Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Macedonia

Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

Macedonia

2015 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

Moderate Advancement

In 2015, Macedonia made a moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The Government amended its laws to classify the forced begging of children as a human trafficking offense and codify that children cannot provide legally valid consent to engage in prostitution. The Ministry of the Interior collaborated with UNHCR and smaller NGOs to draft standard operating procedures for addressing the needs of unaccompanied and separated migrant, refugee, or asylum-seeking children transiting through the country, which the Government adopted in December. Mobile teams of social workers and plainclothes police officers from the Ministry of the Interior removed 78 children from street work and took them to daycare centers. However, children in Macedonia are engaged in child labor, including in begging. Children are also engaged in the worst forms of child labor, including in commercial sexual exploitation. Macedonia lacks recent, comprehensive data on the nature and extent of child labor in the country, including activities involving farming, street work, and commercial sexual exploitation. The law’s minimum age protections do not apply to children who are self-employed or working outside formal employment relationships. In addition, the use, procurement, and offering of children for the production and trafficking of drugs is not criminally prohibited.

Expand All

Children in Macedonia are engaged in the worst forms of child labor, including in forced begging and commercial sexual exploitation.(1-6) Table 1 provides key indicators on children’s work and education in Macedonia.

Table 1. Statistics on Children’s Work and Education

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

18.3 (44,161)

School attendance, ages 5 to 14 (%):

86.8

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

19.5

Primary completion rate (%):

89.9

Source for primary completion rate: Data from 2009, published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2015.(7)
Source for all other data: Understanding Children’s Work Project’s analysis of statistics from Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 4, 2011.(8)

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,* including grapes,* watermelon,* peaches,* peppers,* cucumbers,* tomatoes,* and apricots* (9, 10)

Services

Street work, including vending small items,* cleaning vehicle windshields,* scavenging, and begging (4-6, 9, 10)

Working in commercial car washes* (9, 10)

Categorical Worst Forms of Child Labor‡

Commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking (1-3, 11, 12)

Forced begging (1-3, 5)

Domestic work as a result of human trafficking (3, 11, 13, 14)

Forced labor as wait staff and dancers in restaurants,* bars,* and nightclubs* (1, 2, 14)

* 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.

The majority of children involved in child labor in Macedonia engage in street work, such as begging, cleaning vehicle windshields, and vending cigarettes and other small items in open markets and at bars and restaurants.(2, 5, 6) Some children engage in begging to help support their families, while others are forced to beg. The majority of children involved in street work, including begging and forced begging, are of the Roma ethnicity.(1-3, 5, 6) Macedonia lacks recent, comprehensive data on the nature and extent of child labor in the country, including activities involving farming, street work, and commercial sexual exploitation.

The majority of victims of child trafficking in Macedonia are girls, ages 14 to 17, who have been trafficked domestically for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor in restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, mostly near the cities of Tetovo and Gostivar.(1-3, 11, 13) Girls in Eastern and Central Macedonia have been identified as being at particularly high risk for human trafficking.(15) Girls, particularly Roma girls, are also trafficked for forced marriages in which they are subject to sexual and labor exploitation.(3, 11, 13)

In 2015, more than 920,000 migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers transited legally and illegally through Macedonia. Although most migrants who transited the country during the first half of 2015 were men, the number of unaccompanied child migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers from various countries, including Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, increased from October to December 2015.(3, 16) In November, the Government began enforcing restrictions that only allowed admission into the country to individuals from Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Iraq. Due to this policy, hundreds of migrants, including an unknown number of children, were prevented from entering Macedonia.(16) As a result, illegal migration increased.(16) Most of the migrants denied entry were from Iran, Pakistan, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Morocco, Liberia, Palestine, Nigeria, and the Ivory Coast.(14, 17) Children transiting through the country, either legally or illegally, are vulnerable to trafficking for labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Unaccompanied Afghan children between ages 13 and 15 were especially vulnerable to being subjected to labor exploitation through debt bondage.(3, 16) Additionally, research could not determine whether the Government denied access to education for children detained in a Reception Center for Foreigners, known as Gazi Baba.(18)

The Laws on Primary Education and Secondary Education provide for education in Macedonian and Romani, along with the languages of several other ethnic minorities.(1) Some communities with a predominantly Roma population have access to Romani-language kindergarten and primary school classes.(19) However, the Government was unable to fully meet the demand for instruction in Romani due to a shortage of qualified teachers.(1) In addition, some Roma children had difficulty accessing education due to a lack of birth registration.(1, 12, 20) Schools for children with intellectual disabilities and classes for children with disabilities in mainstream schools have disproportionately high enrollment rates of Roma children. Sources attributed this phenomenon to discrimination against Roma children, based, in part, on faulty screening procedures for assessing intellectual disabilities or these children being enrolled into these programs without screening.(1, 21-23) Increased government funding for programs to eliminate barriers to education has raised school attendance rates among Roma children.(1) Barriers remain, however, and increase Roma children’s vulnerability to child labor.

