Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Kazakhstan

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 10 September 2009
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Kazakhstan, 10 September 2009, available at: [accessed 29 May 2016]
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 Labor
Population, children, 5-14 years:
Working children, 5-14 years (%):
Working boys, 5-14 years (%):
Working girls, 5-14 years (%):
Working children by sector, 5-14 years (%):
     – Agriculture
     – Manufacturing
     – Services
     – Other
Minimum age for work:16
Compulsory education age:16
Free public education:Yes
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2008:108.7
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2008:90.3
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%):
Survival rate to grade 5 (%):
ILO Convention 138:5/18/2001
ILO Convention 182:2/26/2003
ILO-IPEC participating country:Associated

* Accession

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children in rural areas of Kazakhstan work in commercial agriculture or on family farms. Many children from Uzbekistan and the Kyrgyz Republic migrate to south Kazakhstan with their families during the harvest season to work in cotton and tobacco production. Children working in the cotton and tobacco industry suffer from little rest and malnutrition. In urban areas, children work as beggars, street vendors, scavengers, car washers, and market traders. Children also work as domestic servants, and this work makes them vulnerable to sexual and physical exploitation. Girls are trafficked internationally and internally for sexual exploitation, while boys are trafficked internationally for labor exploitation. Children from impoverished, rural communities and orphanages are most vulnerable to trafficking.

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for admission to work in Kazakhstan is 16 years. However, children may work at 15 years with parental consent if they have completed their compulsory education. Children 14 years or older may perform light work with parental consent if the work does not interfere with school attendance or pose a health threat. Children 16 and 17 years may only work up to 36 hours per week, and children 14 and 15 years may work no more than 24 hours per week. Children are prohibited from working overtime, at night, under hazardous conditions, or in occupations that might be harmful to their health and moral development, including gambling; working in night-time entertainment establishments; and working in the production and transportation of and trading in alcoholic products, tobacco goods, narcotics, psychotropic substances, and "precursors." Children must receive an annual medical examination in order to work. The Ministry of Labor enforces child labor laws and punishes violations with fines. The Ministry of the Interior investigates crimes related to illegal child labor.

The law prohibits forced labor, except under a court mandate or in a state of emergency. The minimum age for compulsory military service is 18 years. However, children can enroll in military schools at 11 years, and children 16 and 17 years have been reported to receive weapons training.

Involving a minor in the production of pornographic materials is punishable by a fine. Manufacturing and distributing pornographic material is punishable by a prison term of up to 2 years or a fine. Procuring a minor to engage in prostitution or begging is illegal and punishable by up to 3 years of imprisonment. When the act is committed by a parent, guardian, or teacher, the sentence is increased to 5 years. Using violence or threats to involve a minor in prostitution or begging is punishable by 6 years of imprisonment. The keeping of brothels for prostitution and pimping is punishable by a fine or prison term of up to 3 years. The sentence is increased to 5 years of imprisonment if committed by an organized group or repeat offender.

The recruitment of a minor for the purpose of exploitation and trafficking is punishable by a prison term of 3 to 8 years. The act of purchasing and selling a minor who is illegally trafficked into or out of the country is punishable by a prison term of 3 to 10 years. If the purchase and sale results in the death of the child, then the law imposes a sentence of 7 to 15 years of imprisonment. Under the law, victims are given amnesty for crimes committed as a result of being trafficked, and victims are provided with temporary protection from deportation. In 2008, the Law on Special Social Services was adopted. This law provides rehabilitation and reintegration services to trafficking victims, as well as allocates funding for the establishment of a Government shelter for trafficking victims. Mandatory licensing laws for tourist agencies are enforced by the Procurator General's Office, and inspections are conducted to uncover agencies involved in trafficking. USDOS notes that corruption and bribery of law enforcement officials still hamper anti-trafficking efforts.

In 2008, IOM reported 48 trafficking victims in Kazakhstan from Uzbekistan, including seven children, and 13 victims of domestic trafficking, including six girls. In 2008, the Government reported that it investigated 44 trafficking cases and prosecuted 30, with sex traffickers receiving up to 11 years in prison and labor traffickers receiving up to 10 years in prison.

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

In 2008, the Government approved the National Trafficking in Persons Plan (2009-2011). This plan addresses trafficking prevention; financial assistance to trafficking victims and trafficking-related NGOs; law enforcement training; analysis of trafficking legislation; and monitoring of labor, tourist, and model agencies. The Ministry of Education's Children of Kazakhstan National Program (2007-2011) addresses child labor through awareness-raising and alternative occupation projects. The Government and national employer associations have an agreement to combat forced labor and the worst forms of child labor through eradication efforts and the development of alternative jobs.

The Government allocated USD 300,000 to radio, television, newspapers, and magazines to implement anti-trafficking information and education campaigns. As a result of this campaign, 300 anti-trafficking programs were broadcast, and 400 anti-trafficking articles were published. The Ministry of Education reported that anti-trafficking components are included in the curriculum of all high schools. The Ministry of Justice maintains a telephone hotline for trafficking victims to receive information and report crimes.

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