Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - The Kyrgyz Republic

2014 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

Kyrgyz Republic

Minimal Advancement

In 2014, the Kyrgyz Republic made a minimal advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The Government began conducting a national child labor survey in collaboration with the ILO. However, children in the Kyrgyz Republic are engaged in child labor, including in cotton cultivation, and in the worst forms of child labor, including in tobacco cultivation. Interagency coordination on child labor continued to be poor and legal protections, such as minimum age of employment and prohibition on hazardous work, are not extended to children engaged in non-contractual employment.

 

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Children in the Kyrgyz Republic are engaged in child labor, including in cotton cultivation. Children are also engaged in the worst forms of child labor, including in tobacco cultivation.(1-3) Table 1 provides key indicators on children's work and education in the Kyrgyz Republic.

Table 1. Statistics on Children's Work and Education

Working children, ages 5 to 14 (% and population):

4.5 (48,305)

School attendance, ages 5 to 14 (%):

84.0

Children combining work and school, ages 7 to 14 (%):

4.8

Primary completion rate (%):

97.7

Source for primary completion rate: Data from 2012, published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2015.(4)Source for all other data: Understanding Children's Work Project's analysis of statistics from Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 3, 2006.(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

Cultivating cotton, tobacco,† rice,* potatoes,* sugar beets,* and wheat* (1-3, 6-13)

Raising cattle* and sheep* (6, 7, 11-13)

Industry

Coal mining*† (6, 7, 12, 13)

Brick making* (6, 7, 12, 13)

Construction, including lifting and portering construction materials,* and cutting metal sheets for roofs* (6, 7, 13)

Services

Loading and unloading goods, portering, and selling items, including food and newspapers, in bazaars (6, 8, 10, 12, 14-18)

Collecting plastic bottles* and garbage* in bazaars (8, 19)

Washings cars* (6, 10, 17)

Working in restaurants and cafes, including serving food* and washing dishes* (6, 8, 12, 20)

Street work, including begging* and shoe shining* (6, 12, 17, 21, 22)

Domestic work, including babysitting* (6, 7, 9, 19, 21, 22)

Categorical Worst Forms of Child Labor‡

Forced begging* and forced labor in tobacco cultivation*(12, 21, 22)

Commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking* (3, 7, 17, 19, 21, 22)

Used in illicit activities, including trafficking of illegal drugs as a result of human trafficking* (6, 21)

* 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.

According to the most recent child labor survey conducted in 2007, child labor is concentrated in agriculture, primarily in the oblasts (provinces) of Issyk Kul and Osh.(15) Children also transport and sell items in local bazaars.(15)

Labor migration from southern to northern areas of the Kyrgyz Republic and from the Kyrgyz Republic to Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation is a common occurrence. Some parents leave their children behind, oftentimes without birth certificates and guardianship documents. As a result, some children cannot enroll in school and are vulnerable to the worst forms of child labor.(8, 11, 12) Similarly, many ethnic Lyuli children, a subgroup of the Roma people living in Central Asia, are out of school, and child labor is prevalent in this community.(6) Children with disabilities and those living and working on the street also have difficultly accessing education.(7, 15, 18, 23) Some schools require residence registration known as propiska for enrollment, even though according to the Ministry of Education and Science, this is not mandatory.(7, 9, 19)

In 2014, the National Statistics Committee, in cooperation with the ILO-IPEC, began conducting interviews with 6,000 households for a national child labor survey.(24)

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The Kyrgyz Republic 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

The Government has established 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 18 of the Labor Code (25)

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

Yes

18

Article 294 of the Labor Code (25); Article 15 of the Code on Children (26)

Prohibition of Hazardous Occupations or Activities for Children

Yes

 

Article 294 of the Labor Code (25); Decree 314 (27); Annex I of Decree 548 (28)

Prohibition of Forced Labor

Yes

 

Article 10 of the Labor Code (25); Article 15.2 of the Code on Children (26)

Prohibition of Child Trafficking

Yes

 

Articles 1 and 12 of the Law on Preventing and Combating Human Trafficking (29); Article 124 of the Criminal Code (30)

Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Yes

 

Article 157 of the Criminal Code (30); Articles 5 and 15 of the Code on Children (26)

Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities

Yes

 

Articles 157, 249, 247, and 375 of the Criminal Code (30); Articles 5 and 15 of the Code on Children (26)

Minimum Age for Compulsory Military Recruitment

Yes

18

Articles 17.1 and 22.1 of the Law on Military Service (31)

Minimum Age for Voluntary Military Service

Yes

18

Article 24.1 of the Law on Military Service (31)

Compulsory Education Age

Yes

15

Article 16 of the Law on Education (32)

Free Public Education

Yes

 

Article 16 of the Law on Education (32)

According to Article 6 of the Labor Code, protections, such as the minimum age of employment and prohibition on hazardous work, are not extended to children engaged in non-contractual employment.(25) Most incidences of child labor occur in employment relationships where the child does not have a signed employment contract with the employer.(8, 11) Children in the Kyrgyz Republic are also required to attend school only until grade nine, which is typically until they reach age 14 or 15.(8, 9, 23, 33) This standard makes such children between the ages of 15 and 16 vulnerable to child labor, as they are not required to be in school but are not legally permitted to work either.