During the reporting period, the Government improved the accessibility of some school buildings for children with physical disabilities, incorporated technology to assist students with disabilities, and assigned educators with specialized training to some mainstream schools to support teachers who have children with disabilities in their classes. However, a pervasive social stigma against individuals with disabilities persists.(1, 22, 24)

Macedonia 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

15

Article 42 of the Constitution; Section 7 of the Labor Relations Act (25, 26)

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

Yes

18

Sections 7, 63, 66, and 67 of the Labor Relations Act (26)

Prohibition of Hazardous Occupations or Activities for Children

Yes

 

Rulebook on the minimum occupational safety and health requirements for young workers (27, 28)

Prohibition of Forced Labor

Yes

 

Article 11 of the Constitution; Articles 418, 418-c and 418-d of the Criminal Code (25, 29)

Prohibition of Child Trafficking

Yes

 

Articles 418-c and 418-d of the Criminal Code (29)

Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Yes

 

Articles 190-193b of the Criminal Code (13, 29)

Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities

No

 

 

Minimum Age for Compulsory Military Recruitment

N/A*

 

 

Minimum Age for Voluntary Military Service

Yes

18

Article 62 of the Law on Defense (21, 30)

Compulsory Education Age

Yes

16

Articles 4, 5, 47, and 172 of the Law on Primary Education; Article 3 of the Law on Secondary Education (31-33)

Free Public Education

Yes

 

Article 44 of the Constitution (25)

* No conscription (34)

In 2015, the Government amended Article 418-d (Trafficking in Children) of the Criminal Code to criminalize trafficking for child begging, substitute the term “child” for “under aged person,” and increase the penalties prescribed for clients of children engaged in commercial sexual exploitation to a minimum of 12 years of imprisonment.(5) However, the Government removed the criminal offense outlined under Article 191-a, which specifically criminalized prostitution of a child.(3, 5, 35)

As part of an effort to protect vulnerable refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers, including children, from being trafficked, the Government amended the Law on Asylum and Temporary Protection during the reporting period to allow foreign nationals who express in writing when they reach the border that they intend to file for asylum 72 hours to either freely pass through the country or submit a formal application for asylum. This legislative change allowed persons transiting through Macedonia to access public services and use public transportation, which, for some people, reduced their vulnerability to trafficking.(3)

In December 2015, the Government formally adopted standard operating procedures (SOPs), which the Ministry of the Interior (MOI), UNHCR, and smaller NGOs collaborated to draft, for addressing the needs of unaccompanied and separated migrant, refugee, or asylum-seeking children transiting through the country. These SOPs describe how government officials should handle their initial contact with these children, create a preliminary referral system to gather information, and require the appointment of both a guardian and an interpreter to attempt to prevent them from becoming victims of trafficking.(3, 16)

The law’s minimum age protections do not apply to children who are self-employed or working outside formal employment relationships.(5, 26) In addition, laws related to illicit activities are not sufficient, as the use, procurement, and offering of children for the production and trafficking of drugs is not criminally prohibited.(29, 36)

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 Labor Inspectorate (SLI)

Enforce labor laws, including child labor laws, and transmit cases of suspected criminal law violations to the Public Prosecutor. Inspectors conduct a minimum of 60 inspection visits per month, including both targeted and complaint-based inspections.(37) Operates as an autonomous agency.(19, 38)

Department of Social Inclusion within the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy (MLSP)

Work with the police to seek out street children in need of assistance and track cases of forced child labor.(15, 19)

Centers for Social Work (CSWs) within the MLSP

Work with the Ombudsman’s Office to register complaints about hazardous child labor. Investigate children’s participation in street work, such as vending and begging.(38) Work with the Ministry of Interior (MOI) to form mobile teams consisting of one plainclothes officer and one social worker to identify street children, including child laborers, and remove them from hazardous situations. In 2015, these mobile teams identified and registered 78 street children, more than 95 percent of whom were Roma.(3, 5)

Ombudsman’s Office

Work with the MLSP’s CSWs to register complaints about hazardous child labor. Includes a special unit for the investigation of violations of child rights.(38)

MOI

Enforce criminal laws, including laws related to hazardous child labor. Investigate cases of child trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, and the use of children in illicit activities through its special police unit for organized crime, corruption, and human trafficking.(38)

Office of the National Referral Mechanism

Accept reports of potential victims of human trafficking, including children. Refer potential cases of human trafficking to law enforcement authorities for investigation,  and refer potential victims to receive social services(15, 39) During the reporting period, representatives from the NRM and social workers were allowed to participate in the initial investigative process, which included the identification interview.(3) Children found to be victims of child trafficking are removed from the situation, placed in shelters for trafficked children, and given immediate medical and psychological care.(39)

Public Prosecutor’s Office

Prosecute possible criminal law violations, including those involving the worst forms of child labor.(40) Has an Organized Crime and Corruption Unit with four prosecutors dedicated to cases of child abuse and the worst forms of child labor. The Skopje Basic Prosecutor’s Office, a subunit of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, has eight prosecutors dedicated to child abuse cases.(14, 39)

 

Labor Law Enforcement

In 2015, labor law enforcement agencies in Macedonia took actions to combat child labor, including its worst forms.

