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Jamaica to Host Regional Child Labour Elimination Workshop in July

Photo: Rudranath Fraser

State Minister in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Zavia Mayne (left), speaking during the launch of the 2016 Jamaica Youth Activity Survey at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge, St. Andrew, on Wednesday (April 25). Seated (from second left) are Statistician, Statistical Institute of Jamaica, Marsha Windross; National Project Coordinator, Regional Initiative at the International Labour Organization, Resel Melville; and Employment and Labour Market Specialist, Diego Rei.

In an effort to eliminate child labour across the Caribbean, Jamaica will host a training workshop for key regional stakeholders in July.

State Minister in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Zavia Mayne, made the announcement during Wednesday’s (April 25) launch of the 2016 Jamaica Youth Activity Survey, at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge, St. Andrew.

Mr. Mayne indicated that the ‘train the trainers’ workshop, to be staged in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO), will focus on labour inspection processes.

He said representatives from Trinidad and Tobago, The Bahamas, and Guyana, are expected to join their counterparts in Jamaica for the forum.

Mr. Mayne said data from the survey will be incorporated in the proceedings to help in steering the discussions at the workshop, as well as contribute to developing other policies, targeting a reduction in the incidence of child labour.

The State Minister also announced Jamaica’s involvement in piloting a predictive model framework that was developed by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), in collaboration with the ILO, which is also expected to assist in the process of eliminating child labour.

“Microdata from this survey, as well as the 2011 census data, will be inputted in this model to create vulnerability maps, which will identify geographical areas where the likelihood of child labour may occur and in what sector,” he added.

Mr. Mayne pointed out that the Ministry recognises the need to develop a database that provides timely and credible information on child labour to facilitate the appropriate interventions.

As such, he said the Ministry is in dialogue with other international partners to achieve this goal.

“It is important for us to establish a framework so that victims (of child labour) can be referred to relevant institutions to access services and facilitate greater monitoring to ensure proper reintegration into society,” the State Minister said.

Mr. Mayne gave the assurance that the Ministry will maintain the partnerships forged to eliminate child labour in Jamaica.

“Our children are the future, and they should be protected from anything that causes them physical, mental and social harm. There is no doubt that we have been making tremendous strides.

However, there is much more work left to be done in the fight against child labour,” he said.

The 2016 Jamaica Youth Activity Survey 2016 was jointly undertaken by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Statistical Institute of Jamaica and ILO. It is the first stand-alone national survey of children’s activities to be conducted.

The objectives of the exercise were to collect comprehensive information on children’s engagement in economic activities; improve information on working children, child labour and hazardous work at the national and regional levels; strengthen the Government of Jamaica’s capacity to conduct future data collection, research and analysis of child labour and to use information collected to monitor United Nations Sustainable Development Goal # 8, Target 8.7, which addresses the matter.

The report provides quantitative, reliable and updated statistics on working children, child labour and hazardous work performed by children in Jamaica.

The 2016 survey found that approximately 53,274 children participated in economic activities and were working between the ages of five and 17 years. Of this number, 33,436 were boys and 19,838 were girls.

Additionally, the survey found that 37,965 of the 53,274 children engaged in child labour, which refers to work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children and interferes with their school attendance and education.

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