DIVISIONAL trainers in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) are participating in a three-day workshop on issues concerning child labour in Jamaica, with specific focus on how to combat the problem.
The workshop, which began yesterday at Alhambra Inn in Kingston, is expected to result in the development of strategies to strengthen and expand the role of the police in addressing child labour in the island.
The workshop is being hosted by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, under the Tackling Child Labour Through Education (TACKLE) technical
The forum seeks to continue to build capacity and knowledge base on child labour. It targets police and community safety officers, mainly from Kingston and
St Andrew and St Catherine — the most populated parishes with with significant child labour concerns.
The TACKLE programme is run in 12 countries, with Jamaica and Guyana being the only Caribbean countries involved. Jamaica is the only country that has developed a law enforcement training programme that is country specific.
Objectives of the TACKLE initiative are to: build the law enforcement and legislative mechanisms to address child labour; collaborate with the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Education in order to include recurrent funding for child labour programmes in the
It also seeks to provide interventions for children involved in child labour (prevention and withdrawal), mainly through remedial programmes, through non-governmental organisations, as well as through the school system; and develop good practices and sharing of information, which will benefit all stakeholders.
Nasolo Thompson, national project officer of International Labour Organisation/TACKLE Jamaica, explained that based on the findings of a research, the workshop had become necessary to address many of the gray areas, and matters that members of the JCF and other practitioners are unsure about.
She said one of the main concerns raised was what to do with a child who is taken out of a situation in which he or she is engaged in child labour.
"Our social services are already very stretched... what do we do with the child? You have a duty to protect... so do we put the child in a situation that is more or less positive
than he or she was in?" she questioned.
She noted that while most persons were aware of what child labour is, not many were aware of ILO Conventions that inform local child labour laws.
"Another thing that was also very important was that many members of the Force were not sure how to deal with child labour... they weren't sure which laws applied in which circumstance, and even if they did, they weren't really sure what procedure needed to be enforced in order to address the situation," Thompson pointed out.