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  • Minister for Agriculture, Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, is imploring Jamaicans to protect the nation’s children from exposure to child labour.
  • The Labour Minister argued that eradicating child labour requires more than being a signatory to international treaties and conventions, noting that the issue demands “appropriate action.”
  • Minister Kellier also pointed out that the Government has done significant work in helping to reduce the need for children to work and remains committed to creating a country that is child labour-free.

Minister for Agriculture, Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, is imploring Jamaicans to protect the nation’s children from exposure to child labour.

The call was made on Friday (June 12), at the St. Catherine Child Protection Committee’s SYMPAR (Symposium Party) at the Church of God of Prophecy in Spanish Town, to mark World Day Against Child Labour (WDACL).

Minister Kellier, in his message delivered by State Minister, Hon. Luther Buchanan, said that while the number of Jamaican children involved in child labour may be considered small, when compared to the global figures, there should be no room for complacency.

It is estimated that some 16,000 Jamaican children are involved in child labour, while the global figure stands at 168 million.

“We have a responsibility to protect our children (from working) on the streets, in agriculture, fishing, and commercial establishments, selling in the markets, working as domestic workers, playmakers in tourism and entertainment, from being sexually exploited or otherwise used to carry out illicit activities,” he stated.

Minister Kellier noted that child labour deprives children of their childhood, dignity and potential. He said children should be in school “where they can be educated, trained and prepared for decent work when they become adults.”

The Labour Minister argued that eradicating child labour requires more than being a signatory to international treaties and conventions, noting that the issue demands “appropriate action.”

“Jamaica has consistently instituted legislative changes, policy and programme initiatives including a National Plan of Action on Child Labour, which requires that children under age 17 are not involved in any form of Child Labour,” he informed.

Minister Kellier also pointed out that the Government has done significant work in helping to reduce the need for children to work and remains committed to creating a country that is child labour-free.

“Considerable resources have been made available by the Government to put in place such social protection measures as sickness benefits, old age/pension benefits, employment injury benefits, family and child benefits, disability benefits, maternity benefits, death and survivor benefits,” he highlighted.

“In pursuit of our commitment to create a Jamaica free from child labour, the Government will continue its leadership of programmes of intervention and inter-sectoral action, legislation and enforcement, education and skills training, awareness building, advocacy and social protection measures,” Minister Kellier pledged.

WDACL was observed under the theme: ‘NO to Child Labour, YES to Quality Education’.