Last Updated: Friday, 29 August 2014, 14:18 GMT

2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Bosnia and Herzegovina

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 31 August 2007
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Bosnia and Herzegovina, 31 August 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d749244a.html [accessed 31 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Selected Statistics and Indicators on Child Labor
Percent of children 5-14 estimated as working in 2000:17.5%540
Minimum age for admission to work:15541
Age to which education is compulsory:15542
Free public education:Yes543*
Gross primary enrollment rate:Unavailable
Net primary enrollment rate:Unavailable
Percent of children 5-14 attending school in 2000:76.3%544
Percent of primary school entrants likely to reach grade 5:Unavailable
Ratified Convention 138:6/2/1993545
Ratified Convention 182:10/5/2001546
ILO-IPEC participating country:No547
* Must pay for school supplies and related items.

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 2000, approximately 19.3 percent of boys and 15.7 percent of girls 5 to 14 were working in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).548 Children occasionally assist their families with farm work and various jobs.549

A significant number of children, especially ethnic Roma, live or work on the streets and are often forced to do harmful and exploitive work such as participating in begging rings.550 Roma children as young as 4 years have been known to beg on the streets, especially in larger cities.551 The majority of these children are under 14; most of the children do not attend school.552

Children in Bosnia and Herzegovina have been trafficked for sexual exploitation and occasionally for labor; those who transited to the country generally continued on to Croatia.553 Roma children, in particular, have been known to be trafficked into and within the country for forced labor.554

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The 1995 Dayton Accords (formally known as the General Framework Agreement for Peace [GFAP]) established two distinct entities within Bosnia and Herzegovina: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) and Republika Srpska (RS).555 BiH constitutional law supersedes entity laws where provisions are not uniform.556

The minimum age for work in both FBiH and RS is 15 years.557 In both FBiH and RS, minors 15 to 18 must provide a valid health certificate in order to work.558 Both entities prohibit minors from performing overtime work.559 The law also prohibits minors from working jobs that could have harmful effects on their health, life, or psychophysical development.560 Night work by minors is banned, although temporary exemptions may be granted by the labor inspectorate in cases of machine breakdowns, force majeure, and threats to the country's two political entities.561 In both FBiH and RS, employers found in violation of the above prohibitions must pay a fine.562

The law prohibits forced or compulsory labor, including by children.563 The minimum age for compulsory military service in FBiH is 18; it is 16 years in times of war. In RS, the minimum age for compulsory military service is 18. For voluntary military service in both entities, 17 is the minimum age.564

The BiH Criminal Code forbids any form of trafficking with the consequential punishments ranging from 1 to 10 years.565 Under the Criminal Codes of the two entities, procuring a juvenile or seeking opportunity for illicit sexual relations with a juvenile is specifically prohibited and is punishable with up to 5 years imprisonment.566 In FBiH, persons caught recruiting or luring juvenile females into prostitution face imprisonment of between 1 and 10 years.567 Under the RS Criminal Code, imprisonment of 1 to 12 years is authorized for individuals who, for profit, compel or lure persons under the age of 21 into offering sexual services, including by threat or use of force or by taking advantage of a persons' stay in another country.568

FBiH and RS entity governments are responsible for enforcing child labor laws; however, neither FBiH nor RS have dedicated child labor inspectors. Rather, violations of child labor laws are investigated as part of a general labor inspection. According to both entities' labor inspectorates, no significant violations of child labor laws were found in the workplace in 2005, the most recent date that such information is available. However, investigation of children working on family farms was not conducted.569

The State Prosecutor's Office has sole jurisdiction over all trafficking cases and has the authority to decide which cases to prosecute at the state level and which ones to send to the entity level.570

In 2006, the most recent date for which such information is available, of the 90 cases investigated and submitted to prosecutors, the courts handed down 32 verdicts, 21 of which resulted in convictions. Of the 21 convictions, 12 convicted traffickers received suspended sentences. The length of sentences imposed by the courts increased slightly from the previous year. One convicted trafficker was sentenced to 8 years' imprisonment for trafficking and 6 years for money laundering, the longest sentence ever imposed for trafficking offenses in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The judge also ordered seizure of the trafficker's apartment and payment of compensation to the victim. Police, prosecutors, and the anti-trafficking strike force coordinated their efforts in 2006, resulting in a successful raid of three well-known bars in central Bosnia.571 According to the U.S. Department of State, corruption among government officials has made it difficult to combat trafficking.572

Current Government Policies and Programs to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor

The government is collaborating with the IOM to implement anti-trafficking assistance and prevention programs within the country. These efforts include raising media and public awareness of trafficking.573 IOM has also assisted the government in its management of counter-trafficking efforts such as developing a network of shelters for protecting victims and in the prosecution of traffickers.574 The government has increased its efforts against trafficking by: establishing a victim referral system, drafting bylaws regarding domestic trafficking victims, working with local NGOs to provide services to trafficking victims, incorporating trafficking awareness training into the public school curriculum, and providing training for police, prosecutors, judges, teachers, and social workers.575

The State Border Service provided better training for its officers stationed at airports and border crossings on victim identification, interviewing techniques, and referral procedures. These officers have been given materials to consult to assist them in evaluating victims.576

During the year, the Bosnian government, along with local NGOs, implemented a referral system that links trafficking victims with available shelter services and legal assistance.577

UNICEF is working in FBiH to assess services available to trafficking victims to ensure that efforts to remove trafficked persons from exploitive situations does not result in further victimization.578 Specifically, UNICEF has worked to develop medical, legal, and counseling support services for children and minors.579


540 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates, October 7, 2005.

