2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Moldova

Selected Statistics and Indicators on Child Labor
Population, children, 5-14 years, 2000:712,734
Working children, 5-14 years (%), 2000:30.1
Working boys, 5-14 years (%), 2000:31.2
Working girls, 5-14 years (%), 2000:28.9
Working children by sector, 5-14 years (%):
     – Agriculture
     – Manufacturing
     – Services
     – Other
Minimum age for work:18
Compulsory education age:9th grade
Free public education:Yes
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2007:89.2
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2007:83.3
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%), 2000:82.2
Survival rate to grade 5 (%):
ILO Convention 138:9/21/1999
ILO Convention 182:6/14/2002
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes

* Accession

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children in Moldova work on family farms or perform other work for their families. A 2007 ILO report notes that two-thirds of rural children worked on farms by age 14 years. Children also work in factories, theaters, car washes, carpentry, and the trade and transportation sectors. Children also sell alcohol and tobacco. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, children also work on the streets.

Moldova is a country of origin for children trafficked abroad for commercial sexual exploitation and forced begging. There are reports of trafficking from and through the separatist region of Transnistria. Children, mostly girls, are trafficked internally from rural areas to the capital, Chisinau. A 2006 UNICEF report states that the migration of adults in search of work has left approximately 40,000 children parentless. These children often do not have proper supervision and are at greater risk of exploitation.

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age for employment at 16 years. In certain cases, children who are 15 years of age can work with parental or legal authorization if the work will not interfere with their education, health, or development. Children between 15 and 16 years are allowed to work a maximum of 24 hours a week and no more than 5 hours a day. Children between 16 and 18 years can work a maximum of 35 hours a week and no more than 7 hours a day. Children are not permitted to work on holidays or weekends. To be eligible to work, children must pass a medical exam every year, paid for by the employer, until they reach 18 years. Children are prohibited from working overtime or participating in hazardous work, including work at nightclubs, work involving gambling, or selling tobacco or alcohol. The Government has approved a list of hazardous work forbidden for children, including: underground work; well drilling; metal work; work demanding "dynamic effort" or psychological exertion; and work which presents risk of injury from machinery, electric shock, extreme temperatures, or chemical or biological agents.

The Constitution prohibits forced labor and the exploitation of minors. The law prohibits trafficking in children for labor and sexual exploitation and provides for 10 years to life in prison for trafficking, and 10 to 15 years of imprisonment for using children in the worst forms of child labor (imprisonment may be for life for aggravated circumstances). The law prohibits child pornography and provides for 1 to 3 years of imprisonment or a fine.

The minimum age for compulsory military service is 18 years. The minimum age for voluntary military service for trainees is 17 years, though participation in active combat is not permitted until 18 years. The penalty for involvement of children in armed conflict is 2 to 5 years of imprisonment or a fine.

The law permits vulnerable youth from 16 to 18 years (including those living in residential institutions, orphans, children from single parent families, and victims of trafficking) to receive unemployment benefits and vocational training.

The Labor Inspection Office (LIO) is responsible for enforcing all labor laws, including those pertaining to child labor. The LIO employs 123 staff, including 93 inspectors. In 2008, the LIO uncovered 184 cases of child labor law violations. Violations included improper documentation; selling alcohol and tobacco; working without a medical exam; and working at night, on weekends, or during holidays. Of these, 19 cases resulted in administrative sanctions. Four work accidents involving children were registered in 2008. The law permits child labor inspections for both legally registered workplaces and of persons, thus covering informal worksites. Inspectors are also allowed to seek assistance from local public administrators to withdraw licenses of employers who repeatedly neglect labor inspection recommendations. There is a Child Labor Unit within the LIO that includes two persons and is responsible for developing, implementing, and monitoring national action to combat the worst forms of child labor. The LIO also maintains a Child Labor Documentation Center. However, USDOS reports that enforcement efforts have not deterred violations.

