Last Updated: Monday, 30 May 2016, 07:59 GMT

2008 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 10 September 2009
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - The Kyrgyz Republic, 10 September 2009, available at: [accessed 30 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, 2006:1,075,630
Working children, 5-14 years (%), 2006:4.5
Working boys, 5-14 years (%), 2006:5.1
Working girls, 5-14 years (%), 2006:3.9
Working children by sector, 5-14 years (%):
     – Agriculture
     – Manufacturing
     – Services
     – Other
Minimum age for work:16
Compulsory education age:14
Free public education:Yes*
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2007:95.3
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2007:84.5
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%), 2005:84.0
Survival rate to grade 5 (%):
ILO Convention 138:3/31/1992
ILO Convention 182:5/11/2004
ILO-IPEC participating country:Associated

* In practice, must pay for various school expenses

** Accession

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children in the Kyrgyz Republic work in domestic service, agriculture, retail service, construction, and mining. In the agriculture sector, children work in tobacco, cotton and rice fields. During the cotton and tobacco harvesting season, children in southern Kyrgyz Republic miss school to work in the fields. Children working in agriculture are exposed to extreme heat and hazardous conditions. Children have been reported to work in coal mines near uranium dumps and scavenge for silicon in landfills. The conditions of the landfill result in respiratory problems and exposure to radiation.

Some children, primarily girls, engage in prostitution. Trafficking of children for sexual exploitation and forced labor is a problem. Children have been reported to be trafficked from rural areas to Bishkek and Osh for sexual exploitation. ILO reported an increase in the use of trafficked children to sell and distribute illegal drugs.

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for admission to work in the Kyrgyz Republic is 16 years, but children 14 years may work with the permission of a parent or guardian. 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. Minors are prohibited from working at night or underground.

Children less than 18 years cannot be employed in certain industries, such as metal, oil and gas, and mining. The penalty for violating labor laws is a fine. The Prosecutor General's Office and the State Labor Inspectorate are responsible for enforcing labor laws. USDOS noted that it was difficult for the Government to determine whether employers violated labor laws, as many children worked for their families or were self-employed. In 2008, the inspectors performed occasional spot checks on child labor law compliance. USDOS reported that these spot checks were infrequent and ineffective.

Children studying in educational establishments are forbidden from participating in agricultural or other work not related to their schooling. Parents who restrict their children's access to schooling are penalized by a fine or 1 year of "corrective labor." According to USDOS, this law is not strictly enforced, especially in rural areas.

The law prohibits forced labor, except in the case of war, natural disaster, epidemic, imprisonment, or other extraordinary circumstances. The enticement of a person into prostitution is punishable by a prison term of up to 5 years. The keeping of brothels for prostitution and pimping is punishable by a fine or prison term of up to 5 years. USDOS reports that the lack of legal regulation and oversight makes prostitution an ongoing problem.

The trafficking of minors for exploitation, such as forced labor or prostitution, is punishable by a prison term of 5 to 15 years. Trafficking victims cannot be prosecuted if they assist a trafficking investigation. The State Committee on Employment and Migration Issues is the lead agency in coordinating anti-trafficking efforts. According to USDOS, law enforcement is hampered by corruption. Victims reported that government officials assisted trafficking operations.

The minimum age for recruitment to compulsory military service is 18 years. However, boys may enroll in military schools at 16 years.

The Office of the Ombudsman has a special department to oversee the rights of minors. It has the authority to request information from other agencies and perform investigations.

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

In 2008, the State Program of Action of Social Partners for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor in the Kyrgyz Republic (2008-2011) was adopted. The program aims to improve legislation, make the labor inspectorate more efficient, withdraw and prevent children from the worst forms of child labor, promote youth employment, and increase awareness about the worst forms of child labor. The Government also passed a National Action Plan against Human Trafficking. The plan's goals include expanding the definition of trafficking in persons, increasing public awareness, and increasing social protection for trafficking victims.

The Government continued to provide space for NGO-operated shelters for trafficking victims. Additionally, the Government published and distributed brochures and booklets in Kyrgyz and Russian to increase awareness of trafficking issues.

The Government of Kyrgyzstan is participating in a USDOL-funded 4 year USD 6.8 million ILO-IPEC project to conduct data collection on child labor.

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