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November 30, 2007

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07KYIV2925 2007-11-30 11:08 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Kyiv


DE RUEHKV #2925/01 3341108
R 301108Z NOV 07

E.O. 12958: N/A 
REF: A) STATE 149662 
     B) 2006 KYIV 4542 
1. Post provided detailed information on child labor in 
Ukraine last year (ref B), the first time that Ukraine was 
covered by this Trade and Development Act (TDA) reporting 
requirement.  As requested by ref A, below Post provides 
updated information on child labor issues. 
2. Post will also send this information via email to USDOL 
POC Tina McCarter.  Post's POC is Christian Yarnell, 
Economic Officer - Email:; Phone: 011- 
380-44-490-4276; Fax: 011-380-44-490-4277). 
Laws/Regulations Proscribing the Worst Forms of Child Labor 
---------------- ------------------------------------------ 
3. Ukraine's Labor Code sets 16 as the minimum age for 
employment, although as of age 15 adolescents may engage in 
"light work" with their parents' consent.  The law does 
not, however, clearly define the term "light work."  In 
addition, children aged 14 can legally do some forms of 
agricultural and social work on a short-term basis, with 
the consent of one parent. 
4. The law "On Childhood Protection" provides the primary 
legal framework for combating child labor.  Article 21 of 
this law forbids the "involvement of children in the worst 
forms of child labor" and defines the "worst forms of child 
labor" in line with ILO Convention 182.  Ukraine ratified 
ILO Convention 182 on December 14, 2000.  The law "On 
Childhood Protection" provides a list of occupations 
considered among the worst forms of child labor but does 
not specify particular activities within those broad 
occupations.  Ukraine's National Tripartite Social and 
Economic Council is currently developing a more detailed 
list of activities considered the worst forms of child 
Implementation and Enforcement 
5. The State Labor Inspectorate (full name: State 
Department of Surveillance over Labor Legislation 
Observance) under the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy 
is responsible for implementing and enforcing child labor 
laws in the formal sector.  The State Labor Inspectorate 
maintains local offices in all of the country's 25 regions 
and has approximately 2,000 individual inspectors 
countrywide.  In the informal sector, enforcing 
responsibility falls to the Department of Juvenile Affairs 
(under the Ministry of Family, Youth, and Sport) and the 
Criminal Police (under the Ministry of Internal Affairs). 
The GOU cooperates with the ILO's International Program on 
the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC). 
6. Experts agree that child labor in Ukraine exists most 
often in the informal sector, where the activities children 
are engaged in are illegal.  Common examples include sex 
services, pornography, and unsanctioned coal mining. 
Specific cases from 2007 include Europol's discovery in 
November of a child pornography ring that victimized 21 
Ukrainian children, and an investigation in the eastern 
oblast of Donetsk of a boarding school for disabled 
children that allowed a group of underage orphans to sift 
and load coal for a nearby company.  In such cases, law 
enforcement agencies usually take the lead and seek 
prosecution of those responsible for the illegal activity 
and illegal hiring of children.  Tetyana Minenko, National 
Program Manager for ILO/IPEC, told Econoff on November 23 
that recent surveys indicated that enhanced GOU enforcement 
efforts had at least eliminated child labor underground at 
unsanctioned coal mines, although children continued to 
work on the surface at such mines. 
7. According to Article 150 of Ukraine's Criminal Code, the 
unlawful employment of an underage child carries a sentence 
of up to six months imprisonment, or judicial restraint for 
up to three years, along with restrictions for up to three 
years on the right to occupy certain positions and conduct 
certain business activities.  A stiffer sentence of 
imprisonment from two to five years is possible if multiple 
underage children are involved, if the offender causes 
considerable damage to the health or physical condition of 
the child, or if the work involves some kind of hazardous 
production.  In addition, Article 304 of the Criminal Code 
allows for imprisonment, or judicial restraint, for a term 
up to three years for the involvement of adolescents under 
18 into criminal activity, drunkenness, begging, or 
8. The government investigates complaints and attempts to 
address violations, although incidents of child labor 
remain.  Ukraine's system of labor inspections is split 
among three different bodies -- the State Labor 
Inspectorate, the State Committee for Industrial Safety, 
Occupational Health, and Mining Supervision, and the State 
Committee on Occupational Hygiene (under the Ministry of 
Health).  Better integration of the inspection function &#x000A
;would likely improve the government's ability to combat 
child labor.  Some legal restrictions also constrain labor 
inspectors in their efforts to combat child labor.  For 
example, labor inspectors cannot investigate cases at 
private residences (including household farms), where some 
businesses employing children may be registered.  The 
Ministry of Labor and Social Policy is currently drafting 
legislative amendments meant to eliminate these 
9. Violators of child labor laws in the formal sector 
usually face only small administrative fines, and 
punishments do not constitute a serious deterrent. 
