Last Updated: Friday, 19 December 2014, 13:25 GMT

2005 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Kazakhstan

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 29 August 2006
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2005 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Kazakhstan, 29 August 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d748f5f.html [accessed 19 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.

Selected Child Labor Measures Adopted by Governments
Ratified Convention 138     5/18/2001
Ratified Convention 182     2/26/2003
ILO-IPEC Associated Member
National Plan for Children 
National Child Labor Action Plan 
Sector Action Plan (Trafficking) 

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Statistics on the number of working children under age 15 in Kazakhstan are unavailable.2545 Most working children are involved in agriculture in rural areas.2546 In urban areas, the country's increasingly formalized labor market has led to a decrease in many forms of child work. However, children continue to be found begging, loading freight, delivering goods in markets, washing cars, and working at gas stations.2547 Reports also indicate a rise in the number of children exploited in prostitution and pornography in urban areas. Children working as domestic servants are often less visible to law enforcement officials and, for this reason, also vulnerable to exploitation.2548 Child labor is one of many problems associated with poverty. In 2003, less than 2 percent of the population of Kazakhstan were living on less than USD 1 a day.2549

Kazakhstan is a source, transit, and destination country for trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Girls in their teens are one of the primary targets for trafficking from Kazakhstan to countries in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Travel, employment and marriage agencies lure girls into trafficking with promises of good jobs or marriage abroad. Internal trafficking from rural to urban areas for sexual exploitation also occurs.2550 Police estimate that a third of all street prostitutes in Kazakhstan are minors.2551

The Constitution and the Education Act provides for free and compulsory schooling for children ages 5 or 6 to the age of 16 or grade 9.2552 The government also provides free secondary vocational and higher vocational education.2553 In 2002, the gross primary enrollment rate was 102 percent and the net primary enrollment rate was 91 percent.2554 Gross and net enrollment ratios are based on the number of students formally registered in primary school and therefore do not necessarily reflect actual school attendance. Despite efforts to ensure education for all, increases in costs associated with education have limited access to children from disadvantaged families. The quality of education also suffers from regional disparities and untrained teachers. An increase in drop-out rates in secondary and vocational education was reported in 2003.2555

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Labor Code sets the minimum age for contract employment at 16 years.2556 However, children may work at age 15 if they have completed their compulsory education.2557 With parental consent, children 14 years or older may perform light work, provided that the work does not interfere with school attendance or pose a health threat.2558 Children under 18 are prohibited from working in dangerous conditions, overtime, or at night. Children between ages 16 and 18 may not work more than 36 hours per week. Children between ages 15 and 16 years (or 14 and 16 years during non-school periods) may not work over 24 hours per week. The labor authorities determine a list of dangerous occupations.2559

Although there is no law specifically prohibiting the worst forms of child labor in Kazakhstan, there are statutes under which the worst forms can be prosecuted. The Constitution prohibits forced labor, except under a court mandate or in a state of emergency.2560 The minimum age for compulsory military service is 18 under the 1993 Law on Universal Military Duty and Military Service, and the minimum voluntary recruitment age is 19 under the 2001 Law on Military Service on a Contract.2561 The Code of Administrative Offences criminalizes the involvement of minors in the creation and advertisement of erotic products.2562 Procuring a minor to engage in prostitution, begging, or gambling is illegal under Article 201 of the Penal Code and punishable by up to 3 years of imprisonment.2563 Article 215-1 outlaws the keeping of brothels for prostitution and pimping and imposes punishments of 2 to 5 years of imprisonment with confiscation of property.2564 Under Article 124, using children for sexual exploitation is punishable by up to 4 years of imprisonment.2565 In 2003, the Penal Code was amended to include punishments for trafficking in persons. Specifically, it imposes a 5-year prison sentence if a minor is involved and an 8-year sentence if persons are trafficked abroad.2566 The Code also includes an article establishing penalties of up to 10 years in prison for the sale or purchase of a minor.2567 The Law Enforcement Coordination Council has issued detailed instructions to aid prosecutors and law enforcement in handling trafficking cases.2568

