Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 November 2014, 15:45 GMT

2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Romania

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 18 April 2003
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Romania, 18 April 2003, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d748a8c.html [accessed 27 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.

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

The Government of Romania became a member of ILO-IPEC in 2000 and launched a National Action Program to Eliminate Child Labor.2964 As part of the national program, child labor units were formed within the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection's (MLSS) Labour Inspectorate and the National Authority for Child Protection and Adoption (NACPA), and a National Advisory Group on Child Labor was established.2965 Inter-sectoral County Teams responsible for developing plans to investigate and monitor the child labor situation have been established in 18 counties.2966 The government adopted the National Strategy for Child Protection for 2001-2004 and the Operational Plan for the Implementation of the Strategy, in which child laborers were recognized as a special target group of beneficiaries.2967 The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies began implementation of a national survey on child labor in 2000.2968 Data collection was finalized in 2002 and results are expected to be available in 2003.2969 In September 2002, the government launched a supplementary nutrition program to provide milk and bread for all children attending primary school.2970

In 2001, the government established a National Task Force on Trafficking to coordinate efforts to prevent and combat the trafficking of persons, and an Inter-ministerial Committee on Trafficking of Human Beings.2971 The government also approved a National Plan of Action Against Trafficking of Persons in 2001.2972 The government provided space for a shelter for victims of trafficking in November 2001.2973 In addition, the government is working with international organizations and regional networks to implement anti-trafficking programs. The Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI) Center in Bucharest has undertaken regional technical cooperation activities related to law enforcement and border police to combat trafficking.2974 IOM is the most active international organization supporting trafficking prevention activities, and other organizations such as UNICEF, UNDP and local NGOs are also working to combat trafficking.2975

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Statistics on the number of working children under the age of 15 in Romania are unavailable.2976 The majority of children work in agriculture, with fewer children working in trade and/or services, and outside the family home.2977 In 2000, the NACPA estimated that there were 2,500 to 3,500 street children.2978 According to a study on street children in Bucharest, 62.7 percent of those interviewed dropped out of school.2979 Street children are found begging, washing and parking cars, selling merchandise, performing household work, collecting waste products, loading and unloading merchandise, stealing, and engaging in prostitution.2980 It is estimated that about 30 percent of sex workers in Bucharest are under 18 years of age.2981 There are indications that Romanian teenage boys are involved in the sex trade in the countries of Western Europe.2982 Romania is a country of origin and transit for internationally trafficked women and girls.2983 Girls as young as 14 have been trafficked.2984 The majority of trafficking cases in which IOM has assisted involve victims who were trafficked to the Balkans.2985 Forty-six percent of these victims originated from the Moldova region of Romania.2986

The Constitution states that children have a right to a free public education.2987 The Education Law No. 84/1995 was modified by Education Law 151/1999 to increase compulsory education to nine years.2988 Article 20 of the Education Law stipulates that there is a possibility to organize special classes for children who have not finished the first four grades by the age of 14.2989 In 1998, the gross primary enrollment rate was 102.9 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 94.5 percent.2990 Attendance rates for Romania are not available. While enrollments rates indicate a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children's participation in school.2991 School participation is significantly lower among ethnic Roma children.2992

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Constitution sets the minimum age of employment at 15 years, and the exploitation and employment of children in activities that might be physically or morally unhealthy or put their lives or normal development at risk are prohibited.2993 The Labor Code stipulates that young persons ages 15 and 16 can be employed with the consent of their parents or legal guardian on the condition that the work performed is in accordance with their health and abilities and does not interfere with their education.2994 According to Article 155 of the General Norms of Labor Protection, children under the age of 16 cannot be used for loading, unloading and handling operations.2995 Children employed under the age of 18 may not be placed in hazardous work places and may not be made to work at night or beyond the legal duration of a working day (eight hours) except in emergencies.2996 The Constitution prohibits forced labor.2997 Article 19 of the Labor Code punishes forcing an individual to work against their will with six months to three years imprisonment.2998

Article 191 of the Criminal Code outlaws the act of submitting a person to labor against his or her will, outlaws mandatory labor, and prohibits individuals from prostituting children.2999 The government adopted Law No. 678/2001 on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings, which, among other stipulations, protects children under the age of 19 years from being trafficked and applies more severe punishments when the child is under 15 years of age.3000 Article 18 of Law 678 also criminalizes child pornography.3001 Police investigated 391 persons in cases related to trafficking in 2001.3002

Enforcement of labor laws that protect children falls under the mandate of the MLSS' Labour Inspectorate (established under Law No. 108/1999).3003 The MLSS, the Ministry of Health and Family, the Ministry of Education and Research, and the NACPA are responsible for supervising the observance of norms regarding child protection.3004 In 2001, 8 children under 15 and 55 children ages 15-18 were identified as working illegally.3005

The Government of Romania ratified ILO Convention 138 on November 19, 1975, and ILO Convention 182 on December 13, 2000.3006


2964 The ILO and the Government of Romania signed an MOU on June 9, 2000 that was extended in 2002 for a five-year period. ILO-IPEC, National Action for the Prevention and Elimination of Child Labour in Romania, technical progress report, Geneva, September 2002, 2. See also ILO-IPEC, National Action for the Prevention and Elimination of Child Labour in Romania, project document, Geneva, February 1999, revised May 1999.

