Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Russia

2014 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

Russia

Minimal Advancement

In 2014, the Russian Federation made a minimal advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The Government committed to assessing and improving working conditions in its 2014 Employment Plan. The Government continued the implementation of a social protection mechanism defined by the Social Contract law to financially support vulnerable citizens, including child trafficking victims. The Government also continued support of the Russian Children in Need Fund, which aims to rehabilitate disadvantaged and homeless children. However, children in Russia are engaged in child labor, including in work on the street, and in the worst forms of child labor, including being used in the production of pornography. Laws do not prohibit possession of child pornography or benefiting from its proceeds. In addition, Russia continues to lack a mechanism to coordinate nationwide efforts to combat the worst forms of child labor, and it has no social programs specifically targeting this goal.

 

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Children in Russia are engaged in child labor, including in street work.(1-3) Children are also engaged in the worst forms of child labor, including being used in the production of pornography.(1-4) Table 1 provides key indicators on children's work and education in Russia. Data on some of these indicators are not available from the sources used in this report.

Table 1. Statistics on Children's Work and Education

Working children, ages 7 to 14 (% and population):

Unavailable

School attendance, ages 5 to 14 (%):

Unavailable

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

Unavailable

Primary completion rate (%):

97.1

Source for primary completion rate: Data from 2012, published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2015.(5)
Data were unavailable from Understanding Children's Work Project's analysis, 2015.(6)

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,* activities unknown (1, 2, 7)

Industry

Construction,* activities unknown (7, 8)

Services

Street work, including collecting bottles and other waste,* washing cars,* street sweeping,* and vending* (1-3)

Working at marketplaces,* activities unknown (2, 3)

Dishwashing* (2, 3)

Begging* (9, 10)

Categorical Worst Forms of Child Labor‡

Forced labor in the production of pornography sometimes as a result of human trafficking (1-4, 11)

Commercial sexual exploitation sometimes as a result of human trafficking (1-3, 12-14)

* 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.

A source reported that, while child labor in agriculture, industry, and services exists, it is not widespread or common.(15)

Children in Russia, especially orphans, street children, and migrant children, continue to be used in the production of child pornography.(1-4, 11) Commercial sexual exploitation of children, especially in large cities, also remains a concern. Street children and migrant children from Ukraine and Moldova are the primary victims.(2, 3) In addition, children, both boys and girls, are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation internally from rural to urban centers, between regions, and transnationally.(10) Russia is also a destination country for children trafficked from abroad, including from Eastern Europe.(12, 14) Research found that the rates of both child trafficking and the use of children in the production of pornography have increased in recent years.(3, 4)

The Federal Law No. 3266-1 on Education only guarantees free public education for Russian citizens.(16) Migrant children who have entered the country illegally or irregularly lack the registration documents needed to access education and social services and as a result are often denied access to schools by regional authorities.(1, 2) Migrant children who do not attend school constitute the population most vulnerable to labor exploitation, and a study from 2013 estimates that there are currently between 40,000 and 60,000 such children in Russia.(3) Russian citizens who do not have registration documents, such as members of the Roma community, are also sometimes denied access to schools at the regional level, although there is no national law or policy requiring this practice.(1) Since 2003, asylum-seeking children between ages 6 and 12 have had access to schooling, although there are cases of children being denied access for various reasons, including lacking appropriate documents. Denied access was also reported for children with protective status, which is granted to certain categories of refugees and asylum seekers.(15) In 2014, the Russian Government added a special provision guaranteeing access to education for Ukrainian national minors fleeing the conflict in southeastern Ukraine. However, local NGOs have reported that some schools have denied these minors access to education due to lack of proper documentation and lack of capacity, especially for kindergarten.(15)

During the reporting period, news outlets reported, through a variety of media platforms, over a dozen cases of the use of children by combined Russian-separatist forces in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.(17, 18) One of these children stated that he had received arms in Russian-occupied Crimea before participating in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.(17) An additional two children stated that they had received training at a military base in Russian-occupied South Ossetia.(17) To date, these reports are unconfirmed by UN personnel.

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Russia has ratified all key international conventions concerning child labor (Table 3).

