‘Child Labour is a crime’: Employers warned not to hire children to work

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While the legislation is “adequate” to prevent child labour, the practice still exists, and government is working to eliminate it and is warning employers against hiring children to work for them.

“Child labour should not be confused at all with chores.

“It is important for people who have business entities, people who have promotional ventures, to know that they should not be employing children,” Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr Vindhya Persaud said.

Dr Persaud on Wednesday led a team comprising of several key agencies and school children on a walk which commenced in front the Parliament building to the Ministry of Labour, Brickdam office to mark World Day against Child Labour.

Every year, World Day against Child Labour is observed on June 12. This year’s theme is “Let’s act on our commitments: End Child Labour!”

Over the years, Dr Persaud said Guyana has acted, through the enactment of multiple pieces of legislation to eradicate child labour.

However, to deal holistically deal with the issue, she said it must be recognised at every level.

“For us to act we must be committed. Our efforts must be integrated and for us to act we must have the very good strategy that we can utilise in that action.

“We need to hold each other accountable so that we can deliver what we commit to,” Dr Persaud said.

In addition, she said there is also a need to ensure that there is a “robust” reporting system to not only highlight child labour but also report it so that condign action can be taken.

“Let us not dismiss the scourge of Child Labour. Let us assume the mantle of responsibility and let us commit to ending child labour wherever it exits,” she said.

Guyana has ratified key International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions that guard against child labour and has developed a National Plan of Action geared at eliminating the scourge completely by the year 2025. This is in keeping with the ILO and United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF)’s push to end child labour.

To this end, Chief Labour Officer Dhaneshwar Deonarine said the Minsitry of Labour has been working steadfastly to implement the National Action Plan which is geared at eliminating child labour completely by 2025.

“Child labour is a crime.

“The development and implementation of the national policy towards the elimination of child labour which is geared towards addressing the harmful consequences of child labour and its limited effects on national development and the National Action Plan for elimination of child labour are clear indications of the Ministry’s commitment to end child labour,” Deonarine said.

He also emphasised on the importance of nurturing and educating children to ensure that they grow into influential adults.

“The abolition of child labour and providing opportunities for education is essential for the development of the country.

Throughout this month, to raise awareness on the issues and its effects children can experience from child labour, the Ministry of Labour will be hosting a series of activities, including visits to schools.

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