The Ministry of Social Development and the ILO indicate that the list of hazardous work in Decrees 314 and 548 is outdated.(34) The Government has drafted a revised list in 2011, which has not yet been approved.(35)

In 2014, the President signed the decree on Social Support for Children and Families in Difficult Living Conditions to address the root causes of child labor.(35)

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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

State Inspectorate on Ecological and Technical Safety

Monitor work sites and refer child laborers to social services. Cooperate with the Inspectorate for Minors' Affairs in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Prosecutor General's Office, and regional State District Administration authorities to enforce child labor laws.(35)

Ministry of Internal Affairs' Inspectorate for Minors' Affairs

Enforce criminal laws related to the worst forms of child labor; conduct independent inspections and joint raids with the State Inspectorate on Ecological and Technical Safety to find neglected or abused children; and refer children to social institutions for care.(35)

Prosecutor General's Office

Enforce and apply laws concerning labor, including by conducting labor inspections and investigating child labor violations in coordination with the State Inspectorate on Ecological and Technical Safety.(35, 36)

Oblast Administration

Enforce child labor laws at the oblast level.(35)

Ministry of Social Development

Serve as the key government agency for child issues charged with protecting children and families in difficult conditions, including child laborers.(6) Child labor issues are covered by the Ministry's Department of Child Protection. Monitor for children engaged in the worst forms of child labor.(6) Coordinate with oblast-level authorities to pursue violations of child labor laws.(33)

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

Labor Law Enforcement

In 2014, the State Inspectorate on Ecological and Technical Safety employed 23 inspectors charged with investigating all labor issues, including child labor. Given the size of the workforce, the number of labor inspectors was inadequate to ensure appropriate enforcement of child labor laws.(6, 18) State Inspectorate on Ecological and Technical Safety officials noted that insufficient funds hindered enforcement efforts. Inspectors attended weekly personnel meetings where they received updates and training on issues, including child labor.(18) During the reporting period, labor inspectors identified 243 children engaged in child labor and issued penalties for employers.(18) Unannounced inspections are not permitted; in accordance with Article 6.6 of the Business Inspections Act, labor inspectors must inform businesses of inspections 10 days in advance.(37)

Criminal Law Enforcement

In 2014, a total of 22 cases of human trafficking, forced labor, and commercial sexual exploitation were investigated. The Prosecutor General's Office prosecuted 9 cases involving 21 suspected offenders and 6 child victims.(38) Fifteen offenders were convicted.(38) Research did not find information on the number of investigators, their training, and the implementation of penalties.

In 2013, some child victims of commercial sexual exploitation were treated as criminals or were further abused by law enforcement officials, including while in custody.(3, 21, 39) Concerns about law enforcement's treatment of child victims of commercial sexual exploitation remained in 2014 because the Government did not investigate allegations of police misconduct. Some law enforcement officials acknowledged that more should be done to protect child victims.(33)

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Research found no evidence that the Government has established mechanisms to coordinate its efforts to address child labor, including its worst forms.(6) The National Coordination Council on Child Labor was previously in charge of developing policies to eliminate child labor, but it is no longer operational.(11)

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

Table 6. Policies Related to Child Labor

Policy

Description

National Program Against Human Trafficking and Action Plan for the Implementation of the Program (2013 — 2016)

Aims to provide protection to children in difficult situations to prevent them from becoming victims of sexual, labor, or criminal exploitation. Does not, however, have a specific focus on the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Action Plan is overseen by the Ministry of Labor, Migration, and Youth.(35)

Sustainable Development Plan (2013 — 2017)

Addresses child labor by undertaking a child labor survey, strengthening enforcement mechanisms for monitoring child labor, and replicating best practices to improve access to education.(35, 40)

Roadmap on Out-of-School Children

Seeks to collect information on the problem of school nonattendance and develop a comprehensive list of activities to address the issue. Developed by UNICEF, the ILO, the Ministry of Education; currently under revision.(40)

National Education Strategy (2012 — 2020)

Seeks to improve access to education, develop skills based on labor market needs, and increase access to elementary education for illiterate individuals and those who dropped out of school.(41)

Social Protection Development Strategy (2012 — 2014)

Aims at formulating the guidelines for the Child Labor Monitoring System, revising the list of hazardous work prohibited for children, and preparing for the replication of the Child Labor Monitoring System in other regions of the country.(35)

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In 2014, the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic funded and participated in programs that include the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor, including its worst forms (Table 8).

