Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports
In 2022, Albania made moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The government continued to support the work of the Special Anti-Corruption and Organized Crime Court, which was established in 2019 and has the power to hear cases involving human trafficking if linked to organized crime (including cases involving children). Additionally, during the reporting period the government supported policies focused on improving children's rights, including the National Agenda for the Rights of the Child and the National Strategy on Education. However, children in Albania are subjected to the worst forms of child labor, including use in illicit activities and forced begging, and in commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking. Children also perform dangerous tasks in scavenging, including scavenging for chromium near mines. Albania's legal framework governing child labor also does not explicitly prohibit using, procuring, or offering children for illicit activities.
Table 1 provides key indicators on children’s work and education in Albania.
|Working (% and population)||5 to 14||4.6 (23,665)|
|Working Children by Sector||5 to 14|
|Attending School (%)||5 to 14||92.5|
|Combining Work and School (%)||7 to 14||5.2|
|Primary Completion Rate (%)||100.7|
Source for primary completion rate: Data from 2021, published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2023. (1)
Source for all other data: International Labor Organization's analysis of statistics from National Child Labor Survey (SIMPOC), 2010. (2)
Based on a review of available information, Table 2 provides an overview of children's work by sector and activity.
|Agriculture||Farming, activities unknown (3-5)|
|Industry||Scavenging near mining sites,† including for chromium and iron (5-8)|
|Construction, activities unknown (1,7,16)|
|Working in the textile, garment, and footwear sectors (6,7,17,18)|
|Processing fish (7,19)|
|Street work, including vending, washing vehicles, busking, and shining shoes (7,9,21-23)|
|Collecting recyclable materials on the street and in landfills (5,7,20,23)|
|Working in wholesale and retail trade (1,7)|
|Working in hotels and restaurants (1,7)|
|Working in call centers (7,9,16)|
|Categorical Worst Forms of Child Labor‡||Use in illicit activities, including burglary, drug trafficking, and harvesting and processing cannabis (5,13,20,21)|
|Commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking (8,22,23)|
|Forced begging (8,24-27)|
† 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.
Children are sometimes forced into labor, such as begging and scavenging. (8,22,25) To contribute to family income, some Roma and Balkan Egyptian children are forced to engage in street begging or the collection of recyclables. (5,26) In addition, some children informally scavenge chromium around hazardous mines where debris from mine tunnels is found, and they sometimes carry these heavy rocks for miles. (5) Children are also subjected to trafficking, both domestic and abroad to EU countries, for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. (8,22,25) Domestic child trafficking and forced begging have continued in recent years, particularly during the tourist season. (8,22,24) Albania lacks recent, comprehensive data on child labor, including in the agriculture and construction sectors. (5)
Children in Albania face a number of barriers to accessing education, which increases their vulnerability to child labor. (5) Although Albania allows children without a birth certificate to enroll in public schools, some children from Roma and Balkan Egyptian families and refugees without proper birth documentation may still face obstacles in obtaining access to social services and education. (5) Roma and Balkan Egyptian children also experience discrimination in schools when placed in separate classrooms, and faced other hurdles to accessing education, such as a lack of access to reliable transportation. (5,27) In addition, some migrant and refugee children from Syria, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh face difficulties accessing education due to language barriers. (8) Children with disabilities also continue to experience discrimination and other hurdles to accessing inclusive education. (5,28)
Albania has ratified all key international conventions concerning child labor (Table 3).
|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 laws and regulations related to child labor (Table 4). However, gaps exist in Albania's legal framework to adequately protect children from the worst forms of child labor, including the failure to prohibit the use of children in illicit activities.
