Jamaica’s labor minister says combating child labor is everyone’s responsibility

June 12, 2023  –JIS News- Jamaica’s Minister of Labor and Social Security, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr. is calling on Jamaicans to join the fight against child labor, noting that eradicating the scourge must be the responsibility of all.

In his message for World Day Against Child Labor, which is being observed on Monday (June 12), under the theme: ‘Social Justice For All: End Child Labor’, the Minister gave his commitment to lead the national drive towards this objective.

He said that the Ministry, in collaboration with its multi-agency partners, will continue community-level engagements with civil society groups, educators and families to bring about greater awareness of child labor, provide structured responses for victims, as well as implement preventative measures in the most vulnerable parishes. He is encouraging Justices of the Peace (JP), teachers, Parent-Teacher Associations, religious leaders, civil society groups, and children to participate in sensitization sessions, assist in identifying areas of vulnerability, and report suspected cases of child labor using the 211 helpline.

The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) in its 2016 Youth Activity Survey, found that over 37,000 children were exposed to child labor, and its recent Child Labor Risk Model has identified that close to 54,000 children are at risk for child labor. The Minister said that child work should not be confused with child labor.

“When a parent gives a child a regular domestic activity as a chore or learning experience, that is child work, and is quite acceptable once it does not expose the child to hazards nor prevent their educational and social development,” he pointed out.

Minister Pearnel Charles Jr. said that Jamaica has been recognized regionally as a leader in programs of research and strategies to eradicate child labor in all its forms, for which the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Government of the United States have provided solid support.

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