Employers of children who engage in criminal activities are 
more difficult for the government to monitor, but routinely 
face criminal prosecution when discovered. 
10. Investigating child labor abuses is part of the State 
Labor Inspectorate's broader enforcement of labor laws, and 
there are no inspectors devoted solely to child labor. 
Through 563 inspections during the first half of 2007, the 
State Labor Inspectorate found 1500 cases in which 
adolescents under 18 years old were working.  Inspectors 
passed 62 cases to law enforcement bodies to pursue 
criminal prosecution.  Authorities filed administrative 
charges with the courts in 257 cases.  Information on how 
these cases concluded is not available.  Fifteen employers 
faced administrative liability for refusal to cooperate 
with labor inspectors. 
11. Inspectors receive some training on child labor laws, 
although State Labor Inspectorate representative Irina 
Vasylenko told Econoff on November 9 that inspectors could 
benefit from additional training on how to conduct 
interviews more effectively with children and employers. 
Social Programs to Combat Child Labor 
12. Parliament adopted "The National Program on Supporting 
Youth for 2004-2008" on November 18, 2003.  The program 
aims at creating favorable political, social, economic, 
legislative, financial, and organizational conditions for 
addressing the urgent problems of young people. 
13. The President of Ukraine issued a Decree "On Priority 
Measures to Protect Children's Rights" on July 11, 2005. 
The government of Ukraine subsequently developed a series 
of policy initiatives to implement the President's goals. 
Among these initiatives are the following: 
-- The Decree "On the Statute of SOS-Children Village," 
issued on March 15, 2006, established a specialized 
nonprofit organization, under the supervision of the 
Department of Juvenile Affairs, which seeks to provide 
disadvantaged children with life skills and educational 
opportunities within a family environment. 
-- "The State Program on Family Support for 2006-2010" was 
approved by the Government on May 11, 2006. It acknowledged 
the increasing number of street children and the high level 
of child neglect.  The initiative sets a minimum level of 
financial assistance for vulnerable families.  It also 
carries provisions for psychological support, and for broad 
public awareness campaigns on family values and healthy 
-- "The State Program on Reforming the Boarding System for 
Children-Orphans and Children, Deprived of Parental Care," 
approved on May 11, 2006, seeks to restructure the nation's 
boarding schools, and to promote foster care and other 
alternative models of child care. 
-- "The State Program on Education Development for 2006- 
2010," approved on July 12, 2006, aims to reform the 
Ukrainian education system along European lines.  It 
supports improved education in rural areas and for children 
lacking parental care. 
-- The government amended the "Regulation On Setting and 
Payment of State Allowances for Families with Children" on 
August 1, 2006 to provide single-parent families with state 
allowances for children, up to 23 years of age, studying in 
institutions of higher education.  The state previously 
provided such assistance for children only up to 18 years 
of age. 
-- "The State Program on Combating Trafficking in Human 
Beings," approved on March 7, 2007, and in force until 
2010, contains special provisions on child trafficking. 
The program requires the Ministry of Family, Youth and 
Sports, as well as other executive bodies, to allocate 
budget funds to help the victims of trafficking, and child 
trafficking in particular. 
14. The Ministry of Education and Science takes the lead in 
developing and implementing programs to support children's 
access to schooling.  In particular, the Ministry publishes 
and supplies free manuals for schools, provides busing for 
children in rural areas, and supports teachers in rural 
schools through initiatives to provide teachers with 
housing and supplemental wages. 
15. The government provides support to vocational programs 
for older children that can serve as an alternative to 
work.  The Public Employment Service operates a vocational 
training program for unemployed youth who are outside the 
education system.  In collaboration with the Ministry of 
Education and Science, the Public Employment Service also 
conducts job counseling and vocational reorientation 
activities to meet current labor market demands, and has 
expanded its efforts to provide training for school 
guidance counselors.  Working with the ILO's SCREAM 
Initiative ("Supporting Children's Rights through 
Education, the Arts, and the Media"), the Ministry of 
Education has provided materials to schools across the 
country meant to promote children's participation in 
extracurricular activities, and to keep them out of the 
labor force. 
16. Ukraine's Constitution calls for universal education, 
and authorities generally enforce this requirement.  Public 
education is free, but students are sometimes expected to 
cover their own expenses for books, supplies (including 
school uniforms), and transportation.  These expenses can 
be quite costly for poorer Ukrainian families and can, in 
rare cases, prevent some children from attending school. 
Transportation can be a particularly difficult impediment; 
the state's ability to provide buses in some school 
districts, particularly those between small villages, is 
limited by budgetary constraints.  The Ministry of 
Education is implementing a $96 million World Bank project 
meant to improve the country's education system and ensure 
equal access for all Ukrainians. 