|Standard||Meets International Standards||Age||Legislation|
|Minimum Age for Work||Yes||16||Article 98 of the Code of Labor; Article 24 of the Law for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (29,30)|
|Minimum Age for Hazardous Work||Yes||18||Articles 98–101 of the Code of Labor; Article 24 of the Law for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (29,30)|
|Identification of Hazardous Occupations or Activities Prohibited for Children||Yes||Articles 99–101 of the Code of Labor; Decree of the Council of Ministers on Defining Hazardous and Hard Works; Article 34 of the Law on Occupational Safety and Health at Work; Regulation on Protection of Children at Work (28,29,31,32)|
|Prohibition of Forced Labor||Yes||Article 8 of the Code of Labor; Articles 124b and 128b of the Criminal Code (32,36)|
|Prohibition of Child Trafficking||Yes||Article 128/b of the Criminal Code (34)|
|Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children||No||Articles 114, 117, and 128/b of the Criminal Code; Article 26 of the Law for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (30,34)|
|Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities||No||Article 129 of the Criminal Code; Articles 24 and 25 of the Law for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (30,34)|
|Minimum Age for Voluntary State Military Recruitment||Yes||18||Article 9 of the Law on Military Service (35)|
|Prohibition of Compulsory Recruitment of Children by (State) Military||N/A*||Article 9 of the Law on Military Service (35)|
|Prohibition of Military Recruitment by Non-state Armed Groups||Yes||Article 28 of the Law for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (30)|
|Compulsory Education Age||Yes||16||Article 22 of the Law on Pre-University Education System (36)|
|Free Public Education||Yes||Article 57 of the Constitution of the Republic of Albania; Article 5 of the Law on Pre-University Education System (36,37)|
* Country has no conscription (34)
Albania does not explicitly prohibit using, procuring, or offering children under age 18 for illicit activities, including in the production and trafficking of drugs. Article 129 of the Criminal Code only prohibits inducing or encouraging children under age 14 to participate in criminality. (33) Additionally, Article 25 of the Law for the Protection of the Rights of the Child provides for protection of children against the use of alcohol and drugs, as well as the illicit production and trafficking of these substances, but does not criminalize inducing a child to participate in these acts. (30) The law also does not criminally prohibit the use of children for prostitution. (33)
The government has established institutional mechanisms for the enforcement of laws and regulations on child labor (Table 5). However, gaps exist within the operations of enforcement agencies that may hinder adequate enforcement of their child labor laws.
|Organization/Agency||Role & Activities|
|Ministry of Finance and Economy (State Inspectorate for Labor and Social Services)||Enforces laws related to child labor and receives and responds to child labor complaints through the State Social Services Agency. (5) The 241 Child Protection Units (CPUs) located throughout the country at the municipal level identify at-risk children, conduct initial evaluations of each case, and refer children to appropriate social services. (5,37)|
|Ministry of Interior||Enforces laws related to the worst forms of child labor through protection officers. (28) Coordinates operations of the Border Police and each of the Illicit Human Trafficking sections in the country's 12 Regional Police Directorates through the General Directorate of State Police. (3,4) Establishes the government’s policy on addressing human trafficking through the State Committee Against Trafficking in Persons, chaired by the Interior Minister. (28,42)|
|Office of the Prosecutor General||Investigates and prosecutes child trafficking cases through the Special Anti-Corruption and Organized Crime Court. (8)|
Labor Law Enforcement
In 2022, labor law enforcement agencies in Albania took actions to address child labor (Table 6). However, gaps exist within the authority of enforcement agencies that may hinder adequate labor law enforcement, including lack of authority to inspect informal work locations such as private farms and unregistered businesses.
|Overview of Labor Law Enforcement||2021||2022|
|Labor Inspectorate Funding||$1,700,000 (7)||$1,550,000 (43)|
|Number of Labor Inspectors||131 (7)||124 (43)|
|Mechanism to Assess Civil Penalties||Yes (31)||Yes (38)|
|Training for Labor Inspectors Provided||Yes (7)||Yes (43)|
|Number of Labor Inspections Conducted at Worksite||4,973 (7)||9,273 (43)|
|Number of Child Labor Violations Found||4 (7)||10 (43)|
|Number of Child Labor Violations for Which Penalties Were Imposed||0 (7)||2 (43)|
|Number of Child Labor Penalties Imposed that Were Collected||0 (7)||2 (43)|
|Routine Inspections Conducted||Yes (7)||Yes (43)|
|Routine Inspections Targeted||Yes (7)||Yes (43)|
|Unannounced Inspections Permitted||Yes (29)||Yes (38)|
|Unannounced Inspections Conducted||Yes (7)||Yes (43)|
|Complaint Mechanism Exists||Yes (7)||Yes (43)|
|Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Labor Authorities and Social Services||Yes (7)||Yes (43)|
In 2022, inspectors received training on regulations related to the employment of minors. (8) Inspectors determined that the tourism sector continued to contribute to children working as street vendors, particularly in Durres and Vlore. (8,22) The State Inspectorate for Labor and Social Services (SILSS) also developed an online tool to improve transparency around penalties, particularly when a fine can be issued and the amount of the fine. Although SILSS can inspect registered private entities, it cannot inspect private homes, private farms, or unregistered businesses. (5)
Criminal Law Enforcement
In 2022, the government's criminal law enforcement agencies appeared to function adequately in addressing child labor (Table 7).
