2003 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Lithuania
|Publisher||United States Department of Labor|
|Author||Bureau of International Labor Affairs|
|Publication Date||29 April 2004|
|Cite as||United States Department of Labor, 2003 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Lithuania, 29 April 2004, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/48c8ca22c.html [accessed 10 December 2019]|
|Disclaimer||This 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.|
Government Policies and Programs to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor
The Government of Lithuania initiated the National Program Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse of Children in 2000 to support the prevention of sexual crimes against children. In 2003, USD 400,000 was allotted under this program for spending on victim support, education, and improving legal capacity. In 2000, the Parliament created the position of Child Ombudsman to centralize advocacy efforts for children's rights. The Council for Children's Affairs was established under the jurisdiction of the President to address problems related to the protection of children's rights. In November 2001, an interdepartmental task force was established to develop a strategy to address the problem of neglected children and street children. In January 2002, the government approved a Program on the Control and Prevention of Trafficking in Humans and Prostitution for 2002-2004. The program concentrated on the causes of prostitution and trafficking; preventive measures; and on providing social, psychological, and legal support to victims of prostitution and trafficking.
With funding and assistance from the World Bank, the government is implementing a National Poverty Reduction Strategy in order to assist vulnerable populations, including at risk children. In partnership with government agencies, IOM launched a counter-trafficking project aimed at establishing a coordinated system of assistance for trafficking victims from the Baltic Republics. In coordination with NGOs, the media, and IOM, the government has carried out a number of anti-trafficking publicity campaigns since 2001. The World Bank also funds an education project, started in 2002, aimed at improving student achievement in basic education.
Incidence and Nature of Child Labor
Statistics on the number of working children under the age of 15 years in Lithuania are unavailable. Children are reported to beg on the streets or perform odd jobs, such as cleaning cars or selling newspapers. There are reports of children as young as 11 years old working as prostitutes in brothels in Lithuania. According to UNICEF estimates, 20 to 50 percent of prostitutes in Lithuania could be minors. Organized crime figures are reported to use coercive means to traffic Lithuanian girls into prostitution abroad, particularly to Western European countries.
The Law on Education provides for schooling that is free of charge and compulsory from the age of 6 or 7 to 16 years. The law was amended in 1998, establishing 10 years of basic education and the admission of students aged 14 to vocational schools. The Constitution guarantees compulsory education for children under the age of 16 years. In 2000, the gross primary enrollment rate was 101.3 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 94.6 percent. Primary school attendance rates are unavailable for Lithuania.
Child Labor Laws and Enforcement
The Law on Employment Contract sets the minimum age for employment at 16 years and stipulates that children from age 14 to 16 years may work in certain government-approved jobs with the consent of a parent or guardian. With additional consent of a doctor, the Law on Labor Protection allows for children under age 14 to participate in cultural or art festivals, provide communication services, or work in other activities that do not negatively affect their health, morals, or studies. The Law on Labor Protection prohibits children under 18 years old from working in hazardous conditions, night work or overtime work. According to this law, children between ages 14 and 16 may work 24 hours per week, and children between ages 16 and 18 may work 36 hours per week. The Law on Fundamentals of Protection of the Rights of the Child stipulates that a child having attained 16 years of age may work, that employers must guarantee safety of children at work, and that the state protects the child from all forms of exploitation at work. Resolution No. 1055 includes a list of jobs and conditions that are considered dangerous for children from 13 to 18 years old. Resolution No. 138, approved by the government on January 29, 2003, provides a list of jobs that are forbidden for children under 18 years. A new Criminal Code came into force on May 1, 2003, which includes a section on crimes against children that addresses the worst forms of child labor. Forced labor is prohibited by the Constitution.
Trafficking is a crime in Lithuania. The Criminal Code prescribes 6 to 12 years imprisonment for trafficking in persons involving a juvenile. According to Article 239 of the Criminal Code, forcing the prostitution of a juvenile is punishable by imprisonment from 3 to 7 years. According to Article 242 of the Criminal Code, the punishment for exploiting children under the age of 18 in the production of pornography is up to 4 years in jail; however, there is no official data on cases of children exploited for the purpose of pornography.