The Center to Combat Trafficking in Persons (CCTIP) is the Moldovan Government's principal anti-trafficking agency, which operates a task force to coordinate the country's law enforcement efforts. In July 2008, the President appointed a new CCTIP director and increased the staff from 63 to 105 persons; however, according to USDOS, the CCTIP remains insufficiently funded.

CCTIP operates a hotline for trafficking victims and, in 2008, provided television interviews on anti-trafficking operations and held seminars for high school students, teachers, priests, law enforcement, and local government officials with the help of NGOs and international organizations.

CCTIP reported 215 trafficking cases in 2008, 31 involving children, though USDOS reports that the actual numbers of trafficking cases are thought to be much higher. All cases involving children were sent to court, and out of all cases, 58 individuals were sentenced to terms of imprisonment ranging from 7 to 23 years. In July 2008, a Court of Appeals convicted six members of a trafficking network that operated in Moldova, Turkey, and Ukraine of 21 to 23 years in prison; the victims involved eight children. USDOS also notes that there are continued reports of government and law enforcement officials' involvement in trafficking, though the Government increased efforts to address such involvement in 2008.

The Ministry of Social Protection, Family, and Child is responsible for addressing the social reintegration of children who have been used for criminal activities and are at risk of trafficking. The law stipulates Government protection for the victims/witnesses in trafficking cases. USDOS and others report that the law has been inadequately implemented, and there were not sufficient measures to provide for victims' safety. A national trafficking victims' referral system exists in 19 of 32 districts. All 32 districts have local anti-trafficking committees.

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

In March 2008, the President of Moldova promulgated the Law on the Prevention and Combating Family Violence, which included child labor as a form of economic violence against children. In the same month, the Government approved the National Action Plan on Combating Trafficking in Persons (2008-2009), which included special provisions for minors, victim protection rehabilitation, and monitoring. The Government also approved the National Strategy on the Residential Childcare System in Moldova and the National Plan of Action (2008-2012), which aims to reduce the number of children living in orphanages, who are especially vulnerable to trafficking, by promoting alternatives to residential care. In December 2008, Parliament adopted the Strategy Action Plan of the National Referral System for Protection and Assistance of Victims and Potential Victims of Trafficking to coordinate local, national, and international anti-trafficking efforts.

In July 2008, the Government established the Center for Assistance and Protection to Victims and Potential Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings and contributed one-quarter of the operating costs. Also in 2008, the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports, in cooperation with other ministries and stakeholders, developed anti-trafficking educational and training programs for teachers, parents, children, and at-risk groups.

The Government hosted a regional conference aimed at preventing child exploitation, child pornography, and sex tourism. Topics discussed included the problem of Internet distribution of child pornography and deficiencies in laws that can prevent such exploitation. With funding from the Ministry of Social Protection, Family, and Child, 580 newly recruited social workers received 8-hour training sessions on the worst forms of child labor and child labor monitoring in 2008. The training was facilitated by UNICEF with assistance from ILO-IPEC. Further, as part of the Government's Collective Convention on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor, the National Employers' Federation of the Agriculture and Food Processing Industry carried out training sessions for employers on child labor laws in 2008.

The Moldovan Government is participating in a project called Trafficking and other Worst Forms of Child Labor in Central and Eastern Europe (Phase II; 2006-2009), a USD 3.5 million USDOL-funded project implemented by ILO-IPEC. The project, operating in Albania, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Moldova, Romania, and Ukraine, aims to withdraw 1,350 children and prevent 3,150 children from exploitive labor in the region. The Government participated in a USD 843,215 German Government-funded regional project (Albania, Moldova, Romania, Ukraine) to combat child trafficking that ended in March 2008 and a USD 2.2 million German Government-funded ILO-IPEC project to combat child labor in the Stability Pact countries that ended in June 2008. The Government is currently participating in a USD 250,000 German Government-funded ILO-IPEC regional project (Albania, Moldova, Romania, Ukraine) to combat child trafficking.

The Government of Moldova participated in a USDOL-funded USD 1.25 million project implemented by Catholic Relief Services that ended in October 2008. The project provided market-based job training, livelihood skills courses, and links to employment opportunities for young women and girls at risk for trafficking.


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