Table 6. Labor Law Enforcement Efforts Related to Child Labor

Overview of Labor Law Enforcement

2014

2015

Labor Inspectorate Funding

Unknown

Unknown

Number of Labor Inspectors

69 (14)

79 (5)

Inspectorate Authorized to Assess Penalties

Yes (38)

Yes (5)

Training for Labor Inspectors

   

Initial Training for New Employees

No (38)

No (5)

Training on New Laws Related to Child Labor

No (38)

No (5)

Refresher Courses Provided

No (38)

No (5)

Number of Labor Inspections

Unknown

26,872 (5)

Number Conducted at Worksite

Unknown

Unknown

Number Conducted by Desk Reviews

Unknown

Unknown

Number of Child Labor Violations Found

0 (38)

0 (5)

Number of Child Labor Violations for Which Penalties Were Imposed

N/A

N/A

Number of Penalties Imposed That Were Collected

N/A

N/A

Routine Inspections Conducted

Yes (38)

Yes (5)

Routine Inspections Targeted

Yes (38)

Yes (5, 14)

Unannounced Inspections Permitted

Yes  (38)

Yes (5)

Unannounced Inspections Conducted

Yes (14, 38)

Yes (5, 14)

Complaint Mechanism Exists

Yes (38)

Yes (5, 14)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Labor Authorities and Social Services

Yes (2)

Yes (5, 14)

 

Although the State Labor Inspectorate (SLI) does not have a complaint mechanism to receive child labor complaints, the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy (MLSP) receives child labor complaints through Centers for Social Care and the Office of the Ombudsman and refers complaints to the SLI.(5)

In previous years, data about inspections that the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy (MLSP) conducted were not regularly shared among offices because a central database did not exist. This led to inspectors preparing for inspections without knowing the results of previous visits, and labor and occupational safety and health inspectors, who inspected approximately 10–20 percent of the same entities, writing their own reports without having a mechanism to learn about the findings in each other’s inspections.(37) In 2014, the Government separated the SLI from the MLSP to begin functioning as an independent entity.(38) Research could not determine whether issues with a lack of data sharing on inspections among the different offices at the SLI and between the SLI and MLSP remain.

Although the Government formally adopted the SOPs to provide assistance to unaccompanied and separated children transiting Macedonia in December 2015, a source indicated that there were concerns with how the Government handled situations involving these children. During the year, the Government assigned random adult refugees guardianship of unaccompanied children, granting them legal control over the children and their travel documents.(16) This increased the unaccompanied minors' risk for being trafficked, as there were anecdotal reports that some of these guardians extorted and abused the children assigned to them. UNHCR staff worked with local authorities to end this practice and improve implementation of the SOPs.(16)

Operators of a hotline that receives inquiries regarding human trafficking and provides emotional and psycho-social support to callers were trained on early indicators of human trafficking. In 2015, these operators received approximately 400 calls from citizens; however, research could not determine how many of these calls were related to child labor.(3) The MLSP drafted an analysis of the data from this hotline during the reporting period, which focused on the connection between high-risk families and children who are subjected to labor exploitation. The MLSP also collaborated with the National Commission for Trafficking in Persons and Illegal Migration to develop new early indicators of human trafficking to identify proactively more victims in the future.(3)

Criminal Law Enforcement

In 2015, criminal law enforcement agencies in Macedonia took actions to combat the worst forms of child labor (Table 7).

Table 7. Criminal Law Enforcement Efforts Related to the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Overview of Criminal Law Enforcement

2014

2015

Training for Investigators

   

Initial Training for New Employees

No (38)

Yes (3)

Training on New Laws Related to the Worst Forms of Child Labor

No (38)

Unknown (5)

Refresher Courses Provided

Yes (38)

Yes (3)

Number of Investigations

Unknown

Unknown (14)

Number of Violations Found

Unknown

Unknown (14)

Number of Prosecutions Initiated

Unknown

Unknown (14)

Number of Convictions

Unknown

7 (14)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Criminal Authorities and Social Services

Yes (14)

Yes (14)

 

In 2015, 255 police officers, including members of the Border Police, and social workers received training on trafficking in persons from various organizations, such as the MOI Unit for Border Relations and Migration, IOM, the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union, and UNHCR. Also, the National Commission for Trafficking in Persons and Illegal Migration, MLSP, and MOI, with the support of the German International Cooperation Agency, provided specialized training to Police Academy cadets on human trafficking issues.(3) A total of 13 judges and 6 prosecutors participated in training sessions and conferences on trafficking in persons held by the Academy for Judges and Prosecutors, the Council of Europe, and the Public Prosecutors’ Association. Training on the prevention of human trafficking and how to assist potential child trafficking victims was provided to 14 employees of orphanages and the center for juvenile delinquents.(3)

