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Review of Child Labour Laws of Barbados

It should be noted, however, that Barbados has sound national policies in areas connected with child labour, such as education, childcare protection, welfare, social security, labour administration and other social development, but there is no explicit policy reference to child labour. In addition, the Government and Social Partners in their Social Protocol V, signed in 2005, have resolved to redouble their efforts to combat the child labour and the worst forms of child labour and to assist in efforts to reintegrate such exploited children into the mainstream of our society. There is also in place a policy that prohibits the importation of any item for sale in Barbados, where there is reasonable ground for belief that child labour has formed any part of the process of manufacture or production.

When the ILO Rapid Assessment Survey on Child Labour in Barbados (2002) revealed instances of probable child labour, there was not surprisingly some initial skepticism by Government officials about the validity of the findings.

It is argued that the apparent lack of knowledge of the existence of child labour on the part of the competent authority, the Labour Department, is attributed to that fact that:

  • (ii)

    child labour tends to be limited to the informal sector which is generally not adequately inspected by the Labour Department; and

  • (iii)

    the unconditional worst forms of child labour constitute criminal offences that have not been characterized in law as child labour. They have always been perceived as criminal acts and not child labour. Law enforcement officers as well as Labour Officers do not readily see the connection between these offences and child labour. Moreover, they are not monitored by the Labour Department.

It is significant to note that the Ministry of Labour and Social Security has initiated action to remedy the policy deficiency and has recently established a National Committee on Child Labour whose task is to make recommendations for a policy on child labour. This Committee has as its members the following agencies:

  • -

    Ministry of Labour and Social Security;

  • -

    Ministry of Education;

  • -

    Ministry of Social Transformation;

  • -

    Child Care Board;

  • -

    Ministry of Finance (Statistics)

  • -

    CTUSAB;

  • -

    BEC.

It

should

be

noted

that

this

Committee

is

not

a

Cabinet-appointed

Committee;

Committee was appointed by the establishment and the composition of

Minister

of

Labour.

The

procedure

for

committees on child labour should recognize

the the that

the

issue

of

child

labour

is

a

matter

that

transcends

the

policy

limits

of

the

Ministry

of

Labour. A policy on child labour must be placed economic development policies that address the

in the

context

of

national,

larger

issues

of

poverty,

social and education,

family life Committees

and youth development. on Child Labour should

It be

is therefore highly recommended that appointed or approved by the Cabinet,

all in

22

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