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2006 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 31 August 2007
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - The Republic of Serbia, 31 August 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d7495053.html [accessed 16 September 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 for admission to work:153713
Age to which education is compulsory:153714
Free public education:Yes3715
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 138:11/24/003716
Ratified Convention 182:7/10/033717
ILO-IPEC participating country:No3718

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, theft, 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.3719 Roma children are particularly vulnerable to trafficking, both abroad and internally, for forced begging and theft rings.3720

There have been cases of girls trafficked to Serbia from Moldova and the Ukraine.3721 Trafficking children for sexual exploitation has reportedly increased.3722

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age of employment is 15 years.3723 However, it is not clear if the minimum age for employment applies to self-employed children.3724 Children under 18 are prohibited from hazardous work and can only enter work upon written approval of a parent or guardian and under conditions that do not "jeopardize their health, morals and education," including work that involves strenuous physical activity; work underground, underwater, or at dangerous heights; or exposure to toxic, carcinogenic substances, extreme temperatures, noise, or vibrations.3725 Further, children under 18 are not allowed to work overtime hours or at night,3726 and are allowed to work no more than 35 hours per week.3727 The law provides for monetary penalties for violation of these provisions.3728 According to the U.S. Department of State, the government is effectively enforcing child labor laws.3729

Forced labor is prohibited.3730 Males are eligible for conscription into the armed forces at 18, but they can be recruited for voluntary service in the year of their 17th birthday.3731 The criminal law addresses prostitution and pornography. Prostitution involving a minor is punishable by 1 to 10 years of imprisonment. Showing pornographic materials to minors is a criminal offense.3732 The penal code addresses all forms trafficking.3733 From 2005 to 2006, 15 traffickers were convicted, with sentences ranging from 2 to 8 years of imprisonment. A group of traffickers was attempting to traffic Ukrainian girls into Serbia at a border crossing in February 2006 and was interdicted by police following extensive training of police and border guards.3734 According to the U.S. Department of State, there were reports of corruption among some police complicit in a prostitution ring in Novi Pazar, but the government has not responded to these allegations or taken action against public officials allegedly complicit in trafficking.3735

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 regular protection programs for children and families.3736 The National Council submitted an anti-trafficking strategy for 2006-2009 to the Serbian Government for approval, and the government is implementing elements of the plan. To prevent trafficking, the government's officers have refused more than 4,000 visa applications from countries of known origin of trafficking.3737


3713 U.S. Department of State, "Serbia," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2006, Washington, DC, March 6, 2007, Section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006.

3714 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.

3715 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; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/newcountryframeE.htm.

3716 ILO, Ratifications by Country, [accessed November 2, 2006]; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/newratframeE.htm.

3717 Ibid.

3718 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.

3719 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Serbia," Section 5.

3720 U.S. Department of State, "Serbia and Montenegro (Tier 2 Watch List)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006, Washington, DC, June 5, 2006; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2006/65987.htm. See also Barbara Limanowska, Trafficking in Human Beings in South Eastern Europe 2004 – Focus on Prevention in: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, the UN Administered Province of Kosovo, UNDP, New York, March 2005, 64, 117; available from http://www.unicef.org/ceecis/Trafficking.Report.2005.pdf.

3721 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Serbia and Montenegro."

3722 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Serbia," Section 5.

3723 ILO, Report of the Committee of Experts.

3724 ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR), CEACR: Individual Direct Request concerning Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) Serbia and Montenegro (ratification: 2000) Submitted: 2006 092006SCG138, Geneva, 2006; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/newcountryframeE.htm.

3725 Ibid.

3726 Ibid.

3727 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Serbia," Section 6d.

3728 ILO, Report of the Committee of Experts.

3729 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Serbia," Section 6d.

3730 Ibid., Section 6c.

3731 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Serbia and Montenegro," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, 2004.

3732 OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Legislationline, Serbia: Children; accessed January 30, 2007, available from http://www.legislationline.org/?tid=197&jid=44&less=false.

3733 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Serbia and Montenegro."

3734 Ibid. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Serbia," Section 5.

3735 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Serbia and Montenegro."

3736 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Serbia," Section 6d.

3737 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Serbia and Montenegro."

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