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Russia

2013 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Moderate Advancement

In 2013, the Russian Federation made a moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The Government ratified the UN CRC Optional Protocol and a UN treaty on protections against the sexual exploitation of children, and strengthened several of its own laws prohibiting child pornography and trafficking. However, children in Russia continue to engage in child labor, including work on the streets and commercial sexual exploitation. Criminal laws on child pornography still do not prohibit possession, and do not protect children ages 14-18. In addition, Russia continues to lack a mechanism to coordinate nationwide efforts to combat the worst forms of child labor, and it has no social programs aimed at this goal.

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I. Prevalence and Sectoral Distribution of Child Labor

Children in Russia are engaged in child labor in street work and the worst forms of child labor in commercial sexual exploitation.( 1-3) Table 1 provides key indicators on children's work and education in Russia. 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 7 to 14: Unavailable
School attendance, ages 5 to 14: Unavailable
Children combining work and school, ages 7 to 14: Unavailable
Primary completion rate (%): 97.9

Source for primary completion rate: Data from 2009, published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2014 .(4)
Source for all other data: Understanding Children's Work Project's analysis, 2013 .( 5)

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 Activities unknown* (3, 6, 7)
Industry Construction, activities unknown* (8)
Services Street work, such as collection of bottles or other waste,* washing cars,* and street sweeping* (9, 10)
Working at marketplaces, activities unknown* (10-12)
Working as dishwashers* (11)
Begging* (12)
Categorical Worst Forms of Child Labor‡ Used in production of pornography and commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking (2, 3, 7, 10)

*Evidence of this activity is limited and/or the extent of the problem is unknown.
‡Child labor understood as the worst forms of child labor per se under Article 3(a) - (c) of ILO C. 182.

Commercial sexual exploitation of children, especially in large cities, remains a concern. The primary victims of commercial sexual exploitation are street children, including those who are homeless and orphaned.(2, 7, 13, 14) Another vulnerable group is migrant children, who frequently end up working in the informal sector as dishwashers and helpers in the markets and in commercial sexual exploitation as a result of human trafficking. Children, both boys and girls, are trafficked internally from rural to urban centers, between regions, and transnationally.(8, 10-12)

Research indicates that many children work in agriculture, construction, and at market places. However, specific activities related to children's work in agriculture, construction, and market places are unknown.

Migrant families face language and cultural barriers that may make it difficult to seek or receive social assistance, especially if they have illegal or irregular status.(2, 3, 11) Illegal migrants are not recognized as potential trafficking victims and are subject to deportation for violation of migration regulations.(12) A recent study from 2013 estimates between 40 and 60 thousand migrant children who did not attend school.(12) Regional authorities often deny school access to unregistered children, including Central Asian immigrant families, Roma, and asylum seekers.(3)



II. Legal Framework for the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Russia 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
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

On May 7, 2013, the Government ratified two International Conventions: the UN CRC Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, and the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse.(11)

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 63 of the Labor Code (15)
Minimum Age for Hazardous Work Yes 18 Article 265 of the Labor Code (15)
List of Hazardous Occupations Prohibited for Children Yes   Government Decision No. 163; Article 265 of the Labor Code (15-17)
Prohibition of Forced Labor Yes   Article 37 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation; Article 127.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (18, 19)
Prohibition of Child Trafficking Yes   Article 127.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation; Federal Law No. 258-FZ (Social Contract) (12, 19)
Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Yes   Article 134 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation; Articles 240-242.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (19)
Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities Yes   Article 228.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (19)
Minimum Age for Compulsory Military Recruitment Yes 18 Article 13(2) of the Federal Act No. 53-FZ on the Military Conscription and Military Service Act (20)
Minimum Age for Voluntary Military Service Yes 16 Legislation title unknown (21)
Compulsory Education Age Yes 15 Law of the Russian Federation No. 3266-1 (22, 23)
Free Public Education Yes   Law of the Russian Federation No. 3266-1 (22)

In 2013, the Government of Russia amended several provisions in the labor and criminal codes for children's protection from commercial sexual exploitation. The Government adopted Federal Law No. 58-FZ on Changes to Legislation Aimed at Prevention of the Sale of Children, Exploitation, and Child Pornography by defining the terms "sale of children," "exploitation of children," and "victim of sale or exploitation of children." It has been in effect since April 2014.(16) This law amends the Labor Code to ban employment of minors for work that involves the circulation of materials of a sexual nature.(11)