2965 Members of the child labor units, police officers and labor inspectors have been trained on investigating and monitoring child labor activities. See ILO-IPEC, Midterm Review: Country Program on Child Labor in Romania, Bucharest, July 2001, Annex II, 2.1. The advisory group members include labor inspectors, teachers, social workers, trade unionists, employers and representatives from universities and NGOs. Members are activists and serve as resources on child labor matters. ILO-IPEC, National Action for the Prevention and Elimination of Child Labour in Romania, technical progress report, 7.

2966 The teams include representatives of the Specialized Public Services for Child Protection, Territorial Labor Inspectorates, Country Police Inspectorates, School Inspectorates, NGOs, universities and others. ILO-IPEC, National Action for the Prevention and Elimination of Child Labour in Romania, technical progress report, 7.

2967 The plan recommends improving the national legislation on the exploitation of children, diversifying the rehabilitation services provided for children, setting up monitoring mechanisms for children in difficult circumstances, implementing action programs to combat child labor, and providing training for the professionals working with children in difficulty. ILO-IPEC, Midterm Review: Romania, Annex II, 3.1. See also Government of Romania: National Authority for the Protection for the Child and Adoption, Government Strategy Concerning the Protection of the Child in Difficulty (2001-2004), Bucharest, May 2001, 15.

2968 The survey is funded by USDOL and receives technical assistance from ILO-IPEC's SIMPOC. ILO-IPEC, SIMPOC Progress Report, Geneva, September 2002. A USDOL-funded study of street children in Bucharest was carried out in cooperation with Save the Children Romania in 2000. The survey received technical assistance from ILO-IPEC's SIMPOC as part of a project that conducted 38 rapid assessments of the worst forms of child labor in 19 countries and one border area. Gabriela Alexandrescu, Romania: Working Street Children in Bucharest: A Rapid Assessment, ILO-IPEC, Geneva, March 2002.

2969 ILO-IPEC, SIMPOC Progress Report.

2970 The school feeding program was established under Government Order No. 96/2002. ILO-IPEC, National Action for the Prevention and Elimination of Child Labour in Romania, technical progress report, 2. It is reported that some teachers say this is a powerful incentive for some at-risk children in rural areas to attend school. See U.S. Embassy-Bucharest, unclassified telegram no. 4461, November 2002.

2971 The Committee includes representation from the Ministries of Interior, Justice, Education and Research, Labor and Social Solidarity, The Prosecutor's Office, and international and local NGOs. The National Plan of Action focuses on law enforcement and legal reform, and includes activities and cooperation of all relevant government and NGO institutions in areas of research, prevention, awareness raising and assistance. See UNICEF, Trafficking in Human Beings in Southeastern Europe, June 2002, 41-42.

2972 Romanian Government's Decision 1216/2001 as cited in Romania Mission Geneva, Progress Report on the Measures Taken by the Romanian Authorities to Combat Trafficking of Human Beings, United Nations, February 25, 2002, [cited October 10, 2002]; available from http://missions.itu.int/~romania/strategies/index.html.

2973 The Ministry of Interior provided the shelter space, IOM funded the refurbishment of the shelter and a local NGO, Estuar Foundation, manages the premises. UNICEF, Trafficking in Human Beings, 46.

2974 Ibid., 49. SECI member states include Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Greece, Moldavia, FYR of Macedonia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia, Turkey, Slovenia and Romania. See Romania Mission Geneva, Progress Report on the Measures Taken, [cited October 3, 2002].

2975 UNICEF, Trafficking in Human Beings, 44-46. IOM's Counter-trafficking Information Campaign launched in 2000 to raise awareness about the dangers of irregular migration and trafficking has reached more that 1.6 million persons nationwide. See IOM Press Briefing Notes, April 2, 2002, via email.

2976 Romania does not collect labor force statistics for children under the age of 15. ILO, Laborstat Database of Labor Statistics, [database online] [cited November 14, 2002]; available from http://laborsta.ilo.org/applv8/data/ssm3/e/ RO.html.

