Last Updated: Friday, 26 December 2014, 13:50 GMT

2003 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Moldova

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 29 April 2004
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2003 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Moldova, 29 April 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48c8ca25c.html [accessed 28 December 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.

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

In June 2003, the Government of Moldova adopted the National Strategy for Child and Family Protection, which gives responsibility to the Ministries of Education and Labor to apply child labor legislation.[2862] In November 2001, the Government of Moldova established a National Committee for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and adopted a National Plan of Actionto address the problem.[2863] Also in 2001, the Parliament passed additions to the Criminal Code that include protection of children, with provisions against trafficking, forced labor, and sexual exploitation.[2864] Moldova participates in the Southeastern European Cooperative Initiative Human Trafficking Task Force, which is intended to coordinate regional efforts by governments to combat trafficking in persons.[2865] In December 2002, the government signed a joint declaration with other Southeastern European nations to be assist victims of trafficking.[2866] The government has cooperated with Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia to investigate trafficking cases.[2867] In addition, the government has established and trained an anti-trafficking unit in the police force. Despite these efforts, due to a lack of funds at the national level, as well as corruption and linkages between government officials and organized crime, the majority of trafficking protection and awareness-raising measures are being implemented by Moldovan NGOs.[2868]

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 2000, UNICEF estimated that 37.1 percent of children ages 5 to 14 years in Moldova were working.[2869] Moldova is a primarily agricultural country, and it is common for children in rural areas to work on family farms or help with household chores.[2870]

Street children in Chisinau and Belti are reported to work as prostitutes as a means of survival.[2871] Moldova is a source country for trafficking of women and girls for prostitution to the Middle East, Balkans, and other countries in Europe.[2872] UNICEF reports that trafficking of children from Moldova is on the rise due to the extreme poverty faced in the country.[2873] Young women in rural areas are frequently the target population for traffickers who offer transportation to jobs overseas, but upon arrival, confiscate passports and require payments earned through prostitution.[2874] According to information gathered by IOM through its assistance projects, some girls as young as 12 years old are trafficked to other countries.[2875]

Education for children is compulsory for 9 years, beginning at age 7.[2876] While the Constitution guarantees free public education,[2877] families face significant additional expenses, including supplies, clothes, and transportation fees.[2878] The most recent primary school enrollment and attendance statistics indicate that most children are receiving a basic education, with very little variationby gender or regional distribution. In 2000, the gross primary enrollment rate was 83.8 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 78.4 percent.[2879] The net primary school attendance rate was more than 98.0 percent.[2880] Press reports indicate that attendance may be lower in rural areas.[2881]

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Labor Law sets the minimum age for employment at 16 years.[2882] In exceptional cases and with permission of the Trade Union Committee, minors may be employed at age 15.[2883] In addition, the Law on Children's Rights allows children to work at age 14, but only with parental authorization and providing that the work will not interfere with the child's education.[2884] Employees who are children must pass a medical exam every year until they reach 18 to be eligible to work.[2885] Children under 18 years are prohibited from participating in hazardous work, including work underground, work related to alcoholic beverage production, transportation, and sales, and work with heavy metals.[2886] Legal remedies, civil fines and criminal penalties exist to enforce labor legislation, with prison terms of up to three years for repeat offenses.[2887] The Constitution prohibits forced labor and the exploitation of minors.[2888] A new Criminal Code came into force in June 2003,[2889] and provides for 10 to 15 years imprisonment for trafficking and the use of children in the worst forms of child labor.[2890] The Law on Children's Rights protects children under 18 years of age from prostitution or sexual exploitation.[2891]

In January 2002, Moldova introduced a restructured Labor Inspection Office, which is responsible for enforcing all labor laws, including those pertaining to child labor.[2892] While child labor violations are known to occur, they have not been formally reported or uncovered.[2893] Various government agencies and units have jurisdiction to address trafficking, including a police unit within the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Justice Service, the Police Academy, the General Prosecution Office, and the Ministries of Justice, Labor, Security, and Economy. The recently-established police anti-trafficking unit is reportedly understaffed and poorly funded.[2894]

The Government of Moldova ratified ILO Convention 138 on September 21, 1999, and ratified ILO Convention 182 on June 14, 2002.[2895]


[2862] U.S. Embassy Chisinau, unclassified telegram no. 0959, August, 2003. The Government will be responsible for implementing the strategy.

[2863] Barbara Limanowska, Trafficking in Human Beings in Southeastern Europe, UNICEF, June 2002, 30.

[2864] Ibid., 29.

[2865] OSCE, Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe: Task Force on Trafficking in Human Beings, [online] [cited June 18, 2003]; available from www.osce.org/odihr/attf/index.php3?sc=Introduction. The Government of Moldova has participated in regional anti-trafficking efforts through the initiative's Regional Center for Combating Transborder Crime. See SECI Regional Center for Combating Transborder Crime, Operation Mirage: Evaluation Report, Bucharest, January 21, 2003; available from http://www.secicenter.org/html/index.htm.

[2866] Alban Bala, Southeastern Europe: Radio Liberty, [online] December 13, 2002 [cited July 2, 2003].

[2867] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2002: Moldova, Washington, D.C., March 31, 2003, Section 6f; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2002/18381.htm.

