Last Updated: Monday, 23 November 2015, 15:09 GMT

2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Mongolia

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 - Mongolia, 27 August 2008, available at: [accessed 25 November 2015]
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 Labor2302
Working children, 5-14 years (%), 2002-2003:7.2
Working boys, 5-14 years (%), 2002-2003:8.7
Working girls, 5-14 years (%), 2002-2003:5.7
Working children by sector, 5-14 years (%), 2002-2003:
     – Agriculture93.4
     – Manufacturing0.5
     – Services5.2
     – Other1
Minimum age for work:16
Compulsory education age:16
Free public education:Yes
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2006:101
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2006:91
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%), 2002-2003:73.3
Survival rate to grade 5 (%):
ILO-IPEC participating country:Associated

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Mongolia is traditionally a nomadic herding society, so most working children can be found in rural areas, especially engaged in activities in the livestock sector.2303 Boys generally herd and tend livestock, while girls mostly undertake domestic tasks; milking cows and producing dairy products, collecting animal dung for fire, shearing wool, and gathering fruit and nuts.2304 Children as young as 5 years are engaged in informal gold and fluorspar mining.2305 These children face severe health hazards, such as exposure to mercury and handling of explosives in the mines.2306 The National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia estimates that there are 40 to 50 horse racing events each year, and at each event, approximately 2,000 children between the ages of 6 and 16 years are engaged as jockeys, which poses risks to the life and health of the children involved.2307

In urban areas, children sell goods, wash cars, polish shoes, collect and sell coal and wood, and work as porters.2308 Children also work informally in petty trade and scavenging in dumpsites.2309 Child prostitution is a problem in Mongolia. One NGO reported that during the last 4 months of 2007, at least three underage girls were kidnapped in Ulaanbaatar and forced into sex work. There were reports of children trafficked internally for commercial sexual exploitation, as well as for labor exploitation.2310

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age for employment at 16 years, with some exceptions.2311 Children 15 years may work with the permission of a parent or guardian, as long as employment does not harm their health, physical growth, or moral status.2312 Children 14 years may work in vocational education programs, with the consent and under supervision of a parent or guardian.2313 Children 14 and 15 years may not work for more than 30 hours, and children 16 and 17 years may not work for more than 36 hours per week.2314 Children under 18 years may not work at night, in arduous, noxious, or hot conditions, or underground.2315 They are also prohibited from working overtime, on public holidays, or weekly rest days.2316

Mongolian law prohibits the use of children in forced labor, illicit activities, begging, slavery, and work that is harmful to their health, morals, or safety.2317 The Constitution prohibits forced labor of children,2318 and forcing a child to work is punishable by imprisonment of up to 4 years or fines.2319 Labor inspectorates are in charge of enforcing these prohibitions, in addition to other labor regulations. Although these inspectors have the availability to force people to immediately comply with labor laws, enforcement was limited due because of the low number of inspectors and the increasing number of independent enterprises.2320 Trafficking of a minor is punishable by imprisonment of 5 to 10 years; if committed by an organized group, the term of imprisonment increases to 10 to 15 years.2321 However, contacts within the Government have acknowledged that legal provisions regarding trafficking are weak and need to be amended.2322 Production and dissemination of pornographic materials involving a person under 16 years is punishable by imprisonment of 1 to 3 months or fines. Inducing a child below the age of 16 years to engage in these crimes is also punishable by a fine or by imprisonment of 3 to 6 months.2323 Involving a minor in prostitution is also illegal, punishable by fines or 1 to 3 months of incarceration. If the crime is committed repeatedly or through the use violence or threat, the punishment is a prison term of 3 to 5 years or fines.2324 The minimum age for military conscription is 18 years.2325

Despite the existing legislative measures to protect children's rights, the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child has expressed concern about the insufficient number of implementation measures and some contradictory provisions of domestic laws that leave children without adequate protection, including the ability of children to engage in work before reaching the compulsory school leaving age.2326 In addition, international organizations and human rights groups are expressing concern about the use of child jockeys in horse racing. The U.N. has requested that the Government ban the employment of children under16 years as horse jockeys, but by the end of 2007 the Government had still not taken any such action.2327

In the 2006-2007 reporting period, the Government did not prosecute any trafficking offenses or convict any trafficking offenders. This marked a decline from the previous year when five cases were prosecuted and one case convicted.2328

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

The Government of Mongolia is implementing the National Program for Child Development and Protection (2002-2010).2329 The Mongolian Government has also approved the National Program on Protection from Trafficking of Children and Women with the Purpose of Sexual Exploitation, to support implementation of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography.2330

