Persons who employ children will be penalised – Labour Minister

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Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton, has announced that the government will be clamping down on child labour and is currently revising legislation in this regard.

In an interview with the Department of Public Information, the Minister said measures would be put in place to train more officers to respond effectively to child labour.

“We are presently reviewing the labour legislation to amend or enact new laws guided by the Attorney General’s Chambers. Through this, employers who are employing children will be put before the law. Our officers will be trained to work in the field in the ten administrative regions to ensure children are safe and are in school,” Minister Hamilton said.

There are also plans to develop and review protocols with several Government agencies, particularly the Ministry of Home Affairs.

“The Guyana Police Force will be working along with us every step of the way, not forgetting, the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security, Childcare and Protection Agency and the Ministry of Education. We want to rescue those children who are without parental support and have to go in search of a job to feed themselves,” he said.

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), the COVID-19 pandemic can push millions of vulnerable children into child labour. “There are an estimated 152 million children in child labour, 72 million of whom are in hazardous work. These children are now at even greater risk of facing circumstances that are even more difficult and working longer hours,” the ILO stated.