Table 7. Social Programs to Address Child Labor

Program

Description

Combating Child Labor in Central Asia — Commitment Becomes Action (PROACT CAR Phase III) (2010 — 2015)

Government of Germany-funded, $6.7 million, 5-year project implemented by the ILO‑IPEC to mainstream child labor issues into national policies and legislation, build the capacity of stakeholders, and provide direct services to children withdrawn from the worst forms of child labor.(40) There is a pilot program in two districts that consists of evening classes for children engaged in child labor and child labor monitoring by teachers and social workers.(7, 42)

Implementing Practices to Address Child Labor in Tobacco in Kyrgyzstan (IMPACT) (2013 — 2015)

Eliminating Child Labor in Tobacco Growing Foundation-funded, $709,943, 2-year project implemented by the Alliance on Protection of Child Rights that works to eliminate child labor in tobacco-growing communities in southern areas of the Kyrgyz Republic. Objectives include preventing 3,000 children from entering child labor and improving access to education, water, and sanitation.(43)

Evening Classes for Child Laborers‡

ILO and Ministry of Education and Science project that provides evening classes to secondary school students in districts where there is a high concentration of child laborers. Includes weekly or biweekly family consultations with social workers who observe the children during which the parents receive information on the hazards of child labor.(44)

Social Support for Children and Families in Difficult Living Conditions‡

Social workers monitor places where children may be working, with a primary focus on bazaars.(33) The decree indicates that social workers will assist with returning children to school and ensure that they are no longer working.(33)

World Day Against Child Labor

ILO-IPEC media campaign for World Day Against Child Labor in 2014, highlighting extending social protections to eliminate child labor.(33)

Toll-Free Hotline for Human Trafficking‡

Ministry of Labor, Migration, and Youth's toll-free line provided to the IOM that offers information to potential labor migrants and assistance to victims of human trafficking.(23)

Ministry of Education and Science National School Attendance Database‡

Launched in 2014, pilot national electronic database to track children who do not attend school. Although not operational, database information will be shared with the Ministry of Social Development to assist children engaged in child labor.(9) The Ministry of Internal Affairs will also be informed of cases of criminal violations of child labor laws. In addition, social pedagogues will work with families to ensure that children attend school.(9)

‡ Program is funded by the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Research found no evidence that the Government has carried out programs to assist children in domestic work, cotton cultivation, and herding during the reporting period.

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

Table 8. Suggested Government Actions to Eliminate Child Labor, Including its Worst Forms

Area

Suggested Action

Year(s) Suggested

Legal Framework

Ensure that the law's minimum age provisions and hazardous work prohibitions apply to children working without a signed employment contract.

2014

Increase the age for compulsory schooling to 16, the minimum age to work.

2014

Enforcement

Increase the number of labor inspectors and provide inspectors adequate resources to conduct inspections.

2012 — 2014

Strengthen the inspection system by permitting unannounced inspections.

2014

Collect and make publicly available the number of criminal investigators, their training, and the implementation of penalties.

2011 — 2014

Ensure that children engaged in child labor are not treated as criminals.

2014

Investigate allegations of, and take appropriate legal action against, police misconduct, including sexual abuse of child laborers.

2014

Coordination

Establish coordinating mechanisms to combat child labor, including all its worst forms.

2012 — 2014

Social Programs

Ensure that all children have access to free education.

2009 — 2014

Institute programs to address child labor in agriculture, including the cultivation of cotton, domestic work, and herding.

2014

 

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1.ILO-IPEC official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. March 6, 2012.

2.Yakovleva, E. "Child labor: in tobacco slavery." [online ] March 25, 2014 [cited March 27, 2015]; .

3.ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Observation concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) - Kyrgyztan (ratification: 2004) Published: 2013; accessed November 26, 2013;.

4.UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary. Total. [accessed January 16, 2015]; . 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. Original data from Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 3, 2006. Analysis received January 16, 2015. 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- Bishkek. reporting, January 16, 2014.

7.Association for the Promotion of Rights and Interests of Children official. Interview with USDOL official. May 20, 2015.

8.ILO-IPEC official. Interview with USDOL official. May 18, 2015.

9.Ministry of Education and Science official. Interview with USDOL official. May 19, 2015.

