Last Updated: Wednesday, 01 October 2014, 14:56 GMT

2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - The Republic of Serbia

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 - The Republic of Serbia, 27 August 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48caa48d32.html [accessed 2 October 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 Labor3054
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:15
Free public education:Yes
Gross primary enrollment rate (%):
Net primary enrollment rate (%):
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%):
Survival rate to grade 5 (%):
ILO-IPEC participating country:No

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children in the Republic of Serbia can be found working in rural areas, on family farms or other family businesses. Children also work in the informal sector, selling small items or washing car windows. Children from poor, rural communities, Roma children, and children living with foster families are at the highest risk for entering exploitive child labor, including begging, prostitution, dealing narcotics, and hard physical labor, according to a study released in March 2006 by the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Policy and the NGO Children's Rights Center.3055 Internal sex trafficking of girls has been a problem. Children have also been trafficked for purposes of forced labor or street begging.3056 Trafficking of children for sexual exploitation has reportedly continued to increase, although this may be attributed to increased monitoring and an improvement in victim identification.3057

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for employment is 15 years, and youth under the age of 18 years must have written permission from a parent or guardian to work.3058 However, it is not clear if the minimum age for employment applies to self-employed children.3059 Children under 18 years are prohibited from hazardous work or from working under conditions that might "jeopardize their health, morals and education,"3060 including work that involves strenuous physical activity; work underground, underwater, or at dangerous heights; or exposure to toxic or carcinogenic substances, extreme temperatures, noise, or vibrations.3061 Further, children under 18 years are not allowed to work overtime hours or at night, and are allowed to work no more than 35 hours per week.3062 The law provides for monetary penalties for violation of these provisions.3063 According to USDOS, the Government is effectively enforcing child labor laws.3064

Procurement of a minor for the purpose of prostitution is punishable by up to 3 years imprisonment.3065 Inducement of a minor into prostitution is punishable by 1 to 10 years imprisonment.3066 The production or distribution of pornographic materials portraying a minor is punishable by 1 to 5 years imprisonment; if the minor is under 14 years old the punishment is a minimum of 3 years imprisonment.3067 Forced labor is prohibited.3068 Males are eligible for conscription into the Armed Forces at 18 years, but can be recruited for voluntary service in the year of their 17th birthday.3069 The trafficking of minors involving force or coercion is punishable by at least 5 years imprisonment.3070 In 2007, the Government filed 26 criminal charges against 62 persons for trafficking and reported 23 trafficking convictions.3071 The Government has a full-time trafficking unit in the organized crime police force and a full-time trafficking office in the border police. According to USDOS, there were reports of corruption among some police complicit in a prostitution ring in Novi Pazar.3072

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

The Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Issues includes child labor prevention in its standard protection programs for children and families. A new department within the Ministry was created to address the social problems in the Roma community that lead to forced labor. The department also focuses on improving education and health services.3073 The National Council submitted an anti-trafficking strategy for 2006 through 2009 to the Serbian Government for approval, and the Government is implementing elements of the plan.3074

The Government of Serbia and NGOs continued to raise public awareness of trafficking by holding conferences, broadcasting public service announcements, and sponsoring school outreach programs. The Government partially funded a 13-episode television series entitled "Modern Slavery," a program designed to generate awareness of human trafficking.3075


3054 For statistical data not cited here, please 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 U.S. Department of State, "Serbia," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2007, Washington, DC, March 11, 2008, section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100583.htm. See also Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Thematic Review of National Policies for Education: Serbia, CCNM/DEELSA/ED(2001)11, June 22, 2001, 6; available from http://www.olis.oecd.org/OLIS/2001DOC.NSF/LINKTO/CCNM-DEELSA-ED(2001)11. See also ILO, Report of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR): Individual Direct Request Concerning Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) Serbia and Montenegro (ratification: 2000) Submitted: 2006 092006SCG138, Geneva, 2006, article 2, para 3; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/newcountryframeE.htm.

3055 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Serbia," section 5. See also U.S. Embassy – Belgrade, reporting, December 7, 2007.

3056 U.S. Department of State, "Serbia (Tier 2)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007, Washington, DC, June 12, 2007; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2007/82807.htm. See also U.S. Embassy – Belgrade, reporting, December 7, 2007.

3057 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Serbia," section 5.

3058 Ibid., section 6d.

3059 ILO, Report of the Committee of Experts, article 2, para 1.

3060 Ibid., article 3, para 1.

3061 Ibid., article 2, para 3.

3062 Ibid., article 3, para. 2. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Serbia," section 6d.

3063 ILO, Report of the Committee of Experts, article 9, para 1.

3064 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Serbia," section 6d.

3065 Government of the Republic of Serbia, Criminal Code of the Republic of Serbia (excerpts), [online] 2005 [cited February 7, 2008], article 183; available from http://www.legislationline.org/?tid=197&jid=44&less=false.

3066 Ibid., article 184. See also U.S. Embassy – Belgrade, reporting, December 7, 2007.

3067 Government of the Republic of Serbia, Amending Law to the Criminal Code of the Republic of Serbia, (May 17, 2003), article 111a; available from http://www.osce.org/documents/fry/2003/04/136_en.pdf.

3068 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Serbia," section 6c.

3069 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Serbia and Montenegro," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=926.

3070 Government of the Republic of Serbia, Amending Law to the Criminal Code, article 111b.

3071 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Serbia," section 5. See also U.S. Embassy – Belgrade, Email communication to USDOL official, July 25, 2008.

3072 ILO, Report of the Committee of Experts. See also U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Serbia."

3073 U.S. Embassy – Belgrade, reporting, December 7, 2007.

3074 Ibid.

3075 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Serbia."

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