees.(24)

Albania provides 13 years of free education, 9 of which are compulsory; however, the costs of school supplies and classroom resources are prohibitive for many families.(2)

III. Enforcement of Laws on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

The Government has established institutional mechanisms for the enforcement of laws and regulations on child labor, including its worst forms (Table 5).

Table 5. Agencies Responsible for Child Labor Law Enforcement
Organization/Agency Role
Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities (MLSA) - State Labor Inspectorate Enforce labor laws, including child labor laws.(4, 12)
Ministry of Interior's General Directorate of Police Enforce all laws, including child labor and child trafficking laws.(4, 26)
Serious Crimes Prosecution Office Has nationwide jurisdiction to prosecute cases involving trafficking.(4, 26)
Child Rights Units (CRUs) Monitor the situation of high-risk children and families at the regional level, coordinate protection and referral activities at the local level, and identify and manage individual cases.(3, 4, 27, 28)
Child Protection Units (CPUs) Identify children in danger at the municipal level and subsequently refer them to a safe environment, as defined by the State Social Services.(4, 12, 23)

Law enforcement agencies in Albania took actions to combat child labor, including its worst forms.

Labor Law Enforcement

In 2013, the State Labor Inspectorate had 115 inspectors.(24) Approximately 50 labor inspectors were trained on child labor laws and procedures for handling victims of trafficking.(4, 24) According to the Government, the Labor Inspectorate conducted 25 child labor inspections and cited 26 cases of child labor violations. The Government reported 26 children were removed or assisted as a result of the inspections, and no penalties were applied in any of the cases.(4) The law allows labor inspectors to determine whether to apply penalties for certain violations documented. Additionally, lack of funds for adequate office space and transportation, and training compromises the quality of inspections.(4)

Criminal Law Enforcement

During the reporting period, 37 prosecutors, judges, and police officers were trained on trafficking issues, and the State Police referred 11 cases involving the trafficking of children to prosecutors.(29) In 2013, the Government reported prosecuting four cases involving the worst forms of child labor and one conviction.(4) The Government also provided services to 43 children rescued from trafficking.(29) Nationwide, there are approximately 30 police investigators for child rights. However, the Ombudsman of the Albanian Government recommends that each of the approximately 70 police commissariats have several child rights investigators and believes the effectiveness of the CRUs and CPUs is low.(4) In addition, NGOs report inadequate funding for child protection at the regional and local level.(29, 30)

IV. Coordination of Government Efforts on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

The Government has established mechanisms to coordinate its efforts to address child labor, including its worst forms (Table 6).

Table 6. Mechanisms to Coordinate Government Efforts on Child Labor
Coordinating Body Role & Description
National Council for the Protection of the Rights of Children (NCPRC) Coordinate the protection of children's rights, including children involved in child labor.(12)
Office of the National Coordinator for the Fight Against Trafficking in Human Beings (NCAT) Coordinate all anti‑trafficking efforts in Albania, including 12 regional anti-trafficking committees.(26, 28, 29)
National Referral Mechanism (NRM) Coordinate the identification, protection, referral, and rehabilitation of trafficking victims between government and civil society organizations.(3, 28) Chaired by the NCAT.(29)

In 2013, the NCAT restarted 12 regional anti-trafficking committees. The NCAT also provided training on identifying and providing referral services to victims of trafficking to the 12 regional anti-trafficking committees, government officials, and approximately 245 school teachers.(29) During the reporting period, the NRM met several times. A source indicates that cooperation between government agencies and civil society has increased during the reporting period.(29)

V. Government Policies on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

The Government of Albania has established policies related to child labor, including its worst forms (Table 7).

Table 7. Policies Related to Child Labor
Policy Description
Action Plan for Children 2012 to 2015* Aims to strengthen institutional structures and monitor the implementation of children's rights at national and regional level. Promotes the drafting of policies for the protection and social involvement of children.(3, 24, 30, 31)
Albanian Roadmap for Achieving the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor by 2016 (ARCL) Outlines a plan to eliminate the worst forms of child labor in Albania by 2016.(32) Includes the adoption and implementation of effective legislation and law enforcement to address the worst forms of child labor; the provision of free, quality education for all children; the provision of social protection to families and children in need; and the implementation of labor market policies that promote youth employment and the regulation and formalization of the informal economy.(32)
National Anti-trafficking Strategy 2011 to 2013 Designates responsible agencies and outlines anti-trafficking actions to be taken.(3, 4, 16)
National Strategy for Development and Integration 2007 to 2013 (NSDI) Calls for enforcing compulsory education and creating vocational training opportunities for vulnerable children as a key strategy to prevent and reduce child labor, including the worst forms of child labor.(3, 4)
National Strategy for Social Inclusion 2007 to 2013 (NSSI)* Seeks to reduce poverty among Albania's vulnerable groups, including children and Roma communities.(33) Promotes an increase in formal labor market participation, the inclusion of policies that involve vulnerable children in education and training, and the formation of modern social protection systems.(12, 33) In 2013, Limited progress was made toward achieving the NSSI's goals, in part due to limited funds, poor coordination, and limited resources and inclusion of local governments.(18)
National Action Plan for the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005 to 2015* Strives to improve access to and the quality of social services for Roma communities.(4, 34)

*The impact of this policy on child labor does not appear to have been studied.