According to records from the Government’s Centers for Social Work, in 2015, mobile teams of social workers and police from the MOI removed 78 children from street work—more than 95 percent of whom were Roma—and took them to daycare centers. In three cases, the MLSP revoked parental rights due to abuse and negligence, and it also filed criminal charges in 11 cases against parents who allegedly abused or neglected their children.(5) Additionally, the MLSP removed 20 children from their families and subsequently placed them in either foster homes or institutions for homeless children.(5)

During the reporting period, the government officially recognized three victims of child trafficking, all of whom were female. Two of the victims were trafficked for the purpose of forced marriage in Italy and Croatia, and one for sexual and labor exploitation in Macedonia.(14)  Government authorities referred all three victims to a shelter, where they received the full range of protection and assistance available to victims.  Two of the victims were domestic and remained in Macedonia , while the third was a foreign national and was subsequently repatriated to Albania.(14)

In 2015, the special police unit of the MOI had five officers, who participated on the mobile teams with social workers and were dedicated to investigating crimes involving child trafficking and other worst forms of child labor. The MOI also had 80 officers dedicated to enforcing laws against child abuse and exploitation throughout the country’s 38 police districts.(5)

The Prosecutor’s Office suffers from underfunding, and the process required to investigate and gather evidence for human trafficking cases can be lengthy and complex.(39) Consequently, although human trafficking cases are given high priority and tried by the Organized Crime and Corruption Prosecutor’s Unit at the main court in Skopje, these cases sometimes remain in the court system for years without conclusion.(38, 39) Despite the Government’s acknowledgement that trafficking of children remains a problem in the country, civil society organizations have voiced concern that the Government’s attention has shifted away from taking concrete action to address it, such as by proactively identifying child trafficking victims, in favor of focusing on the refugee and ongoing domestic political crises.(3)

During the reporting period, prosecutors obtained prison convictions against seven defendants for trafficking in children.  Four defendants were each issued four-year sentences for trafficking in children. (14)  One defendant was issued a six-year prison sentence for trafficking in children. Three were convicted of trafficking in children for labor, and two, for sexual exploitation.(14) Two defendants were issued 11-and-a-half year suspended sentences each, for trafficking in children for sexual exploitation.(14) Information on the number of investigations, prosecutions, convictions, and penalties implemented for criminal acts involving worst forms of child labor other than child trafficking were not available.

In 2015, the Border Police did not use a formal, robust screening process to identify potential human trafficking victims because they processed the entry of hundreds of migrants. However, some Border Police and NGO workers who had been trained on indicators of human trafficking conducted initial screenings using visual indicators, such as multiple children traveling alone.(16) In cases in which migrants, refugees, or asylum-seeking children presented indicators of being trafficked, the Border Police or other MOI personnel were required to follow established procedures to contact the MOI’s Anti-Trafficking Unit. However, a source indicated that government officials did not always observe these procedures due to security concerns and prioritizing the processing of these migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers quickly to move them through and out of Macedonia.(16) Additionally, an NGO identified 94 potential victims of human trafficking among the migrant, refugee, and asylum-seeking populations; research could not determine whether any of these individuals were children. Upon being notified of these cases, the Government did not investigate them further, due in part to the limited amount of time the potential victims stayed in Macedonia.(3)

The Government has established mechanisms to coordinate its efforts to address child labor, including its worst forms (Table 8).

Table 8. Mechanisms to Coordinate Government Efforts on Child Labor

Coordinating Body

Role & Description

National Commission for the Protection of the Rights of Children

Coordinate efforts to protect children’s rights, including by preventing and eliminating child labor, through the provision of social services.(38) Develop and oversee implementation of the National Plan of Action on the Rights of the Child.(3, 41)

National Coordination Body for Implementation of the Action Plan for Prevention and Countering Sexual Abuse of Children and Pedophilia

Implement the National Action Plan. Led by the MLSP and made up of representatives from relevant ministries and NGOs.(27, 41) Maintain a hotline for reporting sexual abuse of children and children on the street.(27, 39, 42)

National Coordination Body for Protection of Children from Abuse and Neglect

Oversee implementation of the National Action Plan for Prevention and Countering Abuse and Neglect of Children. Members of this body include representatives from civil society and the WHO and UNICEF country offices.(43)

National Commission for Trafficking in Persons and Illegal Migration

Coordinate the work of all institutions involved in combating trafficking in persons. Led by the National Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Persons, 14 representatives from 9 governmental institutions participate on the Commission.(38) Includes the Sub-Committee for the Fight Against Trafficking in Children, which serves as an advisory body to the Commission on all forms of child trafficking.(3, 19, 38)

 

Although the National Commission for Trafficking in Persons and Illegal Migration organized regular meetings in 2015 to assess the overall situation in Macedonia regarding trafficking in persons, it played a limited role in coordinating efforts on prevention or protection among NGOs and the three local anti-trafficking in persons committees.(3)

The Government of Macedonia has established policies related to child labor, including its worst forms (Table 9).