2977 A 1997 survey by Save the Children Romania revealed that among children living with their families, 8.3 percent of children who attend primary school also work, primarily in agriculture along with their parents. See Save the Children Romania, Child Labor in Romania, 1997, 1.

2978 Catalin Zamfir etal., Poverty in Romania: Causes, Anti-Poverty Policies, Recommendations for Action (Bucharest: Research Institute for the Quality of Life, 2001), 16. According to estimates of a national study of the Homeless Children's Situation (1998-1999), more that half (approximately 2,000) the number of children permanently living on the streets and children begging in the streets are in Bucharest, as cited in Alexandrescu, Romania: Working Street Children, 15.

2979 One-hundred and fifty children were interviewed. Alexandrescu, Romania: Working Street Children, 27-29.

2980 Ibid., 27-28.

2981 UNICEF, Trafficking in Human Beings, 38.

2982 Ibid.

2983 Romania Mission Geneva, Progress Report on the Measures Taken.

2984 Of 401 cases of trafficked victims receiving assistance from IOM between January 2000 and December 2001, 83 were children between the ages of 15 and 17 years, and six were 14 years old or younger. International Organization for Migration, Counter-Trafficking CT, 2000-2001 Programme of Assistance to Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings and Prevention of Trafficking in Human Beings in Romania, [cited October 3, 2002]; available from http://www.oim.ro/ en/trafic_stat.php. See also Romania Mission Geneva, Progress Report on the Measures Taken.

2985 IOM has assisted both women and girls who had been trafficked. Between January 2000 and December 2001, 29 percent were returned to Romania from Bosnia-Herzegovina, 26 percent from FYR Macedonia, 17 percent from Albania, 14 percent from Kosovo, 6 percent from Italy and other countries, and 2 percent from Cambodia. International Organization for Migration, Counter-Trafficking CT.

2986 Ibid.

2987 Constitution of Romania, (December 8, 1991), Article 32 [cited September 18, 2002]; available from http://www.uni-wuerzburg.de/law/ro00000_.html.

2988 Alexandrescu, Romania: Working Street Children, 9. See also UNESCO, Education for All 2000 Assessment: Country Reports – Romania, prepared by Ministry of National Education, pursuant to UN General Assembly Resolution 52/84, 1999, Section 3.2 [cited October 3, 2002]; available from http://www2.unesco.org/wef/countryreports/romania/ contents.html.

2989 Alexandrescu, Romania: Working Street Children, 9.

2990 World Bank, World Development Indicators 2002 [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2002.

2991 For a more detailed discussion on the relationship between education statistics and work, see the preface to this report.

2992 The Roma constitute a large ethnic minority in Romania. Pop and Voicu, in Poverty in Romania: Causes, Anti-Poverty Policies, Recommendations for Action, ed. Catalin Zamfir etal. Bucharest: Research Institute for the Quality of Life, 2001, 30. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2001: Romania, Washington, D.C., March 4, 2002, 1701-06, Section 5 [cited December 31, 2002]; available from http://www.state.gov/ g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2001/eur/8327.htm.

2993 Constitution of Romania, Article 45 (3) and (4).

2994 Government of Romania: Ministry of Labour and Social Solidarity Labor Inspection, National Legislation on Child Labor, 2001, published as part of the Labor Inspection's National Campaign on the Elimination of Child Labor.

2995 Ibid.

2996 National Agency for the Protection of Children's Rights on the Romanian Government, Romania's Periodic Progress Report on the Implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Section 8.3.

2997 Constitution of Romania, Article 39 (1).

2998 Failure to observe the legal provisions on labor protection is punishable from three months to two years, or money penalties, if this leads to danger of work-related accidents or sickness. See the Labor Code as cited in Alexandrescu, Romania: Working Street Children, 10.

2999 National Agency for the Protection of Children's Rights on the Romanian Government, Romania's Periodic Progress Report, Section 8.3.

3000 Eric Barboriak, U.S. Department of State official, electronic communication to USDOL official, May 2, 2002.

3001 Ibid. Traffickers can be prosecuted under the relevant provisions of the Law 678/2001 (article 12 and 13) and under the Criminal Code (Articles 328, 329, 189, 190, 197, 198, 201, 202, and 203). See Romania Mission Geneva, Progress Report on the Measures Taken.

3002 Upon investigation, police found 336 crimes had been committed, including sexual exploitation of individuals and prostitution in Romania and abroad; one prostitution network was dismantled in Italy. Romania Mission Geneva, Progress Report on the Measures Taken, 2-3.

3003 Government of Romania Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, Combating the Worst Forms of Child Labor, September 25, 2000.

3004 Alexandrescu, Romania: Working Street Children, 9.

3005 U.S. Embassy – Bucharest, unclassified telegram no. 4461.

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