– business urged to stop employing children and adolescents
– more than 40 school children attended awareness session at D’Urban Park
– students urged to stay in School
The Ministry of Social Protection, Department of Labour and the Ministry of Education observed World Day Against Child Labour, on Wednesday at D’Urban Park, Georgetown.
More than forty students from the Kingston and Carmel Secondary Schools participated in the exercise, raising their voices against Child Labour. The awareness exercise was held under the theme, “Children should not work in fields but follow their dreams”.
Senior Welfare Officer of the Ministry of Education, Onika Pearson described Child Labour as a global phenomenon, which robs children of their right to a sound education. “The International Labour Organisation (ILO) is celebrating 100 years of advancing social justice and promoting decent work. Although Child Labour occurs in every region, seven out of every ten of these children are working in Agriculture. As such, their potential for becoming productive and successful adults is hindered.”
She further highlighted that children or adolescent participating in work that does not affect their health and personal development or interfere with them receiving a quality education, such as doing household chores is generally regarded as positive. “We must understand that children must be well grounded and doing chores comes as part of preparing them for the future, equipping them to understand responsibility but employing children in return for cheap labour is unacceptable,” Onika Pearson reasoned.
Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection with responsibility for Labour, Keith Scott said every child deserves the right to grow and properly prepare for the future, he stressed that forced labour on a child is illegal.
“In Child Labour, there are a lot of evil things being done to children and adults often time use them so that they can have increased profits. Persons who employ children strictly go after cheap labour. I must say our country has a history of fighting against any form of exploitation,” Minister Scott said.
He further urged the students to stay in school and commended them for their participation despite the inclement weather. Certificates were handed out to the Kingston Secondary School for their punctuality and involvement in the exercise.
The Department of Public Information (DPI) spoke to a few of the students who noted that more awareness needs to be done to prevent child labour.
“We would like to see a hotline in every school when a student is frequently absent from school, effective reporting can change things around and safeguard that child or adolescent future,” one student said.