Last Updated: Monday, 11 December 2017, 09:48 GMT

2008 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 10 September 2009
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - The Republic of Serbia, 10 September 2009, available at: [accessed 11 December 2017]
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
Population, children, 5-14 years (%), 2005:895,616
Working children, 5-14 years (%), 2005:6.0
Working boys, 5-14 years (%), 2005:6.4
Working girls, 5-14 years (%), 2005:5.7
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 (%), 2007:96.9
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2007:95.1
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%), 2006:92.5
Survival rate to grade 5 (%):
ILO Convention 138:11/24/2000
ILO Convention 182:7/10/2003
ILO-IPEC participating country:No

* Succession

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children in rural areas of the Republic of Serbia work in family businesses. In urban areas, children work in the informal sector as street vendors and car washers. Children from impoverished, rural communities, Roma children, and children in foster care have a high risk of entering exploitive child labor, including begging, prostitution, selling drugs, and physical labor. Children are trafficked for sexual exploitation, forced labor, and street begging.

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for employment is 15 years. Children less than 18 years can only be employed if they have written permission from a parent or guardian and a health certificate. Children less than 18 years are prohibited from 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. Further, children under 18 years are not allowed to work over 35 hours per week or 8 hours a day.

Children under 18 years of age can work at night only under strictly specified circumstances. Violations of child labor laws are punishable by fines.

The law provides various penalties for involvement in child prostitution. The crime of inducing a minor into prostitution is punishable by a prison term of 1 to 10 years; the punishment for pimping a minor is up to 5 years' imprisonment. The production of pornographic materials portraying a child is punishable by 6 months' to 5 years' imprisonment, while the distribution of child pornography is punishable by imprisonment for up to 2 years. CEACR noted that child pornography laws do not protect children 14 to18 years.

Forced labor, human trafficking, and slavery are prohibited. Parents or guardians who force a minor to engage in excessive labor or labor incompatible with his/her age are punished by a prison term of 3 months to 5 years. A government department within the Ministry of Labor and Social Issues addresses the social problems in the Roma community that lead to forced labor.

Coercive trafficking of minors with the intent to exploit labor, prostitute, force service in armed conflicts, and involve them in pornography is punishable by 3 to 12 years' imprisonment. If the minor is seriously injured, the sentence is increased to a maximum of 15 year prison term; if the minor is killed, the punishment is a minimum of 10 years in prison. A prison term of 5 to 15 years is prescribed for the sale, handling, and/or purchase of slaves determined to be minors. The Government has anti-trafficking units in the organized crime police force, border police, and a designated anti-trafficking focal point officer in police stations in municipalities throughout the country. The Ministry of Interior's website includes information on anti-trafficking efforts, and the Ministry's hotline collects tips for law enforcement purposes related to trafficking in persons. In 2008, the Government sold a mandatory supplemental postage stamp, revenues from which are used for anti-trafficking activities.

The minimum age for voluntary recruitment into military service is 18 years. Military conscription occurs in the year the individual turns 18 years old.

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

After a year of being vacant, the position of Anti-Trafficking Coordinator was filled.

The Government of Serbia continues to raise public awareness of trafficking through education prevention programs and statements by government officials.

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