The State Labor Inspectorate enforces the country's child labor laws and investigates complaints related to employment of children under 18 years old. In 2003, the State Inspectorate conducted inspections in 103 different companies that employed young people and found 4 violations of conditions of employment for people under 18 years.
The Government of Lithuania ratified ILO Convention 138 on June 22, 1998 and ILO Convention 182 on March 25, 2003.
 The program aims to create a system of prevention measures, determine the reasons behind the sexual exploitation of children, find ways of eliminating them, develop a legal base, strengthen criminal liability for persons who commit crimes against children, further develop measures for rehabilitation of child victims of violence or sexual exploitation, and create a system of institutions engaged in the protection of children's rights. A commission for the coordination of the program was established in August 2001. See U.S. Embassy-Vilnius, unclassified telegram no. 991, August 20, 2003.
 U.S. Embassy-Vilnius, unclassified telegram no. 2335, October 29, 2002.
 State Secretary of the Ministry of Social Security and Labor Valdas Rupsys, letter to USDOL official, September 2000. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2001: Lithuania, Washington, D.C., March 4, 2002, Section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2001/eur/8287.htm.
 The council is comprised of 10 representatives from NGOs and six representatives from State institutions. See UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of States Parties due in 1994, Addendum: Lithuania, CRC/C/11/Add.21, prepared by Government of Lithuania, pursuant to Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Geneva, November 24, 1998, para. 7.
 The task force is made up of representatives from the Ministries of Social Security and Labor, Education and Science, and Interior. See U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Lithuania, 1600-03, Section 5.
 U.S. Embassy-Vilnius, electronic communication to USDOL official, February 24, 2004.
 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2002: Lithuania, Washington, D.C., March 31, 2003, Section 6f; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2002/18377pf.htm. In 2002, with the help of NGOs, the government conducted two information and education campaigns. The Education Ministry utilized its regional network to concentrate on the prevention among potential victims of trafficking and sexual abuse. Further, schools address trafficking issues during religion and ethics classes and a toll-free hotline for students and parents provides information on sexual abuse and trafficking. See U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report – 2003: Lithuania, Washington, D.C., June 2003; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2003/21276.htm#lithuania.
 See Valdas Rupsys, letter, September 2000. Since 1996, the Government of Lithuania received two Structural Adjustment Loans from the World Bank with the main objective to reduce poverty. See World Bank, Structural Adjustment Loan Project, [online] 1996 [cited September 11, 2003]; available from http://www.worldbank.lt/P044056.htm. See also World Bank, Structural Adjustment Loan Project (02), [online] 2000 [cited September 11, 2003]; available from http://www.worldbank.lt/P068706.htm.
 The project takes place in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and is implemented through a partnership among the Ministries of Interior, Border Guards, Departments of Investigating Organized Crime, and Ministries of Foreign Affairs. IOM, Online Project Compendium, [online] [cited August 29, 2002]; available from http://www.iom.int/iomwebsite/Project/ServletSerachProject?event+detail&id+FI1Z045.
 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Lithuania, Section 6f.
 The Education Improvement Project will upgrade teaching skills and improve educational facilities, among other aims. See World Bank, Education Improvement Project, [online] September 11, 2002 [cited September 11, 2003]; available from http://web.worldbank.org/external/projects/main?pagePK=104231&theSitePK=40941&menuPK=228424&Projectid=P070112.
 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of States Parties, Addendum: Lithuania, para. 253.
 UNICEF, Profiting From Abuse: An Investigation into the Sexual Exploitation of our Children (New York: 2001), 7; available from http://www.unicef.org/pubsgen/profiting/index.html.
 There are reports of some young Lithuanian women and girls trafficked to Holland, Germany, and other EU member states. Some of the victims trafficked into Lithuania are from Ukraine, Belarus, and Latvia. See U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Lithuania, Section 6f. See Agence France-Presse, "Finnish Conference Examines Threats to Women, Children," 2003; available from http://www.unwire.org/UNwire/20030604/34084_story.asp. See also Swedish International Development Agency, Looking Back, Thinking Forward: The Fourth Report on the Implementation of the Agenda for Action Adopted at the First World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Stockholm, Sweden, 28 August 1996, Stockholm, 1999-2000.
