Last Updated: Monday, 22 December 2014, 08:33 GMT

2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Ukraine

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 27 August 2008
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Ukraine, 27 August 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48caa497c.html [accessed 22 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 Statistics and Indicators on Child Labor3518
Working children, 5-14 years (%), 1999:2.4
Working boys, 5-14 years (%), 1999:3.0
Working girls, 5-14 years (%), 1999:1.8
Working children by sector, 5-14 years (%), 2002-2003:
     – Agriculture49.5
     – Manufacturing3.3
     – Services44.7
     – Other2.6
Minimum age for work:16
Compulsory education age:15
Free public education:Yes
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2006:102
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2006:90
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%), 1999:91.5
Survival rate to grade 5 (%):
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children in Ukraine are found working in agriculture, trade, services, manufacturing, construction, and in surface coal mines. Such children typically begin working at age 12.3519 According to the ILO, children in rural areas were approximately twice as likely to work as those in urban areas.3520

Ukraine is a source country for child pornography, available on the Internet, and the commercial sexual exploitation of children is also a problem.3521 Ukrainian children have been trafficked for sexual exploitation, forced begging, and forced labor in agriculture.3522 Internal trafficking of children is also a problem in Ukraine.3523 Most trafficked girls are subject to commercial sexual exploitation, while boys are trafficked for labor or to sell narcotics.3524 Debt bondage is a common occurrence in trafficking situations.3525 St. Petersburg and Moscow are destination centers for Ukrainian children trafficked for forced begging or sexual exploitation.3526

Street children, victims of domestic violence, orphans, residents of boarding schools, and children with absent parents (often due to migration in search of work or incarceration) are the groups most vulnerable to exploitation into the worst forms of child labor, including commercial sexual exploitation.3527

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for employment is 16 years.3528 With Government permission and the consent of a parent, children at 15 years may work in certain non-hazardous industries. Also, with the permission of a parent, children at 14 years may work in agriculture and the social sector (orphanages, hospitals, elder care, etc.) on a short-term basis if it does not interfere with their education.3529 The employment of an underage child is prohibited by law and is punishable by up to 6 months of imprisonment or judicial restraint for up to 3 years. The sentence is increased to 2 to 5 years of imprisonment if multiple children are involved, if considerable damage is done to the health of the child, or if the child was involved in hazardous work.3530

Forced labor of children is forbidden by law.3531 The minimum age for military conscription and participation in combat is 18 years.3532 Pimping or managing a brothel that employs minors is illegal and punishable by 2 to 7 years of imprisonment. Involvement of a child in prostitution is prohibited and offenders can be punished by 3 to 5 years of imprisonment.3533 The importation, sale, distribution, or manufacturing of child pornography is punishable by 6 months to 3 years of imprisonment. The sentence is increased to 5 years if the material is on film or video media. If there are repeat child pornography violations or if the act was committed by a group of persons and involved compelling the minor to participate, the sentence is increased to 3 to 7 years of imprisonment.3534 Trafficking of children ages 14 to 18 years is prohibited by law and is punishable by 5 to 12 years of imprisonment.3535 If the child is under the age of 14 years, the punishment is 8 to 15 years of imprisonment.3536 Children are forbidden from leaving the country or changing residence without the consent of the minor's legal representatives.3537 Ukraine has a witness protection law for trafficking cases that ensures anonymity, confidentiality, and closed trials.3538

The State Labor Inspectorate and the State Department of Surveillance over Labor Legislation Observance in the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy are responsible for enforcing child labor policies and laws in the formal sector.3539 There were 708 labor inspectors in Ukraine in 2006, the most recent year for which data was available.3540 The State Department of Surveillance over Labor Legislation Observance reported that during 2007, there were 563 labor inspections which uncovered 1,500 cases of minors working. Sixty-two of these incidents were referred for prosecution.3541 The Labor Inspectorate does not have the authority to inspect informal workplaces.3542 The Department of Juvenile Affairs within the Ministry of Family, Youth, and Sport (MOFYS), the Criminal Police on Juvenile Affairs, along with the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) are responsible for finding children engaged in the worst forms of child labor in the informal sector. In addition to the Labor Inspectorate, the Ministry of Emergencies and the Ministry of Health also conduct inspections.3543

The MOI's Anti-trafficking Department is responsible for the enforcement of anti-trafficking laws.3544 There is also a specialized, 68-person unit within the Anti-trafficking Department dedicated to combating trafficking for labor exploitation and tracking businesses, such as employment agencies, that hire Ukrainians for work abroad.3545 The Border Guards are required to screen for potential trafficking victims at the border.3546 In 2007, the Government identified 359 cases of trafficking, including 55 children.3547 Many victims were reluctant to testify against their traffickers due to a lack of trust in the law enforcement system, weak witness protection efforts, and a negative public perception of trafficking victims.3548 USDOS reports that corruption among police and in the courts hampered the enforcement of anti-trafficking laws.3549

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

The Government is pursuing the State Program to Combat Child Homelessness and Neglect for 2006-2010. The document identifies child labor as a factor related to child homelessness, and the program aims to identify and support at-risk families.3550 The Government of Ukraine has a National Action Plan for 2006 to 2016 on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, with separate chapters on the worst forms of child labor, child trafficking, and sexual exploitation.3551 On May 14, 2007, the Head of the Donetsk Regional State Administration approved a Regional Action Plan to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor. The plan calls for regular workplace monitoring, support for local action committees working with ILO-IPEC, awareness raising activities, the provision of services to formerly working children, and the regular supervision of at-risk families to prevent child labor.

