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  • Minister Robinson said that while businesses in Jamaica may not be openly and knowingly engaged in this abuse of our children, the nature of the global economy and international trade makes it difficult for them to be absolutely sure that those with whom they do business are not engaged in this illegal practice.
  • “Ending child labour in supply chains demands that Jamaican businesses become vigilant in their relations and assume a more aggressive stance in ensuring that their ‘supply chain’ processes -- those with whom they have business dealings, not only share our values, commitment to ethical business practices and labour standards, but, do not engage in the employment of children under age 18 years old,”

The Minister of Labour and Social Security, Honourable Shahine Robinson has called on Jamaican business to become more proactive in verifying their supply chain operations – whether local, regional or international – in order to ensure they are free of any influence of or contact with incidence of child labour.

In a Message marking WORLD DAY AGAINST CHILD LABOUR, being observed globally today (Sunday, June 12, 2016) under the theme End Child Labour In Supply Chains”, Minister Robinson said that while businesses in Jamaica may not be openly and knowingly engaged in this abuse of our children, the nature of the global economy and international trade makes it difficult for them to be absolutely sure that those with whom they do business are not engaged in this illegal practice.

“Ending child labour in supply chains demands that Jamaican businesses become vigilant in their relations and assume a more aggressive stance in ensuring that their ‘supply chain’ processes — those with whom they have business dealings, not only share our values, commitment to ethical business practices and labour standards, but, do not engage in the employment of children under age 18 years old,” Minister Robinson said.

The full statement from Labour Minister Robinson reads:

“As a staunch defender of the rights of children and the cause to eliminate child labour, Jamaica once again proudly stands with the global community in another observance of the World Day Against Child Labour.

We do so fully mindful of the importance of a united global action in combatting this scourge, but also, our own responsibility, as a nation, in ensuring that our children are able to enjoy their childhood, pursue their dreams and ambitions, and grow to become responsible, useful and productive adult citizens. Already, the National Action Plan on Child Labour provides that Jamaican children remain in school up to age 17 and parents must not abuse their children by engaging them in employment under that age.

The theme for this year’s observance: ‘End Child Labour in Supply Chains’ is most appropriate.

As those engaged in business would readily attest, when we speak of ‘supply chain’, it is essentially referring to that integrated process linking inputs, outputs, suppliers, distributors and consumers. It is a business process, but sadly too, it is a process in which child labour is manifest and widespread. The global estimate of children engaged in various forms of child labour is a frightening 168 million.

While businesses in Jamaica may, for the most part, not be openly and knowingly engaged in this abuse of our children, the nature of the global economy and international trade makes it difficult for us to be absolutely sure that those with whom we do business are not engaged in this illegal practice.

Ending child labour in supply chains, therefore, will demand that Jamaican businesses become vigilant in their relations and assume a more aggressive stance in ensuring that their ‘supply chain’ processes — those with whom they have business dealings, not only share our values, commitment to ethical business practices and labour standards, but, do not engage in the employment of children under age 18 years old., and especially under dangerous, exploitative and unhealthy conditions.

Jamaica says no to child labour, wherever and however it exists. Our laws do not sanction it! Our labour codes do not support it and our business practice must not fall for it!

It is within this context of ‘ending child labour in supply chains’ that I salute the Jamaica Employers’ Federation (JEF) for demonstrating purpose and action with the Government in this year’s observance. I encourage the full participation of the business community in the sensitization seminars being organised by the Government and JEF to help raise awareness of this flagrant abuse of the rights of children.

I call on every employer, every business enterprise, to take that extra effort to verify that all their supply chain operations and linkages, whether local, regional or international, are free of any influence of or contact with child labour, in any form.

As a signatory to the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the various Conventions that seek to eliminate child labour, Jamaica rejects and condemns any act of child labour and abuse of children, whether disguised or implicit, in the supply chain of business operations, and is committed to ensuring that child labour does not take place within our borders.

We condemn any employment of children and particularly in harmful, dangerous, exploitative and unhealthy conditions or in environments inimical to their best interest and which prevents them from pursuing their education.

Let us continue the work in this common cause to bring about a world that is free of any form of child labour!”