[2868] Ibid., 30-32. IOM is implementing a trafficking awareness raising campaign; UNICEF assists girls at risk of trafficking and prostitution; and other NGOs, including La Strada and Association for Women Lawyers, are working on the issue. For the most part, these activities are planned and implemented independently; however, the government is planning to cooperate with La Strada to implement an awareness raising campaign in schools. Save the Children Moldova has a program to provide assistance to victims of trafficking, including repatriation assistance, psychological counseling, and vocational training. See Program for Social Assistance to Trafficked Human Beings, Save the Children Moldova, [online] [cited June 16, 2003]; available from http://scm.ngo.moldnet.md/trafic.html.

[2869] The total number of "working" children included "children who have done any paid or unpaid work for someone who is not a member of the household or who did more than four hours of housekeeping chores in the household or who did other family work." Ten percent of children ages 5 to 14 had unpaid jobs for someone other than a household member, and 2 percent were engaging in paid work. See Government of Moldova, Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) 2, UNICEF, 2000; available from http://www.childinfo.org/MICS2/newreports/moldova/moldova.pdf.

[2870] U.S. Embassy-Chisinau, unclassified telegram no. 1400, September 2001.

[2871] Jean Philippe Chauzy, Moldova – Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Trafficking, IOM, [online] October 22, 2002 [cited June 16, 2003]; available from http://www.iom.int/en/archive/PBN221002.shtml. Save the Children Moldova provides services to street children, including residential care and reintegration with their families. See "Ashchiuta" Center, Save the Children Moldova, [online] [cited June 16, 2003].

[2872] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Moldova, Section 6f. See also U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report – 2003: Moldova, Washington, D.C., June 11, 2003; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2003/21276.htm. Women and girls are trafficked to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Albania, Serbia-Montenegro, Kosovo, Italy, France, Portugal, Germany, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. The government recognizes that Moldova is one of the most significant source countries for trafficking in the world.

[2873] Mark Baker, Eastern Europe: UNICEF Official Says Child Trafficking Increasing, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, [online] June 12, 2003 [cited June 16, 2003]; available from http://www.rferl.org/nca/features/2003/06/12062003144701.asp.

[2874] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Moldova, Section 6f.

[2875] Barbara Limanowska, Trafficking in Human Beings in Southeastern Europe, 26.

[2876] UNESCO, Education for All 2000 Assessment: Country Reports – Moldova, prepared by Ministry of Education, pursuant to UN General Assembly Resolution 52/84, 1999; available from http://www2.unesco.org/wef/countryreports/moldova/rapport_1.html.

[2877] Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, 1994, Article 35; available from http://oncampus.richmond.edu/~jjones//confinder/moldova3.htm.

[2878] U.S. Embassy-Chisinau, unclassified telegram no. 1400.

[2879] World Bank, World Development Indicators 2003 [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2003.

[2880] While the official age to enter primary school is 7 years, a number of children go to school before the age of 7. To account for these children, the primary school attendance rate includes all children of primary school age who were currently attending school in the school year immediately preceding the survey. See Government of Moldova, MICS2, 14.

[2881] According to 2001 Moldovan press reports, the Ministry of Education estimated that 25 percent of children in rural areas were not attending school. See U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Moldova, Section 5.

[2882] Article 46 of the Labor Law, as cited in U.S. Embassy Chisinau, unclassified telegram no. 0959.

[2883] Article 181 of the Labor Law, as cited in U.S. Embassy-Chisinau, unclassified telegram no. 1499, October 2002. Articles 96 and 100 of the Law states that children between the ages of 15 and 16 can only work a maximum of 24 hours a week, and no more than 5 hours in a day. See U.S. Embassy Chisinau, unclassified telegram no. 0959.

[2884] Article 11 of the Law on Children's Rights as cited in U.S. Embassy-Chisinau, unclassified telegram no. 1499.

[2885] Article 152 of the Labor Law, as cited in U.S. Embassy Chisinau, unclassified telegram no. 0959.

[2886] Article 255 of the Labor Law, as cited in Ibid. The Government approved a list in 1993 of hazardous work that children cannot participate in, including mining, metal work, and well drilling.

[2887] Article 183 of the Labor Law, as cited in U.S. Embassy-Chisinau, unclassified telegram no. 1499.

[2888] Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, Articles 44 and 53.

[2889] U.S. Embassy Chisinau, unclassified telegram no. 0959.

[2890] U.S. Embassy-Chisinau, unclassified telegram no. 1499. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Moldova, Section 6d. According to a 2002 report submitted to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child by Moldovan NGOs, the new Criminal Code has inadequate measures for the enforcement of trafficking legislation, or for the protection and rehabilitation of victims. See Complementary Report of the Non-Governmental Organizations on the Implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in the Republic of Moldova, Chisinau, 2002; available from http://www.crin.org/docs/resources/treaties/crc.31/Moldova_ngo_report.pdf.

[2891] U.S. Embassy-Chisinau, unclassified telegram no. 2236, August 2000. Prostitution is also illegal under Article 105-1 of the Criminal Code, and punishable by imprisonment from six months to one year. See Barbara Limanowska, Trafficking in Human Beings in Southeastern Europe, 29.

[2892] U.S. Embassy Chisinau, unclassified telegram no. 0959.

[2893] Ibid.

[2894] According to UNICEF, the unit consists of only a few police officers; it lacks equipment, telephones and gas, and staff did not receive payments for several months. See Barbara Limanowska, Trafficking in Human Beings in Southeastern Europe, 30.

[2895] ILO, Ratifications by Country, in ILOLEX, [database online] [cited June 16, 2003]; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/newratframE.htm.

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