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2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Ukraine

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 - Ukraine, 31 August 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d749595b.html [accessed 23 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 of work:164280
Age to which education is compulsory:154281
Free public education:Yes4282
Gross primary enrollment rate in 2004:95%4283
Net primary enrollment rate in 2004:82%4284
Percent of children 5-14 attending school:Unavailable
Percent of primary school entrants likely to reach grade 5:Unavailable
Ratified Convention 138:5/3/19794285
Ratified Convention 182:12/14/20004286
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes4287

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children in Ukraine are found working in agriculture, trade, services, manufacturing, and construction. Child laborers typically begin working at 12.4288 Children in rural areas were approximately twice as likely to work as those in urban areas.4289 Child begging is also present in Ukraine.4290

Ukraine is a source country for child pornography available on the Internet, and the commercial sexual exploitation of children is a problem.4291 The country is a source country for trafficking children.4292 Children have been trafficked for sexual exploitation and forced labor.4293 Internal trafficking of children is a large problem in Ukraine.4294 Most trafficked girls are subject to commercial sexual exploitation, while boys are trafficked for labor or to sell drugs.4295 Debt bondage (forcing the child to pay off debt incurred as a result of the trafficking) is a common occurrence in trafficking situations involving Ukrainian children.4296

Street children, victims of domestic violence, orphans, residents of boarding schools, and children with absent parents (often due to migration in search of work or incarceration) are the groups most vulnerable to exploitation in the worst forms of child labor, including commercial sexual exploitation.4297

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for employment is 16 years.4298 With government permission and the consent of a parent, 15-year-old children may work in certain non-hazardous industries. With the permission of a parent, 14-year-old children may work in agriculture and the social sector (orphanages, hospitals, elder care, etc.) on a short-term basis if it does not interfere with their education.4299 The employment of an underage child is prohibited by law and is punishable by up to 6 months of imprisonment or judicial restraint for up to 3 years. The sentence is increased to 2 to 5 years of imprisonment if multiple children are involved, if considerable damage is done to the health of the child, or if the child was involved in hazardous work.4300

Forced labor of children is forbidden by law.4301 The minimum age for military conscription is 18, and age 17 for voluntary recruitment.4302 Pimping or managing a brothel that employs minors is illegal and punishable by 2 to 7 years of imprisonment. Involvement of a child in prostitution is prohibited and offenders can be punished by 3 to 5 years of imprisonment.4303 Importation, sale, distribution, or manufacture of child pornography is punishable by 6 months to 3 years of imprisonment. The sentence is increased to 5 years if the material is on film or video media. If there are repeated child pornography violations or if the act was committed by a group of persons and involved compelling the minor to participate, the sentence is increased to 3 to 7 years of imprisonment.4304 Trafficking of minors 14 to 18 is prohibited by law and is punishable by 5 to 12 years of imprisonment.4305 If the child is under 14, the punishment is 8 to 15 years of imprisonment.4306

The State Labor Inspectorate and the State Department of Surveillance over Labor Legislation Observance in the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy (MOLSP) are responsible for enforcing child labor policies and laws in the formal sector.4307 There were 708 labor inspectors in Ukraine in 2006.4308 The Labor Inspectorate does not have the authority to inspect informal workplaces.4309 In addition to the Labor Inspectorate, the Ministry of Emergencies and the Ministry of Health also conduct inspections.4310

The Ministry of the Interior's (MOI) Anti-trafficking Department is responsible for the enforcement of anti-trafficking laws. It has a staff of approximately 600 officers and branch offices in all 27 regional directorates.4311 In 2005, 446 trafficking victims, 39 percent of whom were children, were returned to Ukraine.4312 In 2005, the police conducted 2,000 raids to investigate suspected instances of child exploitation and trafficking, including checks at 600 photographic and video studios, 2,500 nightclubs, 300 massage parlors, 270 modeling agencies, 420 hotels and campsites, and 1,100 Internet cafes.4313 The MOLSP revoked the licenses of a limited number of employment agencies suspected of involvement in trafficking; however, the MOI reported that MOLSP's enforcement was not uniformly effective.4314 In 2005, the most recent date for which such information is available, there were 415 criminal prosecutions for trafficking, an increase of 54.3 percent over 2004. In 2005, the most recent year when such information was available, 115 persons were convicted of trafficking.4315 The U.S. Department of State reports that corruption among police and in the courts hampered the enforcement of anti-trafficking laws.4316

