Last Updated: Friday, 10 July 2020, 14:12 GMT

2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Macedonia

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 - Macedonia, 10 September 2009, available at: [accessed 12 July 2020]
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:
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:18
Free public education:Yes*
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:97.9
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:91.8
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%):
Survival rate to grade 5 (%):
ILO Convention 138:11/17/1991
ILO Convention 182:5/30/2002
ILO-IPEC participating country:No

* In practice, must pay for various school expenses

** Succession

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children work on the streets in Macedonia begging and performing minor services such as selling cigarettes and other small items. These activities also occur in bars or restaurants, sometimes at night. Children also work in the informal sector on family farms, usually outside school hours. Street children are predominantly of the Roma minority ethnic group but also include ethnic Albanians, Turks, and Macedonians. Roma children are organized into groups to beg for money at busy intersections, on street corners, and in restaurants.

Children are trafficked for sexual exploitation. Girls from socially and economically vulnerable families in Macedonia are at the highest risk of becoming victims.

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age for employment at 15 years. The employment of minors in work that is harmful to their health and morals is prohibited. Minors are further prohibited from working overtime, working at night between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., or performing physically demanding work. Minors are also not permitted to work underground in mines or underwater. The law allows children to work in film or advertisements with parental consent and after a Ministry inspection of the workplace. Additionally, children 14 years of age can work as apprentices or in vocational education programs if the work is part of an official education program. Employers who illegally employ minors may face a fine.

Forced labor is prohibited by the Constitution. Individuals under 18 years are prohibited from serving in the Armed Forces. Trafficking in persons is also prohibited. The law establishes a minimum prison sentence of 5 years for trafficking of children. The law also specifies a minimum sentence of 8 years for a person convicted of trafficking or complicity in trafficking of children for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

Penalties for making a profit from child prostitution range from 3 to 5 years of imprisonment while penalties for mediating child prostitution range from 5 to 10 years of imprisonment. However USDOS reports that using minors for prostitution is punishable as trafficking. Enforcement of laws regulating the employment of children is the responsibility of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy. According to USDOS, although a legal framework is in place, there has been weak implementation of child labor laws and policies.

Trafficking enforcement efforts were led by the Ministry of the Interior, and victim protection was headed by the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy. The Government of Macedonia increased the number of trafficking cases prosecuted in 2008 to 57 cases, up from 55 cases in 2007.

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

The Government of Macedonia has created a National Action Plan for the Rights of Children that includes strategies to address the worst forms of child labor. The Government in conjunction with UNICEF has published an Action Plan to Combat Trafficking of Children in the Republic of Macedonia 2009-2012.

The Government funds two centers in Skopje that provided services to street children. The Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare assumed responsibility for some services in trafficking shelters previously provided by NGOs. The Government created a national database for trafficking victims, which bridges social welfare centers, the Ministry of Social Welfare, and the Ministry of the Interior in order to better track and identify trafficking victims. From May to August 2008, a nationwide trafficking awareness survey was conducted by the Ministry of the Interior, which identified a lack of awareness in high risk communities. The Government held special victim awareness training in many high-risk communities as well as awareness seminars for the media on its role on combating trafficking. The Government provided financial and personnel support to NGOs as part of its anti-trafficking plan developed to raise awareness and provided anti-trafficking training to its armed services stationed abroad.

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