A new provision in Federal Law No. 285-FZ enforces higher fines for legal entities if they create the environment for trafficking and child exploitation, as well as for production and distribution of materials and items with pornographic images of minors.(11, 12) The provision has been in effect since December 2013.(16) The existing criminal laws against making and distributing materials with pornographic images of minors and using a minor for the purpose of making pornographic materials or objects are limited to children under age 14.(19) Research found no evidence of laws or regulations to criminalize the possession of child pornography.(6)

During the reporting period, a new Article, "Obtaining the Sexual Services of a Minor," was introduced to the Criminal Code through Federal Law No. 380-FZ. The Article criminalizes and punishes the act of an adult (defined as 18 and older) obtaining sexual services of a person between 16 and 18 years of age; previously, criminal prohibition of sexual conduct with a minor was limited in application to cases in which the victim is under 16.(11, 19) Federal Law No. 380-FZ has been effective since January 10, 2014.(11)

A new law, Federal Law No. 258-FZ, establishes a mechanism called Social Contract, which provides financial support to low-income Russian citizens to gain employment, training, or other assistance to overcome hardship. The program is accessible to victims of human trafficking.(12, 16) As many child trafficking victims are from other countries, they are ineligible for assistance under this program.

On December 28, 2013, the Government signed Federal Law No. 432-FZ "On Amending Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation to Enhance the Rights of Victims in Criminal Proceedings." The Amendments aim to enhance the rights of crime victims and includes improved protection of minors and for damage compensations to victims of crime.(11)

On July 23, 2013, the President signed a new law, 204-FZ, prohibiting employment of migrants under 18. The objective of this law is to reduce the effect of labor migration on child labor in the informal sector, where labor violations may go unreported.(11, 12) The law went into effect upon publication several days later.



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 and Social Protection Enforce labor laws including the enforcement of child labor laws.(2, 6) Coordinate joint inspections with the Public Prosecutor's Office.(11)
Federal Labor and Employment Service (FLES) Supervise the area of labor, employment, and social protection. Provide employment services and unemployment assistance and services related to migration, as well as social assistance for socially vulnerable citizens, and regulate collective labor disputes.(16) Work under the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection.(16)
The General Prosecutor's Office Manage the investigation of Trafficking in Persons cases and prosecute associated crimes.(12) Coordinate joint inspections with the Federal Labor and Employment Service.(11) Oversee the enforcement of laws relating to child labor under the Labor Code.(16)
The Office of the Children's Rights Ombudsman Investigate violations of children's rights, monitor offices dealing with minors, and evaluate legislation affecting children.(1)
The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) Enforce criminal laws against forced child labor, trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, and the use of children in illicit activities.(6) Conduct and provide training to the police about handling of trafficking cases.(12)
Investigative Committee Investigate cases of slave labor, including that of minors. Act together with MVD.(16)

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

Labor Law Enforcement

The most recent statistic on the number of inspectors from 2012 reveals that the Federal Labor and Employment Service (FLES) has approximately 3,233 inspector positions, including vacant positions. According to FLES, the number of labor inspectors was insufficient to effectively enforce labor laws.(11)

In the first quarter of 2013, FLES conducted 498 inspections, out of which 288 child labor violations were found.(10) In the first quarter of 2013, FLES issued 60 new notices against employers for violating child labor laws that mostly related to failure to conclude contracts, overtime work, and failure to assure that health and safety measurements are met.(10) Eight of such cases were sent to the Public Prosecutors' Office.(10) Research has not indicated the amount of penalties assessed in 2013.