On May 7, 2007, the Head of the Kherson Regional State Administration approved the Regional Program on the Prevention of Trafficking in Human Beings (2007-2010). The program provides services for trafficking victims, including child victims. It also supports information and awareness-raising activities targeting children and youth, regular monitoring of labor migration, and the implementation of programs for the psycho-social rehabilitation of child victims.3552 Shortly before this, on March 7, 2007, the Government adopted the State Program on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings (2007-2010), which includes special provisions on child trafficking and provides direct State funding from the MOFYS for anti-trafficking efforts.3553 The program specifically calls for training of government officials on child trafficking issues, and also for the development and implementation of programs for the social and psychological rehabilitation of victims of child trafficking.3554

In cooperation with the IOM and with funding from the European Commission, the Government supports seven shelters for victims in major cities.3555 During the first 9 months of 2007, the Government of Ukraine repatriated 353 potential trafficking victims through its overseas embassies.3556 The Government and NGOs cooperated on awareness-raising campaigns.3557 The Ukrainian Government provided radio and television access for anti-trafficking messages.3558 It also supports a national anti-trafficking hotline. The hotline is linked to the State Employment Service that provides information regarding the reliability of employment recruitment services.3559 The Ministry of Health is responsible for providing physical and psychological rehabilitation to child victims of commercial sexual exploitation.3560

The Government participates in a USD 3.5 million USDOL-funded ILO-IPEC regional project to combat child trafficking and other worst forms of child labor (2006-2009), which operates in Albania, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Moldova, Romania, and Ukraine. The project aims to withdraw 1,350 children and prevent 3,150 children from exploitive labor throughout all of the participating countries.3561 The Government of Ukraine also is participating in a USD 606,300 German-funded ILO-IPEC regional project (Albania, Moldova, Romania, Ukraine) to combat child trafficking, and a USD 1.2 million German-funded regional project (Albania, Moldova, Romania, Ukraine) to combat the worst forms of child labor through education and youth employment.3562 ILO-IPEC has worked to support community-based centers to assist children from at-risk families, street children, and orphans. It also assisted with a program to provide support to children leaving State boarding schools, a group especially vulnerable to trafficking, and to train them for life outside of the institution.3563 USAID funds a USD 1.2 million project through the IOM to raise awareness of trafficking in persons among children and young women 12 to 25 years, to provide support to both local and national Governments, and to assist approximately 700 trafficking victims.3564


3518 For statistical data not cited here, see the Data Sources and Definitions section. For data on ratifications and ILO-IPEC membership, see the Executive Summary. For minimum age for admission to work, age to which education is compulsory, and free public education, see U.S. Department of State, "Ukraine," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2007, Washington, D.C., March 11, 2008, section 5, 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007.100590.htm. See also U.S. Embassy – Kyiv, reporting, December 13, 2006, para. 3a. See also ECPAT International, CSEC Database, Ukraine, [accessed December 6, 2007]; available from http://www.ecpat.net/. See also Government of Ukraine, Constitution of Ukraine, Fifth Session of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (June 28, 1996), article 53; available from http://www.rada.kiev.ua/const/conengl.htm.

3519 PROTECT CEE, Ukraine Country Profile, [online] 2005 [cited December 6, 2007], 1,4, 5; available from http://www.ilo.org/iloroot/docstore/ipec/prod/eng/2005_fs_ukraine.pdf. See also U.S. Embassy – Kyiv, reporting, November 30, 2007. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Ukraine," section 6d.

3520 PROTECT CEE, Ukraine Country Profile, 5.

3521 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Ukraine," sections 5 and 6d. See also U.S. Embassy – Kyiv, reporting, November 30, 2007. See also ECPAT International, CSEC Database, Ukraine.

3522 U.S. Department of State, "Ukraine (Tier 2 Watch List)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007, Washington, DC, June 12, 2007; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2007/. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Ukraine," section 6d. See also PROTECT CEE, Ukraine Country Profile, 7.

3523 ILO-IPEC, Rapid Assessment of Trafficking in Children for Labour and Sexual Exploitation in Ukraine, 2003, Geneva, 2004, 2. PROTECT CEE, Ukraine Country Profile, 7.

