Last Updated: Thursday, 20 November 2014, 13:54 GMT

2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Macedonia

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 22 September 2005
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Macedonia, 22 September 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48c8ca62c.html [accessed 21 November 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 11/17/1991X
Ratified Convention 182 5/30/2002X
ILO-IPEC Member 
National Plan for ChildrenX
National Child Labor Action Plan 
Sector Action Plan (Trafficking)X

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

The ILO estimated that less than 1 percent of children ages 10 to 14 years in Macedonia were working in 2002.[2434] Children work in the informal sector, in illegal small businesses,[2435] and on the streets and in markets selling cigarettes and other small items.[2436] Girls are involved in commercial sexual exploitation on the streets of Macedonia.[2437]

Children are trafficked to Macedonia from Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, and Ukraine. Macedonia is also a transit country for trafficking to Greece, Serbia and Montenegro, Albania, and Western Europe.[2438]

The Constitution mandates free and compulsory primary education and all children are guaranteed equal access,[2439] although students had to pay for books and supplies.[2440] The Law on Primary Education specifies that education is compulsory for 8 years, normally between the ages of 7 to 15.[2441] In 2000, the gross primary enrollment rate was 99.3 percent and the net primary enrollment rate was 92.8 percent.[2442] 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. Recent primary school attendance statistics are not available for Macedonia. Dropout rates for girls in primary and secondary school are high, particularly among ethnic Roma or Albanian children.[2443]

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Constitution sets the minimum age for employment at 15.[2444] The Labor Relations Act prohibits overtime work by children under 18, as well as work between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., or work that may be harmful or threatening to their health or life.[2445] The Constitution prohibits forced labor.[2446] The Macedonian Criminal Code prohibits various acts of sexual exploitation against children, including the recruitment of children for prostitution and/or the procurement of a child for these activities.[2447] Individuals convicted of instigating, recruiting, or procuring a child for prostitution shall be punished with imprisonment of 3 months to 5 years.[2448] The Ministries of Labor and Social Policy, Economy, Health, and Interior, as well as the Ombudsman for the Rights of Children are responsible for investigating and addressing child labor complaints.[2449] However, the U.S. Department of State reported that there are increasing reports of child labor and inadequate implementation of policies and laws.[2450] The Ombudsperson for the Rights of Children investigates violations of children's rights and reports to Parliament on an annual basis.[2451]

The Criminal Code prohibits trafficking in children and punishes those convicted of such an offence with at least 8 years in prison. Individuals who knowingly engage in sexual relations with a trafficked child are also subject to 8 years in prison.[2452] Articles in the criminal code related to prostitution and forced labor can also be used to prohibit and punish those involved in trafficking in persons. The Ministry of Interior's Anti-Trafficking Department of the Criminal Police is responsible for enforcing anti-trafficking laws.[2453] In the last year, 19 people were convicted of trafficking offences, with punishments ranging from 3 to 12 years. The government has also convicted several former government officials and police officers on corruption charges related to trafficking in persons.[2454]

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

The Government of Macedonia has an Ombudsperson for the Rights of Children, which is responsible for all child-related matters and is in charge of the Department for Child Protection.[2455] The government operates the "Project for Children on the Streets" to prevent child labor.[2456] The government's National Commission for Prevention and Suppression of Trafficking in Persons has established a Secretariat, which includes police officials, NGOs, the OSCE, and the IOM. A Trafficking of Children sub-group has been formed within the Secretariat.[2457] The government cooperates with IOM to provide a shelter for victims of trafficking.[2458]

The government has signed the Agreement on Co-operation to Prevent and Combat Transborder Crime in an effort to prevent trafficking and develop an effective transnational database mechanism.[2459] The countries of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, including Macedonia, operate a Task Force on Trafficking in Human Beings, which is responsible for streamlining and accelerating efforts to combat human trafficking in the region.[2460] The Macedonian government has a national/governmental coordinator to coordinate anti-trafficking measures within the country and operates multidisciplinary national working groups to work on the issue.[2461]