VI. Social Programs to Address the Worst Forms of Child Labor

In 2013, the Government of Albania funded and participated in programs that include the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor, including its worst forms (Table 8).

Table 8. Social Programs to Address Child Labor
Program Description
UN Support to Social Inclusion† UN program, works with several government ministries to improve implementation of social inclusion by developing informed policies and strengthening institutions.(35)
Albania-UN Program of Cooperation* UN program builds on the piloted One UN Program 2007-2011 and coordinates 19 UN agencies to focus on four thematic areas with the Government and civil society: governance and rule of law, economy and environment, regional and local development, and inclusive social policy. Aims to increase civil society's role in development.(36)
Empowering Vulnerable Local Communities of Albania* UN-supported program, addressed social exclusion issues in the Roma and Egyptian communities. Strengthened the Government's institutional capacities of employment centers and vocational training centers to increase access to the Roma and Egyptian communities; promoted primary education for Roma and Egyptian children who lack access to early learning.(37)
Zero Dropouts Program* UNICEF-supported program, worked to reduce school dropout rates among the Roma and Egyptian communities. Program's Second Chance Project worked to reintegrate children who have dropped out of school.(4, 38)
National Emergency Transition Center†‡ NGO-supported Government transition center supports vulnerable, mostly Roma, families, including children at risk of street begging. To receive benefits, families must keep their children enrolled in school.(4)
National Reception Centre for Victims of Trafficking (NRC)‡ Government-funded program, operates a reception center that houses victims of trafficking identified in Albania.(16, 39) In 2013, the Ombudsman reported that the Government's NRC lacked adequate resources to provide reintegration services, including educational and vocational training.(29)
Child Allowance Program (Ndihma Ekonomike)*‡ Government-funded cash transfer program, provides a child allowance for families already benefiting from economic aid through Albania's Law on Social Assistance and Services.(4) Child allowance payments to eligible families are still deemed too low to significantly reduce the number of children living in poverty, and therefore are unlikely to have an impact on reducing child labor.(4)
Decent Work Country Program ILO technical assistance project detailing the policies, strategies, and results required to realize progress toward the goal of decent work for all. Outcomes include strengthening the effectiveness and quality of labor inspection systems, enhancing the capacity of policy makers to address informal and vulnerable employment of young people, and ensuring that labor laws better adhere to international labor standards, including those on the worst forms of child labor.(40)

*The impact of this program on child labor does not appear to have been studied.
†Program was launched during the reporting period.
‡Program is funded by the Government of Albania.

Civil society organizations, rather than government organizations, generally provide social services for children engaged in the worst forms of child labor. These civil society organizations often lack well-trained staff and coordination with other protection services, especially at the local level.(4, 18, 30, 41)

VII. Suggested Government Actions to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Based on the reporting above, suggested actions are identified that would advance the elimination of child labor, including its worst forms, in Albania (Table 9).

Table 9. Suggested Government Actions to Eliminate Child Labor, Including Its Worst Forms
Area Suggested Action Year(s) Suggested
Laws Define permissible work, including hours and conditions thereof, for children between the ages of 14 and 16 years. 2011 - 2013
Ensure that children who fall outside contract work are protected. 2009 - 2013
Enforcement Provide inspectors with adequate training and the tools needed to carry out their tasks effectively. 2010 - 2013
Ensure there are an adequate number, nationwide, of police investigators for child rights. 2013
Provide CRUs and CPUs with adequate funding to carry out their work effectively. 2013
Government Policies Assess the impact that existing policies may have on child labor. 2011 - 2013
Fully implement the National Strategy for Social Inclusion (2007-2013), including sufficient funding at the local level. 2012 - 2013
Social Programs Assess the impact that existing programs may have on child labor. 2013
Eliminate the costs of school supplies and classroom resources to ensure all children have access to school. 2013
Increase payments to families eligible for assistance under the Social Assistance and Services Law. 2011 - 2013
Increase resources, access to civil registration, and the number of social services available to children, including Roma and Egyptian children, engaged in or at risk of engaging in child labor. 2011 - 2013
Conduct research on children working in farming and construction to inform policies and programs. 2013

1. Delap, E. Begging for Change: Research Findings and Recommendations on Forced Child Begging in Albania/Greece, India and Senegal. Situational Analysis. London; 2009.

2. International Trade Union Confederation. "Internationally Recognized Core Labour Standards in Albania," in WTO General Council Review of the Trade Policies of Albania; April 28 and 30, 2010; Geneva;

3. U.S. Embassy- Tirana. reporting, January 29, 2013.

4. U.S. Embassy- Tirana. reporting, January 17, 2014.

5. U.S. Department of State. "Albania," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2012. Washington, DC; April 19, 2013;

6. Pojani, D. "Urbanization of Post-Communist Albania: Economic, Social, and Environmental Challenges." Debatte, 17(no. 1)(2009);

7. ILO and Institute of Statistics (INSTAT) of the Republic of Albania. The Results of the 2010 National Child Labour Survey. Budapest; July 2012.