|Overview of Criminal Law Enforcement||2021||2022|
|Training for Criminal Investigators Provided||No (42)||Yes (44)|
|Number of Investigations||68 (7)||44‡ (8)|
|Number of Prosecutions Initiated||25 (5)||19‡ (8)|
|Number of Convictions||15 (5)||14‡ (8)|
|Imposed Penalties for Violations Related to the Worst Forms of Child Labor||15 (7)||14 (44)|
|Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Criminal Authorities and Social Services||Yes (7)||Yes (44)|
‡ Includes data from January 2022 to September 2022.
If a child victim of labor exploitation is identified during the course of a labor inspection, then the agency conducting the inspection first refers the child to the police and state social services, then to an anti-trafficking shelter. (5,40) The case may also be referred to local Child Protection Units (CPUs), which can then connect the child to social services. (5,37,40,41) During the reporting period, the state police continued to investigate the trafficking of minors in collaboration with the 12 regional police directorates. Additionally, criminal law enforcement authorities received multiple trainings on anti-trafficking efforts and new criminal legislation regarding the treatment of minor victims of human trafficking. (8)
The government has established a key mechanism to coordinate its efforts to address child labor (Table 8). However, gaps exist that hinder the effective coordination of efforts to address child labor, including coordination among agencies.
|Coordinating Body||Role & Activities|
|State Agency for the Rights and Protection of Children||Oversees implementation of the government’s child rights protection policies, including monitoring the National Agenda for the Rights of the Child. (5,42) Manages cases of at-risk children and refers them to appropriate social services. Sanctions authorities who fail to protect children from violence and exploitation. (5,37) Coordinates local and central efforts on health, security, and the education of children. (5) During the reporting period, the State Agency for the Rights and Protection of Children met with local Child Protection Units and ad-hoc Cross-Sectoral Technical Groups to improve the local bodies' ability to properly identify children at risk of exploitation. Additionally, the State Agency continued to coordinate regular annual meetings with child protection workers in all 61 municipalities. (8)|
Coordination between SILSS and the Albanian State Police has traditionally been sporadic. (11,44,49)
The government has established policies that are consistent with relevant international standards on child labor (Table 9).
|Policy||Description & Activities|
|National Action Plan for Combating Trafficking in Persons (2021–2023)||Calls for the identification and referral of child victims and those at risk of human trafficking to social protection services in accordance with standard operating procedures. (5) Increases the use of CPUs, police, and border control personnel to identify victims, including children involved in street work. Seeks to raise public awareness of all forms of human trafficking, including for forced labor. (5) Active during the reporting period. (8)|
|National Agenda for the Rights of the Child (2021–2026)||Aims to protect and promote children’s rights by supporting physical and psychosocial development, and the social inclusion of children. (5,41) Other goals include eliminating all forms of violence against children and creating child-friendly systems and services in education, justice, health, and social protection. (5,41) Active during the reporting period. (8)|
|National Strategy on Education (2021–2026)||Aims to promote learning environments that are conducive to student well-being and preventing children from dropping out of school. (23) Active during the reporting period. (8)|
‡ The government had other policies that may have addressed child labor issues or had an impact on child labor. (4,45,46)
In 2022, the government funded and participated in programs that include the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor (Table 10). However, gaps exist in these social programs, including the inadequacy of programs to address the problem in all sectors.
|Program||Description & Activities|
|Program of Cooperation for Sustainable Development (2022-2026) *||UN program that aims to increase access to education for vulnerable children and improve protections for child survivors of human trafficking. During the reporting period, the Government of Albania and the UN office in Albania signed a new commitment to continue working on economic and social reforms to improve the situation of vulnerable populations throughout the country. (8,47)|
|Cash Transfer Program (Ndihma Ekonomike) †||Government-funded cash transfer program that provides an allowance for families receiving economic aid through the Law on Social Assistance and Services. (4) During the reporting period, the government continued to provide regular cash payments to qualifying families. (48)|
|World Vision Albania Centers (Children's City Program) †||The municipalities of Durrës, Maliq, and Korçë collaborated with World Vision Albania to construct centers for children in high-risk situations, including violence, abuse, and various forms of exploitation. (48) During the reporting period, World Vision Albania continued to assist children who were previously in abusive situations. (8)|
For information about USDOL’s projects to address child labor around the world, visit https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ilab/ilab-project-page-search
* Program was launched during the reporting period.