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

On May 11, 2006, the government approved the State Program to Combat Child Homelessness and Neglect for 2006-2010. The document identifies child labor as a factor related to child homelessness. The program aims to identify and support at-risk families.4317 The Government of Ukraine has a National Action Plan for 2006 to 2016 on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, with separate chapters on the worst forms of child labor, child trafficking, and sexual exploitation.4318

The Department of Juvenile Affairs in the Ministry of Family, Youth, and Sport (MOFYS) and the Criminal Police on Juvenile Affairs in the MOI have the responsibility of identifying working children in the informal sector.4319 The Ministry of Health is responsible for providing physical and psychological rehabilitation to child victims of commercial sexual exploitation.4320 Children found to be involved in prostitution are often put in boarding schools. Although the boarding schools provide education, room, and board, conditions are usually poor.4321

In cooperation with the IOM and with funding from the European Commission, the government supports shelters for victims in seven cities.4322 The government assisted potential trafficking victims through its overseas embassies.4323 The government and NGOs cooperated on awareness-raising campaigns.4324 A trafficking awareness-raising campaign for teachers and students was managed by the Ministry for Education and Science.4325 The government conducted anti-trafficking trainings for investigators, prosecutors, and judges in conjunction with international organizations.4326 The government and NGOs continue to screen and refer victims found at the airport in Kyiv and the port of Odessa.4327

The Government of the Ukraine cooperated with ILO-IPEC on a USD 1.1 million USDOL-funded project which ended in August 2006. It improved Ukraine's policy and legal framework for addressing child labor, raised awareness, conducted research on child labor issues, established a child labor monitoring system, and withdrew 1,617 children and prevented 354 children from the worst forms of child labor.4328 The government participated in a 3-year USD 1.5 million USDOL-funded ILO-IPEC regional project to combat the trafficking of children for labor and sexual exploitation that ended in January 2007.4329 The project withdrew 195 children and prevented 666 children from exploitive labor in Ukraine.4330 Beginning in September 2006, the government supported a USD 3.5 million USDOL-funded project to combat child trafficking and other worst forms of child labor. It operates in Albania, Bulgaria, the UN-administered Province of Kosovo, Moldova, Romania, and Ukraine. The project aims to withdraw 1,350 and prevent 3,150 children from exploitive labor throughout all of the participating countries.4331 In 2006, USAID funded a USD 1.2 million project through the IOM to raise awareness of trafficking in persons among children and young women 12 to 25 years, to provide support to local and national government, and to assist approximately 700 trafficking victims.4332 ILO-IPEC has worked to support community-based centers to assist children from at-risk families, street children and orphans. It also assisted with a program to provide support to children leaving state boarding schools, a group especially vulnerable to trafficking, and train them for life outside of the institution.4333


4280 U.S. Department of State, "Ukraine," 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/2006/78846.htm. See also U.S. Embassy – Kyiv, reporting, December 13, 2006.

4281 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Ukraine," Section 5. See also ECPAT International, CSEC Database – Ukraine, [accessed October 21, 2006]; available from http://www.ecpat.net/eng/Ecpat_inter/projects/monitoring/online_database/Countries.asp?arrCountryID=& CountryProfile=facts&CSEC=&Implement=&Nationalplans=&orgWorkCSEC=&DisplayBy=&GetCategoryName =&GetCountryID=182&Submit=Show.

4282 Constitution of Ukraine, Fifth Session of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (June 28, 1996); available from http://www.rada.kiev.ua/const/conengl.htm. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Ukraine," Section 5.

4283 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates, March 1, 2007.

4284 Ibid.

4285 ILO, List of Ratifications of International Labour Convensions, C138 Minimum Age Convention, 1973, [accessed October 19, 2006]; available from http://webfusion.ilo.org/public/db/standards/normes/appl/appl-byConvYear.cfm?hdroff=1&Lang=EN&conv=C138.

4286 ILO, List of Ratifications of International Labour Conventions, C182 Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999, [accessed October 19, 2006]; available from http://webfusion.ilo.org/public/db/standards/normes/appl/appl-byConvYear.cfm?hdroff=1&Lang=EN&conv=C182.

4287 ILO-IPEC, IPEC Action Against Child Labor: Highlights 2006, October 2006; available from http://www.ilo.org/iloroot/docstore/ipec/prod/eng/20061019_Implementationreport_eng_Web.pdf.

4288 PROTECT CEE, Ukraine Country Profile, [online] 2005 [cited October 19 2006], 5; available from http://www.ilo.org/iloroot/docstore/ipec/prod/eng/2005_fs_ukraine.pdf.

4289 Ibid.

4290 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Ukraine," Section 6d.

