Jamaica Observes World Day against Child Labour on Saturday, June 12


Jamaica will join the world in observing World Day Against Child Labour on Saturday, June 12, 2010 as the International Labour Organization (ILO) continues its campaign to eliminate the worst forms of child labour by 2016.
A press conference to officially launch the Day will be held on Thursday, June 10, 2010 at the North Street offices of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, starting at 10: 00 a.m.
Drawing inspiration from the current World Cup football competition, the day is being commemorated under the theme, “Go for the goal – end child labour” and will be using sports to support work on child labour elimination projects.
Continuing the football analogy, a new initiative, the “Red Card Against Child Labour”, will be promoted which includes a resource kit produced in collaboration with FIFA.
According to ILO Director-General Juan Somavia, “While billions are caught up in the excitement of the football World Cup, some 215 million children are labouring for survival, and education and play are luxuries for them. Progress towards ending child labour is slowing down and we are not on course to end its worst forms by 2016. We have to get the momentum going again. Let us draw inspiration from the World Cup and rise to the challenge with the energy, the right strategy and the commitment it takes to get to the goal.”
At the press conference, officials from the Labour and Social Security Ministry’s International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour will provide update on findings relating to child labour in Jamaica and the Government’s response to this growing problem.
Minister of State, Hon Andrew Gallimore, will be in attendance along with representatives from the Ministry of Education, RISE Life Management Services and non-governmental organizations, Children First and People’s Action for Community Transformation (PACT) and other interest groups.
Based on Jamaican laws, it is illegal for children under 15 years to be engaged in any form of work. A Youth Activity Survey conducted in 2002 by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) estimated that there were 8,600 child labourers under age 15 in Jamaica. The results of the research indicated that youth (under age 18) involved in economic activity accounted for 3.8% of 10-17 population.
According to the survey, the main forms of child labour included:Street children (including market vendors, mainly in urban areas) Commercial agricultural labourers Domestic helpers (household & subsistence agriculture) Urban formal sector workers The three largest metropolitan areas of Kingston, Spanish Town and Montego Bay are the epicentres of commerce as well as urban child labour.
There is some research to suggest that many children, particularly boys living in harsh urban communities, are pressed into gangs for whom they provide labour and many young girls are pushed into domestic servitude to older lovers.
Many of the children who are at risk or are currently child labourers in urban areas can best be reached through direct action in their communities. Thus, activities in Jamaica aimed at eliminating child labour will focus on raising awareness and promoting behaviour change in children (10-16) and their guardians, utilizing trusted mechanisms rooted in sports which have traditionally been an avenue of escape from poverty for many young Jamaicans.
Events for the World Day Against Child Labour are being organized in more than 60 countries involving governments, employers, workers, and United Nations, non-governmental and civil society organizations. The Day comes one month after more than 450 delegates from 80 countries met at a conference in The Hague convened by the Government of the Netherlands to agree on a Roadmap to accelerate progress to reach the goal of eliminating the worst forms of child labour by 2016.
The Roadmap sets out a number of guiding principles and identifies action to be taken by governments, social partners (workers and employers), civil society, non-governmental and other civil society, regional and international organizations.

JIS Social