The Ministry of Labor and Social Protection is responsible for enforcing child labor laws and imposing fines for administrative offenses. The Ministry of the Interior is responsible for investigating criminal child labor offenses.2569 The Ministry of Labor has a total of 400 labor inspectors. Each of the country's 16 districts has labor inspectors. They are empowered to levy fines for labor violations and refer criminal cases to law enforcement authorities.2570 The Minister of Justice is given responsibility for coordinating all of the government's anti-trafficking activities.2571

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

The Ministry of the Interior's Gender Crimes Division has provided instructions to its units in how to recognize trafficking cases.2572 The Government of Kazakhstan is funding victim hotlines, airing public service announcements, and preparing educational material on trafficking prevention.2573 Information about trafficking has been integrated into the high school and university curricula.2574 The local law enforcement has also established a victim referral system.2575 In December 2004, the Ministry of Internal Affairs held a nationwide conference to train law enforcement officers involved with trafficking issues.2576 Joint investigations were held with Uzbekistan, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates.2577 The government, in cooperation with the IOM and other NGOs, is participating in several other programs to prevent trafficking, prosecute offenders, and provide assistance to victims.2578

USDOL is funding a 3-year USD 2.5 million ILO-IPEC project that will build the capacity of national institutions to eliminate the worst forms of child labor and share information and experiences in the subregion of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.2579

The government has prioritized efforts to improve educational facilities in rural schools2580 and provides free textbooks to children from large families, children who receive social assistance, and disabled, orphaned, and institutionalized children.2581 International organizations, such as UNICEF and UNESCO, have worked with the government to implement programs aimed at improving the country's education system.2582


2545 This statistic is not available from the data sources that are used in this report. Please see the section in the front of the report titled "Data Sources and Definitions" for information about sources used. Reliable data on the worst forms of child labor are especially difficult to collect given the often hidden or illegal nature of the worst forms, such as the use of children in the illegal drug trade, prostitution, pornography, and trafficking. As a result, statistics and information on children's work in general are reported in this section. Such statistics and information may or may not include the worst forms of child labor. For more information on the definition of working children and other indicators used in this report, please see the "Data Sources and Definitions" section.

2546 There are indications of a high prevalence of children engaged in tobacco and cotton cultivation. See ILO-IPEC, CAR Capacity Building Project: Regional Program on the Worst Forms of Child Labour, project document, RER/04/P54/USA, Geneva, September 2004, 5-7. See also U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report, online, Washington, DC, June 3, 2005, Section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/47255.pdf.

2547 ILO-IPEC, CAR Capacity Building Project, project document, 5-7. See also U.S. Embassy – Almaty, reporting, August 22, 2004.

2548 ILO-IPEC, CAR Capacity Building Project, project document, 8.

2549 World Bank, World Development Indicators 2005 [CD-ROM], Washington, DC, 2005.

2550 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2004: Kazakhstan, Washington, DC, February 28, 2005, Section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2004/41689.htm. See also U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report.

2551 Liz Kelly, Fertile Fields: Trafficking in Persons in Central Asia, International Organization for Migration, April 2005, 61.

2552 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Kazakhstan, Section 5. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of States parties due 1996: Kazakhstan, CRC/C/41/Add.13, prepared by The Republic of Kazakhstan, pursuant to Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, September 24, 2002, para 257 and 267.

2553 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial reports of Kazakhstan, CRC/C/41/Add.13, para 257.

2554 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, http://stats.uis.unesco.org/TableViewer/tableView.aspx?ReportID=51 (Gross and Net Enrolment Ratios, Primary; accessed December 2005). For an explanation of gross primary enrollment rates that are greater than 100 percent, please see the definition of gross primary enrollment rates in the "Data Sources and Definitions" section of this report.

2555 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations: Kazakhstan, CRC/C/15Add.213, July 10, 2003, para. 61.