Table 9. Policies Related to Child Labor

Policy

Description

Action Plan for Children on the Streets (2013–2015)

Aimed to combat the harmful effects of street work by providing street children with services, including education.(44) Intended to provide a systemic and holistic response to the issue of children on the streets, with an emphasis on social services, health care, and inclusion in the educational system.(27, 44)

National Action Plan against Trafficking in Persons and Illegal Migration (2013–2016)

Focuses on preventing human trafficking by reducing the vulnerability of at-risk populations, reducing the demand for the purchase of sexual services, improving victim identification, and increasing efforts to combat trafficking in persons for forced begging and other forms of labor exploitation.(11) In 2015, the National Commission for Trafficking in Persons and Illegal Migration, with input from the international community and NGOs, amended this plan to add a funding directive for each goal and objective that outlines the ministry responsible for allocating resources to achieve that specific activity. This change facilitates the budget allocation process and allows for ministries to be held accountable for their role in combating trafficking in persons.(3)

National Strategy for the Fight Against Poverty and Social Exclusion (2010–2020)

Addresses children’s rights, such as social protection, social inclusion, health, education, and employment.(38) Includes goals of increasing birth registration among Roma and other minorities, expanding patrol services to identify and support street children, and improve the provision of social services for children involved in street work and begging. Implemented by the MLSP.(38, 45)

National Action Plan for Prevention and Countering Abuse and Neglect of Children (2013–2015)*

Aimed to provide a safe living environment for children by improving prevention and detection of abuse and neglect of children, as well as by providing treatment and rehabilitation of children who have been victims of abuse and neglect. Outlined a strategy for the implementation of these improvements on a national and local level.(19)

National Plan of Action on the Rights of the Child (2012–2015)

Aimed to promote equity, inclusion, and efficiency in the provision of services for children, such as health care and education.(46) Included providing direct assistance to withdraw children from child labor, rehabilitating victims, and providing children with better access to primary education.(47)

* Child labor elimination and prevention strategies do not appear to have been integrated into this policy.

Despite the changes to add a funding directive for each goal and objective in the National Action Plan against Trafficking in Persons and Illegal Migration during the reporting period, a lack of sufficient government funding for this plan remained a challenge to its implementation.(3)

The implementation of the National Plan of Action on the Rights of the Child has been slow, with no funds specifically earmarked for its proposed activities, monitoring, or evaluation.(11) Research could not determine whether any of the goals or objectives of this plan were met during any of the years it was active, and, if so, what the results of the efforts to implement this plan were.

In 2015, the Government of Macedonia funded and participated in programs that include the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor, including its worst forms (Table 10).

Table 10. Social Programs to Address Child Labor

Program

Description

Conditional Cash Transfer Program†

Government program that provides cash assistance to certain Roma students who stay in school, discouraging their involvement in street work and begging.(39)

Day Centers†

MLSP program that operates three government day centers and supports two others operated and partially funded by NGOs. One of these centers provides services, including education, health care, and counseling, to children working on the streets.(1) The Government also supports a small transit center for street children.(1) During 2015, day centers provided services to 78 children, a decline from 100 children in 2014.(3, 38)

Center for Victims of Human Trafficking and Transit Center for Foreign Victims of Trafficking†

In 2015, the Government discontinued its partnership with two NGOs to jointly run the Center for Victims of Human Trafficking, which was the first shelter of its kind in Macedonia that received all of its funding from the Government and local self-government institutions to provide housing, basic services, and reintegration services to victims, after the Government elected to no longer grant funding to the NGOs overseeing its operations.(3, 27, 48) The Government also provides partial support to the Transit Center for Foreign Victims of Trafficking, which is operated by NGOs.(48)

CSWs*

Government program of approximately 30 facilities that provide services to vulnerable groups, including street children and child victims of human trafficking. Services include counseling, education, and assistance with obtaining registration documents.(13, 38) CSW staff members have been trained on human trafficking issues.(48)

Social Worker, NGO Joint Mobile Teams†

Government social workers from CSWs and representatives of NGOs formed joint mobile teams to do outreach work in three major municipalities to detect human trafficking victims and at-risk individuals, including street children. Teams then worked to find solutions to address the needs of these vulnerable persons, including providing support to human trafficking victims and their families, and implementing reintegration programs.(27) The Government ended its partnership with NGOs to staff and run these joint teams in April 2015. These joint mobile teams were separate from the mobile teams of one social worker from a CSW and one plainclothes police officer from the MOI discussed in Table 5 of this report.(3) The Government also funds education seminars for parents on the dangers of allowing children to work and beg on the streets.(39)

