Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 December 2014, 12:47 GMT

2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Albania

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 - Albania, 10 September 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4aba3ef4c.html [accessed 26 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 Labor
Population, children, 7-14 years, 2000:567,247
Working children, 7-14 years (%), 2000:36.6
Working boys, 7-14 years (%), 2000:41.1
Working girls, 7-14 years (%), 2000:31.8
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 (%), 2004:105.3
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2004:93.6
School attendance, children 7-14 years (%), 2000:50.9
Survival rate to grade 5 (%):
ILO Convention 138:2/16/1998
ILO Convention 182:8/2/2001
CRC:2/27/1992
CRCOPAC:12/9/2008***
CRCOPSC:2/5/2008***
Palermo:8/21/2002
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes

* Or 9 years

** In practice, must pay for various school expenses

*** Accession

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children in Albania work as street or shop vendors, farmers or shepherds, vehicle washers, textile factory workers, or shoeshine boys. Children can also be found working as beggars and drug runners. In Bater, Bulqiza, Borje, and Klos, children 16 and 17 years of age work in chromium mines. The majority of children working on the streets are boys, and the majority of children working in factories are girls. In inspected factories, more than 70 percent of underage workers were girls.

Albania is a source country for children trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Albanian children are trafficked domestically and to Greece for begging and other forms of child labor. Roma and Egyptian children are at greatest risk for trafficking. Reports indicate that street children may be involved in forced prostitution. During the year, 2 NGOs assisted 327 suspected child trafficking victims domestically – it is not clear whether these children were being trafficked domestically or internationally – and assisted 486 Albanian children in Greece.

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age of employment at 16 years, at which time individuals may perform "easy jobs" not harmful to their health and growth, with types and conditions of such employment defined by the Council of Ministers. Children as young as 14 years may receive vocational training and may be employed during school holidays, provided it does not harm their health and growth. Difficult jobs, those that pose danger to an individual's "health and personality," are prohibited for anyone under 18 years of age, as is work from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Individuals under 18 years are limited to working 6 hours per day. Those who employ persons under 18 years to work longer than 6 hours per day or who employ those 16 to 18 years of age to jobs that harm their health and growth are subject to fines. Those who employ persons under 16 years or who employ a person under 18 years in a difficult or dangerous job or to work at night are subject to fines. Although most children work in the informal sector, most labor investigations occur in the formal sector. The law calls for fines for parents whose children fail to attend school during the 9-year period of compulsory education, which is generally to 16 years of age.

The law forbids forced labor by any person, except in cases of the execution of a judicial decision, military service, or for service during a state emergency or war. The minimum age for voluntary military service is 18 years and 19 years for compulsory military service.

Intercourse with minor girls, child sex abuse, prostitution with minors, and child pornography are all prohibited, with fines and terms of imprisonment. The punishment for child prostitution in Albania is 7 to 15 years imprisonment. The law prohibits child trafficking with penalties of 7 to 15 years imprisonment.

In January, the Penal Code was amended, which, according to ILO-IPEC, includes clear penalties for perpetrators of certain acts involving children, including trafficking, child labor, pornography, and maltreatment. According to USDOS, the Code now categorizes "exploitation of children for labor or forced services" as a penal crime.

In 2008, the Government of Albania increased its investigations and prosecutions for human trafficking. At the end of 2008, 57 persons were convicted of trafficking, with 25 individuals sentenced to more than 10 years in prison. Of the 108 trafficking victims identified, 17 were children. USDOS reports that law enforcement officials have been involved in trafficking-related corruption, and fear of retribution continues to be the main reason victims refuse to testify. In the winter of 2008, the Government stopped requiring that victims of trafficking provide a statement denouncing their trafficker.

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

In December 2008, the second phase of the Child Labor Monitoring System project was launched, covering the Elbasan and Shkoder regions. The first phase of the project resulted in 315 children returning to education from working in agriculture, living on the streets, working in factories, or being involved in trafficking or illicit activities. In 2008, a coordinated database of victims of trafficking became operational; however, according to USDOS, it does not capture reliable data on child trafficking for forced labor.

In July 2008, the Council of Ministers approved the new National Strategy for the Fight Against Trafficking in Human Beings (2008-2012), which included the National Strategy on Child Trafficking and Protection of the Victims of Trafficking. USDOS reports that in 2008, the Office of the National Anti-Trafficking Coordinator (ONAC) ramped up efforts to train anti-trafficking officials, including police, judges, and prosecutors. ONAC recently held the first meeting of the Anti-Trafficking Task Force, which comprises experts on anti-trafficking from government, NGOs, and shelters. The Task Force is responsible for preparing working plans and submitting reports on anti-trafficking actions taken by their respective institutions. In addition, Local Anti-Trafficking Committees ensure local institutions have resources required to combat trafficking. With NGO support, as of October 2008, nine municipal Governments had established Child Protection Units to identify children at risk for trafficking, child labor, and other forms of exploitation and refer them to education and social services. To date, the Government, in cooperation with international organizations, has conducted sessions warning 50,000 students of the danger of trafficking.

According to USDOS, the Government of Albania has been proactive in preventing child sex tourism from becoming prevalent in the country. On Anti-Trafficking Day, October 18, OTNC broadcast a message on child sex tourism on major TV networks. Police are currently investigating whether there is an organized system of sexual exploitation of street children.

The Government is participating in three ILO-IPEC projects. One is a regional USD 2,223,100 project to combat the worst forms of child labor that ended in June 2008 and also operated in Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, FYR, Croatia, Macedonia, Moldova, and Romania. An ongoing (2003-2009) USD 250,000 project addresses trafficking in children in the sub-region and also operates in Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine. Albania is also participating in the second phase (2006-2009) of a USD 3.5 million USDOL-funded ILO-IPEC project to combat child trafficking and other worst forms of child labor that operates in Albania, Bulgaria, the UN-administered Province of Kosovo, Moldova, Romania, and Ukraine. The aim of the project is to increase the outreach of institutions to eliminate the worst forms of child labor, to prevent or withdraw 4,500 children from exploitive labor not previously addressed by ILO-IPEC interventions, and to mainstream worst forms of child labor into national policies and legislation and raise awareness.

Search Refworld

Countries