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  • Director of the Child Labour Unit in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Marva Pringle-Ximinnies, is urging Jamaicans to be vigilant in detecting and thus helping to reduce child labour.
  • She pointed out that children can be engaged in light work, such as packaging, that is appropriate for their age, especially during the holidays when they are on a break from school.
  • Suspected cases of child labour should be reported to the Office of the Children’s Registry by calling 1-888- PROTECT (776-8328).

Director of the Child Labour Unit in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Marva Pringle-Ximinnies, is urging Jamaicans to be vigilant in detecting and thus helping to reduce child labour.

She said persons should be particularly vigilant in situations where they see a child who they suspect may not be attending school.

“We have this cultural practice where we send children from a poor household to a socially and economically viable household because it would seem to provide better opportunities for the child for education and then we are not sufficiently vigilant to notice that the child is not going to school …but they have gone into child domestic servitude,” she said.

In an interview with JIS News, Mrs. Pringle-Ximinnies said that because of the subtle nature of these cases, they often go “unnoticed or unattended”.

She pointed out that children can be engaged in light work, such as packaging, that is appropriate for their age, especially during the holidays when they are on a break from school. The children should not be exposed to any hazardous environment.

“There are guided activities that children can be involved in as long as it is age-appropriate and the proper supervision is there,” the Director added.

In the meantime, Mrs. Pringle-Ximinnies said children, under no circumstances, should be on the streets working as they are likely to be placed in vulnerable situations.

 

“They are not only in the sun and being exposed for long periods without any kind of protection, darting through traffic and inhaling the fumes from vehicles, but they can be placed in immoral and vulnerable situations in terms of being encouraged to get into activities that are deleterious to their growth and development,” she noted.

Suspected cases of child labour should be reported to the Office of the Children’s Registry by calling 1-888- PROTECT (776-8328).

The International Labour Organization (ILO) defines child labour as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development.

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