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2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Lithuania

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 18 April 2003
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Lithuania, 18 April 2003, available at: [accessed 1 June 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.

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

The Government of Lithuania initiated the National Program Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse of Children in 2000 to support the prevention of sexual crimes against children.2133 In the same year, the Parliament created the position of Child Ombudsman to centralize advocacy efforts for children's rights.2134 The Advisory Council for Children's Affairs was established under the jurisdiction of the president to address problems related to the protection of children's rights.2135 In November 2001, an interdepartmental task force was established to develop a strategy to address the problem of neglected children and street children.2136

The government is implementing a National Poverty Reduction Strategy with funding and assistance from the World Bank in order to assist vulnerable populations, including children.2137 The World Bank has also funded an education project aimed at improving student achievement in basic education.2138 In partnership with government agencies, IOM launched a counter-trafficking project aimed at establishing a coordinated system of assistance for trafficking victims from the Baltic Republics.2139 In January 2002, the Government of Lithuania approved the Program on Control and Prevention Against Prostitution and Trafficking in Humans.2140

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Statistics on the number of working children under the age of 15 years in Lithuania are unavailable. Children are reported to beg on the streets or perform odd jobs, such as cleaning cars or selling newspapers.2141 There are reports of children as young as 11 years old working as prostitutes in brothels. According to UNICEF estimates, up to 50 percent of prostitutes in Lithuania could be minors.2142 Organized crime figures are reported to use coercive means to traffick Lithuanian girls into prostitution abroad, particularly to Western European countries.2143

The Law on Education provides for school that is free of charge and compulsory from the age of 6 or 7 to 16 years.2144 The law was amended in 1998, establishing 10 years of basic education and the admission of students aged 14 to vocational schools.2145 The Constitution guarantees compulsory education.2146 In 1998, the gross primary enrollment rate was 100.5 percent and the net primary enrollment rate was 93.7 percent.2147 Primary school attendance rates are unavailable for Lithuania. While enrollments rates indicate a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children's participation in school.2148 However, according to the Department of Statistics, in 1999 an estimated 22,000 children (4 percent) aged 7 to 15 were not in school.2149

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Law on Employment Contract sets the minimum age for employment at 16 years and stipulates that children from age 14 to 16 years may work in certain government-approved jobs with the consent of a parent or guardian.2150 With additional consent of a doctor, the Law on Labor Protection allows for children under age 14 to participate in cultural or art festivals, provide communication services, or work in other activities that do not negatively affect their health, morals, or studies.2151 Regulation No. 1055 includes a list of jobs and conditions that are considered dangerous for children from 13 to 18 years old.2152 The Law on Labor Protection prohibits children under 18 years old from working in hazardous conditions, night work or overtime work.2153 According to this law, children between ages 14 and 16 may work 24 hours per week, and children between ages 16 and 18 may work 36 hours per week.2154 The Law on Fundamentals of Protection of the Rights of the Child stipulates that a child having attained 16 years of age may work, that employers must guarantee safety of children at work, and that the state protects the child from all forms of exploitation at work.2155 Forced labor is prohibited by the Constitution.2156

Trafficking is illegal in Lithuania and the Criminal Code was amended in 1998 to provide criminal liability of a fine or arrest for four to eight years.2157 A new Criminal Code will come into force in January 1, 2003, which includes a section on crimes against children that addresses the worst forms of child labor.2158 The punishment for exploiting children in the production of pornography is one to four years in jail; however, there is no official data on cases of children exploited for the purpose of pornography.2159

The State Labor Inspectorate enforces the country's child labor laws and investigates complaints related to employment of children under 18 years old.2160 During the first half of 2002, the State Labor Inspectorate conducted 107 inspections of employment of people under 18 years old and no cases of illegal child labor were found.2161

The Government of Lithuania ratified ILO Convention 138 on June 22, 1998, but has not ratified ILO Convention 182.2162

2133 The program aims to create a system of prevention measures, determine the reasons behind the sexual exploitation of children, find ways of eliminating them, develop a legal base, strengthen criminal liability for persons who commit crimes against children, further develop measures for rehabilitation of child victims of violence or sexual exploitation, and create a system of institutions engaged in the protection of children's rights. A commission for the coordination of the program was established in August 2001. U.S. Embassy – Vilnius, unclassified telegram no. 2335, October 2002.

2134 Valdas Rupsys, State Secretary of the Ministry of Social Security and Labor, letter to USDOL official, September 2000. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2001: Lithuania, Washington, D.C., March 4, 2002, 1600-03, Section 5 [cited December 13, 2002]; available from hrrpt/2001/eur/8287.htm.