Comprehensive Policy for Elimination of Child Labor 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
17. Through the 2005 Decree "On Priority Measures to 
Protect Children's Rights," the President empowered the 
Government to draft a National Action Plan (NAP) for the 
period 2006-2016 aimed at the effective implementation of 
the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as a 
ational Program to Combat Child Homelessness for the 
period of 2006-2010.  The NAP, approved on April 22, 2006, 
tracks closely with the UN Convention on the Rights of the 
Child.  The draft NAP also outlines an improved Child Labor 
Monitoring System.  In 2006, the government submitted the 
NAP for parliamentary approval, which would help guarantee 
consistent state budget funding for the protection of the 
rights of children.  Parliament adopted the NAP as a law 
only in July, when Ukraine was in the midst of a political 
crisis, and the law never took effect because the President 
refused to recognize the legality of any acts passed by the 
Parliament during this period.  The Ministry of Labor hopes 
that the new Parliament, which took office in November, 
will return to the issue. 
18. The 2005 Presidential Decree also requested the 
Ministry of Justice to examine and improve the juvenile 
justice system.  The Ministry of Interior, meanwhile, was 
tasked to improve efforts to locate missing children, 
better identify individuals who involve children in illicit 
activities (begging, prostitution, etc.), and bring these 
individuals to justice. 
19. President Viktor Yushchenko has made the elimination of 
the worst forms of child labor a government priority since 
taking office in 2005, and has spoken publicly on the issue 
on several occasions. 
Progress toward Eliminating the Worst Forms of Child Labor 
--------------- ------------------------------------------ 
20. As established by the Constitution of Ukraine, child 
labor has been and remains formally prohibited.  However, 
it has always existed, and was an integral part of the 
Soviet educational system, considered valuable experience 
in preparing children for the workplace.  Under the planned 
Soviet economy, child labor did not have an overly 
destructive impact on children because it was overseen by 
national education bodies and was utilized as a means of 
education rather than family subsistence.  The situation 
changed dramatically after the downfall of the Soviet Union 
and the subsequent collapse of the Ukrainian economy, 
however, when child labor as a large scale social and 
economic problem took on new dimensions.  The collapse of 
the economic system fostered the emergence of a large 
shadow economy in which child labor is widely used.  Petty 
commerce appears to be the most common occupation in which 
children are engaged, as approximately one third of working 
children sell products on the streets or in unofficial 
markets.  Poverty became the primary driving force for 
child labor, and general social disorder rendered children 
unprotected, particularly in relation to the employer. 
21. Children are not found in Ukraine to be working in 
slavery or practices similar to slavery.  Children are 
trafficked to work, however.  Ukraine is a point of origin 
for internationally trafficked men, women, and children. 
The main destinations are Russia, Turkey, Western and 
Central Europe, particularly Poland and the Czech Republic, 
and the Middle East.  The country is also a transit route 
for individuals from Central Asia, Russia, and Moldova. 
According to the International Organization for Migration 
(IOM), the main trafficking victims are females up to 30 
years of age (for sexual exploitation) and older females 
(for labor exploitation), males of all ages (for labor 
exploitation), and children under the age of 16 (both for 
sexual and labor exploitation).  Children who were 
trafficked across the border or within the country are 
forced to provide sexual services, engage in unpaid work, 
or beg.  The law provides for penalties of three to eight 
years' imprisonment for trafficking in persons for various 
purposes, including sexual and labor exploitation.  Under 
some aggravated circumstances involving trafficking of 
minors aged 14 to 18, traffickers may be sentenced to 
prison terms of from five to 12 years.  Traffickers of 
minors under the age of 14 may be sentenced to terms of 
from eight to 15 years. 
22. Although the ILO cites encouraging trends in the 
decrease of unemployment to seven percent in Ukraine in 
2006, 23 percent of those registered as unemployed at the 
State Employment Service are young people.  The situation 
is even worse in rural areas.  According to research 
conducted in 2003 by the National Institute on Problems of 
International Security, the main reason for rural youth to 
go abroad (and to be vulnerable to trafficking) is 
unemployment, while for urban youth it is low-paying or 
non-paying salaries. 
23. The government has made progress in combating child 
labor in recent years, but substantial tasks remain.  The 
majority of local government agencies, as well as some 
central government bodies, still do not possess sufficient 
awareness, commitment, and capacity to plan and implement 
interventions to combat child labor.  In addition, 
Ukrainian society has only recently begun to recognize the 
existence of child labor and associated problems.  Broad 
societal support, strong and consistent political 
commitment, as well as support from a wide range of 
government agencies still need be ensured.  Institutional 
capacity also needs to be strengthened, both in substantive 
(child labor related knowledge and methodology) and 
technical (program management capacity and resource 
mobilization) areas.  That said, the government's recent 
efforts to combat child labor, and its cooperation with the 
ILO on this issue, have been a very positive step. 




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