† Program is funded by the Government of Albania.
‡ The government had other social programs that may have included the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor. (45)
Research indicates that there is a lack of shelters for street children who are not victims of human trafficking, although some state- and NGO-run services were available for children who were forced to beg. (5) A lack of financial and human resources and issues related to the decentralization of social funds from the central government to municipalities were also cited as gaps in the efficient implementation of social programs. (4,45,50,51)
Based on the reporting above, suggested actions are identified that would advance the elimination of child labor in Albania (Table 11).
|Area||Suggested Action||Year(s) Suggested|
|Legal Framework||Ensure that using, procuring, and offering children under age 18 for illicit activities, including in the production and trafficking of drugs, are criminally prohibited.||2015 – 2022|
|Ensure that the use of children in prostitution is criminally prohibited.||2019 – 2022|
|Enforcement||Ensure that labor inspectors can inspect the informal sector in which child labor is known to occur, including private homes, private farms, or unregistered businesses.||2010 – 2022|
|Coordination||Ensure proper coordination between the State Inspectorate for Labor and Social Services and the Albanian State Police.||2019 – 2022|
|Social Programs||Collect and publish comprehensive data on the extent and nature of child labor in Albania. In particular, gather data on the prevalence and conditions of child labor in sectors of heightened concern, such as the agriculture and construction sectors.||2013 – 2022|
|Provide adequate transportation resources for all children who face transportation-related barriers to school attendance, in particular Roma and Balkan Egyptian children and those who live in communities far from schools.||2011 – 2022|
|Enhance efforts to eliminate barriers and make education accessible for all children, including children from Roma and Balkan Egyptian minority communities, children with disabilities, and children from Syria, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and elsewhere living in Albania as refugees or displaced migrants, by removing all school-related fees and ensuring that children without documentation do not face obstacles to enrolling in school.||2013 – 2022|
|Provide translation services for all children, especially those from migrant or refugee families, who are facing language-related barriers to education.||2018 – 2022|
|Increase the number of shelters for victims of the worst forms of child labor, in particular for unhoused children living and working in forced begging rings on the streets.||2017 – 2022|
|Institute programs to assist children who are victims of human trafficking and those who are used in scavenging chromium.||2014 – 2022|
|Ensure that funding and human resources are increased for social programs for child labor and that decentralized social funds to municipalities are appropriately allocated to adequately carry out programs.||2018 – 2022|
- UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary education, both sexes (%). Accessed March 15, 2023. For more information, please see “Children's Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions” in the Reference Materials section of this report.
- ILO and Institute of Statistics (INSTAT) of the Republic of Albania. Working Children in the Republic of Albania- The Results of the 2010 National Child Labour Survey. Budapest. July 2012.
- U.S. Embassy- Tirana. Reporting. February 18, 2020.
- U.S. Embassy- Tirana. Reporting. February 6, 2019.
- U.S. Embassy- Tirana. Reporting. February 10, 2022.
- Martinelli, Alice. Children workers who help the family. October 31, 2017.
- Mayor of Bulqize and Child Protection Unit official. Interview with USDOL official. November 13, 2018.
- U.S. Embassy- Tirana. Reporting. February 9, 2023.
- State Labor Inspectorate and Social Services official. Interview with USDOL official. November 14, 2018.
- Gender Alliance for Development Centre. Shadow Report with a Special Focus to the Applications and Implications of the Article 11 in Shoes and Textile Industry in Albania, Albanian NGO’s Shadow Report. UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, Complementing the Albanian Government Reports CEDAW/C/ALB/4 and CEDAW/ALB/Q/4/Add.1 to the CEDAW Committee. June 2016.
- ARSIS Organization for the Support of Youth official. Interview with USDOL official. March 22, 2018.