Table 3. Ratification of International Conventions on Child Labor

Convention

Ratification

ILO C. 138, Minimum Age

ILO C. 182, Worst Forms of Child Labor

UN CRC

UN CRC Optional Protocol on Armed Conflict

UN CRC Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography

Palermo Protocol on Trafficking in Persons

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 63 of the Labor Code (19)

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

Yes

18

Article 265 of the Labor Code (19)

Prohibition of Hazardous Occupations or Activities for Children

Yes

 

Government Decision No. 163; Article 265 of the Labor Code (19, 20)

Prohibition of Forced Labor

Yes

 

Article 37 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation; Article 127.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation; Article 4 of the Labor Code (19, 21, 22)

Prohibition of Child Trafficking

Yes

 

Article 127.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (22)

Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Yes

 

Articles 134 and 240-242.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (22)

Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities

Yes

 

Articles 150-151 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (22)

Minimum Age for Compulsory Military Recruitment

Yes

18

Article 22 of Federal Law No. 53-FZ on Military Conscription and Military Service (23)

Minimum Age for Voluntary Military Service

Yes

16

Article 35 of Federal Law No. 53-FZ on Military Conscription and Military Service (2, 23)

Compulsory Education Age

Yes

17

Article 19 of Federal Law No. 3266-1 on Education (16)

Free Public Education

Yes

 

Article 5 of Federal Law No. 3266-1 on Education (16)

In October 2014, the Ministry of Internal Affairs prepared a draft federal law that would introduce criminal responsibility for using minors in begging. Article 151 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation currently assigns criminal responsibility only for involving minors in the act of begging, which in practice does not protect infants or minors with disabilities who are unable to actively beg themselves, but who may be used by adults as passive participants in begging.(24)

Research did not find evidence of laws or regulations to criminalize possessing child pornography or benefiting from its proceeds. In November 2014, the Criminal Law Committee of the State Duma recommended the adoption of a 2012 draft law that would define child pornography and criminalize its possession.(24-26) However, the law was not adopted during the reporting period.(27)

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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

Federal Labor and Employment Service (RosTrud) under the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection

Enforce labor laws, including those related to child labor, and conduct labor inspections.(2, 26) Provide employment services and unemployment assistance and services related to labor migration, as well as social assistance for socially vulnerable citizens, and regulate disputes between unions and employers.(28)

Prosecutor General's Office

Oversee the enforcement of laws relating to child labor under the Labor Code.(28) Coordinate joint inspections with RosTrud.(2) Manage the investigation of Trafficking in Persons cases and prosecute associated crimes.(3)

Office of the Children's Rights Ombudsman

Investigate violations of children's rights, monitor offices dealing with minors, and evaluate legislation affecting children.(29, 30)

Ministry of Internal Affairs

Enforce criminal laws against forced child labor, trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, and the use of children in illicit activities.(2, 11) Conduct and provide training to the police on handling human trafficking cases.(3)

Investigative Committee (SledCom)

Investigate cases of forced labor and human trafficking, including cases involving minors and cases involving Russian nationals abroad.(28, 31-33)

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

Labor Law Enforcement

In 2013, the most recent year for which data are available, RosTrud had a total of 2,909 staff positions, including vacant positions (compared to a total of 3,233 positions in 2012). The number included 1,039 labor inspectors for legal issues and 1,105 labor inspectors for occupational safety.(15) According to RosTrud, the number of labor inspectors was insufficient to effectively enforce labor laws.(2)

In 2013, RosTrud conducted 2,850 inspections that found 1,580 child labor violations. Child labor violations included failing to provide obligatory medical checks (30 percent), employing minors in prohibited jobs (17 percent), engaging minors in overtime and holiday work (14 percent), and denying obligatory annual leave (10 percent).(15) Labor inspectors issued 478 obligatory compliance instructions and brought administrative action against 468 employers and companies, resulting in fines totaling approximately $183,000. In addition, 24 cases were brought to the prosecutor's office.(15) Research did not find information regarding whether inspectors made unannounced visits or on the type or quality of inspections. In addition, although evidence suggests that children who are victims of labor violations were referred to appropriate social care, research did not find the existence of formal referral mechanisms between RosTrud and social service providers.(30)

