Last Updated: Thursday, 31 July 2014, 17:47 GMT

2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Macedonia

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 31 August 2007
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Macedonia, 31 August 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d749403c.html [accessed 2 August 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
Percent of children 5-14 estimated as working:Unavailable
Minimum age of work:152514
Age to which education is compulsory:Eighth grade or age 162515
Free public education:Yes2516*
Gross primary enrollment rate:Unavailable
Net primary enrollment rate:Unavailable
Percent of children 5-14 attending school:Unavailable
Percent of primary school entrants likely to reach grade 5:Unavailable
Ratified Convention 138:11/17/19912517
Ratified Convention 182:5/30/20022518
ILO-IPEC participating country:No2519
* Must pay for books and other related supplies.

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children work on the streets in Macedonia, begging for money, food and clothing; performing minor services, such as washing car windows; and selling cigarettes and other small items.2520 Children also work in the informal sector on family farms (though usually not during school hours).2521 Children sometimes sell small items in bars or restaurants at night.2522 Street children are predominantly of the minority Roma ethnic group, but also include ethnic Albanians, Turks and Macedonians.2523 Romani children are forced by Romani adults to beg for money as a part of an organized group at busy intersections, street corners, and in restaurants.2524

During the reporting period, there was an apparent downward trend in trafficking activities in Macedonia. The Ministry of Interior registered seven cases and the Ministry of Labor reported 23 internally trafficked "potential victims," 16 of whom were minors. However, it is unknown what percentage of overall trafficking victims are registered by the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Labor. Although Macedonia is not considered to have a significant incidence of sex tourism involving children, a local NGO reported 39 instances when children were used as juvenile prostitutes. Girls and young women from families with social and economic problems, as well as Roma women and children, were among the groups in Macedonia considered to be at the highest risk of becoming victims of trafficking.2525

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age for employment at 15.2526 The employment of minors in work that is "detrimental to their health or morality" is prohibited.2527 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."2528 However, the law allows children to work in film or advertisements with parental consent and after a Ministry inspection of the workplace or children under 14 years to work as an apprentice or in vocational education programs if the work is part of an official education program.2529 Employers who illegally employ minors face a potential fine.2530

The procurement or trade of minors for exploitation is punishable by a mandatory, minimum sentence of 8 years of imprisonment.2531 Penalties for traffickers engaging in sexual exploitation and/or labor exploitation range from a minimum of 4 to a maximum of 15 years imprisonment. Penalties for mediators/organizers of prostitution range from a minimum of a monetary fine to a maximum of 10 years imprisonment. The law provides also 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.2532 In cases when trafficking cannot be proven due to a lack of evidence, Macedonian law provides for prosecution of perpetrators for mediation in prostitution, an offense that is easier to prove than trafficking.2533

Forced labor is prohibited by the Constitution.2534 Individuals under 18 are prohibited from serving in the armed forces.2535

Enforcement of laws regulating the employment of children is the responsibility of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy.2536 According to the U.S. Department of State, although a legal framework is in place, there has been little practical implementation of child labor laws and policies.2537 The State Labor Inspectorate has not discovered cases of minors working in factories or other businesses in Macedonia.2538 The Government's Ombudsman's Office investigates violations of citizens' legal rights and has a special unit to investigate violations of children's rights,2539 but had not received a child labor related case as of February 2007.2540

The Government of Macedonia increased the number of trafficking cases prosecuted in 2006, the most recent year for which this information is available, to 48 cases from 35 cases in 2005. Over 50 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 two years, respectively. A Special Prosecutor's Office in the Office of Organized Crime in the Ministry of Justice was created in 2005 to improve trafficking enforcement.2541

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

A National Plan of Action and Strategy to combat trafficking was adopted in March 2006.2542 In cooperation with the government, UNICEF is conducting public awareness raising campaigns on street children and child trafficking.2543 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.2544 IOM and local NGOs are implementing various counter-trafficking projects in cooperation with the government, including the anti-TIP information project "Open Your Eyes" and support for the toll free trafficking SOS number. Border Police officers participated actively in USAID sponsored training, especially as part of the Transnational Referral Mechanism project administered by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development.2545

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, on average 275 children a month, who were predominantly Roma, had been served by the center in the past 3 years.2546


2514 Government of Macedonia, Constitution of Macedonia, 1991, (November 17, 1991), Article 42; available from http://www.oefre.unibe.ch/law/icl/mk00000_.html.

2515 U.S. Department of State, "Macedonia," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2006, Washington, DC, March 6, 2007, Section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006.

2516 Government of Macedonia, Constitution of Macedonia, 1991, Article 44. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Macedonia," Section 5.

2517 ILO, Ratifications by Country, accessed June 28, 2006; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/newratframeE.htm.

2518 ILO, Ratifications by Country, [database online] [cited June 28, 2006]; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/newratframeE.htm.

2519 ILO, IPEC Action Against Child Labour: Highlights 2006, Geneva, February 2007; available from http://www.ilo.org/iloroot/public/english/standards/ipec/doc-view.cfm?id=3159.

2520 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 – 2006: Macedonia," Section 6d.

2521 U.S. Embassy – Skopje, reporting, August 26, 2005.

2522 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Macedonia," Section 6d.

2523 Lakinska, Assessment of Policies, Situation and Programmes for Children on the Streets in Macedonia, 44, 45, 107. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Macedonia," Section 5.

2524 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Macedonia," Section 5.

2525 U.S. Embassy – Skopje, reporting, February 15, 2007 and April 25, 2007.

2526 Government of Macedonia, Constitution of Macedonia, 1991.

2527 Ibid.

2528 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.

2529 U.S. Embassy – Skopje, reporting, August 26, 2005.

2530 Ibid.

2531 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Macedonia," Section 6d.

2532 U.S. Embassy – Skopje, E-mail communication to USDOL official, August 03, 2007.

2533 Ibid.

2534 Government of Macedonia, Constitution of Macedonia, 1991, Article 11. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Macedonia," Section 6c.

2535 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.

2536 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Macedonia," Section 6d.

2537 Ibid.

2538 U.S. Embassy – Skopje, E-mail communication, August 03, 2007.

2539 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Macedonia," Section 5. See also United Nations, Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Committee on the Rights of the Child, Twenty-third session, Geneva, 2000; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/CRC.C.15.Add.118.En?Opendocument.

2540 U.S. Embassy – Skopje, E-mail communication, August 03, 2007.

2541 Ibid. See also U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Macedonia."

2542 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Macedonia." See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Macedonia," Section 5.

2543 UNICEF, Child Protection, [online] July 5, 2006 [cited November 2, 2006]; available from http://www.unicef.org/tfyrmacedonia/protection.html.

2544 ILO-IPEC Geneva official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, March 1, 2007.

2545 U.S. Embassy – Skopje, E-mail communication, August 03, 2007.

2546 U.S. Embassy – Skopje, E-mail communication, August 03, 2007. 256

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