2008 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Ukraine

Selected Statistics and Indicators on Child Labor
Population, children, 5-14 years (%), 1999:6,993,779
Working children, 5-14 years (%), 1999:2.4
Working boys, 5-14 years (%), 1999:3.0
Working girls, 5-14 years (%), 1999:1.8
Working children by sector, 5-14 years (%), 1999:
     – Agriculture49.5
     – Manufacturing3.3
     – Services44.7
     – Other2.6
Minimum age for work:16
Compulsory education age:15
Free public education:Yes
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2007:99.8
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2007:89.4
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%), 1999:91.5
Survival rate to grade 5 (%):
ILO Convention 138:5/3/1979
ILO Convention 182:12/14/2000
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children in Ukraine are found working in agriculture, trade in open air markets, and surface coal mining.

Ukraine is a source country for Internet child pornography. Ukrainian children are trafficked internationally and internally for the purposes of sexual exploitation, forced begging, and forced labor in agriculture. Most trafficked girls are subject to commercial sexual exploitation, while boys are trafficked for labor or to sell drugs. Debt bondage, forcing the child to pay off debt incurred as a result of the trafficking, is a common occurrence in trafficking situations.

Street children, victims of domestic violence, orphans, residents of children's homes, and children who migrate in search of work are among those most at-risk of becoming engaged in the worst forms of child labor, including commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking.

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for employment is 16 years. With the consent of a parent, children at 15 years may work in certain non-hazardous industries and children at 14 years may work in agriculture and the social sector (orphanages, hospitals, elder care, etc.) on a short-term basis if it does not interfere with their education. The employment of an underage child is punishable by up to 6 months of imprisonment or judicial restraint for up to 3 years. The sentence is increased to 2 to 5 years of imprisonment if multiple children are involved, if considerable damage is done to the health of the child, or if the child was involved in hazardous work.

Forced labor of children is forbidden by law. The minimum age for military conscription and participation in combat is 18 years. Orphans and children of military personnel can begin military training at 15 years. Individuals can enroll in a military education institution at 17 years.

Pimping or managing a brothel that employs minors is punishable by 2 to 7 years of imprisonment. Involvement of a child in prostitution for profit or through violence or threats is prohibited, and offenders can be punished by 3 to 5 years of imprisonment. The importation, sale, distribution, or manufacturing of pornography is punishable by 6 months to 3 years of imprisonment. The sentence is increased to 5 years if the material is on film or video media. If there are repeat violations or if the act was committed by a group of persons and involved compelling the minor to participate, the sentence is increased to 3 to 7 years of imprisonment.

Trafficking of minors for the purpose of exploitation is punishable by 5 to 12 years of imprisonment. The sentence is increased to a prison term of 8 to 15 years if a minor is trafficked internationally or the crime is committed by an organized group. Children are forbidden from leaving the country or changing residence without the consent of the minor's legal representatives.

The State Labor Inspectorate, under the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, implements and enforces child labor laws in the formal sector. There were 708 labor inspectors in Ukraine in 2006, the most recent year for which data was available. In addition to the Labor Inspectorate, the Ministry of Emergencies and the Ministry of Health also conduct inspections. The State Department of Surveillance over Labor Legislation Observance reported that during 2008, there were 660 labor inspections which uncovered 2,237 cases of adolescents under 18 years working, of which 66 involved children less than 14 years and 104 of these cases were referred for prosecution. The Labor Inspectorate does not have the authority to inspect informal workplaces. The Department of Juvenile Affairs under the Ministry of Family, Youth, and Sport (MOFYS) and the Criminal Police on Juvenile Affairs under the Ministry of Internal Affairs are responsible for finding children engaged in the worst forms of child labor in the informal sector.

The Ministry of Interior's Anti-Trafficking Department oversees the enforcement of child anti-trafficking laws. The Ministry of Internal Affairs has bilateral and multilateral agreements with regional and international law enforcement agencies to address transnational trafficking. The Ministry of Health is responsible for providing physical and psychological rehabilitation to child victims of prostitution and trafficking. In 2008, IOM reported 37 cases of child trafficking for sexual exploitation. USDOS reported that victims were reluctant to testify against their traffickers due to a lack of trust in the law enforcement system, weak witness protection efforts, and a negative public perception of trafficking victims. USDOS also reported that corruption among the police and in the courts hampered the enforcement of anti-trafficking laws.

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

The Government's State Program to Combat Child Homelessness and Neglect (2006-2010) identifies child homelessness as a factor related to child labor and aims to identify and support at-risk families. The Government of Ukraine has a National Action Plan (2006-2016) on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, with separate chapters on the worst forms of child labor, child trafficking, and sexual exploitation. The Donetsk Regional Action Plan to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor calls for regular workplace monitoring, support for local action committees working with ILO-IPEC, awareness-raising activities, the provision of services to formerly working children, and the regular supervision of at-risk families to prevent child labor.

The Kherson Regional Program on the Prevention of Trafficking in Human Beings (2007-2010) provides services for trafficking victims, including child victims. It also supports information and awareness-raising activities targeting children and youth, regular monitoring of labor migration, and the implementation of programs for the psychosocial rehabilitation of child victims. Ukraine's State Program on Counteracting Trafficking of People (2007-2010) aims to eliminate child prostitution, child pornography, and trafficking in children by serving as a guideline on strategies against child trafficking and enforcing mechanisms to eliminate child labor. Program activities include training courses, rehabilitation centers, and improvement of identification systems. It also requires MOFYS and other agencies to allocate funding to help child victims of trafficking. As of January 2009, the Government has appropriated USD 7,000 to the program. In 2008, the Decree on Activities on Protection of Children's Rights and Interests was issued. The decree includes measures to be taken by the Ministry of Internal Affairs to protect children from exploitation.

The Government participates in a USD 3.5 million USDOL-funded ILO-IPEC regional project (2006-2009) to combat child trafficking and other worst forms of child labor, which operates in Albania, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Moldova, Romania, and Ukraine. The project aims to withdraw 1,350 children and prevent 3,150 children from exploitive labor throughout all of the participating countries. With the support of the Government of Germany, the Government of Ukraine is participating in a USD 250,000 ILO-IPEC regional project (Albania, Moldova, Romania, Ukraine) to combat child trafficking for labor and sexual exploitation from December 2003 to December 2009. The Government is participating in a USD 250,000 USDOS-funded, NGO-implemented, anti-trafficking project. The project aims to improve victim identification efforts, public awareness, and provide training to local government representatives. The Government of Ukraine also participated in a USD 843,000 German-funded ILOIPEC regional project (Albania, Moldova, Romania, Ukraine) to combat child trafficking from February 2003 to March 2008.

The Government continued to work with NGOs on anti-trafficking awareness-raising campaigns and funded the production and distribution of anti-trafficking awareness material. In 2008, ILO-IPEC trained State Labor Inspectorate representatives on the child labor monitoring system.


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