Exploitation of children by family
You are under 18 and you feel that you’re being exploited economically or in other forms by your parents or family? You should know that the legal framework in Kosovo offers you protection and can severely punish your family members. The Law on Family clearly states that parents are responsible to take care of their children (persons under the age of 18) and that persons under 18 have the right to protection from economic utilization, child exploitation, trafficking, sexual exploitation and from any activity which could be harmful and hazardous to your education or health. Forcing an underage person to work is also prohibited by the Criminal Code of Kosovo (Article 211.3), as is the abandonment and mistreatment of children (Article 250). The latter sanctions parents who force children to work beyond their possibilities and work which is not suitable for their age, including here compelling children to beg for money. Serious violations of child’s rights may allow the Center for Social Work to take the child away from the custody of his/her parents.
Any instance of exploitation or abuse of the rights of the child needs to be addressed to the Center for Social Work, or if you feel the risks toward your or another child require immediate action, to the Kosovo police. Abuses can be reported by anyone – the victim, friends, other family members, neighbors, etc. You are legally required by the Criminal Code to report activities that are criminal in nature or else risk being punished themselves.
Failure of the primary responsible actors to respond: (i.e. Center for Social Work or Police), can be reported to the prosecution directly. The Center for Social Work works under the supervision of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, so the latter could also be alerted in case of inaction. In case none of the institutions are responsive to cases, the Ombudsperson Institution in Kosovo might also be alerted.