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The Ministry of Labour and Social Security is working collaboratively with the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) to tackle child labour at the community level.

“We will be having a community-level intervention to encourage behaviour change, based on the data revealed in the recent Youth Activity Survey,” said portfolio Minister, Hon. Shahine Robinson.

“This project will also extend to the training of labour officers and law-enforcement officers,” she added. 

She was speaking at the Ministry’s ‘Labour Department and You’ roadshow held at the Ocho Rios Baptist Church on Tuesday (October 30).

The Jamaica Youth Activity Survey 2016 revealed that approximately 38,000 children between five and 17 years old are engaged in child labour.

“That is 5.7 per cent of the country’s children population… the Jamaican public needs to be aware of what is happening in our own backyard, so when we say ‘no to child labour’, we all say it with meaning and determination to eradicate it from our shores,” Mrs. Robinson said.

She said that the Government is determined to eliminate child labour in Jamaica and has made great strides in this regard.

She noted that the partnership forged with the United States (US) Department of Labour’s WINROCK International CLEAR II project and the International Labour Organization (ILO) to tackle the scourge has been reaping success.

“We recently benefited from regional training held here in Jamaica, and that included The Bahamas, Guyana, and Barbados,” she said. 

In her remarks, Country Coordinator for the WINROCK International CLEAR II project, Cheryl Ivey, said that the organisation continues to assist with strengthening Government’s policies and legislation that seek to address child labour issues in Jamaica.

“We also are looking at the development of a national action plan on child labour. This is going to be like a strategic plan for child labour, where all our partners will know their role and function and who needs to collaborate with whom and how do we handle the cases,” she noted.

The ‘Labour Department and You’ roadshow, held over two days, addressed issues related to the job market, industrial relations, occupational safety and health, efforts to eliminate child labour, as well as local and overseas employment programmes.

The roadshows, which will travel across the islands, are being staged in collaboration with the Jamaica Employers’ Federation (JEF) and the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU).

The next stops are Kingston and St. Andrew on November 21 and 22; St. James, January 16 and 17; and St. Thomas, February 27 and 28.