In 2015, Mongolia made a moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The Government hired 41 new labor inspectors and developed a risk assessment checklist to help investigators accurately identify victims of human trafficking, including child victims. Members of the national Coordinating Council to combat child labor resumed efforts to coordinate the Government’s implementation of the National Action Plan on the Worst Forms of Child Labor after a year of inactivity. In addition, the Government collected data on exploitative child labor in Mongolia’s capital city, Ulaanbaatar. However, children in Mongolia are engaged in child labor, including in herding, and in the worst forms of child labor, including in commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking. Labor inspectors lack adequate training on laws related to child labor, and there is no referral mechanism between labor authorities and social services providers to effectively assist children identified as child laborers. The Government also lacks social programs to address child labor in certain relevant sectors.
I. PREVALENCE AND SECTORAL DISTRIBUTION OF CHILD LABOR
Children in Mongolia are engaged in child labor, including in herding. Children are also engaged in the worst forms of child labor, including in commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking. (1-6) The Mongolia National Child Labor Survey 2011–2012, published in 2013, indicates that 43,545 Mongolian children ages 5 to 17 are engaged in child labor, while 10,398 children are involved in hazardous work. Nine out of ten children exploited in situations of hazardous work are boys. (2) According to the survey, children’s employment is more prevalent in rural areas than in urban areas. (2, 7) Table 1 provides key indicators on children’s work and education in Mongolia.
Based on a review of available information, Table 2 provides an overview of children’s work by sector and activity.
Mongolian children are generally trafficked internally for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation in saunas, bars, hotels, karaoke clubs, and massage parlors. (3-6, 22) Some Mongolian children also work as jockeys in horse races. A 2015 rapid assessment found that child jockeys participating in spring races, the average age of whom is between 6 and 16 years old, face a number of health and safety hazards, including exposure to extremely cold temperatures and risk of brain and bone injuries. (20) Participation in pre-training and spring racing may also negatively impact a child’s school attendance. (20)
During the reporting period, government agencies collected data on exploitative child labor in Mongolia’s capital city. An unpublished survey conducted by the Ministry of Labor in 6 of Ulaanbaatar’s 9 districts identified 13 to 41 children engaged in child labor in major markets and dumpsites. (10) The Metropolitan Office of Child and Family Development and the Ulaanbaatar Labor and Social Welfare Departments surveyed 210 child laborers in Ulaanbaatar and found that children work in a variety of occupations, including as petty traders, car washers, bag handlers at markets, scavengers in dumpsites, assistants in construction material shops, and jockeys. (10)
II. LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR
Mongolia has ratified all key international conventions concerning child labor (Table 3).
The Government has established laws and regulations related to child labor, including its worst forms (Table 4).
In July 2015, the Ministry of Labor submitted a draft revised Law on Labor to parliament for discussion and review by the Standing Committee on Social Policy, Education, Culture, and Science. The draft includes additional provisions on light work and on the prohibition of the worst forms of child labor. (10, 37, 38) In February 2016, just after the close of the reporting period, the Ministry of Labor issued an order listing types of hazardous work prohibited to children, including working as a horse jockey in winter and spring races. (39, 40)
In December 2015, the Mongolian parliament approved a revised Criminal Code that criminalizes the worst forms of child labor, including the use of children for begging and to commit crimes, the sale of children, and the commercial sexual exploitation of children. (38) However, this law did not go into effect during the reporting period. (10) Therefore, during the reporting period, laws related to the commercial sexual exploitation of children were not sufficient as they do not clearly criminalize the use or offering of children in the production of pornography, or the procuring of children ages 16 and 17 for the production of pornography or pornographic performances. (28, 41)
Mongolia’s Law on Labor only provides minimum age protections to children working under a labor contract, leaving children working outside of a labor contract unprotected.(24, 42) In addition, laws related to human trafficking are not sufficient as there are no provisions that specifically, criminally prohibit the trafficking of children for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor.
III. ENFORCEMENT OF LAWS ON THE WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR
The Government has established institutional mechanisms for the enforcement of laws and regulations on child labor, including its worst forms (Table 5).
Labor Law Enforcement
In 2015, labor law enforcement agencies in Mongolia took actions to combat child labor, including its worst forms (Table 6).
In 2015, the General Agency for Specialized Inspection (GASI) hired an additional 41 labor inspectors. (10) New inspectors participated in an initial training course that includes a component on child labor. (39) Despite this increase in labor inspectorate personnel, NGOs and government officials still reported that the number of inspectors and the state funding provided for GASI are inadequate, given the scope of the child labor problem, the growing number of businesses in the country, and GASI’s broad responsibilities in the areas of labor monitoring and health and safety regulation. (3, 10, 21)
Research found that at national-level horse races, there continued to be good compliance with safety regulations for child jockeys; however, poor regulation over community-level races in rural areas continued to be an issue. (10)
Criminal Law Enforcement
In 2015, criminal law enforcement agencies in Mongolia took actions to combat the worst forms of child labor (Table 7).
