Last Updated: Friday, 22 August 2014, 15:07 GMT

2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - The Kyrgyz Republic

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 - The Kyrgyz Republic, 27 August 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48caa47a2d.html [accessed 23 August 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 Labor1921
Working children, 7-14 years (%), 2006:4.5
Working boys, 7-14 years (%), 2006:5.1
Working girls, 7-14 years (%), 2006:3.9
Working children by sector, 5-14 years (%):
     – Agriculture
     – Manufacturing
     – Services
     – Other
Minimum age for work:16
Compulsory education age:9 years or until age 14
Free public education:Yes*
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2006:97
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2006:86
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%), 2005:84
Survival rate to grade 5 (%):
ILO-IPEC participating country:Associated
* Must pay for miscellaneous school expenses

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children in the Kyrgyz Republic work selling goods, loading and unloading goods, collecting aluminum and bottles, begging, cleaning and repairing shoes, washing cars, and serving as porters. Some children also work in transportation and construction. Reports estimate that 7,000 children are working in Bishkek.1922 Reports indicate that street and working children are frequently victims of police persecution and have been forced to give up their earnings in exchange for being released.1923 A 2003 UNICEF-supported survey of 207 street and working children in Bishkek found that up to 90 percent of those children did not attend school.1924 In southern rural areas, reports indicate that children work in coal mines and in brick making.1925 There were also reports of children mining near or in uranium and silicon waste dumps.1926

Children are reportedly taken out of school to harvest cotton. Children also work on commercial tobacco farms.1927 Some schools have reportedly required students to participate in the tobacco harvest in fields located on school grounds. Proceeds from the harvest are collected by the schools and do not go to the children.1928 Children working in agriculture are often exposed to extreme heat and hazardous conditions.1929 Children are also found working on family farms and in family enterprises such as selling products at roadside kiosks.1930 Many children from the Kyrgyz Republic migrate to south Kazakhstan with their families during the harvest season to work in the cotton and tobacco fields.1931 ILO reports indicate that children from rural areas are sent to urban areas to live with wealthier relatives and to work as domestic servants.1932

Children engaged in prostitution in the Kyrgyz Republic are primarily girls aged between 11 and 16 years.1933 It has been reported that at least 20 percent of prostitutes in Bishkek are minors.1934 Trafficking of children for sexual exploitation and forced labor is a problem.1935 The internal trafficking of children from rural areas to Bishkek and Osh for sexual exploitation and labor has been reported.1936 An increase in the use of trafficked children to sell and distribute illegal drugs has also been reported.1937

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law establishes the minimum age for basic employment as 16 years, but limited light work is permitted at age 14. The maximum work hours for children 14 and 15 years is 5 hours per day; for children 16 and 17 years, it is 7 hours per day. The employment of persons under 18 years is banned in certain industries including oil and gas, mining and prospecting, food, entertainment, and machine building.1938 Children studying in educational establishments are forbidden from participating in agricultural or other work not related to their schooling.1939 The law penalizes parents who restrict their children's access to schooling.1940 The penalty for preventing a child from attending school ranges from a public reprimand to 1 year of forced labor.1941 According to USDOS, this law is not strictly enforced, especially in rural areas.1942

The law prohibits forced labor, except in the case of war, natural disaster, epidemic, imprisonment, or in extraordinary circumstances.1943 The minimum age for recruitment to active military service is 18 years; however, boys may volunteer for military schools at 17 years.1944 Prostitution is not illegal, but the operation of brothels, pimping, and recruiting persons into prostitution is punishable by up to 5 years in jail.1945 USDOS reports that a lack of legal regulation and oversight makes prostitution an ongoing problem.1946 The recruitment of persons for exploitation, including minors, is punishable by up to 8 years in jail.1947 The illegal restriction of freedom, including underage children, is punishable by between 7 and 10 years in prison.1948 The law prohibits forced labor and trafficking in persons and imposes punishments of up to 20 years imprisonment.1949 The law grants immunity from prosecution to trafficking victims who cooperate with authorities.1950