- U.S. Embassy- Tirana. Reporting. January 17, 2017.
- U.S. Department of State. Trafficking in Persons Report, 2020- Albania. Washington, D.C., June 16, 2020.
- U.S. Department of State. Trafficking in Persons Report- 2019: Albania. Washington, D.C., June 20, 2019.
- World Vision in Albania official. Interview with USDOL official. March 9, 2018.
- U.S. Embassy- Tirana. Reporting. January 17, 2018.
- U.S. Embassy- Tirana. Reporting. February 16, 2018.
- U.S. Department of State. Trafficking in Persons Report- 2017: Albania. Washington, D.C., June 27, 2017.
- U.S. Embassy- Tirana. Reporting. February 26, 2021.
- Hoxha, Anila. In Albania, A Worrying Rise in Drug Gangs Hiring Minors. November 10, 2021.
- U.S. Embassy- Tirana. Reporting. March 6, 2023.
- Pulaj, Ardi. Albania's tourism industry is on the rise, increasing risk of child sexual exploitation, warns new report. October 16, 2022.
- Education International. Albania: Education unions' success in combating child labor. February 4, 2022.
- Kote, Kristo. Over 35,000 Albanians plunged into poverty by crisis - UNICEF. October 18, 2022.
- UNICEF. Survey on knowledge, attitudes, and practices of youth regarding human trafficking in four regions of Albania. September 2022.
https://www.unicef.org/albania/media/5441/file/KAP Survey Second Wav 4 Regions.pdf
- U.S. Embassy- Tirana official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. May 15, 2019.
- Likmeta, Besar. Albania Fined by Strasbourg Court for Segregating Schoolchildren. May 31, 2022.
- Government of Albania. Decree of the Council of Ministers on Defining Hazardous and Hard Works, No. 207. Enacted: May 9, 2002.
- Government of Albania. Labor Code of the Republic of Albania, 7961. Enacted: 1995.
- Government of Albania. Law on the Rights and Protection of the Child, No. 18/2017. Enacted: February 23, 2017.
- Government of Albania. Law on Occupational Safety and Health at Work, No. 10 237. Enacted: February 18, 2010. Source on file.
- Government of Albania. Regulation on Protection of Children in Work. Enacted: February 15, 2017.
http://qbz.gov.al/botime/Akteindividuale/Janar 2017/Fletore 33/VKM nr. 108, date 15.2.2017.pdf
- Government of Albania. Criminal Code of the Republic of Albania, 7895. Enacted: January 27, 1995.
- Government of Albania. Law on Military Service, No. 9047. Enacted: 2003.
- Government of Albania. Law on Pre-University Education System in the Republic of Albania, No. 69. Enacted: 2012.
https://www.crca.al/sites/default/files/publications/Law on pre-university education system in the republic of Albania (2012).pdf
- Government of Albania. Constitution of the Republic of Albania. Enacted: November 22, 1998.
- Government of Albania. Instruction No. 10 on Cooperation and Intervention Procedures for Assisting Vulnerable Children for Institutions and Structures in Charge of Child Protection. February 25, 2015.
- Government of Albania. Law no. 9634, On Labor Inspection and State Labor Inspectorate. October 30, 2006.
- U.S. Embassy- Tirana. Official communication with USDOL official. June 17, 2022.
- CoE Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. Reply from Albania to the Questionnaire for the evaluation of the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings by the Parties. June 20, 2019.
- Government of Albania. Presentation of the “Matrix of Penalties” as a Transparency Platform of Decision – Making. State Labor Inspectorate and Social Services. January 14, 2019.
- Government of Albania. National Agenda on Children's Rights, 2021–2026. 2021.
- OSCE Albania official. Interview with USDOL official. November 15, 2018.
- Prosecutor's Office official. Interview with USDOL official. November 14, 2018.
- U.S. Embassy- Tirana. Reporting. March 1, 2019.
- Government of Albania. Law No. 541, On the Approval of the Justice Strategy for Youth Action Plan. September 19, 2018.
- Government of Albania and United Nations. Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework 2022-2026. 2022.
- Government of Albania. Economic Aid Portal. 2022.
- World Vision Albania. Our Work for Children's Protection. 2020.
- ILO. Application of International Labour Standards 2019. 2019.
- Ombudsman official. Interview with USDOL official. November 15, 2018.