While child labor violations are noted for the formal sector, research has not indicated that inspections were conducted in the informal sector, where child labor violations are most likely to occur. Moreover, the ILO Committee of Experts has encouraged the Government to build the capacity and expand the reach of the labor inspectorate to better monitor work performed by children in the informal sector.(10)

Criminal Law Enforcement

In 2013, the Government established guidelines for placing domain names, URLs, and network addresses containing materials with pornographic images of minors and marketing tools inviting minors to perform as actors in pornographic shows into a register of banned sites.(11) The information on websites with unlawful content is accepted from private persons, government agencies, and local government bodies. After a review, selected websites are entered into the register, which allows for their blocking.(16)

In 2013, the Government provided data on the number of convictions under Articles 242.1 and 242.2 of the Criminal Code related to using a child for pornography. Data revealed 146 persons convicted for crimes against minors under these Articles.(16, 24) The Government registered five offences under Article 127.1 for the first 4 months in 2013.( 10) Specific data based on the type of crime and the number of minors victimized under each relevant Article of the Criminal Code was not provided.(25) Based on unofficial sources, in 2012, the most recent period for which data is available, trafficking prosecutions under Article 127.1 represented a total of 21 child victims.(25)

In the past, the Government provided regular training designed to guide government officials in handling trafficking cases. However, there was no referral mechanism to direct officials on how to proactively identify trafficking victims or to refer them to available services.(12, 25) Currently, trafficking cases are assessed by law enforcement on a case-by-case basis, which involves a long process before cases are adjudicated. In 2013, the Government hosted anti-trafficking events, including a conference of research institutions on the prevention of forced labor.(12)



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

Research found no evidence that the Government has established mechanisms to coordinate its efforts to address child labor, including its worst forms. In 2013, the Prosecutor's General Office proposed to play a lead role in coordinating interagency anti-trafficking efforts.(12)



V. Government Policies on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

The Government of Russia has established policies related to child labor, including its worst forms (Table 6).

Table 6. Policies Related to Child Labor
Policy Description
National Children's Strategy 2012-2017* Covers issues such as child protection, accessibility of quality education, equal opportunities for children in need of special care by the State, and a child rights protection system.(2)
Concept of Children's Information Security† Aims to coordinate legislation within the scope of protecting children against harmful information.(11)
National Anti-Trafficking in Persons Action Plan Aims to combat human trafficking.(12)

*The impact of this policy on child labor does not appear to have been studied.
†Policy was launched during the reporting period.

The Government of Russia does not collect national statistics on child labor that would enable the development of relevant policy and programs to combat the problem.(6, 10, 11) The General Prosecutor's Office proposed a draft National Action Plan for Trafficking in Persons 2015-2018 to the Russian Security Council in December 2013; however it has not yet been adopted.(17)



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

Research found no evidence of programs that include the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor, including its worst forms. However, the Government has a program that may have an impact on the problem.

The Child Support Fund for Children in Difficult Life Circumstances helps to rehabilitate orphaned, disadvantaged, and homeless children through social programs and activities.(6) Children receive assistance through some of the Fund's programs, including mobile crisis centers, psychological centers, and social and physical rehabilitation services.(2) In 2012, the most recent period for which information is available, the Government's allocation to this program was approximately $21 million.(11) The Fund does not specifically address child labor.

Research did not find complete information about government support for programs related to trafficking in 2013, or the number of child trafficking victims assisted during the reporting period.(2,6, 25, 26) On April 30, 2013, the IOM opened a two-bedroom shelter in an office building in St. Petersburg to support up to eight identified victims of trafficking.(12) Assistance to trafficking victims is made available on a case-by-case basis; research did not identify the budget for 2013.(12)



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 Russia (Table 7).

Table 7. Suggested Government Actions to Eliminate Child Labor, Including its Worst Forms

Area Suggested Action Year(s) Suggested
Laws Criminalize possession of child pornography. 2009 - 2013
Amend the existing laws prohibiting child pornography to protect all children under 18. 2013
Ensure that foreign children who are victims of trafficking in Russia receive adequate protection and care. 2013
Enforcement Gather, report, and make statistics on the investigation and prosecution of child labor violations publically available, including the worst forms of child labor. 2009 - 2013
Build the capacity and expand the reach of the labor inspectorate to better monitor work performed by children in the informal sector. 2013
Coordination Establish a coordinating mechanism to combat the worst forms of child labor. 2009 - 2013
Government Policies Adopt and implement the National Action Plan for Anti-Trafficking. 2013
Develop formal procedures at the national level to educate and guide law enforcement officials, labor inspectors, and other professionals on trafficking cases, victim identification, assistance, and referrals. 2011 - 2013
Set up the process of registration for undocumented families and children to promote children's access to basic education. 2012 - 2013
Social Programs Collect and publish data on the nature and prevalence of child labor to guide the design of policy and programming. 2009 - 2013
Implement programs to combat all worst forms of child labor, especially child victims of commercial sexual exploitation. 2010 - 2013
Assess the impact of the Child Support Fund on addressing the worst forms of child labor. 2009 - 2013
Fund anti-trafficking efforts that include financing to shelters for victims of human trafficking, including foreign victims of trafficking. 2011 - 2013



1. U.S. Department of State. "Russia," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2011. Washington, DC; May 24, 2012; http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm#wrapper.