The General Procurator's Office and the State Labor Inspectorate are responsible for enforcing child labor laws. There are 62 labor inspectors in the Kyrgyz Republic.1951 During the first 6 months of 2007, labor inspectors made 48 checks for compliance with child labor laws. The checks resulted in 14 recommendations, 11 instructions to eliminate the violations, 89 warnings of legal punishment, and two disciplinary punishments.1952 The Federation of Trade Unions also has the right to carry out child labor inspections when it receives a complaint.1953 The Office of the Ombudsman has a special department dealing with the rights of minors. It has the authority to order other agencies to deliver information or conduct investigations.1954 USDOS reports that the labor inspectorate conducts spot checks for violations, but that those are infrequent and ineffective, due to lack of resources.1955 Since many children work in the informal sector and small and medium-sized business that do not have employment contracts, it is difficult to determine the extent of child labor and employers' compliance with the law.1956

The Ministry of Internal Affairs has a special anti-trafficking police unit.1957 In 2006, the last date for which information is available, 39 trafficking investigations were conducted.1958 According to USDOS, law enforcement is hampered by widespread corruption. Victims reported that local police, immigration officers, and airline security officers assisted trafficking operations.1959

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

On January 22, 2008, the Kyrgyz Government, via a Prime Ministerial Decree, approved the State Program of Action of the Social Partners for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor in the Kyrgyz Republic. The program covers the years 2008 to 2011 and is aimed at improving legislation, making the labor inspectorate more efficient, withdrawing and preventing children from the worst forms of child labor, promoting youth employment, increasing awareness about the worst forms of child labor, and developing a child labor monitoring system.1960

With assistance from the IOM, the Government now issues new forgery-resistant passports intended to reduce incidents of human trafficking in the Kyrgyz Republic.1961 The Government supports a USAID-funded anti-trafficking project implemented by IOM that is intended to protect victims and assist prevention efforts.1962 Office space and space for two NGO-run shelters is provided by the Government.1963 The Kyrgyz Government has distributed brochures and booklets in public places about the threat of trafficking. Government-run media outlets also broadcast programs about trafficking.1964 In April 2008, IOM and the Norwegian Government, with support from the local Osh Government, opened a shelter for child victims of trafficking and labor exploitation.1965

The Government of the Kyrgyz Republic participated in a USD 2.5 million USDOL-funded ILOIPEC sub-regional project that enhanced the capacity of national institutions to eliminate the worst forms of child labor in the Kyrgyz Republic and share information and experiences across Central Asia.1966 The Ministry of Education and the NGO "Every Child" jointly manage a project to assist children working in markets within Osh and Karasu. They provide training to Government officials on children's rights and child labor laws.1967


1921 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, "Kyrgyz Republic," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2007, Washington, DC, March 11, 2008, sections 5, 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100616.htm. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention, CRC/C/104/Add.4, April 5 2004, para. 70. See also U.S. Embassy – Bishkek, reporting, December 21, 2007. See also ECPAT International CSEC Database, Kyrgyz Republic, accessed March 14, 2008; available from http://www.ecpat.net.

1922 Integrated Regional Information Networks, "Kyrgyzstan: Child Labour Remains Rife", IRINnews.org, [online], June 26, 2006 [cited December 6, 2007]; available from http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=54174&SelectRegion=Asia&SelectCountry=KYRGYZSTAN. See also Ramazon Dyryldaev and Severine Jacomy, Rights of the Child in Kyrgyzstan, Geneva, February 2004, 18; available from http://www.crin.org/docs/resources/treaties/crc.37/Kyrgyzstan_OMCT_ngo_report.pdf. See also Tatiana Yarkova, Botoeva Gulzat, Madeleine Reeves, Kanybek Konokbaev, Natalia Yarkova, Rachel Marcus, and Elmire Satybaldieva, Childhood Poverty in Kyrgyzstan, Childhood Poverty Reserarch and Policy Center, 2004, 33; available from http://www.childhoodpoverty.org/index.php/action=documentfeed/doctype=pdf/id=62/.

1923 ECPAT International CSEC Database, Kyrgyz Republic.

1924 UNICEF's Executive Board, Draft Country Programme Document: Kyrgyzstan, E/ICEF/2004/P/L.14, United National Economic and Social Council, April 1, 2004, 3.

1925 ILO-IPEC and SIAR, Child Labour in Kyrgyzstan: An initial study, Summary Report, Bishkek, 2001, 14. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Kyrgyz Republic," section 6d. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, NGO Commentaries to the Initial Report of the Kyrgyz Republic on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, n.d., 26; available from http://www.crin.org/docs/resources/treaties/crc.24/kyrgystanNGOreport.doc.

