Minister Calls on Jamaicans to Put an End to Child Labour

Photo: Dave Reid Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Shahine Robinson (second left), shakes hands with Senior Director, Civil Society and Education at Winrock International, David Dobrowolski (second right) at the launch of the Country Level Engagement and Assistance to Reduce Child Labour (CLEAR II) Project in Jamaica on Tuesday (June 26) at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St. Andrew. Looking on are Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Colette Roberts-Risden (left) and Political/Economic Officer, United States Embassy, Daniel Walker.

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Shahine Robinson, has reiterated calls for citizens of Jamaica to put an end to child labour and allow the nation’s youth to enjoy their adolescence.
  • Speaking at the launch of the Country Level Engagement and Assistance to Reduce Child Labour (CLEAR II) Project at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St. Andrew on Tuesday (June 26), Mrs. Robinson said if all Jamaicans do not join forces and ensure children are not engaging in child labour, then the objective of the Government for zero tolerance will not be achieved.
  • “As Minister of Labour and Social Security, I am deeply concerned about the global trend in child labour,” Mrs. Robinson said.

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Shahine Robinson, has reiterated calls for citizens of Jamaica to put an end to child labour and allow the nation’s youth to enjoy their adolescence.

Speaking at the launch of the Country Level Engagement and Assistance to Reduce Child Labour (CLEAR II) Project at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St. Andrew on Tuesday (June 26), Mrs. Robinson said if all Jamaicans do not join forces and ensure children are not engaging in child labour, then the objective of the Government for zero tolerance will not be achieved.

“As Minister of Labour and Social Security, I am deeply concerned about the global trend in child labour,” Mrs. Robinson said.

“Principle two of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child [proclaimed by General Assembly Resolution 1386] declares that ‘The child shall enjoy special protection and shall be given opportunities and facilities by law and by other means, to enable him to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity’,” the Minister added.

Mrs. Robinson also noted that data from the Jamaica Youth Activity Survey (JYAS) that contain information on child labour in Jamaica is alarming.

“According to the survey, up to 2016, there were an estimated 657,697 children between the ages of five and 17 years in Jamaica, and from that total, 37,965 were recorded to be involved in child labour activities, with 25,797 being boys and 12,168 were girls,” she said.

“Furthermore, out of the 37,965 children involved in child labour, an estimated 26,053 were involved in hazardous work, and based on investigation, children are almost twice likely to be involved in child labour in the rural areas, compared to urban areas,” she added.

The Minister called on Jamaicans to ensure that child labour is non-existent in their communities.

CLEAR II is a new programme through which Winrock and Lawyers without Borders will work with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to reduce child labour, with the following intermediate objectives – improving legislation that addresses child labour issues, including bringing national laws into compliance with international standards; improving the monitoring and enforcement of laws and policies related to child labour; and effective implementation of national plans of action on child labour.

Activities on CLEAR II will focus on the development of light and hazardous work lists, a Child Labour Prosecution Training of Trainers, the development of a National Action Plan to Combat Child Labour, organisation of a National Action Plan Child Protection Collaboration Workshop and Coordination Plan; and support for a study on street children.

This project is funded by the United States Department of Labour, under a cooperative agreement with Winrock International.

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