10.Ministry of Social Development official. Interview with USDOL official. May 19, 2015.

11.Trade Union of Agro-Industrial Complex's Workers official. Interview with USDOL official. May 21, 2015.

12.USAID official. Interview with USDOL official. May 20, 2015.

13.Alliance on Protection of Children Rights official. Interview with USDOL official. May 20, 2015.

14.ILO. The Main Change Has to Happen in People's Minds: A Child Labour Film Programme in Kyrgyzstan, ILO, [online] June 11, 2010 [cited April 9, 2013];.

15.UNICEF. All Children in School by 2015: Global Initiative on Out-of-school Children - Kyrgyzstan Country Study; 2012.

16.Toktonaliev, T. "Kyrgyz Child Workers Harassed, Not Helped by Police." [online] June 25, 2014 [cited January 23, 2015]; Toktonaliev, T. "Kyrgyz Child Workers Harassed, Not Helped by Police." iwpr.net [online] June 25, 2014 [cited January 23, 2015]; .

17.ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Direct Request concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Kyrgyzstan (ratification: 2004) Published: 2013; accessed October 28, 2014;.

18.State Inspectorate on Environmental and Technical Safety official. Interview with USDOL official. May 22, 2015.

19.Adilet Legal Clinic official. Interview with USDOL official. May 21, 2015.

20.Parliament Committee for Human Rights, CLaSo. Interview with USDOL official. May 21, 2015.

21.U.S. Department of State. "Kyrgyz Republic," in Trafficking in Persons Report- 2014. Washington, DC; June 2014;.

22.IOM official. Interview with USDOL official. May 18, 2015.

23.U.S. Department of State. "Kyrgyz Republic," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2013. Washington, DC; February 27, 2014;.

24.ILO. "Kyrgyzstan to interview 6,000 households within national child labour survey." [online] November 3, 2014 [cited January 23, 2015];.

25.Government of the Kyrgyz Republic. Labor Code of the Kyrgyz Republic, No. 106, as amended, enacted August 4, 2004.

26.Government of the Kyrgyz Republic. The Kyrgyz Republic's Code on Children, No. 100, enacted July 10, 2012.

27.Government of the Kyrgyz Republic. Decree No. 314 on the list of industries, occupations and work with difficult and hazardous working conditions, employment in which is prohibited for persons under the age of eighteen (as amended), enacted July 2, 2001.

28.Government of the Kyrgyz Republic. Decree No. 548 on the Adoption of a Standard Maximum Weight for the Lifting and Moving of Heavy Loads by Women and Workers under the Age of 18, enacted December 2, 2005.

29.Government of the Kyrgyz Republic. Law No. 55 on Preventing and Combatnig Human Trafficking, enacted March 17, 2005.

30.Government of Kyrgyz Republic. Criminal Code of the Kyrgyz Republic, No 68, as amended, enacted October 1, 1997. [source on file].

31.Government of Kyrgyz Republic. Law No. 43 on the Universal Conscription of Citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic, Military and Alternative Service, as amended, enacted February 9, 2009.

32.Government of Kyrgyz Republic. Law of the Kyrgyz Republic on Education, No 92, as amended, enacted April 30, 2003.http://edu.gov.kg/ru/normativnopravovaja-baza/zakony/3-zakon-ob-obrazovanii.html.

33.U.S. Embassy- Bishkek. reporting, May 6, 2015.

34.U.S. Embassy- Bishkek official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. March 7, 2013.

35.U.S. Embassy- Bishkek. reporting, December 29, 2014.

36.ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Direct Request concerning Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) - Kyrgyztan (ratification: 1992) Published : 2013; accessed November 26, 2013; .

37.Government of Kyrgyz Republic. Business Inspectiosn Act, No. 72, as amended, enacted May 25, 2007.

38.U.S. Embassy- Bishkek. reporting, February 27, 2015.

39.M'jid, NM. Report of the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (A/HRC/25/48/Add.1) December 23, 2013.

40.ILO-IPEC. Combating Child Labour in Central Asia - Committment Becomes Action PROACT CAR Phase III. Technical Progress Report (July - December, 2013). Geneva; 2013.

41.Government of Kyrgyz Republic. Decree 201 on National Educational Strategy 2012-2020, enacted March 23, 2012.

42.Child Institute official. Interview with USDOL official. May 22, 2015.

43.Eliminating Child Labor in Tobacco Growing (ECLT) Foundation. Kyrgyzstan, 2013 — 2015, ECLT, [online ] 2013 [cited June 19, 2014];.

44.ILO. More than 70 children in Bishkek and Osh will be enrolled to evening classes ILO, [online ] [cited June 6, 2013];.

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