Agencies join forces to tackle, eliminate child labour in Jamaica
Horace Fisher, Gleaner Writer
ROCKY POINT, Clarendon:
WITH MORE than 6,000 children engaged in the worst form of child labour in Jamaica, the Jamaica Household Workers Association (JHWA) in partnership with the United Nations (UN) through the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Clarendon Parish Development Committee (CPDC) and the Rocky Point Benevolent Society, launched the Jamaica's 'Rescue A Child - Save the Future' programme.
According to JHWA's president Shirley Pryce, a number of reports have indicated that Latin America and the Caribbean have made significant gains in the reduction of child labour in the region, but the ongoing global economic crisis has again increased the vulnerability of the region's children to the practices of child labour.
"More than 6,000 of our children are engaged in the worst form of child labour in Jamaica, according to a 2002 Kristin Fox Report of Youth Activity Survey. Therefore, it is our moral duty to tackle this problem and to eliminate this scourge permanently from our society, which is also an obstacle to national development," said Pryce during the launch of the programme, held in Rocky Point, Clarendon, on Monday.
"JHWA promotes decent work in the workplace and child labour in any form can never be considered decent work. Therefore, JHWA along with ILO has trained 15 of JHWA's members to sensitise a number of rural and urban communities on the indecency of child labour, to get this inhumane practice totally eliminated from Jamaica," added Pryce, who is also the co-chair of the Caribbean Household Workers Association.
Pryce explained that the ILO-funded project is a two-phase programme that will be executed simultaneously in both rural and urban communities, and the trained JHWA's members will do the community sensitising.
"The overall objectives of the programme are to promote decent work for domestic workers and create an atmosphere of care and protection for children that is geared towards the elimination of child labour, by training 15 domestic workers, who will be able to conduct sensitisation sessions on child labour and how it relates to decent work," said Pryce.
She further added that individuals can help to eliminate child labour from the society by being prudent in how they shop, by educating themselves about the products they purchase, discussing child-labour issues with friends and families to the direct lobbying of politicians and other public servants about child-labour, and joining organisations that are already engaged in activities against child labour.