Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 April 2014, 10:56 GMT

2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Macedonia

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 - Macedonia, 27 August 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48caa47d2.html [accessed 24 April 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 Labor2042
Working children, 5-14 years (%):
Working boys, 5-14 years (%):
Working girls, 5-14 years (%):
Working children by sector, 5-14 years (%):
     – Agriculture
     – Manufacturing
     – Services
     – Other
Minimum age for work:15
Compulsory education age:Eighth grade or 16
Free public education:Yes*
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:98
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:92
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%):
Survival rate to grade 5 (%):
ILO-IPEC participating country:No
* Must pay for books and other related supplies

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children work on the streets in Macedonia, begging for money, and also perform minor services, such as selling cigarettes and other small items. These activities occur on the streets as well as in bars or restaurants.2043 Children also work in the informal sector on family farms, but this does not usually happen during school hours.2044 Street children are predominantly of the Roma minority ethnic group, but also include ethnic Albanians, Turks, and Macedonians.2045 Romani children are organized into groups to beg for money at busy intersections, street corners, and in restaurants.2046

Girls and young women from families with social and economic problems are among the groups in Macedonia considered to be at the highest risk of becoming victims of TIP.2047

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

Forced labor is prohibited by the Constitution.2048 The law prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons. However, there were reports that trafficking did occur, and that Macedonia is a source, transit, and destination country for TIP.2049 Penalties for mediators or organizers of prostitution range from a minimum of a monetary fine to a maximum of 10 years imprisonment. Prison sentences for traffickers of sexual and/or labor exploitation are between 4 and 15 years.2050 The law also provides for a minimum prison sentence of 8 years for persons who engage in the trafficking of minors or who knowingly engage in sexual relations with a trafficked child.2051

The law sets the minimum age for employment at 15 years.2052 The employment of minors in work that is "detrimental to their health or morality" is prohibited.2053 Minors are further prohibited from working overtime, working at night between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., or performing work that involves "strenuous physical labor, underground or underwater work, or other jobs which may be harmful or threatening to their health and life." Minors are also not permitted to work in mines.2054 However, the law allows children to work in film or advertisements with parental consent, and after a Ministry inspection of the workplace. Additionally, children under 14 years can work as apprentices or in vocational education programs if the work is part of an official education program.2055 Employers who illegally employ minors face a potential fine.2056 Individuals under 18 years are prohibited from serving in the Armed Forces.2057

Furthermore, amendments were made to the criminal code to specifically address the problem of trafficking in children. Article 418g provides for a stricter penalty of up to 15 years imprisonment. Under this article, the use of minors for sexual exploitation is a criminal act and is punishable as trafficking, regardless of whether or not the minor agreed to participate in the act.2058

Enforcement of laws regulating the employment of children is the responsibility of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy.2059 According to USDOS, although a legal framework is in place, there has been little practical implementation of child labor laws and policies.2060 The State Labor Inspectorate has not reported the discovery of cases involving minors working in factories or other businesses in Macedonia.2061

The Government of Macedonia increased the number of trafficking cases prosecuted in 2007, the most recent year for which this information is available, to 55 cases; up from 48 cases in 2006.2062 Over 50 percent of traffickers (i.e., half of all suspects) were convicted in 2006, with sentences between 8 months and 13 years imprisonment, including victim restitution and confiscation of property. Two police officers were found guilty of trafficking-related crimes and received sentences of 18 months and 2 years, respectively.2063

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

In cooperation with the Government, UNICEF is conducting public awareness-raising campaigns on street children and child trafficking.2064 It is also implementing a program for the re-socialization and re-integration of child trafficking victims, with financial support from IOM.2065 ILO-IPEC is implementing a USD 2.2 million regional project, funded by the German Government, to combat the worst forms of child labor in the stability pact countries, which includes Macedonia.2066 IOM and local NGOs are implementing other various counter-trafficking projects in cooperation with the Government, including the anti-TIP information project Open Your Eyes, and provides support for the toll free trafficking SOS number. IOM also operated a transit center that assisted more than 60 trafficking victims, which is 17 more victims than the year before.2067 Border Police officers participated actively in USAID sponsored training, especially as part of the Trans-National Referral Mechanism Project, administered by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development.2068

The Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare operates one center for street children in Skopje. The center is Government funded, and also receives international financial support. According to the Ministry of Labor, an average of 275 children per month, predominantly Romani, had been served by the center in the past 3 years.2069

In February 2007, the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy signed a long expected MOU which established special requirements for the protection of child trafficking victims and makes mandatory the presence of social workers during police raids. It should also lead to better coordination on victim identification and assistance.2070


2042 For data not cited here, see the Data Sources and Definitions section. For minimum age for admission to work, age to which education is compulsory, and free public education see Government of Macedonia, Constitution of Macedonia, 1991, (November 17, 1991), article 42; available from http://www.oefre.unibe.ch/law/icl/mk00000_.html. See also U.S. Department of State, "Macedonia," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2007, Washington, D.C., March 11, 2008, Section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/index.htm. See also Government of Macedonia, Constitution of Macedonia, 1991, Article 44.

2043 Divna Lakinska, Assessment of Policies, Situation and Programmes for Children on the Streets in Macedonia, prepared by UNICEF, June 2005, 4, 38, 103. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Macedonia," section 6d.

2044 U.S. Embassy – Skopje, reporting, August 26, 2005.

2045 Lakinska, Assessment of Policies, Situation and Programmes for Children on the Streets in Macedonia.

2046 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Macedonia," section 5.

2047 U.S. Embassy – Skopje, reporting, February 22, 2008.

2048 Government of Macedonia, Constitution of Macedonia, 1991, Article 11. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Macedonia," section 6c.

2049 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Macedonia," section 5.

2050 Skopje, reporting, February 22, 2008.

2051 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Macedonia."

2052 Government of Macedonia, Constitution of Macedonia, 1991.

2053 Ibid.

2054 Government of Macedonia, Labor Relations Act: Macedonia, (December 27, 1993), Sections 7, 63, 66, and 67; available from http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/WEBTEXT/47727/65084/E93MKD02.htm. See also Skopje, reporting, February 22, 2008.

2055 U.S. Embassy – Skopje, reporting, August 26, 2005.

2056 Ibid.

2057 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Macedonia," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/regions/country.html?id=126.

2058 Skopje, reporting, February 22, 2008.

2059 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Macedonia," section 6d.

2060 Ibid.

2061 U.S. Embassy – Skopje, E-mail communication to USDOL official, August 03, 2007.

2062 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Macedonia," section 5. See also U.S. Department of State, "Macedonia (Tier 2)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007, Washington, D.C., June 12, 2007; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2007/82798.htm.

2063 U.S. Embassy – Skopje, E-mail communication, August 03, 2007. See also U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Macedonia."

2064 UNICEF, Child Protection, [online] July 5, 2006 [cited March 19, 2008]; available from http://www.unicef.org/tfyrmacedonia/protection.html.

2065 U.S. Embassy – Skopje, reporting, February 22, 2008.

2066 ILO-IPEC Geneva official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, March 1, 2007.

2067 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Macedonia." See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Macedonia."

2068 U.S. Embassy – Skopje, E-mail communication, August 03, 2007.

2069 Ibid.

2070 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Macedonia." See also Skopje, reporting, February 22, 2008.

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