Program to Reduce Demand for Commercial Sex Services

Government partnership program with Saints Cyril and Methodius University and the NGO Happy Childhood that organizes seminars and screens films to raise awareness about trafficking in persons. These events featured speakers, including lawyers and doctors, and materials that focused on reducing the demand for commercial sex services, such as discussions about some severe legal and medical consequences of procuring those services.(3)

Training for Foster Families as an Alternative Accommodation Option for Child Trafficking Victims*

MLSP program to train foster families to accommodate child trafficking victims as an alternative form of protection to having them receive services in a shelter. The MLSP also designed and began implementing a program to train social workers to provide assistance to child trafficking victims placed with foster families in Skopje and Veles.(3)

Inclusion of Roma Children in Preschool Education†

MLSP project implemented in cooperation with the Roma Education Fund and 19 government units. Aims to support the integration of Roma children by increasing the number of Roma children in preschool.(49)

Children-at-Risk: Breaking the Cycle of Social Exclusion of Children in Macedonia

MLSP and UNICEF-implemented project focusing on improved social protection for street children. Developed standard operating procedures (SOPs) for addressing the needs of street children, and supports the Government’s goal of greater inclusion of the Roma population.(50)

* Program was launched during the reporting period.
† Program is funded by the Government of Macedonia.

Government funding for programs dedicated to combating trafficking in persons decreased from approximately $431,000 in 2014 to approximately $47,000 in 2015.(3, 13) As a result of this steep decline in funding, research has determined that the Government made no efforts to raise awareness about the dangers associated with trafficking in persons. In order to compensate for discontinuing funding to the NGOs operating the Center for Victims of Human Trafficking, the MLSP began training foster families as an alternative accommodation option for child trafficking victims who would have otherwise gone to the Center.(3) Research could not determine whether these child trafficking victims received the same level of care that they would have if they had been placed in the Center.(3)

The number of day centers is insufficient to reach all vulnerable children in need of assistance.(15)

Based on the reporting above, suggested actions are identified that would advance the elimination of child labor, including its worst forms, in Macedonia (Table 11).

Table 11. Suggested Government Actions to Eliminate Child Labor, Including its Worst Forms

Area

Suggested Action

Year(s) Suggested

Legal Framework

Ensure that labor law protections apply to all children, including self-employed children and children working outside formal employment relationships.

2015

Ensure that the law prohibits the use of children in illicit activities, including the use, procurement, and offering of children for the production and trafficking of drugs.

2013 – 2015

Enforcement

Provide training on new and existing child labor laws to labor inspectors.

2014– 2015

Make information regarding labor law enforcement publicly available, including SLI’s funding amount and the number of labor inspections conducted at worksites and by desk review.

2015

Provide labor inspectors with an electronic system to record and share data on inspections, including the number of inspections and the number of violations found, and the number of citations issued by the SLI and the MLSP to a particular entity. Make this data publicly available.

2009 – 2015

Make information publicly available on the number of investigations, violations, prosecutions, convictions, and penalties imposed for criminal acts involving worst forms of child labor.

2014 – 2015

Reduce the vulnerability to child trafficking of unaccompanied children either transiting through Macedonia or seeking asylum in the country by effectively implementing the SOPs and ending the practice of granting random adult refugees guardianship of these children.

2015

Provide sufficient funding to the Prosecutor’s Office.

2013 – 2015

Ensure law enforcement agencies screen migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers to identify child trafficking victims and investigate these cases.

2015

Coordination

Increase the National Commission for Trafficking in Persons and Illegal Migration’s coordination role among NGOs and local anti-trafficking in persons committees.

2015

Government Policies

Provide sufficient funding to implement the National Action Plan against Trafficking in Persons and Illegal Migration.

2014 – 2015

Social Programs

Conduct research to determine the activities carried out by children engaged in child labor, including those working in farming and street work and being subjected to commercial sexual exploitation.

2013 – 2015

Reduce barriers to education by increasing the number of teachers who can provide education in the Romani language, ensuring that children are able to obtain registration documents, and eliminating the placement of children in school for children with intellectual disabilities on the basis of ethnicity.

2014 – 2015

Increase funding dedicated to combating child trafficking, and ensure that child trafficking victims receive assistance that addresses their specific needs.

2015

Increase the number of day centers to ensure all vulnerable children in need receive assistance.

2009 – 2015

 

 

1.         U.S. Department of State. "Macedonia," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2014. Washington, DC; June 25, 2015; http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/236762.pdf.

2.         U.S. Department of State. "Macedonia," in Trafficking in Persons Report- 2015. Washington, DC; July 27, 2015; http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/243560.pdf.

