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January 16, 2009

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09KYIV95 2009-01-16 09:35 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Kyiv


DE RUEHKV #0095/01 0160935
R 160935Z JAN 09

E.O. 12958: N/A 
REF: A) 2008 STATE 127448 
     B) 2008 KYIV 953 
     C) 2007 KYIV 2925 
1. As requested by ref A, below Post provides updated 
information on child labor issues in Ukraine to aid in the 
drafting of the 2008 Trade and Development 
Act (TDA) report.  Refs B-C contain previous Post reporting 
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 helping to draft a more detailed list 
of work activities that, by their nature or the 
circumstances in which they are carried out, are likely to 
harm the health, safety, or morals of children.  Ministry 
of Health Decree No. 46 of 1994 provides a list of 
dangerous and hazardous work where the employment of 
children is prohibited.  ILO Convention 182 calls for 
periodical review of this list, but the Ministry of Health 
has been reluctant to do so. 
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.  In the informal sector, 
responsibility for enforcement 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 
6. Experts agree that child labor in Ukraine exists most 
frequently in the informal sector, where the activities 
children are engaged in are often illegal.  Common examples 
include sex services, pornography, and unsanctioned coal 
mining.  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. 
ILO/IPEC reports recent surveys indicate that enhanced GOU 
enforcement efforts have at least eliminated child labor 
underground at unsanctioned coal mines, although children 
likely continue to work on the surface at such mines. 
Children also engage in petty labor for small businesses. 
In June 2008, for example, the procuracy in the city of 
Donetsk launched ten criminal cases on child labor charges 
against small business owners.  The children involved had 
been found working nights at a car wash, unloading trucks, 
and working at a construction site. 
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, 
which was amended on October 10 to provide for more severe 
sentences, allows for imprisonment, or judicial restraint, 
for a term of three to seven years for the involvement of 
adolescents aged 14 - 18 in criminal activity, drunkenness, 
begging, or gambling.  Article 304 calls for imprisonment 
of four to ten years if children under 14 years old are 
8. The government investigates complaints and attempts to 
address violations, although incidents of child labor 
remain.  Uk
raine'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 
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. 
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 660 inspections during 2008, the State Labor 
Inspectorate found 2237 cases in which adolescents under 18 
years old were working.  Children under 14 years old were 
involved in 66 of these cases.  Inspectors passed 104 cases 
to law enforcement bodies to pursue criminal prosecution. 
Authorities filed administrative charges with the courts in 
341 cases.  Information on how these cases concluded is not 
available.  Fifty-eight employers faced administrative 
liability for refusal to cooperate with labor inspectors. 
11. In November, through the ILO/IPEC program, 27 regional 
representatives of the State Labor Inspectorate received 
training on the child labor monitoring system, including in 
the important area of conducting interviews with children. 
These inspectors are now expected to train other inspectors 
in their regions. 
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.  The national government 
allocated UAH 55,000 in 2008 and local authorities are 
planning to allocate UAH 24,600 over three years to carry 
out monitoring of rehabilitation centers for victims of 
trafficking and for children. 
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) to last 
until 2016 aimed at the effective implementation of the UN 
Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as a 
National Program to Combat Child Homelessness for the 
period of 2006-2010.  The National Program to Combat Child 
Homelessness was approved in 2006 and tracks closely with 
the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.  The draft 
NAP outlines an improved Child Labor Monitoring System and 
would help guarantee consistent state budget funding for 
the protection of the rights of children, but it has not 
yet received the necessary Parliamentary and Presidential 
approval to take effect. 
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.  The situation 
changed dramatically after the downfall of the Soviet Union 
and the subsequent collapse of the Ukrainian economy in the 
early to mid 1990s, 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 was widely 
used.  Poverty became the primary driving force for child 
labor, and general social disorder rendered children 
unprotected, particularly in relation to the employer.  As 
the economic situation has improved in recent years, 
however, child labor has become less of a problem.  Child 
labor still exists, especially in poorer areas, but is no 
longer widespread. 
21. Children are not found in Ukraine to be working in 
slavery or practices similar to slavery.  Children are 
trafficked to work and for sexual exploitation, 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.  IOM reports that 
there were 37 known cases of trafficking of minors under 18 
years of age in 2008 for the purpose of sexual 
exploitation.  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. The government has made progress in combating child 
labor in recent years, but important work remains.  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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