Child labour in Europe and Central Asia

Child labour estimates cited the ILO’s 2006 Global Report on child labour suggest a decline in the number of children working in the transition economies in Europe and Central Asia. Economic growth and poverty reduction linked with political commitment to combating child labour have led to significant progress. Europe’s rate of ratification of both the ILO Child Labour Conventions has been very encouraging. Only three of 49 countries have yet to ratify the ILO Minimum Age Convention No. 138 and only three have not yet ratified the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention No. 182. With the support of national partners, IPEC has begun to elaborate and integrate exit strategies in projects carried out in Central and Eastern Europe.

Despite the positive picture overall, there are still some areas where child labour is endemic. In Central Asia and the Caucasus, many street children fall victim to the worst forms of child labour and many rural children perform hazardous work in agriculture. In addition, children from rural areas are commonly trafficked to urban centres or wealthier countries for labour exploitation, including commercial sexual exploitation.

Regional Offices – web sites

Child Labour Country Dashboard

  1. The Child Labour Country Dashboard provide information from various sources to present a broad picture of the national child labour situation of a country and the main actions being taken to combat it. The legislation, policies and strategies covered by the Country Dashboard are listed below. All of them can contribute towards the elimination of child labour.

    By clicking on the country name at the right menu you will access to the country-specific information.

  1. Country legislation on child labour

    ILO Convention No. 138 on the minimum age, adopted in 1973, and ILO Convention No. 182 on the worst forms on child labour, adopted in 1999.

    The ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR) is mandated to provide an impartial and technical evaluation of the state of application of the ratified Conventions. The CEACR makes two kinds of comments: observations and direct requests. Observations contain comments on fundamental questions raised by the application of a particular convention by a state. Direct requests relate to more technical questions or requests for further information.

    The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), adopted in 1989, contains a range of international rights for children. Article 32 of the Convention addresses child labour. CRC has two Optional Protocols, adopted in 2000, one concerns the involvement of children in armed conflict, and the second concerns the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

    The Committee on the Rights of the Child is mandated to monitor and report on the implementation of the CRC and its Optional Protocols. The Committee then provides concluding observations.

    The national legislation on child labour provided here comes from the ILO Natlex database.

  2. Country policies on child labour

    The UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) is a programme framework between a government and the UN Country Team (UNCT) that describes the collective response of the UN system to the achievement of national development priorities and results. Usually the UNDAF is developed on the basis of a National Development Plan (NDP).

    The ILO Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) is the ILO contribution to the UN country assistance. It describes the ILO support at the country level towards the goal of decent work for all women and men, including the support to develop and implement National Action Plans (NAPs) to combat child labour.

    The Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) outlines a country programme for poverty reduction to allow it to obtain funding from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank for support. The policy and programmes prescriptions in PRSPs can have a direct and/or indirect impact on the child labour situation in the country.

    The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) is a multi-stakeholder partnership that seek to ensure accelerated progress in developing countries towards achieving the SDG 4 which call for inclusive, equitable quality education for all by 2030.