3.         U.S. Embassy- Skopje. reporting, February 12, 2016.

4.         Sinisa Jakov Marusic. "Macedonia to Put Child Beggars Into Care." balkaninsight.com [online] March 7, 2014 [cited January 30, 2015]; http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/macedonia-steps-up-protection-of-children.

5.         U.S. Embassy- Skopje. reporting, January 22, 2016.

6.         Zana Vathi. Research Report: Children and Adolescents Engaged  in Street Work in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: Mobilities, Vulnerabilities and Resiliencies. Budapest, Mario Project; 2015. http://terredeshommes.hu/library/children-and-adolescents-engaged-in-street-work-in-the-former-yugoslav-republic-of-macedonia-mobilities-vulnerabilities-resiliences/7228.

7.         UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary. Total. [accessed December 16, 2015]; http://data.uis.unesco.org/. Data provided is the gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary school. This measure is a proxy measure for primary completion. This ratio is the total number of new entrants in the last grade of primary education, regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the population at the theoretical entrance age to the last grade of primary. A high ratio indicates a high degree of current primary education completion. Because the calculation includes all new entrants to last grade (regardless of age), the ratio can exceed 100 percent, due to over-aged and under-aged children who enter primary school late/early and/or repeat grades. For more information, please see the “Children's Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions” section of this report.

8.         UCW. Analysis of Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Statistics from National Household or Child Labor Surveys. Original data from Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 4, 2011. Analysis received December 18, 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.

9.         In the Summer and in the Winter, Cash from Child Labor, Dnevnik, [online] September 8, 2011 [cited April 3, 2015]; http://dnevnik.mk/default.asp?ItemID=DC18808D0691914D95FD27F5E21E0918.

10.       Parents Turn a Blind Eye, Dnevnik, [online] September 9, 2011 [cited April 3, 2015]; http://www.dnevnik.mk/?ItemID=1882ABC60515004DAB6F1F459797D78E.

11.       Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. Report concerning the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings by "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia". Strasbourg, Council of Europe; June 17, 2014. http://www.refworld.org/pdfid/54b690ada.pdf.

12.       UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. Concluding observations on the combined fourth and fifth periodic report of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, adopted by the Committee at its fifty-fourth session (11 February - 1 March 2013). Geneva; March 22, 2013. Report No. CEDAW/C/MKD/CO/4-5. http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CEDAW/C/MKD/CO/4-5&Lang=En.

13.       U.S. Embassy- Skopje. reporting, February 24, 2015.

14.       U.S. Embassy- Skopje. E-mail communication to USDOL official, June 21, 2016.

15.       U.S. Embassy- Skopje. reporting, February 18, 2014.

16.       U.S. Embassy- Skopje. reporting, February 4, 2016. TIP within the Context of the European Migration Crisis.

17.       Lydia Gall. "Macedonia Blocking its Borders to People at Risk." humanrightswatch.com [online] November 25, 2015 [cited January 30, 2016]; https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/11/25/dispatchesmacedoniablockingitsborderspeoplerisk.

18.       Human Rights Watch. "As Though We Are Not Human Beings:" Police Brutality against Migrants and Asylum Seekers in Macedonia. New York City; September 21, 2015. https://www.hrw.org/report/2015/09/21/though-we-are-not-human-beings/police-brutality-against-migrants-and-asylum.

19.       U.S. Embassy- Skopje. E-mail communication to USDOL official, April 14, 2015.

20.       Coordinamento Delle Organizzazioni Per Il Servizio Volontario. Inclusion of dropout and improvement of the equality of education of Roma children in primary school, Coordinamento Delle Organizzazioni Per Il Servizio Volontario, [online] [cited May 19, 2016]; http://www.cosv.org/inclusion-of-dropout-and-improvement-of-the-quality-of-education-of-roma-children-in-primary-school-2/?lang=en.

21.       European Roma Rights Centre. Macedonia. Budapest; 2013 September 23, 2013. http://www.osce.org/odihr/105348?download=true.

22.       Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights. Report by Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, following his visit to "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", from 26 to 29 November 2012. Strasbourg; April 9, 2013. https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?p=&id=2052823&direct=true.

23.       European Roma Rights Centre and National Roma Centrum. Fact Sheet: Overrepresentation of Romani Children in Special Education in Macedonia. Fact Sheet. Budapest; August 30, 2012. http://www.errc.org/cms/upload/file/macedonia-factsheet-education-en-30-august-2012.pdf.

24.       UNICEF. Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP) Survey towards Inclusion of Children with Disabilities Survey Findings. Skopje, Prepared by GfK Skopje; November 2014. http://www.unicef.org/tfyrmacedonia/GfK_Skopje_KAP_Survey_2014_Report_26122014_Publish_ENG_(4).pdf.

25.       Government of Macedonia. Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia of 1991, enacted September 8, 1991. http://eudo-citizenship.eu/NationalDB/docs/MAC%20Constitution%20(amended%20by%20XXX)%20eng.pdf.

