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Child Labour Fight Action- 48 Child Abuse Cases In Lami From 2018 To 2020

The Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation recorded 48 cases of child abuse in Lami from 2018 to 2020.
22 Jan 2021 12:53
Child Labour Fight Action- 48 Child Abuse Cases In Lami From 2018 To 2020
Fiji is not immune to child labour. Photo: Leon Lord

Outreach programmes are being held around the country to address the growing number of child labour and child abuse cases in Fiji.

As part of its ongoing campaigns, Qauia Village in Lami was one of the first communities visited yesterday by the International Labour Organisation and other stakeholders.

Residents were reminded of the importance of sending children to school and the impacts of child labour.

The Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation recorded 48 cases of child abuse in Lami from 2018 to 2020.

Ministry staff Sarote Anne said there were still unreported cases in the community and residents needed to work with stakeholders to take care of children.

ILO representative Veronika Naiwaqa highlighted that 186 working children in the Central, Northern and Western Divisions were interviewed in a 2015-2016 survey on children working on the streets, and the informal sector while other forms of child labour exists which are unacceptable.

The study found that children were engaged in market vending, car wash, commercial sexual exploitation (mainly girls), fishing and diving, street vending, mechanical garage work, bu-selling, domestic work, drug peddling, serving as bus checker/conductor and shoe shine boys.

Some children also stated they were working two jobs to earn an income.

A Child Labour Survey in 2010 also revealed that over 500 children were involved in the worst forms of child labour while 109 were engaged in commercial sexual exploitation.

ILO Project Officer Victoria Yee said the statistics are a big indicator that child labour exists in Fiji.

“Today, when you go in some streets or towns, there are hotspots where you see child labour actually happening. And in terms of observation, it has increased for some particular areas,” Mrs Yee said.

“But again, you have to be considerate of the location of where the child labour is happening so you will be able to see the causes of child labour. And why it exists for that particular town, is because the child is from that nearby settlement around that town so it has got to be specific.”

Although they do not have recent data to say that child labour has increased, she said there were hotspots where new forms of child labour had emerged.

She added that there were various causes of child labour and it had to be looked at from different dynamics.

Homes of Hope representative Irinieta Banaca revealed that they have 20 residents, with the youngest being an 11-year-old mum.

READ MORE IN TOMORROW’S FIJISUN

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