541 Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Decree on Promulgation of the Law on Amendments to the Labour Law, No. 01-447/2000, (August 15, 2000), Article 12. See also Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, The Labor Law (RS), (November 8, 2000), Article 14.

542 U.S. Department of State, "Bosnia and Herzegovina," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2006, Washington, DC, March 6, 2007; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78804.htm.

543 Ibid.

544 UCW, Country Statistics, accessed November 1, 2006; available from http://www.ucw-project.org/cgi-bin/ucw/Survey/Main.sql?come=Tab_Type_and_Country.sql&ID_COUNTRY=27&IDGruppo=-1&Type=-1&ID_SURVEY=169.

545 ILO, Ratifications by Country, [database online] [cited November 14, 2006]; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/cgi-lex/ratifce.pl?Bosnia.

546 Ibid.

547 ILO, IPEC Action Against Child Labour: Highlights 2006, Geneva, October 2006; available from http://www.ilo.org/iloroot/docstore/ipec/prod/eng/20061019_Implementationreport_eng_Web.pdf.

548 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates.

549 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Bosnia and Herzegovina." Section 6c.

550 U.S. Embassy – Sarajevo, reporting, March 7, 2007. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Bosnia and Herzegovina." Section 5.

551 Ibid.

552 United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations on the Rights of the Child, Bosnia and Herzegovina, CRC/C/15/Add.260, September 21, 2005, Paragraphs 57 and 65; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/898586b1dc7b4043c1256a450044f331/dd9baddc520d9878c1257018002db47e/$FILE/G0544039.pdf.

553 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Bosnia and Herzegovina." Section 5 and 6c.

554 Ibid., Section 5.

555 U.S. Department of State, Background Note: Bosnia and Herzegovina, [online] September 2006 [cited November 2, 2006]; available from http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2868.htm.

556 Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Article III, Section 3, para. b., (December 14, 1995); available from http://www.ohr.int/print/?content_id=372.

557 Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Decree on Promulgation of the Law on Amendments to the Labor Law, Article 12. See also Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, The Labor Law (RS), Article 14.

558 Ibid.

559 Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, The Labour Law (FBiH), Issue No. 43, (October 28, 1999), Articles 15, 32, and 51. See also Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, The Labor Law (RS), Articles 12, 41, and 69.

560 Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, The Labour Law (FBiH), Articles 15 and 51. See also Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, The Labor Law (RS), Article 69.

561 Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, The Labour Law (FBiH), Article 36. See also Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, The Labor Law (RS), Article 46.

562 Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Decree on Promulgation of the Law on Amendments to the Labor Law, Article 49. See also Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, The Labor Law (RS), Article 150.

563 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Bosnia and Herzegovina." Section 6c.

564 U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook: Military Service Age and Obligation, [online] [cited November 3, 2006]; available from https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/bk.html.

565 Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Article 186, (March 2003); available from http://www.legislationline.org/upload/legislations/38/85/b7c52e8a5d1d8aa1178b3e3fc470.htm. See also U.S. Embassy – Sarajevo, reporting. March 7, 2007.

566 Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Statute of the Brcko District of Bosnia and Herzegovina, (September 2000), Article 209; available from http://www.ohr.int/ohr-dept/legal/const/doc/brcko-statute.doc. See also Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Criminal Code of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, (November 20, 1998), Articles 224 and 228; available from http://www.ohr.int/ohr-dept/legal/crim-codes/default.asp?content_id=5130. See also Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Criminal Code of the Republika Srpska, (July 31, 2000), Article 185; available from http://www.ohr.int/ohr-dept/legal/crim-codes/default.asp?content_id=5129.

567 Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Criminal Code (FBiH), Articles 224 and 229.

568 Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Criminal Code (RS), Article 188.

569 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Bosnia and Herzegovina." Section 6c.

570 Ibid., Section 5.

571 U.S. Embassy – Sarajevo, reporting, August 2, 2007.

572 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report – 2005: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Washington, D.C., June 3, 2005; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2005/46613.htm.

573 IOM, Counter-trafficking in BiH, [online] [cited March 23, 2007]; available from http://www.iom.ba/CT4.html.

574 Ibid.

575 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Bosnia and Herzegovina." Section 5.

576 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Washington, DC, June 5, 2006; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2006/65988.htm.

577 U.S. Embassy – Sarajevo, reporting, August 2005, Section 3.

578 UNICEF, FACTSHEET: TRAFFICKING The facts, [online] [cited November 3, 2006]; available from http://www.unicef.org/protection/trafficking.pdf.

579 Ibid.

Search Refworld