Last Updated: Thursday, 26 May 2016, 08:56 GMT

2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Mongolia

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 - Mongolia, 10 September 2009, available at: [accessed 27 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, 2005:571,782
Working children, 5-14 years (%), 2005:11.3
Working boys, 5-14 years (%), 2005:12.9
Working girls, 5-14 years (%), 2005:9.8
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 (%), 2007:99.9
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2007:88.8
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%), 2005:86.9
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2006:84.1
ILO Convention 138:12/16/2002
ILO Convention 182:2/26/2001
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes

* Accession

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children in rural areas of Mongolia herd and tend livestock, collect animal dung for fire, and gather fruit and nuts. In urban areas, children sort vegetables, wash cars, polish shoes, rag pick, and work as porters. Children 5 to 17 years are engaged in coal, gold, and fluorspar mining. One third of children working in gold mining work underground. It has been reported that some children work with mercury and explosives. The National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia estimates that there are 40 to 50 horse racing events each year, and at each event, approximately 2,000 children between 6 and 16 years are engaged as jockeys. Child prostitution is a problem in Mongolia. Children are trafficked internally for commercial sexual exploitation, as well as for labor exploitation. Girls are trafficked internationally.

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age for employment at 16 years, with some exceptions. Children 15 years may work with the permission of a parent or guardian. Children 14 years of age may work in vocational education programs, with the consent of a parent or guardian and the State central administration responsible for labor issues. Minors, those under 18 years, may not be employed in any occupation that harms their health or mental development. Minors also cannot be employed in a job listed on the Government's "List of Jobs Prohibited to Minors." This list was updated in 2008 to include hazardous workplace conditions in both formal and informal sectors. Children 14 and 15 years may not work more than 30 hours a week, and children 16 and 17 years of age may not work more than 36 hours per week. Children must pass a medical examination prior to employment. They are prohibited from working under abnormal conditions, overtime, on public holidays, or on weekends. Employers found to be in violation of these prohibitions will be fined. Labor inspectorates are in charge of enforcing these prohibitions. USDOS noted that the low number of inspectors and the increasing number of enterprises resulted in limited enforcement of labor laws. There are currently 87 labor inspectors countrywide.

Forced labor is prohibited in the Constitution. Mongolian law prohibits the use of children in exploitive activities, such as forced labor and begging. Forcing a child to work is punishable by imprisonment of up to 4 years or a fine.

The minimum age for military conscription is 18 years. There are no laws that regulate the activities of children under 18 years at military schools, such as the participation in military practice and use of military techniques.

Trafficking of a minor for exploitation is punishable by imprisonment of 5 to 10 years; if the victim is trafficked internationally, the prison term increases to 10 to 15 years. In March 2008, the anti-trafficking provision was amended to allow the prosecution of recruiting, holding, and transporting trafficking victims. As a result, prosecutions and sentencing of offenders increased.

Production and distribution of pornographic materials involving a person under 16 years are punishable by imprisonment of 1 to 3 months or fines. Inducing a child under 16 years to engage in these crimes is also punishable by imprisonment of 3 to 6 months or a fine; if committed by an organized group, the punishment is imprisonment for up to 5 years. The crime of inducing a person to engage in prostitution through fraudulent or violent means is punishable by fines or 3 to 6 months of incarceration. The keeping of a brothel and pimping are punishable by a prison term of up to 3 years or a fine. If the crime is committed by an organized group, the punishment is a prison term of 3 to 5 years.

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

The Government of Mongolia is implementing the National Program for Child Development and Protection (2002-2010). The objectives of this program include the protection of minors from trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation and the eradication of worst forms of child labor. The Mongolian Government is also continuing the National Program on Protection from Trafficking of Children and Women with the Purpose of Sexual Exploitation for 2005-2014. This program aims to establish a legal system for preventing human trafficking and sexual exploitation, increase the community's awareness of these issues, and provide better assistance to victims. In 2008, a Government's resolution gave local authorities the responsibility of removing children from mining and providing them with social services. Additionally, the Government adopted the Subprogram for Developing Small-scale Mining, which aims to eliminate child labor in the mining sector by 2015. The Government Action Plan (2008-2012) was adopted. This plan includes the objectives of ending hazardous child labor, child trafficking, forced labor, child prostitution, and other illegal activities by 2012.

The Government supported anti-trafficking training for civil servants, such as the police, immigration officials, and border officials. In addition, the Government distributed NGO-sponsored anti-trafficking pamphlets in passports and train tickets. The Government is also working with IOM on a program to assist with the repatriation of trafficking victims and the provision of counseling and other services.

In response to the global economic crisis, in January 2009, the Ministry of Social Welfare, the Confederation of Mongolian Trade Unions, and the Mongolian Employers Federation signed a MOU, which creates a social partnership to prevent the use of child labor as a means of cheap labor.

The Government of Mongolia is implementing a 4-year USDOL-funded USD 2.9 million ILO-IPEC project to support the Government's Timebound Measures through 2009. The project is designed to strengthen the country's ability to take action against the worst forms of child labor, and to develop an area-based intervention model at the local level. The project aims to withdraw 2,400 children and prevent 2,600 children from the worst forms of child labor through the provision of educational and related services.

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