About 500 children in Fiji have been found to be engaged in the worst form of child labour.
This was confirmed by the International Labour Organization’s first-ever comprehensive study conducted over a period of five years.
The program dubbed Tackling Child Labour through Education (TACKLE) highlighted that children under the age of 15 were engaged in the worst form of child labour, including sexual exploitation, drug trafficking, begging and hazardous work while many more worked below minimum age employment.
The comprehensive study also revealed that the main reasons these children engaged in such work was poverty, family breakdown, education, unemployment, internal migration, crisis situations, among other reasons.
The research also offered lessons learnt from current action programs to withdraw and prevent children from these types of work.
One such lesson was the fact that many of the children were out of the education system having dropped out of school.
The lack of social support was also one issue highlighted in the report — which stated that relevant education programs for child labourers and out-of-school children posed a challenge to effectively removing children from the worst forms of child labour.
TACKLE is a global program aimed at tackling child labour through education in 11 countries across Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, including Fiji and Papua New Guinea.
It is funded by the European Commission and supported by the ACP Group of States.
Working with the ILO’s tri-partite partners and civil society groups, the program formulates, implements and enforces policies and programs to fight child labour. The program works through four strategic areas: improving the legal framework; strengthening institutional capacity to implement child labour strategies; developing effective demonstration models targeting child labour and enhancing the knowledge base and networks on child labour and education.
– FIJI TIMES