UNICEF is working to increase quality and access to education for all children as well as enhance services for vulnerable children, and promote and monitor the implementation of the Convention of the Rights of Children.[2462] The government works with Catholic Relief Services on civic education activities and organizing parent groups in schools.[2463] The World Bank currently supports several projects in Macedonia. The Children and Youth Development Project aims to integrate at risk youth from different socio-cultural backgrounds, strengthen institutional capacity, and contribute to the implementation of the Children and Youth Strategy.[2464] The Community Development Project is rehabilitating school heating systems as well as providing school furniture and financing social services.[2465] The Education Modernization project aims to strengthen school management, build capacity of central and local governments to operate in a decentralized education system, and ensure high quality outputs through monitoring and evaluation of the project.[2466]


[2434] The ILO reported that 0.02 percent of children in this age group were economically active. See World Bank, World Development Indicators 2004 [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2004.

[2435] U.S. Embassy-Skopje, unclassified telegram no. 2616, November 26, 2001. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2003: The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Washington, D.C., February 25, 2004, Section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2003/27852.htm.

[2436] UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, "Initial Report of States Parties due in 1993: Government of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (Geneva, July 27, 1997), para. 246; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/CRC.C.8.Add.36.EN?OpenDocument. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2003: Macedonia, Section 6d.

[2437] Barbara Limanowska, Trafficking in Human Beings in South Eastern Europe: 2003 Update, UNICEF, UNOHSHR, OSCE/ODIHR, November 2003, 178.

[2438] Barbara Limanowska, Trafficking in Human Beings in Southeastern Europe: Current Responses to Trafficking in Human Beings in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, The Former Republic of Yugoslavia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, UNICEF, UNOHCHE, OSCE-ODIHR, June, 2002, 107; available from http://www.child-rights.org/PolicyAdvocacy/pahome2.5.nsf/0/CFA82B758B41BEDB88256E46008360E5/$file/Trafficking%20in%20Human%20Beings%20in%20SE%20Europe%20compressed.pdf. See also U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report – 2003: The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Washington D.C., June 14, 2004; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2004/33192.htm. See also U.S. Embassy-Skopje, unclassified telegram no. 126969, June 2004.

[2439] Constitution of Macedonia, 1991, (November 17, 1991), Article 44 [cited March 24, 2004]; available from http://www.uni-wuerzburg.de/law/mk00000_.html.

[2440] The Ministry of Education is proposing that the government provide these materials free of charge through primary school. Transportation is also free for students. See U.S. Embassy-Skopje, unclassified telegram no. 2616. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2003: Macedonia, Section 5.

[2441] UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, "Initial Reports of States Parties: FYROM", para. 20. See also U.S. Embassy-Skopje, unclassified telegram no. 2616.

[2442] World Bank, World Development Indicators 2004. The enrollment statistics in this year's report differ slightly from those presented in last year's report, even though both reports were based on data from 2000. This discrepancy is a result of either statistical adjustments that were made in the school-age population, or corrections to enrollment data.

[2443] This is due in part to cultural tradition concerning girls participation in school as well as due to a lack of classes in minority languages. See U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2003: Macedonia, Section 5. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, CRC/C/15/Add.118, February 23, 2000, para. 42; available from http://www.hri.ca/fortherecord2000/documentation/tbodies/crc-c-15-add118.htm. See also U.S. Embassy-Skopje, unclassified telegram no. 2616.

[2444] Constitution of Macedonia, 1991, Article 42(1). In addition, the minimum age for work in mines is 18. See Labor Relations Act: Macedonia, (December 27, 1993), Section 7; available from http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/WEBTEXT/47727/65084/E93MKD02.htm.

[2445] Labor Relations Act: Macedonia, 1993, Sections 63, 66 and 67.

[2446] Constitution of Macedonia, 1991, Article 11(2).

[2447] Government of Macedonia, Criminal Code of Macedonia, as cited in The Protection Project Legal Library, [database online] [cited March 29, 2004], Articles 192-93; available from http://209.190.246.239/protectionproject/statutesPDF/MacedoniaF.pdf. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, "Initial Reports of States Parties: FYROM", para. 259.

