2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Slovak Republic
|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 - Slovak Republic, 18 April 2003, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d748ad32.html [accessed 30 August 2014]|
Government Programs and Policies to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor
The Government of the Slovak Republic has established a Committee on the Rights of the Child and created departments within its Ministries of Education and Social Affairs to protect children's rights.3250 In collaboration with UNESCO, the government has developed an Education for All Program,3251 sponsored a media campaign to encourage school attendance, and developed a preschool program to teach Roma children the Slovak language.3252 The UN International Center for Crime Prevention has funded a project on trafficking in persons that supports strengthening the criminal justice response, as well as providing protection and support to victims of trafficking.3253 The European Community's Phare Program has funded the project "Improvement of the Situation of the Roma in the Slovak Republic," which includes an education component geared at improving integration of Roma children in primary school.3254
Incidence and Nature of Child Labor
Statistics on the number of working children under the age of 15 in the Slovak Republic are unavailable.3255 Trafficking of girls for the purpose of prostitution is a problem, and Slovakia is a country of origin, transit and a destination country for such victims of trafficking.3256 The Committee on the Rights of the Child has expressed concerns over several issues related to children. In particular, the transit of trafficked children through Slovakia for the purpose of pornography, prostitution and sex tourism has drawn attention to the need for protecting children.3257 Insufficient data and awareness of the phenomenon of the commercial sexual exploitation of children persist.3258
Education is free and compulsory. The Education Act of 1994 established a nine-year compulsory school attendance. In 1998, the law was amended and a gradual change to 10 years was initiated.3259 In 1998, the gross primary enrollment rate was 101 percent.3260 Primary school attendance rates are unavailable for the Slovak Republic. While enrollment rates indicate a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children's participation in school.3261 Although official statistics are unavailable, it is believed that fewer Roma than Slovak children attend primary school.3262 Roma children are also disproportionately placed in special schools for the mentally disabled, often because they lack sufficient knowledge of the Slovak language.3263
Child Labor Laws and Enforcement
The Labor Code sets the minimum age for employment at 15 years. Children under the age of 15 may perform light work in cultural or artistic performances, sports events, and advertising activities as long as the work does not affect their health, safety, development, or full-time schooling. Permission to engage in light work may be allowed by the labor inspectorate with the agreement of a health protection body.3264 Children under the age of 16 years may not work underground or perform work that is inappropriate for their age or detrimental to their health.3265 Children under 16 may not work more than 30 hours per week, and children over age 16 are limited to 37.5 hours per week.3266
The Criminal Code prohibits the sale and trafficking of women, and these crimes can be penalized more severely when the victim is under the age of 18.3267 The Criminal Code prohibits the trafficking of children for the purpose of adoption, child labor or any other illegal purpose.3268 A person convicted of selling a child under the age of 15 for the purpose of prostitution can receive a penalty of up to 12 years imprisonment or by a fine.3269 Between January and September 2002, there were 32 convictions for trafficking in persons in the Slovak Republic.3270 The Constitution prohibits forced labor.3271
The inspection section of the Ministry of Labor enforces the country's child labor laws.3272 Child labor complaints are first received and investigated by the Ministry's district inspection units. If a violation of a child labor law is found to have occurred, the case is turned over to the national inspection unit. The government provides specific training to its inspectors on child labor laws and has published and distributed fliers explaining child labor laws and dangers and risks involved in employing minors.3273 In 1997, a special department was established in the Slovak Police Corps that deals specifically with crimes committed against children and juveniles, including commercial sexual exploitation.3274
The Government of the Slovak Republic ratified ILO Convention 138 on September 29, 1997, and ILO Convention 182 on December 20, 1999.3275
3250 U.S. Embassy – Bratislava, unclassified telegram no. 897, September 2002.
3251 UNESCO, Education for All 2000 Assessment: Country Reports – Slovak Republic, prepared by Institute of Information and Prognoses of Education, pursuant to UN General Assembly Resolution 52/84, 1999, [cited December 18, 2002]; available from http://www2.unesco.org/wef/countryreports/slovakia/contents.html.
3252 U.S. Embassy – Bratislava, unclassified telegram no. 897.
3253 The UN International Center for Crime Prevention is part of the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention. See United Nations Information Service, Press Briefing on UN Vienna Offices' Contribution to General Assembly Special Session on Children, [press briefing] 2002 [cited September 4, 2002]; available from http://www.unis.unvienna.org/en/events/2002/summary08may02.htm. The project was planned to start in May 2002 according to United Nations International Center for Crime Prevention, Update 1999-2002: Trafficking in Human Beings.
3254 The duration of the program is from January 2002 to December 2003. Slovak Republic Government Office, PHARE Twinning Programme SK0002/SK00/IB-OT-01: Improvement of the Situation of the Roma in the Slovak Republic, [cited October 1, 2002]; available from http://www.vlada.gov.sk/csaky/ twinning_programme_SK0002_en.doc.
3255 World Bank, World Development Indicators 2002 [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2002.
3256 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2001: Slovak Republic, Washington, D.C., March 4, 2002, 1776-78, Section 6f [cited September 4, 2002]; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2001/ eur/8338.htm.
3257 Russian and Ukrainian girls are reportedly vulnerable to trafficking through Slovakia for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. See UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Slovakia, CRC/C/15/Add.140, United Nations, Geneva, October 23, 2000, para. 49.
3258 Ibid., para. 49-50.
3259 Education Act No. 350/1994 was amended by Education Act No. 6/1998. See UNESCO, EFA Country Report: Slovak Republic, INNODATA, Slovakia Country Report, 2000 [cited August 26, 2002]; available from http://www.ibe.unesco.org/International/databanks/Innodata/inno.htm.
3260 Net primary enrollment rates are not available. See World Bank, World Development Indicators 2002.
3261 For a more detailed discussion on the relationship between education statistics and work, see the preface to this report.
3262 U.S. Embassy – Bratislava, unclassified telegram no. 897.
3263 This claim was being investigated in 2001 by the Ministry of Education. The Roma constitute the second largest ethnic minority in the Slovak Republic after Hungarians. U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Slovak Republic, 1770-75, Section 5.
3264 Government of the Slovak Republic, Labor Code Act, Part 1, Article 11.
3265 Ibid., Part 7, Article 175.
3266 Ibid., Part 3, Article 85.
3267 Government of the Slovak Republic, Criminal Code, Article 204 and 46 [cited September 4, 2002]; available from http://www.protectionproject.org/main1.htm.
3268 Criminal Code, Article 216a.
3269 Ibid., Article 204.
3270 Slovak Republic Ministry of Justice, Assessment of the Trafficking in Persons Situation, September 2002 as cited in U.S. Department of State official, electronic communication, February 11, 2003. Documentation from the Trafficking in Human Beings and Sexual Exploitation Unit at the Slovak Republic's Police Presidium showed that there were 17 cases of trafficking in human beings and two cases of trafficking in children under the Criminal Code in 2002. See U.S. Department of State official, electronic communication, February 11, 2003.
3271 Constitution of the Slovak Republic, Article 18.
3272 U.S. Embassy – Bratislava, unclassified telegram no. 897.
3274 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of State Parties: Slovakia, prepared by Government of the Slovak Republic, pursuant to Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, August 17, 1998, Par. 66.
3275 ILO, Ratifications by Country, in ILOLEX, [database online], [cited September 5, 2002]; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/newratframeE.htm.