Employers warned against hiring children under 15

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As Guyana joined the rest of the world in observing World Day Against Child Labour on Wednesday, employers were warned against hiring children under the age of 15 since it is illegal and they can face the full brunt of the law if found doing so.
This was according to Superintendent of Police Budnarine Persaud, who was at the time addressing scores of young people and adults who participated in a walk in Region Six.
“When we look at the root causes of crime we think of poverty as being the root cause. when you go into employment at the age of 15 years, it is robbing your childhood. It deprives you of your education if you go into employment at the age of 15. [It is] what is referred to as a labour”, Persaud added.
The senior police rank explained that for persons to have good paying jobs, they will first have to educate themselves and as such, urged the youths to stay in school.
Also addressing the students was New Amsterdam’s Mayor, Winifred Yearwood, who related that child labour could have mental, physical and psychological effects on the young souls.
“Why do people involve in child labour? They do this because they don’t want to pay the amount of money, they will have to give more money to the older persons to do the same job”.
She said child labour can be in different forms while noting that young girls are asked to stay home from school to take care of their younger or older relatives.
Children who are being asked to assist in family business during school hours are also victims of child labour, the Mayor noted.
Regional Education Officer Bhajmattie LaCruz noted that a UNICEF 2016 report on Guyana revealed that 18.3 per cent of 5-7-year-olds were involved in some form of child labour.
“Child labour is not restricted to you going out and earning money doing some job for a couple of hours. Things that happened in the home can contribute to child labour as well,” she noted.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) launched the World Day Against Child Labour in 2002 to focus attention on the global extent of child labour and the action and efforts needed to eliminate such.
Each year on June 12, the World Day brings together governments, employers and workers’ organisations, civil society, as well as millions of people from around the world to highlight the plight of child labourers and what can be done to help them.
Today, 152 million children are still being forced into child labour. Although child labour occurs in almost every sector, seven out of every ten is in agriculture.
The walk was organised by the Department of Social Cohesion under the theme “Children shouldn’t work in fields but on dreams”.
In Berbice, students from several secondary schools in New Amsterdam marched through New Amsterdam carrying anti-child labour placards.