Statement from the Ministry of Labour & Social Partnership Relations on the occasion of World Day against Child Labour Tuesday, June 12, 2018.
The fight against Child labour is on! This scourge persists not only in the Caribbean but all over the globe.
Barbados and many other International Labour Organisation (ILO) member countries accept the definition of the term “child labour” as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development.
Barbados ratified the ILO Convention No. 138 on the Minimum Age for Admission to Employment in January 2000 and Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour in October 2000. The latter defines the worst forms of child labour as all forms of slavery including debt bondage, trafficking of children and their use in armed conflict, in illicit activities, such as prostitution, pornography and drug trafficking and their employment in hazardous work in mines, factories and other workplaces which could cause serious risks to their health, safety and moral well-being.
An obligation of ratification is that the Government of Barbados must ensure that its laws comply fully with the requirements of the Conventions and that all measures are in place for the implementation of the Conventions.
Under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the 2030 Agenda, UN Member States, employers’ and workers’ organizations, as well as civil society organizations, are being urged to work with a view to eradicating child labour by 2025, and forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking by 2030.
Barbados recently became signatory to the Regional Initiative Latin America and the Caribbean Free of Child Labour in December 2017. The Regional Initiative is specifically aimed at eliminating child labour in Latin America and the Caribbean by 2020.
Two of the key outcomes of this project are strengthened labour inspection mechanisms to ensure compliance with child labour prevention and elimination and adolescent work protection standards, as well as improved registration and tracking and monitoring systems with respect to incidences of worst forms of child labour. The realisation of the goals of this initiative will assist countries in the region in meeting Sustainable Development Goal 8-7 which, in part, seeks to secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour.
Whilst there have been no reported cases of child labour in Barbados there have been some anecdotes indicating that there is need for public education, as well as effective monitoring and inspection of workplaces, to ensure that there are no cases of child labour, and to support accurate reporting on the status of child labour.
To our advantage, Barbados has a well organised system of social and other services that can be engaged in seeking to address any unfortunate incidents. Additionally, the system of labour administration, including an established inspection and reporting system, easy access to education, health care and general social services altogether buoy national efforts to protect children and as may be relevant, young persons, from the perils of child labour where involvement may be harmful to health, well-being and morals.
Complacency, however, must never set in! There must always be continued implementation of integrated strategies and coordinated policies to combat child labour and a domestic understanding that apart from national effort, each community, each individual has a part to play in its elimination. It is everyone’s problem!
On this World Day against Child Labour, join us, the Ministry of Labour and Social Partnership Relations as we express solidarity with our regional neighbours in Latin America and the Caribbean, as members of the Regional Initiative Latin America and the Caribbean Free of Child Labour, committed to eliminating all forms child labour by 2025.
Ministry of Labour and Social Partnership Relations