 Law on Education, No. I-1489, (June 25, 1991), Articles 13, 19(1), 21(2); available from http://www.litlex.lt/Litlex/Eng/Frames/Laws/Documents/77.htm.
 Education Act No. I-1489 of June 25, 1991 was amended to Education Act. No. VIII-854 on July 2, 1998. UNESCO: International Bureau of Education, World Data on Education – 2001: Lithuania Country Report, [online] April 2000; available from http://nt5.scbbs.com/cgi-bin/om_isapi.dll?clientID=405589&infobase=iwde.nfo&softpage=PL_frame.
 Constitution of Lithuania, (October 25, 1992), Article 41; available from http://www.uni-wuerzburg.de/law/lh00000_.html.
 World Bank, World Development Indicators 2003 [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2003.
 Data from the 2001 census indicates that about 1.2 percent of children ages 7 to 16 did not attend school. See Lithuanian Department of Statistics, press release, August 28, 2002, as cited in U.S. Embassy-Vilnius, electronic communication to USDOL official, March 5, 2004. The Ministry of Education Social Policy Department reports that in 2003, school drop-outs constitute 14.3 percent of all school-going children. See U.S. Embassy-Vilnius, electronic communication, March 5, 2004.
 Republic of Lithuania Law on Employment Contract, No. I-1489, (June 25, 1991); available from http://www.litlex.lt/Litlex/Eng/Frames/Laws/Fr_laws.htm. See also the Law on Labor Protection, which stipulates that the Government of Lithuania establish the jobs and working conditions under which children under 18 years may be employed. See also Republic of Lithuania Law on Labor Protection, No. I-266, (October 7, 1993), Article 59; available from http://www.litlex.lt/Litlex/Eng/Frames/Laws/Fr_laws.htm.
 Republic of Lithuania Law on Labor Protection, Article 58.
 Ibid. The Law on Labor Protection defines hazardous working conditions as the "working environment of working process factor which, under certain accidental circumstances, may cause an employee to be traumatized or killed or which may suddenly worsen an employee's health." A harmful factor in working conditions is defined as "the factor of the working environment due to which an employee may lose functional capacity or fall ill (or contract an occupational disease), or whose long lasting influence may be hazardous to life." See Republic of Lithuania Law on Labor Protection, Article 58.
 Republic of Lithuania Law on Labor Protection, Article 41.
 Law on Fundamentals of Protection of the Rights of the Child, No I-1234, (March 14, 1996), Article 39, 40, and 42; available from http://www.litlex.lt/Litlex/Eng/Frames/Laws/Fr_laws.htm.
 Valdas Rupsys, letter, September 2000.
 U.S. Embassy-Vilnius, unclassified telegram no. 2335. See also
 Republic of Lithuania Criminal Code of May 1, 2003, Articles 147 and 156-164 as cited in U.S. Embassy-Vilnius, electronic communication, February 24, 2004.
 Law on Fundamentals of Protection of the Rights of the Child, Article 48.
 The Criminal Code was amended on July 29, 1998, to include Article 131, Trafficking in Human Beings. See Criminal Codeas cited in Igoris Bazylevas and Renaldas Zekonis, Prevention and Control of Trafficking in Human Beings in Lithuania (Vilnius: S. Smirnovo Publishing, 2003).
 Bazylevas and Renaldas Zekonis, Prevention and Control of Trafficking in Human Beings in Lithuania. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Lithuania.
 U.S. Embassy-Vilnius, unclassified telegram no. 2335.
 "Republic of Lithuania, State Labor Inspectorate", as cited in U.S. Embassy-Vilnius, electronic communication, February 24, 2004.
 ILO, Ratifications by Country, in ILOLEX, [database online] [cited September 5, 2002]; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/newratframeE.htm. See also U.S. Embassy-Vilnius, unclassified telegram no. 991.