Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 July 2014, 14:54 GMT

2003 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Czech Republic

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 - Czech Republic, 29 April 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48c8ca103c.html [accessed 24 July 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

The Government of the Czech Republic adopted the National Plan Combating Commercial Sexual Abuse in July 2000 that sets measures to eliminate the worst forms of child labor such as child trafficking, child prostitution, and child pornography.[1280] The plan addresses the sexual exploitation of children and the rehabilitation of victims of sexual crimes.[1281] The Interior Ministry's Crime Prevention Division launched a national media campaign on the dangers of trafficking, and a school-based awareness program for children aged 13 to 14 years.[1282] The government also broadened the definition of trafficking victims under the Criminal Code and raised the penalty from 5 to 12 years for traffickers who severely harm their victims.[1283] An amendment to Article 216 (b) of the Criminal Code came into force on July 1, 2002, to apply ILO Convention 182 unconditionally to all persons under 18 years old.[1284]

In 2002, the government provided some funding to local NGOs that provide assistance to trafficking victims and those at risk of being trafficking.[1285] With funding from the U.S. Department of State, the NGO La Strada implemented an awareness-raising program for Czech law enforcement officers on the needs of trafficking victims and to develop an information database on trafficking.[1286]

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Statistics on the number of working children below the age of 15 years in the Czech Republic are unavailable. The popular press and government reports indicate that commercial sexual exploitation, including the involvement of children in sex tourism, is a problem.[1287] There are some reports of the internal trafficking of Czech children from areas of low employment near border regions with Germany and Austria. Girls from the former Soviet Union, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East are trafficked to the Czech Republic for sexual exploitation.[1288]

Education is compulsory and free for citizens.[1289] Compulsory school attendance lasts nine years in accordance with an amendment of the Education Act No. 138/1995.[1290] In 2000, the gross primary enrollment rate was 104.3 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 90.3 percent.[1291] Ethnic Roma children attend school less regularly, and disproportionately attend "special schools" for mentally disabled or socially maladjusted individuals; however, the government has made efforts in recent years to address this problem by employing more Roma teaching assistants, improving schools' communication with parents and offering an additional year of pre-school instruction to children to prepare them to enter primary school.[1292]

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Labor Code sets the minimum age for employment at 15 years and requires that youth aged 15 to 18 years receive special care and protection.[1293] Overtime and night work are prohibited for minors, except for children over 16 years of age, who may work for 1 hour past the normal daytime hours.[1294] The Criminal Code provides for an imprisonment term of up to 3 years or a fine for a person that provides a child to another person for the purpose of child labor.[1295] Forced labor or service is prohibited in the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.[1296] In 2000, legislation was enacted that excluded minors from military services.[1297] In that same year, the Social Protection of Children law came into force that protects children in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.[1298]

The Criminal Code makes the trafficking of women and children for sexual purposes a criminal offense and prison sentences for trafficking a minor range from 3 to 8 years.[1299] The Criminal Code also prohibits procurement of a child under age 18 years for sexual relations. The imprisonment term for violators is 5 to 12 years for offenses against children under age 15.[1300] In July 2002, amendments to the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Act came into force that harmonize Czech law with that of the European Union and incorporate into Czech law the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child addressing the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.[1301]

Enforcement of child labor laws is carried out through workplace inspections and monitored jointly by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. The law requires labor offices throughout the country to carry out inspections and investigations. In 2003, an official with the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs reported that there had been no registered violations of child labor laws or standards of working conditions for working minors in the last 13 years.[1302] In 2003, an amendment of the proposed health care legislation will be submitted to clarify healthcare providers' responsibilities about suspected cases of sexual exploitation of children.[1303]

The government has continued to make efforts to increase enforcement of legislation regarding child sexual exploitation. The Anti-Organized Crime Police has a unit specifically trained to address cases of human trafficking, and the Interior Ministry works with NGOs to train trafficking investigators and police. The government also cooperates with regional partners such as German and Austrian police to investigate and prosecute trafficking cases.[1304] In 2002, the Czech Republic investigated 19 cases under the trafficking in persons statute and made 139 trafficking-related arrests. In June 2002, Czech authorities collaborated with their counterparts in Germany, Austria, Bulgaria and Romania to conduct a series of raids on suspected traffickers. The government's efforts to enforce trafficking along the Polish and Slovak border are weaker, but European Union assistance to the government aims to remedy this.[1305] Victims who testify against a trafficker may be offered temporary residence, a work permit, social assistance, and in extreme cases, police protection.[1306]

The Government of the Czech Republic has not ratified ILO Convention 138, but ratified ILO Convention 182 on June 19, 2001.[1307]


[1280] U.S. Embassy-Prague, unclassified telegram no. 2689, October 21, 2002. See also ILO, Review of Annual Reports: The Effective Abolition of Child Labor, Czech Republic, GB.277/3/2, Geneva, March 2000, 325-6; available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/relm/gb/docs/gb277/pdf/d2-abol.pdf.