Mongolia is currently participating in a USDOL-funded USD 2.9 million ILO-IPEC project, the Mongolia Timebound Program, which is set to run through 2009. The project is designed to strengthen the country's ability to take action against the worst forms of child labor, and to develop an area-based intervention model at the local level, targeting children at risk or engaged in the worst forms of child labor; specifically, children involved in mining, commercial sexual exploitation, work in dumpsites or marketplaces, herding, and domestic work.2331 The project aims to withdraw 2,700 children and prevent 3,300 children from the worst forms of child labor.2332

In addition, under the Timebound Program, the IPEC Program Unit of the ILO is helping to provide child victims with physical and emotional rehabilitation and reintegration services through the Adolescent Development Center. An NGO also implemented a program for preventing, protecting, and rehabilitating disadvantaged girls from sexual exploitation.2333 Since 2001, about 400 girls have been involved in this program.2334

The Government also provided continued assistance to children who were victims of commercial sexual exploitation through support of a police program that encourages the re-entry of exploited children into school. It also began working with IOM on a program to help with the repatriation of victims through counseling and other services.2335 IOM, with help from other NGOs, provided trafficking-related training to police, immigration officials, and various ministry officials.2336

2302 For statistical data not cited here, see the Data Sources and Definitions section. For data on ratifications and ILO-IPEC membership, see the Executive Summary. For minimum age for admission to work, age to which education is compulsory, and free public education, see Labor Law of Mongolia (as Amended), (January 24, 1991); available from See also U.S. Department of State, "Mongolia," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2007, Washington, D.C., March 11, 2008; available from See also Constitution of Mongolia, 1992, (January 13, 1992), Article 16(7); available from

2303 ILO-IPEC, National Programme for the Prevention and Elimination of Child Labour in Mongolia (Phase II), Status Report, Status Report, Geneva, June 16, 2003.

2304 ILO-IPEC, National Program for the Prevention and Elimination of Child Labor in Mongolia, Phase II, Project Document, Geneva, April 9, 2002. See also ILO-IPEC, Helping Hands or Shackled Lives? Understanding Child Domestic Labour and Responses to it, Geneva, 2004, 22; available from

2305 ILO-IPEC, Baseline Survey on Child and Adult Workers in Informal Gold and Fluorspar Mining, Ulaan Baatar, 2006.

2306 Ibid., 37.

2307 ILO Committee of Experts, Direct Request, Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Mongolia (ratification: 2001), [2006 [cited November 7, 2006]; available from 38%2C+C182%29+%40ref+%2B+%28Mongolia%29+%40ref+%2B+%23YEAR%3E2000&highlight=&querytype =bool&context=0.

2308 ILO-IPEC, National Program in Mongolia, Phase II, project document, 17.

2309 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Mongolia."

2310 U.S. Department of State, "Mongolia (Tier 2)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007, Washington, D.C., June 5, 2007; available from See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Mongolia."

2311 Labor Law of Mongolia, article 85. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Mongolia." See also U.S. Embassy – Ulaanbaatar, reporting, December 31, 2007.

2312 Labor Law of Mongolia, article 85.1.

2313 Ibid.

2314 Ibid., article 26.

2315 Ibid., article 86.

2316 Ibid.

2317 ILO-IPEC, National Programme Phase II, status report, June 2003, Annex II, 3.

2318 Constitution of Mongolia, 1992, article 16(4).

2319 Criminal Code of Mongolia, (2002), article 121; available from

2320 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Mongolia," section 6d.

2321 Criminal Code of Mongolia, article 113. See also U.S. Embassy – Ulaanbaatar, reporting, December 31, 2007.

2322 U.S. Embassy – Ulaanbaatar, reporting, March 9, 2005.

2323 Criminal Code of Mongolia, Article 123.

2324 U.S. Embassy – Ulaanbaatar, reporting, December 31, 2007.

2325 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Mongolia," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, 2004; available from

2326 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention, Concluding observations: Mongolia, CRC/C/15/Add.264, Geneva, September 21, 2005, 3; available from$F ILE/G0544018.pdf.

2327 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Mongolia."

2328 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Mongolia."

2329 Government of Mongolia, National Programme of Action for the Development and Protection of Children 2002-2010, Ulaanbaatar, December 2002; available from

2330 Government of Mongolia, Initial Report of Mongolia to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, pursuant to Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, October 10, 2007; available from

2331 ILO-IPEC, Support to the Proposed National Sub-programme to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labour: Time-Bound Measures, technical progress report, Geneva, September 2006.

2332 Ibid.

2333 Government of Mongolia, Initial Report of Mongolia to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

2334 Ibid.

2335 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Mongolia."

2336 U.S. Embassy – Ulaanbaatar, reporting, December 31, 2007.

Search Refworld