Europe & Eurasia
2012 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor
2012 Regional Outlook
- Improved legal and policy frameworks, particularly related to trafficking in persons.
- Ratification of international standards, particularly ILO Conventions 138 and 182.
Challenges and existing gaps:
- Lack of data on the prevalence of the worst forms of child labor.
- Lack of effective intra-government coordination and enforcement.
- Lack of targeted social programs for children in the worst forms of child labor.
2012 Assessment Breakdown
1 country (5%):
11 countries (50%):
Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Turkey, Ukraine
3 countries (14%):
Anguilla, Russia, Serbia
2 countries (9%):
Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands
5 countries (22%):
British Indian Ocean Territory; British Virgin Islands; Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas); Pitcairn Islands; St. Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
Regional statistics on child labor do not exist for Europe and Eurasia. Governments in Europe and Eurasia made positive efforts to strengthen their legal frameworks and implement policies to combat the worst forms of child labor. Despite these efforts, more concrete actions need to be taken in the areas of coordination and social programs to eradicate the most common worst forms of child labor in the region, commercial sexual exploitation, and street work.
Across the region, laws are largely harmonized with international standards. All countries in the region have ratified ILO Conventions 138 and 182 with the exception of Kosovo, which cannot ratify due to its non-membership in the UN. In addition, all countries have ratified the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography Labor except Russia and Kosovo. During the reporting period, several governments took steps to further strengthen their legal frameworks on child labor. The Government of Macedonia adopted a rulebook on the minimum occupational safety and healthy requirements for workers younger than 18. In Moldova, the Government amended the Labor Code, which now calls for increased fines for engaging children in hazardous work. Read More of the region summary
In addition, many countries in the region took steps to strengthen their human trafficking laws. Combatting commercial sexual exploitation of children, including through trafficking, is a priority for the region. In Azerbaijan, the Government amended the Criminal Code to prohibit the production of child pornography, and the Government of Georgia amended the law to address social and legal protection, as well as assistance and rehabilitation of child trafficking victims. The region also improved in the areas of intra-governmental coordination and enforcement related to human trafficking, yet many countries still lacked a national referral mechanism to identify and refer victims of trafficking to appropriate social services.
Nine governments in the region adopted and/or implemented policies related to child protection and welfare and for the prevention and elimination of the worst forms of child labor. Armenia, Montenegro, and Ukraine adopted national plans or strategies for combating human trafficking. In Kosovo, the Government started to implement its 2011-2016 national action plan, which includes consolidating the Child Labor Monitoring system at the municipal level across the country. The Government of Moldova implemented its action plan on child labor at the regional and district levels, which includes training key stakeholders on the prevention of the worst forms of child labor, institutionalizing a child labor monitoring system, and developing public information campaigns on child labor issues. These policies and strategies are headed in the right direction; however, improvements in statistical information regarding the prevalence of worst forms of child labor in many countries are still needed to better guide policy makers in creating more targeted and effective strategies and programs.
Countries such as Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Russia, Montenegro, and Serbia, however, had no mechanisms in place to coordinate government policy and action against all the worst forms of child labor. In addition, social programs across the region were often overly broad and were not sufficiently focused to address the worst forms of child labor specific to each country.
Efforts in intra-government coordination and enforcement of child labor laws also remained a challenge across the region, in part due to the nature of the work in which children are primarily engaged. Work on the streets, such as forced begging and hazardous activities in the informal sector, are challenging to address through enforcement because of difficulties in inspecting and monitoring and, in many cases, are better addressed through prevention strategies. However, countries in the region struggled to allocate adequate funding for the policies and social programs needed to prevent the above-described work on the streets. For example, the Roma Decade Initiative, which has been implemented in several countries of the Southern Europe sub-region, did not have sufficient funding to adequately assist the marginalized population of Roma in the areas of education, health, and housing.