2135 The council is comprised of 10 representatives from NGOs and six representatives from State institutions. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of States Parties due in 1994, Addendum: Lithuania, CRC/C/11/ Add.21, prepared by Government of Lithuania, pursuant to Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Geneva, November 24, 1998, para. 7.

2136 The task force is made up of representatives from the Ministries of Social Security and Labor, Education and Science, and Interior. U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Lithuania, 1600-03, Section 5.

2137 See Rupsys, letter, September 2000. See also World Bank, Structural Adjustment Loan Project, P044056, October 15, 1996, [cited September 5, 2002]; available from

2138 The Education Project will upgrade teaching skills and improve educational facilities, among other aims. World Bank, Education Project, P070112, June 20, 2002, [cited September 5, 2002]; available from P070112.htm.

2139 The project takes place in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and is implemented through a partnership among the Ministries of Interior, Border Guards, Departments of Investigating Organized Crime, and Ministries of Foreign Affairs. IOM, Online Project Compendium, [online] [cited August 29, 2002]; available from Project/ServletSerachProject?event+detail&id+FI1Z045.

2140 The program will help organize a control and prevention system against trafficking in women, and will include education, social-economic, medical, national and international measures, with close cooperation between government and NGOs in the area of prevention. Kvinnoforum, A Resource Book for Working Against Trafficking in Women and Girls, Baltic Sea Region, 3rd ed. (February 2002), 43.

2141 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of States Parties, Addendum: Lithuania, para. 253.

2142 UNICEF, Profiting From Abuse: An Investigation into the Sexual Exploitation of our Children (New York: 2001), 7 [cited September 5, 2002]; available from

2143 There are also reports of women and girls trafficked to Lithuanian cities from Belarus, Russia, Latvia, and parts of the Lithuanian countryside. U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Lithuania, 1603-06, Section 6f. See also Swedish International Development Agency, Looking Back, Thinking Forward: The Fourth Report on the Implementation of the Agenda for Action Adopted at the First World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Stockholm, Sweden, 28 August 1996, Stockholm, 1999-2000.

2144 Government of Lithuania, Law on Education, No. I-1489, (June 25, 1991), Articles 13, 19(1), 21(2) [cited September 5, 2002]; available from

2145 Education Act No. I-1489 of June 25, 1991 was amended to Education Act. No. VIII-854 on July 2, 1998. UNESCO: International Bureau of Education, World Data on Education- 2001: Lithuania Country Report, Geneva, April 2000, [cited September 5, 2002]; available from om_isapi.dll?clientID=405589&infobase=iwde.nfo&softpage=PL_frame.

2146 Constitution of Lithuania, (October 25, 1992), Article 41 [cited September 5, 2002]; available from

2147 World Bank, World Development Indicators 2002 [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2002.

2148 For a more detailed discussion on the relationship between education statistics and work, see the preface to this report.

2149 UNICEF Innocenti Research Center, Child and Family Well-Being in Lithuania, Country Paper, Vilnius, 2000, 9.

2150 Republic of Lithuania Law on Employment Contract, No. I-1489, (June 25, 1991), Article 4 [cited September 5, 2002] available from See also the Law on Labor Protection, which stipulates that the Government of Lithuania establish the jobs and working conditions under which children between 14 and 16 years of age may be employed. Republic of Lithuania Law on Labor Protection, No. I-266, (October 7, 1993), Article 59 [cited September 5, 2002]; available from Fr_laws.htm.

2151 See Republic of Lithuania Law on Labor Protection, Article 58.

2152 Rupsys, letter, September 2000.

2153 Republic of Lithuania Law on Labor Protection, Article 58.

2154 Ibid., Article 41.

2155 Government of Lithuania, Law on Fundamentals of Protection of the Rights of the Child, No I-1234, (March 14, 1996), Article 39, 40, and 42 [cited September 5, 2002]; available from Fr_laws.htm.

2156 Ibid., Article 48.

2157 Criminal Code, Article 131 and 149 as cited in Audrone Perkauskiene, "Trafficking in Women: Lithuania," in Trafficking in Women in the Baltic States: Legal Aspects, Research Report IOM, 2001, [cited October 28, 2002]; available from

2158 U.S. Embassy – Vilnius, unclassified telegram no. 2335.

2159 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Lithuania, 1600-03, Section 5.

2160 U.S. Embassy – Vilnius, unclassified telegram no. 2335.

2161 Ibid.

2162 ILO, Ratifications by Country, in ILOLEX, [database online] [cited September 5, 2002]; available from

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