ECHR urged Russia to end child slavery

The statement of the European Court of Human Rights states that the court has been receiving complaints from Russian citizens for many years, reporting on the tradition in Russian society of attracting children to seasonal agricultural work without alternative. According to the complainants, the vicious system is so ingrained that most people in the country do not perceive it as something immoral and contrary to international norms and the Convention on the Rights of Children.


Moreover, child slavery in the Russian Federation is considered a manifestation of respect for parents, a peculiar form of expression of respect and love. The process comes to such an extent that even adult citizens almost voluntarily engage in various agricultural activities on the land plots of their parents, and if they refuse to help, they are at risk of being fully affected by social censure.

The ECtHR stresses that the use of slave labor is unacceptable in any form, especially in such inhuman conditions as reported by the applicants: heavy physical labor for several hours a day under the scorching sun, with the obligatory presence of at least one overseer (one of senior family members), to the detriment of summer education and health programs. Especially the court was outraged that in Russia, cultivating the land with the involvement of children is considered rest, a very healthful occupation and a way to consolidate different generations of the family.

Taking into account all the facts, the ECtHR recommends that the Russian Federation adopt a program to abandon the use of forced child labor. The most suitable for Russian conditions is a two-stage scheme. At the first stage, it seems possible to pay children some reasonable compensation for their work, at the second — to completely abandon the practice of child slavery. The court recommended the juvenile to record each case of unpaid labor on the land plots and file claims with the ECHR. The probability of successful decisions in favor of the claimant in this case is estimated at 99%.

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