Child labour in T&T…A well-kept secret?

By Cherisse Moe
March 2nd, 2009

Child labour in T&T…A well-kept secret?The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) defines child labour as work that exceeds a minimum number of hours, depending on the age of a child and on the type of work. Such work is considered harmful to the child and should therefore be eliminated. There remains no official statistics on the magnitude of child labour in T&T. However, rapid assessment studies conducted by the International Labour Organisation, (ILO), in 2002, uncovered some alarming facts.

Children were found to be engaged, in what the ILO considers to be the worst forms of child labour —agriculture, scavenging, domestic work and commercial sexual activity. Additionally, all child labourers, except those engaged in commercial sexual activity, worked long hours on a daily basis, for meager remuneration.

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8 thoughts on “Child labour in T&T…A well-kept secret?”

  1. It is an insult to those children referred to as “child labourers” to be scorned. I’ve read the comments of the Minister and he should be the last one to talk. It is because of the government that these children end up working in gardens and on the streets. He mentions that they should maximise their time in school “what school?” I read this morning that a school in south had open sewer on the premises, teachers refusing to teach and parents keeping their kids away from that mess. Would that minister allow his children to attend that school? I think not!

    So please don’t patronise us or make us out for being ignorant and stupid. The government is disconnected from its citizens and only have one agenda-fill their pockets as quickly as possible, look for fame and run like hell when the heat rises..

    those children that frequents the dump do so without choice. they must eat! The government would rather build hotels, sports arenas opposed to grant farmers land to increase the production of food for the nation.

  2. The missing children is in Mthope…over 40 and plenty others in POS…..Contact the media house….everone must know…

  3. Child Labour has always existed, and child labour within families- a sharing of the chores, should not be considered wrong unless the child is out of school for this purpose, or unable to go to school because of the need to vend pencils and socks, as well as sweetie on Charlotte street. I was pleased to notice that the dodging of traffic by little boys selling bodi has come to an end along the Churchill Roosevelt highway, but drive through the countryside and see children, school age children, managing vegetable and fruit stands on weekdays. Go to the Santa Rosa Race Club at Omera and see the small boys kept at child labour to attend to million-dollar race horses.

    The rich has always exploited the poor, now the poor also do it to other people’s children; and the state fails these children by not actively pursuing their interests. Citizens can become more actively involved by reporting child labour.

  4. The government DEFINITELY cannot be blamed for child labour. Last time I have checked, a man and a woman make children and are indeed RESPONSIBLE for them. Blame the parents for the child missing school and working for meagre funds. DON’T HAVE CHILDREN IF YOU CYAH MIND THEM!!!

  5. I know the “Government is not to blame” but former slave societies will continue to exploit children unless child labor laws are in place. Britain did this in the “Reform Act” of 1832, passed around the time that slavery was being abolished. Where the government has not taken up the mantle of watchdog for the people, including children, parents and others will exploit children. The idea of childhood, a period of freedom and innocence, is a relatively recent construct, and many perents see little hands as worthless if they cannot help with the chores. Some make the children, apparently for that purpose. In cultures in the far east, mothers sell their children into sexual slavery, sell them as laborers and use them for other commercial enterprises.

    We, whose society is made up partly of people from those child-exploitative cultures, must put safegaurds in place to help our children develop into adulthood.
    Children are not commercial onjects.

    Of course the abysmal lack of good sex education in our school system contributes to parents having children that “dey cyar mine”. A well rounded approach to the issue can address all concerns.

  6. I agree with PPL. Why do you think the media NEVER tried to contact or interview even one eye-witness? They even refused to publish my letter when I questioned the biased manner in which their reporting was done.

  7. Education is the first priority. Depending on the age of the child IE a teenager can baby sit, do lite errangs as cutting grass, go to the store etc as long as it does not interfere with school. The child should have a break each 2 hours, food must be provided. No child should work 8 hours or perform heavy adult tasks. The cost of living in Trinidad is very expensive. Thus, the child can gain some pocket money, learn responsibility, and job experience. Every parent should be aware of who, what, where, how and when their child is involved, speak/meet the prospective employer with knowledge for their safety. Also, the child must call when he/she is leaving or be picked up by a trusted adult.

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