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500 children engaged in child labour: report


Jun 12, 2012 12:00:00 AM

500 children engaged in child labour: report Fiji’s first comprehensive child labour research studies conducted by International Labour Organization (ILO)has highlighted the plight of 500 children engaged in the worst form of child labour.

Speaking at the International Day against Child Labour celebration at Studio 6 in Suva today, ILO Fiji director David Lamotte said worst form of child labour is a concern in Fiji.

“It includes commercial sexual exploitation, drug trafficking, begging and hazardous work such as scrap metal and children working below the minimum age of employment,” said Lamotte.

He said the main casual factors were poverty, family breakdown, education, unemployment, internal migration, crisis situations and others.

The ILO has learnt that this has withdrawn students from schools from a few months to at least five years ago.

Fiji’s Ministry of Labour Child Labour Unit Manager Atish Kumar said the minimum working age in Fiji by law is 15 years old and above but not to been exposed to hazardous working environment.

However, a child has to be 18 years and over to qualify to work in such environment.

Kumar said the child will be qualified to work if he/she gets the permission from parents, producing a birth certificate and paid not below the minimum wage.

He said the minimum wage for children in Fiji is $2.75 an hour for retail and wholesale sectors.

“We are working on some cases of prosecution for those employers who are employing under aged children and those who did not pay them a minimum wage,” he said.

Lamotte said an individual can be fine with maximum of $10,000 and $50,000 for corporate business if found of this crime under the Employment Relation Promulgation, 2007 section 91.

Ministry of Labour deputy secretary Samuela Namosimalua said Fiji is trying to reach the target to eliminate any worst form of child labour by 2016.

Namosimalua said this is also part of a roadmap to democracy target and also the Millennium Development Goal.

Providing fund for the event, European Union attaché for Social Sector Rosalba Tuseo said there is no need to sit back and watch but to do something to eliminate the issue.

Tuseo said there are 215 million children in the world who are victims of worst child labour.

She said this is approximately 220 times the population of Fiji.

She said children should be given their right to childhood and education to eliminate poverty in their households,

By Ropate Valemei


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