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Ministry to get int'l help in tackling child labour

Published:Tuesday | April 17, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Barrington Flemming, Gleaner Writer


THE INTERNATIONAL Labour Organisation (ILO) is set to offer technical assistance to the Ministry of Labour to conduct a survey on the worrying issue of child labour, which continues to be a source of grave national concern.

Marva Pringle-Ximinnies, director of the Child Labour Unit of the Ministry of Labour, told The Gleaner last Thursday that the last survey done on child labour in Jamaica was conducted 12 years ago and the situation would have changed significantly since then.

"We will be receiving technical support from the ILO in terms of undertaking a second national survey on child labour. So before the end of the year, we should be out in the field collecting data towards this report. This would update the information, giving us more current information on child labour," she said.

Aware of practice

Ximinnies said despite the lack of a survey, her unit is still aware of what has been taking place over the years.

"In terms of what is being observed, the more dominant cases are of children selling in the markets, those at the corners wiping the windscreen, itinerant vending, those are the ones who are more visible. But we are also aware of a growing number of children being involved in commercial sexual exploitation," she stated.

She said this is further borne out by an increasing number of cases of child pornography and child prostitution being reported to the Office of the Children's Registry.

The last Youth Activity Survey conducted by STATIN in 2000 and the results published in 2002 indicated that 16,000 children ranging from age five to 17 were involved in child labour. Of that number, 4,604 were involved in the wholesale, retail and hotel trade, 3,989 in agriculture, forestry and fishing, 3,943 in community, social and personal services, with 1,331 of them involved in the construction industry.