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Laos govt to tackle worst of child labour
Publication Date : 20-12-2013
Around 178,000 children in Laos are considered to be engaged in various forms of child labour, although the government cannot pinpoint the number of minors involved in worst-case instances like slavery.
Currently there is no report or body investigating children involved in the worst cases of child labour, Director of Labour Management Department, Phongsaysack Inthalath said at a consultation session for the Draft National Plan of Action on Prevention and Elimination of Child Labour in Laos.
He said that the plan aims to identify, address and eliminate the worst forms of child labour in the country by 2016, aligning with recommendations from the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The plan will be submitted for government approval in 2014.
“About 10 per cent of Lao children are involved in child labour, including hazardous activities,” he said. “However, some of these cases also include children who work to help their parents which is not wrong.”
Acts considered the worst child labour include forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labour, including forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.
The worst instances also include offering of a child for prostitution, and offering of a child for illicit activities, in particular for the production and trafficking of drugs to harm the health.
Hazardous forms of child labour include children working in unsafe environments such as construction sites.
According to the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and the Lao Statistics Bureau surveyed early this year, about 266,500 of more than 1,767,100 children in Laos are aged from 5-17 are working for the development of the country.
Phongsaysack said of the 178,000 children in Laos considered to be engaged in child labour, around 96,000 are girls and 81,000 boys. Of these more than 130,000 – or two out of every three children are involved in what is defined as hazardous work.
According to the ILO's most recent estimate, 215 million children around the world are trapped in some form of work.
Toda y, throughout the world, around 215 million children work, many full-time. They do not go to school and have little or no time to play.
The Lao government began promoting and protecting the rights and benefits of children, along with youth development, as part of development targets in the 7th National Socio-economic Development Plan for 2011-2015. Laos ratified ILO Conventions 138 on the minimum working age and 182 on the worst forms of child labour in 2005.