In 2015, the Organized Crime Department employed two agents and four investigators responsible for investigating a range of crimes, including trafficking in persons cases. (47) Research indicated that this number was inadequate to address the scope of the problem. (3, 39, 48) During the year, several entities provided training to law enforcement officials on combating human trafficking. The Gender Equality Center (GEC), a local NGO, trained 370 judges, prosecutors, and investigators on human trafficking concepts and national legislation, while the Public Safety Division of the National Police Agency ensured that deputy chiefs and officers responsible for community patrolling in every province received anti–human trafficking training. (10, 47) In addition, the Ministry of Justice provided $4,836 to the National Law Enforcement University and the GEC to train 252 police officers and social workers in five provinces. However, despite these capacity-building efforts, police officers reported that there is a general lack of knowledge and training on how to apply criminal trafficking laws to cases of commercial sexual exploitation of children. As a result, many cases that could have been prosecuted under the trafficking article of the Criminal Code were instead prosecuted under related articles of the Criminal Code that carry lighter penalties. (3, 41, 47) In one instance, research found that a case originally prosecuted in 2014 and involving four child victims was reclassified in 2015 as a human trafficking crime under Article 113. As a result, three perpetrators were convicted and sentenced to up to 10 years in prison. (47)
During the reporting period, the Organized Crime Department collaborated with a local NGO to develop a new 11-question risk assessment checklist designed to help investigators accurately identify human trafficking victims. Investigators refer victims who meet more than five of the criteria to short- or long-term care facilities. (47) In 2015, the GEC provided assistance to 10 suspected child victims of human trafficking for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation, most of whom were referred to the GEC by law enforcement officials. (39)
IV. COORDINATION OF GOVERNMENT EFFORTS ON THE WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR
The Government has established mechanisms to coordinate its efforts to address child labor, including its worst forms (Table 8).
V. GOVERNMENT POLICIES ON THE WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR
The Government of Mongolia has established policies related to child labor, including its worst forms (Table 9).
During the reporting period, relevant stakeholders reviewed the draft National Action Plan on Combating Trafficking in Persons and submitted it to the cabinet, where it currently awaits approval. (39)
VI. SOCIAL PROGRAMS TO ADDRESS CHILD LABOR
In 2015, the Government of Mongolia funded and participated in programs that include the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor, including its worst forms (Table 10).
As part of the 2015 World Day Against Child Labor activities, relevant government agencies collaborated with UNICEF to produce a video titled “NO to child labor, YES to quality education.” The video was used to train teachers, school social workers, members of the Board of Child Engagement, and students in 650 schools. (62)
During the previous reporting period, two programs that formerly provided shelter and social services to children working on the street were discontinued. The Address Identification Center was converted to a shelter for victims of domestic violence, and the Child Development and Protection Center became an orphanage. (21) This reduction in care centers leaves street children vulnerable to involvement in child labor. (21) Although the Government is implementing a program to address child labor in mining, research found no evidence that the Government carried out programs specifically designed to assist children working in agriculture and those working on the street.
VII. SUGGESTED GOVERNMENT ACTIONS TO ELIMINATE THE WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR
Based on the reporting above, suggested actions are identified that would advance the elimination of child labor, including its worst forms, in Mongolia (Table 11).
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2. International Labour Organization, National Statistical Office of Mongolia. Report of National Child Labour Survey 2011-2012. Ulaanbaatar; 2013. [source on file].
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8. UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary. Total. [accessed December 16, 2015]; http://data.uis.unesco.org/. Data provided is the gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary school. This measure is a proxy measure for primary completion. This ratio is the total number of new entrants in the last grade of primary education, regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the population at the theoretical entrance age to the last grade of primary. A high ratio indicates a high degree of current primary education completion. Because the calculation includes all new entrants to last grade (regardless of age), the ratio can exceed 100 percent, due to over-aged and under-aged children who enter primary school late/early and/or repeat grades. For more information, please see the “Children’s Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions” section of this report.
9. UCW. Analysis of Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Statistics from National Household or Child Labor Surveys. Original data from Labour Force Survey-National Child Labour Survey, 2011-2012. Analysis received December 18, 2015. Reliable statistical data on the worst forms of child labor are especially difficult to collect given the often hidden or illegal nature of the worst forms. As a result, statistics on children’s work in general are reported in this chart, which may or may not include the worst forms of child labor. For more information on sources used, the definition of working children and other indicators used in this report, please see the “Children’s Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions” section of this report.
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