Today, Barbados joins the ILO and its member countries in observing World Day Against Child Labour. Today also marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the adoption of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 182, Worst Forms of Child Labour (1999), which Barbados ratified in 2000.    

Child labour is about the exploitation of some of the most vulnerable in society, our children. Worldwide, over 160 million children are engaged in child labour, 79 million of whom are doing hazardous work – work that could be dangerous to their physical or mental wellbeing.  This is morally wrong and poses a fundamental threat to the notion of decent work and the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 8.7 which calls for the elimination of child labour by 2025.

Issues surrounding child labour can be complex but there is hope. Ending child labour requires commitment and action, locally and internationally.

In 2023, Barbados reiterated its commitment to accelerate actions to end child labour. In 2024, the National Child Labour Committee was reestablished and work has begun to advance and guide national action for the prevention and elimination of all forms of child labour in Barbados. It is envisaged that these actions will promote decent labour practices, strengthen enforcement efforts and support poverty reduction programmes that empowers and build skills amongst vulnerable groups.

As a government, we are strengthening our child protection measures with the recently passed Child Protection Bill. These will complement our existing labour legislation that promotes justice and equality, such as the Safety and Health at Work Act and the Employment Rights Act both of which safeguard a person’s rights and allow them to perform their jobs in safe and healthy conditions.

Join us and let’s act now! Let us reaffirm our commitment to protecting the rights and dignity of every child. Let us chart a future for our children that is safe and free of child labour.

 

Let’s Act on our Commitments: End Child Labour!

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