8. Mario Project. Exploitation of Albanian Children in Street Situations in Kosovo. Observation Report. Budapest; December 2010.

9. UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary. Total. [accessed February 10, 2014] . Data provided is the gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary school. This measure is a proxy measure for primary completion. For more information, please see the "Children's Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions" section of this report.

10. UCW. Analysis of Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Statistics from National Household or Child Labor Surveys. Original data from National Child Labour Survey (NCLS), 2010. Analysis received February 13, 2014. Reliable statistical data on the worst forms of child labor are especially difficult to collect given the often hidden or illegal nature of the worst forms. As a result, statistics on children's work in general are reported in this chart, which may or may not include the worst forms of child labor. For more information on sources used, the definition of working children and other indicators used in this report, please see the "Children's Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions" section of this report.

11. ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Direct Request concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Albania (ratification: 2001) Submitted: 2011; accessed March 15, 2013;

12. U.S. Embassy- Tirana. reporting, January 20, 2012.

13. Prendi, B. "Breaking the Chains in the Cycle of Poverty through Education." [online ] January 28, 2012 [cited March 15, 2013];

14. UN Human Rights Committee. Concluding Observations on the Second Periodic Report of Albania. Geneva; August 22, 2013.

15. ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Observation concerning Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Albania (ratification: 2001) Published: 2011; accessed March 15, 2013;

16. U.S. Department of State. "Albania," in Trafficking in Persons Report- 2013. Washington, DC; June 19, 2013;

17. Government of Albania. Sixth National Report on the Implementation of the Revised European Social Charter. Tirana; October 12, 2010.

18. European Comission. Albania 2012 Progress Report. Progress Report. Brussels; July 5, 2012.

19. Government of Albania. Code of Labor of the Republic of Albania, 7961, enacted 1995.

20. ILO-IPEC. Support for Policy Level and Up-Scaling Activities for Combating Child Labour in Central and Eastern Europe (1 January 2010- 31 December 2010) . Final Progress Report. Geneva; 2011.

21. Republic of Albania. Criminal Code of the Republic of Albania, 7895, enacted January 27, 1995.

22. Child Soldiers International. "Albania," in Louder than Words: An Agenda for Action to End State Use of Child Soldiers. London; 2012;

23. U.S. Embassy Tirana official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. June 3, 2014.

24. Government of Albania. U.S. Department of Labor Request for Information on Child Labor and Forced Labor. Submitted in response to USDOL publication, Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor (September 30, 2013). Tirana; December 26, 2013.

25. ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Observation concerning Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) Albania (ratification: 1998) Published: 2011 accessed March 15, 2013;

26. U.S. Embassy- Tirana. reporting, March 8, 2011.

27. Terre des Hommes. "Albania: The Law for the Protection of the Rights of the Child is Approved." [online] November 5, 2010 [cited March 15, 2013];

28. Republic of Albania- National Coordinator on Combating Trafficking in Persons. Report on the Implementation of the National Strategy on Combating Trafficking in Persons: January-June 2010. Tirana; September 2010.

29. U.S. Embassy- Tirana. reporting, February 14, 2014.

30. Bradford, N. Child Protection Safety Net Project; March 2013.

31. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: Albania; July 5, 2012. Report No. CRC/C/ALB/Q/2-4/Add.1.

32. ILO. IPEC Action Against Child Labour 2010: Highlights. Geneva; February 2011.

33. Albanian Center for Economic Research, Albanian Socio-Economic Think-Tank, and Urban Research Institute. Children's Social Inclusion Policies and Financing in Albania. Tirana; 2011.

34. UNDP. "Improving the Social Inclusion of Roma/Egyptians," in The Role of Civil Society in Promoting Social Inclusion and Equal Treatment June 14-15, 2010;

35. UNDP. New Programme to Boost Social Inclusion in Albania. Press Release. New York; November 11, 2013.

36. UNESCO. Government of Albania-United Nations Programme of Cooperation 2012-2016, UNESCO Office in Venice, [online] [cited January 21, 2014];

37. UNDP. Empowering Local Vulnerable Communities of Albania UNDP, [online] March 2011 [cited March 26, 2013]; [source on file].

38. UNICEF. Zero Dropouts Programme 2009-2013. Assessment Report. Tirana, National Inspectorate of Pre-University Education (IKAP); 2012.

39. U.S. Embassy- Tirana. reporting, February 19, 2013.

40. ILO. Albania Decent Work Country Programme 2012-2015. Project Document. Geneva; December 2012.

41. Save the Children. Save the Children and Municipality of Tirana Round Table: "Children Street Situation- Our Common Responsibility", Save the Children, [online] 2011 [cited March 15, 2013]; [source on file].


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