Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago - Friday 05 June, 2020
In recognition of World Day Against Child Labour which will be commemorated on June 12, this year, the Ministry of Labour and Small Enterprise Development (MOLSED) is collaborating with the International Labour Organization (ILO) to engage the population of Trinidad and Tobago on the issue of ‘Child Labour’ by leading an interactive virtual sensitization and media campaign, themed: “Today’s children are tomorrow’s future, even during Crisis it is ILLEGAL to employ children who are under 16 years - Say No to Child Labour in T&T.”
The focal point for this year as outlined by the International Labour Organization (ILO) is ‘The Impact of Crisis on Child Labour’, which calls for continued nationwide awareness building on the issue of child labour, now more than ever as children and especially those most vulnerable, are more inclined to becoming victims to child labour, given the socio-economic fallouts that emerged from the Covid-19 Pandemic.
According to the International Labour Organization Convention C138 - Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No.138), Article 1 - Each member for which this convention is enforced undertakes to pursue a National Policy to ensure the effective abolition of child labour and to raise progressively the minimum age for admission to employment or work to a level consistent with the fullest physical and mental development of young persons. Trinidad and Tobago has ratified Convention C138 - Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No.138) on September 03, 2004. This means that the Convention now has a legally binding status on the country.
In Trinidad and Tobago, the legislation which the Labour Inspectorate Unit of the Ministry of Labour and Small Enterprise Development enforces to protect children from child labour is the Children's Act, Chap 46:01, Act 12 of 2012. Part XIV of this Act under Employment of Young Persons, Section 105 states that: “A child under the age of sixteen (16) years shall not be employed or work in any public or private undertaking or in any branch thereof, other than an undertaking, owned and controlled by members of the same family; and any person who employs any such child, commits an offence”.
COVID-19 has had an impact on all our lives, and to date, the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (GORTT) has been implementing a series of social measures as well as formulating and redesigning responses to reduce the economic and social impact on families and their livelihoods. It is important at this time to ensure that our children are also made aware of the potential risks to his/her development as a child, as a result of child labour.
The Ministry’s National Steering Committee for the Prevention and Elimination of Child Labour and the Corporate Communications Unit are seeking to make the best use of available tools to engage the population and will host a social media campaign centered on e-interactive learning. The public can expect to learn and engage in the conversation on child labour by accessing information and participating in online games and activities via interactive flyers which will be shared via the Ministry’s social media channels; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Ministry and Committee representatives are also scheduled to appear on television and radio stations across local networks to share information and discuss matters related to child labour with the population: what is child labour, its worst forms, to whom reports should be made and to inform the citizenry, especially those most vulnerable, of the various support and legal services available through member organisations, geared toward the development and protection of our nation’s children.
The Ministry of Labour and Small Enterprise Development will also be targeting persons directly by circulating and distributing flyers to supermarkets, marketplaces, transportation hubs and NGOs, among other public spaces to ensure that the message reaches all persons, inclusive of those in rural areas.
Members of the public including the thousands of children who are currently at home are invited to log on to the Ministry’s social media channels ‘@molsedtt’ to get information and participate in interactive learning as well as to listen and view local radio and television networks respectively, to learn about child labour. Increasing awareness of this issue, will assist in empowering persons to be able to make reports of incidents and also to make the right choices as it relates to protecting and safeguarding our nations’ children by not subjecting them to pre-mature employment, even amidst the ongoing global pandemic.
Reports of Child Labour can be made to:
The Labour Inspectorate Unit, Ministry of Labour and Small Enterprise Development:
Childline: 131 or 800-4321
Counter Trafficking Unit: 800-4288
Occupational Safety and Health Authority (OSHA): 623-6742
Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago: 996
For further information, please email the Corporate Communications Unit of the Ministry of Labour and Small Enterprise Development at:
Social media channels - @molsedtt: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube.
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