2. U.S. Embassy- Moscow. reporting, January 31, 2013.

3. U.S. Department of State. "Russia," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2013. Washington, DC; February 27, 2014; http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm#wrapper.

4. UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary. Total. [accessed February 4, 2013] http://www.uis.unesco.org/Pages/default.aspx?SPSLanguage=EN . 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.

5. UCW. Analysis of Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Statistics from National Household or Child Labor Surveys. 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.

6. U.S. Embassy- Moscow. reporting, January 20, 2012.

7. ILO Committee of Experts. Observation concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Russia (Ratification 2003) Published: 2013; accessed March 4, 2013; http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:13100:0::NO:13100:P13100_COMMENT_ID:3057749.

8. Maplecroft. South America leads battle against child labour but Russia and China lagging- Maplecroft Child Labour Index 2014, [online] October 15, 2013 [cited April 23, 2014]; http://maplecroft.com/portfolio/new-analysis/2013/10/15/child-labour-risks-increase-china-and-russia-most-progress-shown-south-america-maplecroft-index/.

9. International Labor Organization. "World day against child labour- June 12, Education: the right response to child labour." Subregional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia Newsletter, No 2 (33)(ISSN 1811-1351)(2008); http://www.ilo.org/public/english/region/eurpro/moscow/info/files/08_2en.pdf.

10. ILO Committe of Experts. Report of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations: Application of International Labour Standards 2014 (I) Geneva; March 13, 2014. http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---relconf/documents/meetingdocument/wcms_235054.pdf.

11. U.S. Embassy- Moscow. reporting, January 22, 2014.

12. U.S. Embassy- Moscow. reporting, February 18, 2014.

13. ECPAT International, The Body Shop. Sex Trafficking of Children in Russia. Bangkok,; 2009. http://ecpat.net/EI/Publications/Trafficking/Factsheet_Russia.pdf.

14. U.S. Department of State. "Russia," in Trafficking in Persons Report- 2012. Washington, DC; June 19, 2013; http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/210741.pdf.

15. Government of Russia. Labor Code of the Russian Federation 197-FZ, enacted December 31, 2001. http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/WEBTEXT/60535/65252/E01RUS01.htm.

16. U.S. Embassy- Moscow. E-mail communication to USDOL official. April 24, 2014.

17. U.S. Department of State official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. May 9, 2014.

18. Government of Russia. The Constitution of the Russian Federation, enacted December 25, 1993. http://www.constitution.ru/en/10003000-01.htm.

19. Government of Russia. Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, 63-FZ, enacted June 13, 1996. http://legislationline.org/documents/section/criminal-codes/country/7.

20. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Initial Report of the Implementation of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict . Prepared by Swiss Association against Impunity (TRIAL), Philip Grant, Submission from TRIAL to the Committee on the Rights of the Child. December 2013. http://www.crin.org/docs/Russia_Trial_OPAC%20Report.pdf.

21. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The World Fact Book- Russia, [online] [cited May 15, 2014]; https:// www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/rs.html.

22. Government of Russia. Law of the Russian Federation No. 3266-1, enacted July 10, 1992. http://en.russia.edu.ru/information/npb/fzakon/law/3266-1/index,2/.

23. Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation National Information Centre On Academic Recognition and Mobility (NIC ARM). [online] March 2010 [cited January 7, 2014]; http://www.russianenic.ru/english/rus/.

24. U.S. Embassy- Moscow. E-mail communication to USDOL official. May 21, 2014.

25. U.S. Embassy- Moscow. reporting, March 8, 2013.

26. U.S. Department of State. "Russia (Tier 2 Watch List)," in Trafficking in Persons Report- 2012. Washington, DC; June 19, 2012; http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2011/index.htm.

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