by Carol Williams
Child labour could begin rearing its head in Barbados due economic conditions and rising unemployment.
That warning was issued this morning by Minister of Labour Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo, who has called for residents to be on the alert and to take action to stamp out the problem before it gets a foothold in the country.
Speaking at the annual Silver Dollars for Children 2014 event at Heroes Square organised by the Kiwanis Club, Dr Byer-Suckoo noted that a study done several years ago indicated that the scourge does exist on the island.
“We have to be on the lookout. In difficult times with employment rising, there are some parents who may be tempted to engage their children in certain activities, including certain trades [like] drugs and sex. This happens in many parts of the world and we cannot say it cannot happen here,” she said.
“If we should see that rearing its head in Barbados, if we see children on the streets to ply various trades…we need to call the attention of the authorities to that activity and we need to do whatever we can to stamp out that activity.”
The labour minister said while Barbados does not have legislation specific to child labour, it has signed on to the ILO convention 182 which addresses the issue.
She added that it is difficult to determine the extent of the problem in the country due to almost non-existent data.