At a recent Child Labour workshop conducted by the Barbados Ministry of Labour and the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Cobin Hinds, Public Relations Officer of the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT), spoke about incidences of child labour in Barbados and in particular the exposure of children to hazards on construction sites and other high risk activities.
In addressing the various community groups who attended the Worst Forms of Child Labour workshop, Mr. Hinds noted that, "(Child labour) is a stark and present reality that we are facing.”
In the Caribbean region there are examples of children working on the streets and in markets during school hours, lifting heavy loads and being exposed to hazards; children working on farms exposed to pesticides, heat, injuries, insects and other animals; scavenging on garbage dumps for items to sell with prolonged exposure to dust, smoke, heat and other toxic products; young boys and girls under eighteen involved in prostitution, exposed to abuse, HIV/AIDS and other diseases; young girls working as domestic labourers or being kept at home to do chores and look after their siblings instead of going to school.
Mr. Hinds said that, "In some instances, children lose interest in school because they are earning money and because of the lack of time to do homework.” "We have to see how we are going to help these children manage these situations and sensitise the community about the exploitation of children." he added.
The Ministry of Labour in Barbados have held a number of meetings and workshops on the issue of child labour for teachers, guidance counsellors, union leaders, community groups, PTAs, and the Churches. Likewise the BUT has conducted workshops for its own Shop Stewards. Staff members, Dennis Murray and Cobin Hinds, who benefited from special training within the scope of the SCREAM initiative (Supporting Children's Rights through Education, the Arts and Media) conducted these workshops. They have also joined forces with the Barbados Ministry of Labour to sensitise Barbadians on the dangers of the Worst Forms of Child Labour. For more information, please contact us at [email protected]