[2448] Government of Macedonia, Criminal Code, Articles 192-93.

[2449] U.S. Embassy-Skopje, unclassified telegram no. 1414, August 2004.

[2450] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2003: Macedonia, Section 6d. See also U.S. Embassy-Skopje, unclassified telegram no. 1414.

[2451] U.S. Embassy-Skopje, unclassified telegram no. 2616. See also UNICEF FYR Macedonia, Ombudsperson for Children, UNICEF, [online] 2004 [cited May 12, 2004]; available from http://www.unicef.org/macedonia/protection/protection_rights_content.htm.

[2452] U.S. Embassy-Skopje, unclassified telegram no. 0494, April 4, 2004.

[2453] Barbara Limanowska, Trafficking in Human Beings in South Eastern Europe: 2003 Update, 179.

[2454] Article 418a is the relevant legislation. See U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report – 2003: Macedonia.

[2455] U.S. Embassy-Skopje, unclassified telegram no. 2616. See also UNICEF FYR Macedonia, Ombudsperson for Children. See also Macedonia, The Centre for Europe's Children, March 22, 2004 [cited May 12, 2004]; available from http://www.ombudsnet.org/Ombudsmen/Macedonia/Macedonia.htm.

[2456] U.S. Embassy-Skopje, unclassified telegram no. 1414.

[2457] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2003: Macedonia, Section 6f.

[2458] Fourteen of the trafficking victims assisted at the shelter were under the age of 18. See U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report – 2003: Macedonia. See also Barbara Limanowska, Trafficking in Human Beings in South Eastern Europe: 2003 Update, 181, 83. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2003: Macedonia, Section 6f.

[2459] This agreement links regional governments in information-sharing and planning programs. Other countries involved in this initiative include Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, and Turkey. See UNICEF: Area Office for the Balkans, Trafficking in Human Beings in SouthEastern Europe, August 2000, 12, 95.

[2460] The Task Force meets regularly to discuss how to combat trafficking of persons in the region. See Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, The Task Force on Trafficking in Human Beings, 2004 [cited September 1, 2004]; available from http://www.stabilitypact.org/trafficking/info.html. See also Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, Conclusions and Progress Report: 6th Anti-Trafficking Meeting, Belgrade, 23-24 March 2004, Task Force on Trafficking in Human Beings, June 7, 2004 [cited September 1, 2004]; available from http://www.stabilitypact.org/wt3/040607-trafficking.pdf. See also The Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe (EBRD-Countries), The Stability Pact, 2004 [cited September 1, 2004]; available from http://www.ebrd.com/country/country/see/pact.htm.

[2461] Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, The Task Force on Trafficking in Human Beings.

[2462] UNICEF FYR Macedonia, UNICEF'S Priority: Education Objectives, [online] [cited May 14, 2004]; available from http://www.unicef.org/macedonia/education/educationContent.htm.

[2463] Catholic Relief Services, Macedonia, Catholic Relief Services, [online] 2004 [cited May 14, 2004]; available from http://www.catholicrelief.org/where_we_work/eastern_europe_&_the_caucasus/macedonia/index.cfm.

[2464] World Bank, Children and Youth Development Project, World Bank, [online] March 29, 2004 [cited March 29, 2004]; available from http://web.worldbank.org/external/projects/main?pagePK=104231&piPK=73230&theSitePK=40941&menuPK=228424&Projectid=P073483.

[2465] World Bank, Community Development Project, World Bank, [online] March 29, 2004 [cited March 29, 2004]; available from http://web.worldbank.org/external/projects/main?pagePK=104231&piPK=73230&theSitePK=40941&menuPK=228424&Projectid=P076712.

[2466] World Bank, Education Modernization, May 12, 2004 [cited May 12, 2004]; available from http://web.worldbank.org/external/projects/main?pagePK=104231&piPK=73230&theSitePK=40941&menuPK=228424&Projectid=P066157.

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