Wed | Nov 25, 2020

Child labour action plan almost ready

Published:Friday | June 14, 2019 | 12:12 AMNickoy Wilson/Gleaner Writer

With thousands of Jamaican children victims of child labour, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security says that a national action plan is being developed to stamp out the practice.

“So we are now in the process of finalising a national action plan on child labour, and what that will do is determine what type of measures we need to take as a ministry, as a Government, as a people, [and] how is it we can really get to the root causes ... of child labour,” said Sacha Deer Gordon, director of child labour in the ministry.

Speaking to The Gleaner yesterday following a labour ministry-organised march in downtown Kingston com­memorating World Day Against Child Labour, Gordon said that the plan is scheduled to be completed by the end of this month and implemented by August.

Survey Findings

Gordon said that the march was prompted by the revelation in a 2018 National Youth Activity Survey – conducted by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) – that just under 38,000 children were involved in child labour in Jamaica last year.

“Since last year, we have ramped up our efforts in terms of going out there and sensitising the public on child labour because what we have noticed is that persons are not able to recognise what child labour is, and so this year, the theme coming from the ILO is that ‘Children should not work on fields, but on dreams’, and so we want to make a significant impact this year in terms of how we commemorate the day, and that is how we decided to go along with a march,” she said.

In an interview with The Gleaner shortly before the march, State Minister Zavia Mayne emphasised the Government’s commitment to ending child labour.

“The attendant factors of poverty and, in some cases, culture are reasons behind this malady that we have to eliminate from this society. So as a ministry, we are committed. Our stance is firm: Say no to child labour,” he said.

nickoy.wilson@gleanerjm.com