Criminal Law Enforcement

In 2013, the most recent year for which data are available, 146 persons were convicted for crimes against minors under Articles 242.1 and 242.2 of the Criminal Code, which are related to the use of children for the production of pornography.(28, 34) The Government registered five child trafficking offenses for the first 4 months in 2013.(12) Based on unofficial sources, in 2012, the most recent period for which data are available, human trafficking prosecutions under Article 127.1 represented a total of 21 child victims.(35) However, complete data on the number of investigators employed to enforce criminal laws on all forms of child labor were not available. Information on the number and quality of investigations and the number of prosecutions, convictions, and implemented penalties related to criminal laws on all forms of child labor was also unavailable.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs conducts regular training to guide officers in handling human trafficking cases. The Prosecutor General's Office and the Investigative Committee also conduct periodic training on this topic.(3)

Although evidence suggests that children who are victims of crimes were referred to appropriate social care, including through informal referral mechanisms for trafficking victims operated by NGOs in Moscow and St. Petersburg, research did not find the existence of formal referral mechanisms between law enforcement agencies and social service providers.(11, 30) In addition, human trafficking cases involving illegal migrants often resulted in the detention, arrest, and deportation of the victims for violation of migration regulations. In cases in which assistance was rendered to victims of human trafficking, there was no formal referral mechanism, and victims were often transferred to homeless shelters or crisis centers for women.(3)

In addition to the enforcement of laws by criminal investigators, the Government has established guidelines for placing domain names, URLs, and network addresses into a register of banned sites if they contain materials with pornographic images of minors or invite minors to perform as actors in pornographic shows.(2) The information on websites with unlawful content is accepted from private persons, government agencies, and local government bodies. After a review, selected websites are entered into the register, which allows for their blocking.(28)

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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.

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

Table 6. Policies Related to Child Labor

Policy

Description

National Children's Strategy (2012–2017)*

Covers issues such as child protection, accessibility of quality education, equal opportunities for children in need of special care by the Government, and the development of a child rights protection system.(30)

Concept of Children's Information Security*

Aims to coordinate legislation within the scope of protecting children against harmful information.(2)

Employment Plan 2014*†

Outlines the labor market challenges in Russia and commits Russia to new policies and programs to address these challenges. Includes commitments to assess and improve working conditions in Russia and provide vocational and employment programs targeted at youth.(36)

* Child labor elimination and prevention strategies do not appear to have been integrated into this policy.
† Policy was approved during the reporting period.

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In 2014, the Government of Russia funded and participated in programs that may have an impact on child labor (Table 7).

Table 7. Social Programs to Address Child Labor

Program

Description

Social Contract‡

Social protection mechanism to provide financial support to vulnerable Russian citizens, including victims of child trafficking and low-income families. Established by Federal Law No. 258 FZ of December 25, 2012.(3)

Russian Children in Need Fund*‡

$21 million, Government-run program to rehabilitate orphaned, disadvantaged, and homeless children through the provision of mobile crisis centers, psychological centers, and social and physical rehabilitation services.(2, 30, 37)

Shelters for Victims of Human Trafficking*†‡

IOM-funded shelters in St. Petersburg and Moscow operated in partnership with the Russian Red Cross in St. Petersburg and the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. Provide accommodation and psychological counseling for victims of human trafficking.(3, 11, 38) In St. Petersburg, the municipal government provides the facilities in which the shelter is housed.(11, 38) In Moscow, the IOM has partnered with the municipality to complement the church shelter with designated spaces for adult human trafficking victims at a city-run homeless shelter and for child victims at a municipal youth shelter. Government support of the Moscow shelter began in 2014.(3, 11, 38)

* The impact of this program on child labor does not appear to have been studied.
† Program was launched during the reporting period.
‡ Program is funded by the Government of Russia.

Research found no evidence of any programs with the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor, including its worst forms. In particular, the Government has noted that there is a lack of shelters for human trafficking victims, and the provision of assistance to victims is not standardized.(3, 11)

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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 Russia (Table 8).

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

Area

Suggested Action

Year(s) Suggested

Legal Framework

Ensure the law fully prohibits the use of children in illicit activities, including the use of children in begging.

2014

Ensure that the law provides free public education to all children, regardless of nationality or immigration status.

2014

Ensure that the law prohibits possessing child pornography and benefiting from its proceeds.

2009–2014

Enforcement

Increase the number of labor inspectors to allow RosTrud to effectively enforce labor laws.

2014

Establish referral mechanisms among RosTrud, law enforcement agencies, and social service providers to ensure that vulnerable children receive the proper care.

2014

Gather, report, and make publicly available data on the number of investigators employed to enforce criminal laws on child labor; the number, type, and quality of investigations; and the number of prosecutions, convictions, and implemented penalties related to these investigations.