[1281] The Interior Ministry is assigned the lead role of coordination of these efforts. See U.S. Embassy-Prague, unclassified telegram no. 2689. Czech officials cooperate extensively with other Central and Eastern European Countries, EU members and the United States to investigate and prosecute trafficking cases. See U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2002: Czech Republic, Washington, D.C., March 31, 2003, Section 6f; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2002/18361.htm.

[1282] U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report – 2003: Czech Republic, Washington, D.C., June 2003; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2003/21275.htm#czechrepublic.

[1283] Ibid.

[1284] U.S. Embassy-Prague, unclassified telegram no. 1548, August 14, 2003.

[1285] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Czech Republic, Section 6f.

[1286] La Strada – Czech Republic, La Strada Projects, May 6, 2003 [cited July 28, 2003]; available from http://www.strada.cz/czechia/index_en.html.

[1287] European Parliament, Trafficking in Women, working paper, Brussels, March 2000, 65, 66. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Czech Republic, Sections 5 and 6f.

[1288] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Czech Republic, Section 6f.

[1289] Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, Article 33; available from http://www.psp.cz/cgi-bin/eng/docs/laws/listina.html.

[1290] Government of the Czech Republic, Review Report on Follow-up to the World Summit for Children, 2000, UNICEF, [online] May 2002 [cited August 19, 2003], 18; available from http://www.unicef.org/specialsession/how_country/edr_czechrep_en.PDF. See also UNESCO, World Data on Education – 2001: Czech Republic Country Report, International Bureau of Education, [online] April 2000 [cited August 19, 2003]; available from http://nt5.scbbs.com/cgi-bin/om_isapi.dll?clientID=400834&infobase=iwde.nfo&softpage=PL_frame.

[1291] World Bank, World Development Indicators 2003 [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2003.

[1292] According to unofficial government estimates, 60 percent or more of pupils placed in special schools are Roma, although Roma constitute less than 3 percent of the population. Language and cultural barriers frequently impede the integration of Roma children into the education system; less than 20 percent of the Roma population complete ninth grade. See U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Czech Republic, Section 5.

[1293] The minimum age is established in Section 11 of the 1965 Labor Code. The exception to the minimum age law applies to special schools for children with disabilities, whose graduates may be employed at age 14. Additional protections for children are established under Sections 165, 166, and 167 of the Labor Code. See Government of the Czech Republic, Labor Code No. 65/1965; available from http://www.czech.cz/index.php?section=6&menu=4. The Supplementary Decree no. 261/1997 lists workplaces in which minors must not work and conditions that must be met when exceptions are permitted because such work is necessary for a minor's apprenticeship and job training. See U.S. Embassy-Bucharest, unclassified telegram no. 1548, August 14, 2003.

[1294] Labor Code No. 65/1965, Section 166.

[1295] Punishment is imprisonment from 3 to 10 years if the offense caused severe injury, death, or some other serious consequence. See Government of the Czech Republic, Criminal Code No. 140/1961, Article 216a.

[1296] Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, Chapter 2, Division 1, Article 9.

[1297] U.S. Embassy-Prague, unclassified telegram no. 1548.

[1298] The law also strengthens protection for children against pornography, violence, gambling, and sexual abuse. See Ibid.

[1299] Criminal Code, Article 246, as cited by Interpol, "Legislation of Interpol member states on sexual offenses against children" [cited July 28, 2003]; available from http://www.interpol.int/Public/Children/SexualAbuse/NationalLaws/csaCzechRepublic.asp.

[1300] If such an offense is committed against a person under the age of 18, the penalty is 2 to 8 years imprisonment. See Ibid., Articles 204 and 05.

[1301] U.S. Embassy-Prague, unclassified telegram no. 1548.

[1302] Ibid.

[1303] Ibid.

[1304] U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report: Czech Republic.

[1305] Ibid.

[1306] Ibid.

[1307] ILO, Ratifications by Country, in ILOLEX, [database online] [cited July 28, 2003]; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/newratframeE.htm.

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