1926 Integrated Regional Information Networks, "Kyrgyzstan: Child Labour Remains Rife". See also Ian Greenberg, "In a Kyrgyz dump, girls dig up silicon for China," New York Times (New York), September 5, 2006; available from [hard copy on file].

1927 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Kyrgyz Republic," section 6d.

1928 Ibid. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, NGO Commentaries, 27.

1929 Dyryldaev and Jacomy, Rights of the Child in Kyrgyzstan, 18.

1930 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Kyrgyz Republic," section 6d.

1931 U.S. Embassy – Astana, reporting, December 3, 2007.

1932 Youth Human Rights Group, Alternative NGO Report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in Relation to the Examination of the Second Periodic Report by the Kyrgyz Republic on the Implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, April 2004, 27; available from http://www.crin.org/docs/resources/treaties/crc.37/kyrgyzstan_ngo_report.pdf. See also ILO-IPEC and SIAR, Child Labor in Kyrgyzstan, 15-17. See also Yarkova, Gulzat, Reeves, Konokbaev, Yarkova, Marcus, and Satybaldieva, Childhood Poverty in Kyrgyzstan, 34.

1933 Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), Lost Children of Central Asia, [ January 19, 2004]; available from [hard copy on file].

1934 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, NGO Commentaries, 27. See also ECPAT International CSEC Database, Kyrgyz Republic.

1935 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Kyrgyz Republic," section 5. See also Youth Human Rights Group, Alternative NGO Report, 16.

1936 U.S. Department of State, "Kyrgyz Republic," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2006, Washington, DC, 2007, section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78821.htm.

1937 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Kyrgyz Republic," section 6d.

1938 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Kyrgyz Republic," section 6d. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties: Kyrgyzstan.

1939 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties: Kyrgyzstan, para. 340.

1940 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Kyrgyz Republic," section 5.

1941 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties: Kyrgyzstan, para. 67.

1942 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Kyrgyz Republic," section 5.

1943 Government of the Kyrgyz Republic, Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic, (February 17, 1996), article 28; available from [hard copy on file].

1944 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Kyrgyzstan," in Child Soldiers Global Report – 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/. See also U.S. Embassy – Bishkek, reporting, December 21, 2007.

1945 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Kyrgyz Republic," section 5. See also ECPAT International CSEC Database, Kyrgyz Republic.

1946 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Kyrgyz Republic," section 5.

1947 U.S. Embassy – Bishkek, reporting, December 21, 2007.

1948 Ibid.

1949 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Kyrgyz Republic," section 5. See also U.S. Department of State, "Kyrgyz Republic (Tier 2)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007, Washington, DC, June 12, 2007; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2007/.

1950 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Kyrgyz Republic."

1951 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Kyrgyz Republic," section 6d.

1952 U.S. Embassy – Bishkek, reporting, December 21, 2007.

1953 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Kyrgyz Republic," section 6d.

1954 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Summary Record of the 987th Meeting: Kyrgyzstan, September 29, 2004, para 38 and 47; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/Documentsfrset?OpenFrameSet.

1955 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Kyrgyz Republic," section 6d.

1956 Ibid.

1957 Ibid., section 5.

1958 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Kyrgyz Republic."

1959 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Kyrgyz Republic," section 5. See also U.S. Embassy – Bishkek, E-mail communication to USDOL official, July 24, 2007.

1960 ILO-IPEC official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, February 8, 2008.

1961 UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, "Kyrgyzstan: New Passport to Help Reduce Human Trafficking," August 4, 2004; available from http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=42509&SelectRegion=Central_Asia&SelectCountry=KYRGYZSTAN.

1962 USAID, USAID Programs in Kyrgyzstan in 2007, Washington, DC; available from http://centralasia/usaid.gov/page.php?page=article-89.

1963 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Kyrgyz Republic," section 5. See also U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Kyrgyz Republic."

1964 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Kyrgyz Republic."

1965 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Kyrgyz Republic," section 5.

1966 ILO-IPEC, CAR Capacity Building Project: Regional Program on the Worst Forms of Child Labour, Project Document, RER/04/P54/USA, Geneva, September 2004.

1967 U.S. Embassy – Bishkek, reporting, December 21, 2007.

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