Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports


2021 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

Minimal Advancement – Efforts Made but Continued Law and Practice that Delayed Advancement

In 2021, Moldova made minimal advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. In January, Law No. 191 went into effect, which reversed changes that had delegated responsibility for occupational safety and health inspections to 10 smaller agencies and returned it to the State Labor Inspectorate. Legislation was passed to permit a staffing increase at the State Labor Inspectorate from 73 to 104 full-time inspectors. In addition, the Prosecutor General's Office introduced new legislation to establish prescriptive sentences for trafficking in persons and commercial sexual exploitation, including provisions for harsher penalties in cases with aggravated circumstances. However, despite these initiatives, Moldova is receiving an assessment of minimal advancement because it continued to implement a regression in law and practice that delayed advancement in eliminating the worst forms of child labor. In August 2018, the government amended Law No. 131 through Law No. 179, such that unannounced inspections, even those based on a complaint or at the request of law enforcement or other state bodies, are permitted only on the basis of a risk assessment that indicates an immediate threat to the environment, life, health, or property. This stringent measure continues to severely limit the State Labor Inspectorate's ability to conduct unannounced inspections. In addition, inspections are only permitted after the State Labor Inspectorate first requests and receives insufficient documentation from the business being inspected or after conducting a risk assessment that finds reasonable indicators of a possible violation. When responding to a complaint, inspectors are not authorized to take action for labor violations they may see that fall outside the scope of the complaint. Children in Moldova are subjected to the worst forms of child labor, including in commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking. Children also engage in child labor in agriculture. Training is needed for new criminal investigators, and entities responsible for conducting labor inspections, including of hazardous child labor, lack adequate funding, personnel, and equipment. In addition, there is a lack of social programs to address child trafficking and child labor in agriculture.

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