Last Updated: Thursday, 17 April 2014, 13:11 GMT

2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Mongolia

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 - Mongolia, 31 August 2007, available at: [accessed 19 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 Labor
Percent of children 5-14 estimated as working in 2003 :7.2%2802
Minimum age for admission to work:162803
Age to which education is compulsory:162804
Free public education:Yes2805
Gross primary enrollment rate in 2004:104%2806
Net primary enrollment rate in 2004:84%2807
Percent of children 5-14 attending school in 2003:73.3%2808
Percent of primary school entrants likely to reach grade five:Unavailable
Ratified Convention 138:12/16/20022809
Ratified Convention 182:2/26/20012810
ILO-IPEC Participating country:Yes2811

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Because Mongolia is traditionally a nomadic herding society, most working children can be found in rural areas, in the livestock sector.2812 Boys generally herd and tend livestock, while girls mostly undertake domestic tasks, milking cows and producing dairy products, collecting animal dung for fire, preparing food, washing, shearing wool, and gathering fruit and nuts.2813 Children as young as 5 years old are engaged in informal gold and fluorspar mining.2814 These children face severe health hazards, such as exposure to mercury and handling of explosives in the mines.2815 Children working in mining are also vulnerable to drug abuse and sexual exploitation.2816 The National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia estimates that there are 40 to 50 horse racing events each year, and at each event, 2,000 children between the 6 and 16 years are engaged as jockeys. Horse racing poses risks to the life and health of the children involved.2817

In urban areas, children sell goods, wash cars, polish shoes, collect and sell coal and wood, and work as porters.2818 Children also work informally in petty trade, scavenging in dumpsites, and working in factories.2819 There were reports of children trafficked internally for commercial sexual exploitation.2820

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age for employment at 16 years, with some exceptions.2821 Children 15 years may work with the permission of a parent or guardian, as long as employment does not harm their health, physical growth, and moral status.2822 Children 14 years may work in vocational education programs with the consent of a parent or guardian.2823 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.2824 Children under 18 may not work at night, in arduous, noxious or hot conditions, or underground.2825 They are also prohibited from working overtime, on public holidays, or weekly rest days.2826

The Constitution prohibits forced labor,2827 and forcing a child to work is punishable by imprisonment for up to 4 years or fines.2828 Trafficking of a minor is punishable by imprisonment for 5 to 10 years; if committed by an organized group, the term of imprisonment increases to 10 to 15 years.2829 However, contacts within the government acknowledge that legal provisions regarding trafficking are weak and need to be amended.2830 Production and dissemination of pornographic materials involving a person less than 16 years are punishable by imprisonment for 3 to 6 months or fines.2831 Involving a minor in prostitution is also illegal, and if the crime is committed repeatedly or by using violence or threat, it is punishable by a prison term of 3 to 5 years or fines.2832 The minimum age for military conscription is 18.2833

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.2834

Despite the existing legislative measures to protect children's rights, the Committee on the Rights of the Child has expressed concern about the insufficient number of implementation measures and some contradictory provisions of the domestic laws that leave children without adequate protection, including the ability of children to engage in work before reaching the compulsory school age.2835

The Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare's (MOSWL) Department of Employment and Social Welfare Service and the National Department for Children (NDC) share responsibility for child labor issues.2836 The MOSWL presides over the Labor Code, while the NDC administers the National Plan of Action for the Protection and Development of Children (20022010).2837

State labor inspectors assigned to regional and local offices are responsible for enforcing labor laws, but enforcement has been limited because of the small number of inspectors and the growing number of independent enterprises.2838 The MOSWL is the lead government agency on trafficking issues, but the Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs enforces trafficking-related laws.2839

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

The Government of Mongolia is participating in a USD 2.9 million USDOL-funded ILO-IPEC project. The Mongolia Timebound Program, which is set to run through 2009, is designed to strengthen the country's ability to take action against the worst forms of child labor in Mongolia 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. The program targets children involved in mining, commercial sexual exploitation, work in dumpsites or marketplace, herding and domestic work.2840 The project aims to withdraw 2,700 children from the worst forms of child labor and prevent 3,300 children from engaging in child labor.2841

2802 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank Surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Records, March 1, 2007.

2803 Labor Law of Mongolia (as Amended); available from

2804 U.S. Department of State, "Mongolia," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006, Washington, DC, June 5, 2006; available from

2805 Constitution of Mongolia, 1992, (January 13, 1992), Article 16(7); available from

2806 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Gross and Net Enrolment Ratios Primary accessed November 2006; available from

2807 Ibid.

2808 SIMPOC, MICS, and Surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Records.

2809 ILO, Ratifications by Country, 2006; available from

2810 Ibid.

2811 ILO-IPEC, IPEC action against child labour: Highlights 2006, Geneva, October 2006, 29; available from

2812 ILO-IPEC, National Program for the Prevention and Elimination of Child Labor in Mongolia, Phase II, project document, Geneva, April 9, 2002.

2813 Ibid. See also ILO-IPEC, Helping Hands or Shackled Lives? Understanding Child Domestic Labour and Responses to it, Geneva, 2004, 22; available from

2814 ILO-IPEC, Baseline Survey on Child and Adult Workers in Informal Gold and Fluorspar Mining, Ulaan Baatar, 2006.

2815 Ibid., 37.

2816 ILO-IPEC, Eliminating Child Labour in Mining and Quarrying Background Document, Geneva, June 12, 2005, 8, 9; available from

2817 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 138%2C+C182%29+%40ref+%2B+%28Mongolia%29+%40ref+%2B+%23YEAR%3E2000&highlight=&querytype=b ool&context=0.

2818 ILO-IPEC, National Program in Mongolia, Phase II, project document, 17.

2819 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Mongolia."

2820 Ibid.

2821 Labor Law of Mongolia (as Amended), Article 85.

2822 Ibid.

2823 Ibid.

2824 Ibid., Article 26.

2825 Ibid., Article 86.

2826 Ibid.

2827 Constitution of Mongolia, 1992, Article 16(4).

2828 Criminal Code of Mongolia, (2002), Article 121; available from

2829 Ibid., Article 113.

2830 U.S. Embassy – Ulaanbaatar, reporting, March 9, 2005.

2831 Criminal Code of Mongolia, Article 123.

2832 Ibid., Article 115.

2833 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Mongolia," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, 2004; available from

2834 ILO-IPEC, National Programme for the Prevention and Elimination of Child Labour in Mongolia (Phase II), Status Report, Status Report, Geneva, June 16, 2003, Annex II, 3.

2835 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$ FILE/G0544018.pdf. Does not match "prepared by state parties" guidelines.

2836 USDOL official, trip report, May 30-June 10, 2005. No example in guidelines.

2837 Ibid.

2838 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Mongolia."

2839 U.S. Embassy – Ulaanbaatar, reporting.

2840 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.

2841 Ibid.

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