2001 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Hungary

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

The Government of Hungary has agreements with 10 European countries to facilitate improved police cooperation in order to combat trafficking.[1219] In 1997, Hungary implemented a program for border guards that had a particular emphasis on preventing trafficking in children and young adults.[1220] IOM launched an information campaign in 1999 to address suspected increases in the trafficking of women and girls.[1221] In 1999, the government amended the Act of Public Education to implement an educational improvement project, which included measures to increase access to schools.[1222]

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 1999, the ILO estimated that less than 1 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 14 in Hungary were working.[1223] Children are reported to work in family businesses, on farms, as beggars on the streets, and as prostitutes. Hungary is a source and destination country for the trafficking of children, some as young as 12 or 13 years, for the purposes of forced labor.[1224] Women are trafficked to Western and Eastern European countries, including Russia, Ukraine, and Romania, are trafficked into Hungary for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation.[1225]

Education is free and compulsory between the ages of 6 and 16 years.[1226] In 1995, the gross primary enrollment rate was 103 percent and the net primary enrollment rate was 96.7 percent.[1227] Schools in ethnic Roma communities are in markedly poorer condition, and in 1992, less than 2 percent of Roma children graduated from high school.[1228]

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The 1992 Labor Code states that children may only be employed when they have finished their compulsory education, which effectively sets the minimum age at 16 years.[1229] However, children who are 14 years old are permitted to work if the work does not interfere with schooling or if they are exempt from attending school.[1230] All children under age 16 must obtain the consent of a legal guardian before entering into an employment contract.[1231] The Labor Code specifically prohibits children under the age of 18 from working in jobs that may be detrimental to their physical well-being or development, in night work, or in overtime work.[1232] Forced labor is prohibited by law.[1233] According to the 1999 Act of Offenses, persuading or soliciting another to engage in prostitution is illegal, as is working in a brothel under the age of 18.[1234] There are no specific laws that address trafficking, but the Criminal Code has provisions against kidnapping and violations of personal freedom.[1235]

Labor, education, and child welfare authorities monitor and address complaints relating to child labor through spot-check inspections and labor courts.[1236] Hungary ratified ILO Convention 138 on May 28, 1998 and ILO Convention 182 on April 20, 2000.[1237]

[1219] Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2000 – Hungary (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of State, 2001) [hereinafter Country Reports 2000], Section 6f, at http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2000/eur/index.cfm?docid=774.

[1220] Council of Europe. Implementation of Recommendation No. R(91)11 on sexual exploitation, pornography and prostitution of, and trafficking in, children and young adults, March 15, 1997, as cited in Trafficking in Women Working Paper, 69.

[1221] "IOM Launches Information Campaign to Raise Awareness About Trafficking in Women in Bulgaria and Hungary," IOM News Release, November 12, 1999, no. 842, at http://www.uri.edu/dignity/iomnov99.htm on 10/19/01.

[1222] Ministry of Education, Comenius 2000 Programme for Quality Improvement in Public Education, The New Approach to Quality in Public Education, at http://www.om.hu/j430 _english.html on 10/19/01.

[1223] The study found that 0.04 percent of children between ages 10 and 14 are economically active. See World Development Indicators 2001 (Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2001) [hereinafter World Development Indicators 2001] [CD-ROM]. More children in the ethnic Roma population work because of their tendency to drop out of primary school. See also U.S. Embassy-Budapest, unclassified telegram no. 1920, March 1998 [hereinafter unclassified telegram 1920]; and International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, Internationally Recognized Core Labor Standards in Hungary, Report for the World Trade Organization General Council Review of the Labor Policies of Hungary (Geneva, July 1998).

[1224] Unclassified telegram 1920. See Country Reports 2000, Section 6f. See also "Hungary Considers Legalized Prostitution," Agence-France Presse, December 1, 1997, at http://www.archive.nandotimes.com/newsroom/ntn/health/120197/health10_6… on 10/19/01; European Parliament, Directorate-General for Research, Trafficking in Women Working Paper (Brussels, March 2000) [hereinafter Trafficking in Women Working Paper]; and Human Rights Reports on Trafficking of Women and Children, Hungary, The Protection Project Database [hereinafter Human Rights Reports], at http://www.protectionproject.org on 12/11/01.

[1225] According to one estimate, one third of the female prostitutes in Hungary are from the Ukraine, Romania, and Russia. See Trafficking in Women Working Paper and Country Reports 2000 at Section 6f. See also Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation: Hungary, at http://www.uri.edu/artsci/wms/hughes/catw/hungary.htm on 10/19/01.

[1226] U.S. Embassy-Budapest, unclassified telegram no. 3455, September 2000 [hereinafter unclassified telegram 3455]. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention: Initial Reports of States Parties Due in 1993, Addendum, Hungary, CRC/C/8/Add.34 (Geneva, September 24, 1996) [hereinafter Initial Reports of States Parties], para. 66.

[1227] World Development Indicators 2001.

[1228] Roma children are often placed in remedial education programs designed for children with mental disabilities or low academic performance, and in September 1999, the Minister of Education and the parliamentary Ombudsman for Minority Rights acknowledged that there is segregation in the country's educational system. See Country Reports 2000 at Section 5.

[1229] Hungary Labour Code [hereinafter Hungary Labour Code], Act No. 22 of 1992, Part III, Section 72(1), at http://www.natlex.ilo.org/txt/E92HUN01.htm on 11/2/01. See also unclassified telegram 3455.

[1230] Hungary Labour Code at Part III, Section 72(4).

[1231] Ibid. at Part III, Section 72(2).

[1232] Ibid. at Part III, Sections 75, 121, 128(2).

[1233] The law that prohibits forced labor is not specified. See Country Reports 2000 at Section 6c.

[1234] Act of Offenses (Act LXIX of 1999), Sections 143, 205-207, as cited in Human Rights Report.

[1235] Initial Reports of States Parties at paras. 101, 103.

[1236] The National Work Safety and Labor Affairs Supervision Office (OMMF) has 20 county and local offices to enforce the labor code. OMMF inspectors respond to complaints and conduct random spot checks. Complex cases may be presented to the labor courts. Violations of labor regulations are misdemeanors punishable by a fine ranging from approximately USD 160 to 9,000. See unclassified telegram 3455.

[1237] ILOLEX database: Hungary at http://ilolex.ilo.ch:1567/english/ on 10/19/01.


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