2009–2014

Develop formal procedures at the national level to train and guide law enforcement officials, labor inspectors, and other professionals on human trafficking cases, victim identification, assistance, and referrals, including ensuring that foreign victims of trafficking receive proper assistance, regardless of their immigration status.

2011–2014

Coordination

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

2009–2014

Government Policies

Develop a policy to address the inability of unregistered children, including migrants, asylum seekers, and members of the Roma community, to access education.

2012–2014

Integrate child labor elimination and prevention strategies into national policies, including the National Children's Strategy, the Concept of Children's Information Security, and the Employment Plan.

2014

Social Programs

Collect and publish data on the nature and prevalence of child labor to guide the design of policy and programming.

2009–2014

Implement programs to specifically address the worst forms of child labor.

2010–2014

Assess the impact that existing programs may have on child labor, including its worst forms.

2009–2014

Fund anti-trafficking programs, including programs to increase the number and capacity of shelters specifically designed for victims of child trafficking.

2011–2014

 

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

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

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

4.Russian internet child porn up 12-fold since 2008, RIA Novosti, [online] January 24, 2013 [cited December 2, 2014];

5.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.

6.UCW. Analysis of Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Statistics from National Household or Child Labor Surveys. Original data from Demographic and Health Survey, 2010. 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.

7.Kozhobaeva, Z. Teenage migrants: a lost generation, RFE/RL Kyrgyzstan (Radio Azattyk), [online] February 5, 2013 [cited December 15, 2014];

8.Maplecroft. South America leads battle against child labour but Russia and China lagging — Maplecroft Child Labour Index 2014. Bath, UK; October 15, 2013.

9.RT News. "Homeless children still a problem in Russia." [online] June 11, 2010 [cited December 15, 2014];

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

11.U.S. Embassy- Moscow. reporting, February 26, 2015.

12.ILO Committe of Experts. Report of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations: Application of International Labour Standards 2014 (I) Geneva; March 13, 2014.

13.ILO Committee of Experts. Observation concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Russia (Ratification 2003) Published: 2013; accessed March 4, 2013;

14.U.S. Department of State. "Russia," in Trafficking in Persons Report- 2014. Washington, DC; June 20, 2014;

15.U.S. Embassy- Moscow. E-mail communication to USDOL official. May 8, 2015.

16.Government of Russia. On General Education, No. 3266-1, enacted July 10, 1992.

17.U.S. Department of State. E-mail communication to USDOL official. March 27, 2015.

18.Vitaly Shevchenko. "Ukraine conflict: Child soldiers join the fight." [online] 2014 [cited

19.Government of Russia. Labor Code of the Russian Federation 197-FZ, enacted December 31, 2001.

20.Government of Russia. On the approval of the list of heavy work and work with harmful or dangerous conditions, in which the employment of minors is forbidden, No. 163, enacted February 25, 2000.

21.Government of Russia. The Constitution of the Russian Federation, enacted December 25, 1993.

22.Government of Russia. Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, 63-FZ, enacted June 13, 1996.

23.Government of Russia. On military conscription and military service, No. 53-FZ, enacted March 28, 1998.

24.U.S. Embassy- Moscow. reporting, January 15, 2015.

25.RAPSI. "Russian lawmakers approve updated punishment for child pornography." [online] September 22, 2014 [cited December 3, 2014];

26.U.S. Embassy- Moscow. E-mail communication to USDOL official. February 12, 2015.

27.Ivan Rodin. Bastrykin looks for a pedophile lobby in the State Duma, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, [online] December 12, 2014 [cited April 2, 2015];

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

29.Duties, Children's Rights Commissioner under the President of the Russian Federation, [online] [cited December 8, 2014];

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

31.In Astrakhan, three local residents have been found guilty of human trafficking, The Investigative Committee, [online] September 18, 2014 [cited December 11, 2014];

32.In Tver, women suspected of the sale of a newborn child have been arrested, The Investigative Committee, [online] [cited December 11, 2014];

33.U.S. Embassy- Kyiv. reporting, January 30, 2013.

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

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

36.Government of Russia. Employment Plan 2014; 2014.

37.The Russian Children in Need Fund. Charter of the Russian Children in Need Fund (New Edition); March 2, 2012.

38.The first shelter for victims of human trafficking in St. Petersburg, Consulate General of the United States, St. Petersburg, Russia, [online] 2013 [cited December 12, 2014];

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