4291 Ibid., Sections 5 and 6d. See also ECPAT International, CSEC Database – Ukraine.

4292 U.S. Department of State, "Ukraine (Tier 2)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006, Washington, DC, June 5, 2006; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2006/. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Ukraine," Section 5.

4293 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Ukraine," Section 6d. See also PROTECT CEE, Ukraine Country Profile, 7.

4294 ILO-IPEC, Rapid Assessment of Trafficking in Children for Labour and Sexual Exploitation in Ukraine, 2003, Geneva, 2004, 2.

4295 PROTECT CEE, Ukraine Country Profile, 7. See also ILO-IPEC, Rapid Assessment Ukraine, 1.

4296 ILO-IPEC, Rapid Assessment Ukraine, 2.

4297 Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 12 (1) of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography – Ukraine, April 6, 2006, 7. See also ILO-IPEC, Trafficking and other Worst Forms of Child Labour in Central and Eastern Europe (Phase II), project document, Geneva, September 19, 2006, 19. See also PROTECT CEE, Ukraine Country Profile.

4298 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Ukraine," Section 6d.

4299 ILO-IPEC, Trafficking and other Worst Forms of Child Labour In Central and Eastern Europe (Phase II), project document, 34. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Ukraine," Section 6d. See also U.S. Embassy – Kyiv, reporting, December 13, 2006.

4300 U.S. Embassy – Kyiv, reporting, December 13, 2006.

4301 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Ukraine," Section 6c.

4302 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Ukraine," in Child Soldiers Global Report – 2004, London, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=935.

4303 Interpol, Legislation of Interpol Member States on Sexual Offences Against Children, October 21, 2006; available from http://www.interpol.int/Public/Children/SexualAbuse/NationalLaws/default.asp.

4304 Ibid.

4305 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Ukraine," Section 5. See also ILO-IPEC, Rapid Assessment Ukraine, 10.

4306 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Ukraine," Section 5.

4307 U.S. Department of State, "Ukraine," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2005, Washington, DC, March 8, 2006, Section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61682.htm. See also U.S. Embassy – Kyiv, reporting, December 13, 2006.

4308 State Labor Inspectorate – Ukraine official, Interview with USDOL official, March 30, 2006. See also Ministry of Labor and Social Policy – Ukraine official, Interview with USDOL official, March 30, 2006.

4309 Ministry of Labor and Social Policy – Ukraine official, interview, March 30, 2006. See also ILO-IPEC, Trafficking and other Worst Forms of Child Labour In Central and Eastern Europe (Phase II), project document, 35. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Ukraine," Section 6d.

4310 Ministry of Labor and Social Policy – Ukraine official, interview, March 30, 2006.

4311 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Ukraine," Section 5. See also U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Ukraine."

4312 Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 12 (1) of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography – Ukraine, 6.

4313 Ibid., 7.

4314 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Ukraine." See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Ukraine," Section 5.

4315 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Ukraine."

4316 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Ukraine," Section 5. See also U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Ukraine."

4317 ILO-IPEC, National Programme for the Prevention and Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Ukraine, technical progress report, Geneva, August 31, 2006.

4318 Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 12 (1) of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography – Ukraine, 37. See also Ministry of Family Youth and Sport – Ukraine official, Interview with USDOL official, March 29 2006.

4319 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Ukraine," Section 6d.

4320 Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 12 (1) of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography – Ukraine, 26.

4321 ECPAT International, CSEC Database – Ukraine.

4322 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: Ukraine," Section 5.

4323 Ibid.

4324 Ibid. See also Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 12 (1) of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography – Ukraine, 39.

4325 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Ukraine."

4326 Ibid.

4327 Ibid.

4328 ILO-IPEC, National Program for the Prevention and Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor in Ukraine, final technical progress report, Geneva, August 31, 2006, 1, 58.

4329 ILO-IPEC, Combating Trafficking in Children for Labour and Sexual Exploitation in the Balkans & Ukraine, technical progress report, Geneva, August 31, 2006.

4330 ILO-IPEC, Combating Trafficking in Children for Labour and Sexual Exploitation in the Balkans & Ukraine, final technical progress report, 2007, 64.

4331 ILO-IPEC, Trafficking and other Worst Forms of Child Labour In Central and Eastern Europe (Phase II), project document, cover page, vi, 69.

4332 USAID, Ukraine – Data Sheet, October 21, 2006; available from http://www.usaid.gov/policy/budget/cbj2006/ee/pdf/ua_121=0325.pdf.

4333 U.S. Embassy – Kyiv, Email Communication to USDOL official, July 27, 2007.

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