26.       Government of Macedonia. Labor Relations Act, 80/93-2007, enacted December 27, 1993. http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/WEBTEXT/47727/65084/E93MKD02.htm.

27.       Embassy of Macedonia. Information on child labor abuse in the Republic of Macedonia (2012) February 1, 2013.

28.       Government of Macedonia. Rulebook on the minimum occupational safety and health requirements for young workers, enacted October 15, 2012. http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/ELECTRONIC/93806/109806/F-526659420/MKD-93806.pdf.

29.       Government of Macedonia. Criminal Code of the Republic of Macedonia of 1996, enacted November 1, 1996. http://legislationline.org/documents/action/popup/id/16066/preview.

30.       UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Consideration of Reports Submitted by State Parties Under the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict: Concluding Observations: Macedonia. Geneva; December 4, 2012. Report No. CRC/C/OPSC/MKD/CO/1. http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CRC/C/OPSC/MKD/CO/1&Lang=En.

31.       Government of Macedonia. Law on Primary Education, Nr. 103/08, enacted 2008. http://www.mon.gov.mk/images/documents/zakoni/Zakoni_albanski/Ligj%20p%C3%ABr%20arsimin%20fillor.pdf.

32.       Government of Macedonia. Law on Secondary Education, Nr. 44/95, enacted 1995. http://www.sonk.org.mk/documents/Sredno_obrazovanie_95.pdf.

33.       European Commission. Compulsory Education in Europe 2014/15. http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice/documents/facts_and_figures/compulsory_education_EN.pdf.

34.       Child Soldiers International. Louder Than Words: An agenda for action to end state use of child soldiers. London; September 2012. http://www.child-soldiers.org/global_report_reader.php?id=562.

35.       Government of Macedonia. Official Journal of the Republic of Macedonia, enacted December 25, 2015. http://www.slvesnik.com.mk/Issues/eeb157f5bde94f0d918a4ccc23a3c092.pdf.

36.       ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Direct Request concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (ratification: 2002) Published: 2013; accessed April 18, 2014; http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:13100:0::NO:13100:P13100_COMMENT_ID,P11110_COUNTRY_ID,P11110_COUNTRY_NAME,P11110_COMMENT_YEAR:3143429,103555,The%20former%20Yugoslav%20Republic%20of%20Macedonia,2013.

37.       ILO LABADMIN. Macedonia, ILO, [online] May 30, 2011 [cited January 27, 2014]; http://www.ilo.org/labadmin/info/WCMS_114938/lang--en/index.htm.

38.       U.S. Embassy- Skopje. reporting, January 15, 2015.

39.       U.S. Embassy- Skopje. reporting, February 5, 2014.

40.       ILO LABADMIN. Labour Inspection Sanctions: National Labour Inspection Systems; 2013. http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_dialogue/---lab_admin/documents/publication/wcms_213143.pdf.

41.       U.S. Embassy- Skopje. E-mail communication to USDOL official, May 22, 2014.

42.       MLSP. Paedophilia Hotline, Stop Pedophilia Macedonia, [online] [cited January 28, 2014]; http://www.stop-pedofilija.org.mk/.

43.       Child Rights International Network. Macedonia: Government Submits Progress report on UPR Recommendations, CRIN, [online] April 2, 2014 [cited January 30, 2015]; https://www.crin.org/en/library/publications/macedonia-childrens-rights-references-universal-periodic-review-0.

44.       ILO Committee of Experts. Report on the Application of International Labor Standards 2014, Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) (ratification: 2002). Geneva; 2014. http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:13100:0::NO:13100:P13100_COMMENT_ID,P11110_COUNTRY_ID,P11110_COUNTRY_NAME,P11110_COMMENT_YEAR:3143456,103555,The%20former%20Yugoslav%20Republic%20of%20Macedonia,2013.

45.       Government of Macedonia. Strategy for the Fight against Poverty and Social Inclusion; 2013. http://mtsp.gov.mk/WBStorage/Files/revidirana_str_siromastija_eng.docx.

46.       The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. National report submitted in accordance with paragraph 5 of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 16/21. Human Rights Council: Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, 2014. https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G13/185/36/PDF/G1318536.pdf?OpenElement.

47.       U.S. Embassy- Skopje. reporting, February 21, 2013.

48.       U.S. Embassy- Skopje. reporting, February 25, 2013.

49.       Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Universal Periodic Review: Midterm Report of the Republic of Macedonia on Progress in Implementing Recommendations, May 2009 – December 2011; December 2011. http://www.crin.org/resources/infodetail.asp?id=28863.

50.       ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Direct Request concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (ratification: 2002) Published: 2012; accessed November 7, 2012; http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:13100:0::NO:13100:P13100_COMMENT_ID,P11110_COUNTRY_ID,P11110_COUNTRY_NAME,P11110_COMMENT_YEAR:2700714,103555,The%20former%20Yugoslav%20Republic%20of%20Macedonia,2011.

Related Content