Sunvoice

Stop Exploitation Of Children

Rosy Akbar, the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, has raised a sensitive issue regarding the exploitation of children and young people. A child is defined as aged under
26 Jan 2015 09:56
Stop Exploitation Of Children
The two young boys with an officer in Ba Town. Photo: Varanisese Nasilasila

Rosy Akbar, the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, has raised a sensitive issue regarding the exploitation of children and young people. A child is defined as aged under 15 and a young person is aged between 15 and under 18.

The incident over two boys selling ivi who were sent home by her in Ba raises some interesting discussion.

They were sent by their parents to sell ivi in Ba town to pay for their stationery.

In the old days, it was perfectly okay for all members of the family, as long as they are old enough, to pitch in and help. And it included the young ones who have shown a certain degree of independence and maturity.

Everyone helped out in the farms and other activities including the selling of produce.

In the Ba case, Ms Akbar was no doubt focusing on the lack of supervision and the question of safety. Is it classified as child labour or exploitation? Child labour refers to the employment of children in any work that deprives them of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful.

More than 105 million children worldwide are engaged in child labour, according to UNESCO. It says children around the world are routinely engaged in paid and unpaid forms of work that are not harmful to them.

However, they are classified as child labourers when they are either too young to work or are involved in hazardous activities that may compromise their physical, mental, social or educational development. While the Fijian employment law is against child labour it, however, does not specify the types of hazardous work children are prohibited from participating in.

The Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations may declare any employment or workplace to be a prohibited or restricted employment or workplace on the ground that it is injurious to health or is hazardous, dangerous, or unsuitable.

Ms Akbar has highlighted through her action that may be many parents do not fully understand the law. It is quite common now to see children selling food without adequate adult supervision.

It is the responsibility of parents to provide for their children.

There is a limit on how children can help them. Beyond that their actions could be bordering on exploitation or abuse especially if the children are in an environment that has risks.

Ms Akbar has made it clear that parents struggling to pay for education needs can access help from her ministry. She offers this assistance in the hope that parents will not send their children out unsupervised to sell food or other stuff to help the family.

All school-aged children should be at school attending their classes instead of selling in the markets.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 




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