Sep 25, 2017 News
– US Dept of Labour
A report from the US Department of Labour released this past week has revealed that Guyana made a moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor.
The report outlined that the nation of Guyana is working hard and making successful strides to eradicate the social issues of Child and Forced Labor combined by striving to reach the minimum standards according to International Labor Laws.
Last week, Commercial Officer from the US Department of Labour, Sandra Zuniga handed over the Child Labour Report to Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally.
The report was handed over in time for the commencement of the observance of Child Protection week.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Task and Development Act (TDA) Report in collaborative effort seeks to serve the agenda of a guide to address global efforts of Child Labour.
Some of the general findings of the TDA report as it pertains to Guyana are that child labour continues to decrease, but the pace of progress has slowed, the gaps in efforts remain, exploiters are innovating to profit while evading accountability for their actions.
The Government reformed the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on Combating Trafficking in Persons, began developing a National Action Plan and Policy on Child Labor, and finalized the 2017–2018 National Action Plan on Combating Trafficking in Persons.
However, children in Guyana continue to engage in the worst forms of child labor, including in mining and commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking. Law enforcement agencies have insufficient funding and capacity to enforce laws related to child labor, including its worst forms, and legislation does not fully protect children.
Moreover, the report said that Government does not have a comprehensive policy to combat child labor or target social programs to fully address the extent of the problem.
“All governments and other stakeholders should work together more effectively to accelerate progress over the coming decade.”
Additionally, the US Department outlined that children in Guyana engage in the worst forms of child labor, including in mining and commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking.
A Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey indicated that children living in Guyana’s interior are more likely to be engaged in child labor than other children, with 37 percent of children ages 5 to 17 living in the interior being engaged in child labor.
The survey also indicated that 41 percent of children living in an Amerindian household engage in child labor, with 34 percent of these children engaged in hazardous work. Children in Guyana, including girls as young as age 12, are involved in commercial sexual exploitation in Georgetown and in the country’s interior. There are reports of young girls being subjected to commercial sexual exploitation in mining communities as a result of human trafficking.
Although the Constitution of Guyana guarantees free education, some primary schools continue to charge fees and have attempted to prevent children who cannot pay from attending school.
In efforts to address this problem, the Ministry of Education has publicized guidance advising parents and educators that only the Parent Teacher Association has the authority to approve and collect fees from parents, and that no child may be excluded from school for non-payment.
Children in Guyana’s interior and rural areas have limited access to education due to poor infrastructure, transportation costs, and a shortage of trained and qualified teachers. This leads to decreasing enrollment and high dropout rates among students.
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