2556 The Republic of Kazakhstan, Labour Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan, 1999, (January 2000), Section 11, no. 1; available from http://natlex.ilo.org/txt/E99KAZ01.htm.

2557 Ibid., Section 11, no. 2. See also U.S. Embassy – Almaty, reporting, August 22, 2004.

2558 Labour Law, Section 11, no. 3.

2559 Ibid., Sections 46-49.

2560 The Republic of Kazakhstan, Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Article 24; available from http://www.president.kz/articles/state/state_container.asp?Ing=eng&art=constitution. See also Labour Law, Section 6.

2561 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, Child Soldiers Global Report – Kazakhstan, November 17, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=909.

2562 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial reports of Kazakhstan, CRC/C/41/Add.13, para 355.

2563 Criminal Code of the Kazakh Republic as cited by The Protection Project, Kazakhstan, March, 2002.

2564 Ibid.

2565 Article 124 of the Criminal Code of the Kazakh Republic as cited by Interpol, Legislation of Interpol Member States on Sexual Offences Against Children, [cited June 15, 2005]; available from http://www.interpol.int/Public/Children/SexualAbuse/NationalLaws/csaKazakhstan.asp.

2566 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Kazakhstan, Section 5.

2567 Ibid. Aggravating circumstances include: engaging in the same act with two or more minors, selling body parts, and sale by a group of persons or by a person in a position of authority in conjunction with the unlawful transport of a minor in or out of the country or inciting the youth to commit immoral acts. See UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial reports of Kazakhstan, CRC/C/41/Add.13, para 358.

2568 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Kazakhstan, Section 5.

2569 Ibid., Section 6d.

2570 U.S. Embassy – Almaty, reporting, August 22, 2004.

2571 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Kazakhstan, Section 5.

2572 Ibid.

2573 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Kazakhstan, Section 5.

2574 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report.

2575 Ibid.

2576 Ibid.

2577 Ibid.

2578 IOM, Combating Trafficking in Persons in Central Asia: Prevention, Prosecution, Protection (ASPPP), [cited June 15, 2005]; available from http://www.iom.int/iomwebsite/Project/ServletSearchProject?Category=1%3BCounter Trafficking&region=0%3B%28any%29&title=&keyWord=&resultPerPage=25&event=search&search=Search. See also IOM, Prevention of Trafficking in Persons and Protection (PTPP) of Victims of Trafficking From, To, Through and Within Kazakhstan, [cited June 15, 2005]; available from http://www.iom.int/iomwebsite/Project/ServletSearchProject&Category=1%3BCounter Trafficking&region=0%3B%28any%29&country=0%3B%28any%29&title=&keyWord=&resultPerPage=25&event=search&search= Search.

2579 The project was funded by USDOL in 2004. See ILO-IPEC, CAR Capacity Building Project, project document, vii.

2580 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Report of Kazakhstan (continued), CRC/C/SR.886, prepared by The Republic of Kazakhstan, pursuant to Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, July 24, 2003, para 63.

2581 The Republic of Kazakhstan, Government Decree No. 738 of 17 May 2000 on levels and sources of social assistance to citizens during the period of their education, (May 17, 2000); available from http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/natlex_browse.byCountry?p_lang=en.

2582 UNICEF, At a Glance: Kazakhstan, UNICEF, [online] 2005 [cited June 21, 2005]; available from http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/kazakhstan.html. See also UNESCO, Education, in UNESCO-Primary Education, [Online Database] 2005 [cited June 21, 2005]; available from http://portal.unesco.org/search/ui/SearchServlet?formName=test2&hIndexName=ami_index%nbResultByPage=25&hPrefPage s=prefpages&hPRMetaWeight=&hPRWorldlistWeight=7&hPRTitleField=7&hPRDescriptionField=3&hPRReferenceField=10&out put=test%2Fhtml&rThesaurus=&hUrlTemplateResult=http%3A%2F%2Fportal.unesco.org%2fsearch%2Fen%2Fresults.html&tUse rInput=kazakhstan&give+a+try=SEARCH.

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