3524 PROTECT CEE, Ukraine Country Profile, 7. See also ILO-IPEC, Rapid Assessment Ukraine, 1.

3525 ILO-IPEC, Rapid Assessment Ukraine, 2.

3526 U.S. Department of State, "Russia (Tier 2 Watch List)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007, Washington, DC, June 12, 2007; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2007/82807.htm.

3527 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 12 (1) of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography – Ukraine, April 6 2006, 7. See also ILO-IPEC, Trafficking and other Worst Forms of Child Labour in Central and Eastern Europe (Phase II), Project Document, Geneva, September 19, 2006, 19. See also PROTECT CEE, Ukraine Country Profile, 6.

3528 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Ukraine," section 6d.

3529 ILO-IPEC, Trafficking and other Worst Forms of Child Labour in Central and Eastern Europe (Phase II), Project Document, 34. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Ukraine," section 6d. See also U.S. Embassy – Kyiv, reporting, December 13, 2006.

3530 U.S. Embassy – Kyiv, reporting, November 30, 2007, para. 7.

3531 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Ukraine," section 6d.

3532 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Ukraine," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=935.

3533 Government of Ukraine, "Ukraine," in Legislation of Interpol Member States on Sexual Offences Against Children, 2007, article 302, 303; available from http://www.interpol.int/Public/Children/SexualAbuse/NationalLaws/default.asp.

3534 Ibid., article 301.

3535 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Ukraine," section 5. See also ILO-IPEC, Rapid Assessment Ukraine, 10. See also Vittoria Luda di Cortemiglia, Trafficking in Minors for Commercial Sexual Exploitation: Ukraine, Turin, n.d., 9; available from http://www.unicri.it/wwd/trafficking/minors/docs/dr_ukraine.pdf. See also U.S. Embassy – Kyiv, reporting, March 7, 2008, para. 34.

3536 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Ukraine," section 5. See also U.S. Embassy – Kyiv, reporting, March 7, 2008, para. 34.

3537 di Cortemiglia, Trafficking in Minors for Commercial Sexual Exploitation: Ukraine, 12.

3538 Ibid.

3539 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Ukraine," section 6d. See also U.S. Embassy – Kyiv, reporting, November 30, 2007.

3540 State Labor Inspectorate – Ukraine official, Interview with USDOL official, March 30, 2006. See also Ministry of Labor and Social Policy – Ukraine official, Interview with USDOL official, March 30, 2006.

3541 U.S. Embassy – Kyiv, reporting, November 30, 2007. See also U.S. Embassy – Kyiv official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, July 23, 2008.

3542 Ministry of Labor and Social Policy – Ukraine official, Interview, March 30, 2006. See also ILO-IPEC, Trafficking and other Worst Forms of Child Labour in Central and Eastern Europe (Phase II), Project Document, 35.

3543 Ministry of Labor and Social Policy – Ukraine official, Interview, March 30, 2006.

3544 U.S. Department of State, "Ukraine," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2006, Washington, DC, March 6, 2007, section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78846.htm.

3545 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Ukraine."

3546 Ibid.

3547 U.S. Embassy – Kyiv, reporting, March 7, 2008, para 52.

3548 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Ukraine," section 5.

3549 Ibid. See also U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Ukraine."

3550 ILO-IPEC, National Programme for the Prevention and Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Ukraine, Technical Progress Report, Geneva, August 31, 2006, 3.

3551 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports – Ukraine, 37. See also Ministry of Family Youth and Sport – Ukraine official, Interview with USDOL official, March 29 2006. See also ILO-IPEC, Trafficking and other Worst Forms of Child Labour in Central and Eastern Europe (Phase II), Technical Progress Report, Geneva, August 31, 2007, 7.

3552 ILO-IPEC, Trafficking and other Worst Forms of Child Labour in Central and Eastern Europe (Phase II), Technical Progress Report, August 31, 2007, 7.

3553 U.S. Embassy – Kyiv, reporting, November 30, 2007. See also U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Ukraine."

3554 ILO-IPEC, Trafficking and other Worst Forms of Child Labour in Central and Eastern Europe (Phase II), Technical Progress Report, August 31, 2007, 6.

3555 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Ukraine," section 5. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Ukraine," section 5.

3556 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Ukraine," section 5.

3557 Ibid. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports – Ukraine, 39.

3558 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Ukraine."

3559 Ibid.

3560 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports – Ukraine, 26.

3561 ILO-IPEC, Trafficking and other Worst Forms of Child Labour in Central and Eastern Europe (Phase II), Project Document, cover page, vi, 69.

3562 ILO-IPEC Geneva official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, December 12, 2007.

3563 U.S. Embassy – Kyiv official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, July 27, 2007.

3564 USAID, Ukraine – Data Sheet, October 21, 2006; available from http://www.usaid.gov/policy/budget/cbj2006/ee/pdf/ua_121=0325.pdf.

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