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Review of Child Labour Laws of Barbados

  • (i)

    collection of reliable data and information through surveys and other methods of assessing the child labour problem;

  • (ii)

    a forum for government, employers’ and workers’ organizations and NGOs to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of existing policies and programmes;

  • (iii)

    identification of priority target groups in the programmes of action;

  • (iv)

    identification of main programme areas and types of interventions in the programmes of action;

  • (v)

    adoption of the national policy and programme of action geared towards the elimination of the worst forms of child labour.

Barbados is now in the process of data collection to assist policy consideration. It is recommended that the Committee be given all the support required to complete its draft policy on child labour as efficiently as possible.

In terms of programmes, the role of education is universally recognized as an important solution to the elimination of child labour. However, improvements in the education system are not enough because, as the Dunn’s Report indicated, child labour is also linked to poverty, single parent households and poor parental skills. Intervention in education needs to be accompanied by interventions in the labour markets and by social protection measures, such as family support services, if programmes are to be effective and successful.

Interventions must also aim at empowering the poor. According to the ILO publication entitled Action Against Child Labour, interventions must also include a strong and effective labour inspectorate; an independent and competent judicial system; and the provision of income-earning opportunities to the poor through employment creation and poverty alleviation schemes; small enterprise development; minimum wage systems and social safety nets for the most needy.

Barbados may also wish to undertake a cost benefit analysis of the interventions required to eliminate child labour. In this regard, the 2004 ILO/IPEC Study on Investing in Every Child: an Economic Study of the Costs and Benefits of Child Labour provides an interesting methodology for such study. The study estimated the costs of:

  • (i)

    building new schools, training and hiring new teachers, supplying additional educational materials;

  • (ii)

    administering the income transfer programme to defray the cost to households of transferring children from work to school;

  • (iii)

    achieving the urgent elimination of the worst forms of child labour and addressing the needs of special populations;

  • (iv)

    the value of child labour foregone.

In terms of benefits, the study identified:

  • (i)

    improved productivity and earning capacity associated with greater education; and

  • (ii)

    reduced illnesses and injuries due to the elimination of the worst forms of child labour

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