Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 03, 2018 (SKNIS): St. Kitts and Nevis will join the rest of the world on Tuesday, June 12, to observe World Day Against Child Labour (WDACL), which is a day set aside to bring awareness to the many issues young people face in the world of work, with the aim of putting an end to all forms of child labour by 2025.
According to information from the International Labour Organization (ILO) this year, the World Day Against Child Labour (WDACL) and the World Day for Safety and Health at Work (SafeDay) shine a spotlight on the global need to improve the safety and health of young workers and end child labour.
“They combine this day to bring awareness to the plights that young people go through in their work because the statistics says it –541 million young people out of 3 billion workers, some of them, 36 million, are involved in hazardous child labour whereby they are working in mines – they are working in illegal prostitution, gun running, running if illegal drugs and trafficking of persons; they are working some very long and strenuous hours,” said Labour Commissioner, Shernel James, while appearing on “Working for You” on Wednesday, May 02.
Ms. James made reference to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child that states a child between the ages of 12-18 is still a child and he or she should not be involved in any form of work that is strenuous.
“…even if you would like to introduce them to the world of work to give them some sort of ethics, if they are involved in work, its only light work. If children are working and it’s affecting their moral well-being, their physical and mental well-being, if it affects their right to go to school, their learning capacity, then in essence it is child labour,” said the labour commissioner.
She explained that child labour can be very subtle, while at the same time expounding on this year’s theme: “Generation Safe and Healthy”
“We like to say that we don’t have any child labour but if a child is falling asleep in school every day because he or she has to assist his or her parents to sell provisions, that in essence is child labour,” she said. “And so, it is to bring awareness to what young people go through throughout the world, especially in Latin America – they do so at the risk of these children either losing hands, limbs or lives or picking up an occupational disease – and so this years’ theme is to bring awareness that children between the ages of 12-24, that their lives are valued and protected.”
ILO states that all workers have the right to safe and healthy work. Young workers (15-24 year olds) suffer up to a 40 percent higher rate of non-fatal occupational injuries than adult workers above the age of 25. In addition to injuries, the workplace hazards they face often put their health and very lives at risk. It further states that children have the right to be protected from all forms of child labour, including hazardous work, which affects 73 million children worldwide.