Fri | Sep 24, 2021

Children labour trap - 38,000 J'can children working in prohibited conditions

Published:Wednesday | April 25, 2018 | 12:00 AMArthur Hall

Almost 38,000 or six per cent of Jamaican children between 5 and 17 years old were engaged in child labour during 2016. Furthermore, nearly half (48.9 per cent) of the working children were involved in hazardous work or activities that were likely to harm their health, safety or morals. 

These are among the major finding of the Jamaica Youth Activity Survey (JYAS) conducted in 2016 by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO) Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work Branch. Child labour refers to the engagement of a child in work that is under conditions that are prohibited and viewed as morally and socially unappealing.

The survey, released yesterday, further found that one per cent of  the children who were working during the survey period in hazardous work were between 5 and 12 years old. In addition, children between the ages of 13 and 14 years who were involved in hazardous work averaged more than 13 hours of work per day during the period of the survey. Boys worked on average, longer hours than girls, the survey found. Boys also accounted for a little over two-thirds of the children involved in child labour.

“Relevant government agencies, other key stakeholders together with schools, communities, non-governmental organisations, civic groups, the private sector, development agencies and the media have a role to play in solidifying infrastructural processes to deal with the Jamaican situation as posited by the survey results,” the researchers concluded.

“This can be done through knowledge sharing, mobilising technical and financial support and strengthening capacity in the form of forums focused on child labour.

They concluded:  “The findings also highlight the need to integrate child labour concerns into legislation for all industries and within all sectors.”