Guyana to tackle child abuse, raise awareness of child labour

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, (CMC) –Guyana’s Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr Vindhya Persaud, says the ministry’s campaign to tackle child abuse will be amplified to curb unreported instances of child labour in the country.

During an activity to raise awareness about child labour, Persaud said the issue should be everybody’s business.

The campaign, dubbed ‘Every Child Safe’, was launched in 2021 as part of efforts to curb the high number of reported child abuse cases. It will also target child labour.

“We have started the ‘Every Child Safe’ programme which focuses on raising children and adults in a safe and secure environment [and] this morning I give the commitment through the…programme, that everything to do with child labour will be given equal importance as child abuse because the two intertwine so that awareness and education can happen at the community,” Persaud said.

One of the main pillars of the ‘Every Child Safe’ campaign is public awareness to ensure the general populace is aware of the warning signs to identify whether a child is being abused.

World Day Against Child Labour is observed annually on June 12. This year it is being observed under the theme, “Social Justice for all. End Child Labour.”

The Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport are collaborating to provide a government response to the issue.

Labour offices were established in most regions for people to make reportsm but up to last year, Labour Minister Joseph Hamilton said even with multiple ways to increase the availability of officers, no reports have been received since 2021.

It is unclear whether this means the reports aren’t being made or child labour situations are decreasing.

Persaud has called on residents to educate themselves on the issue and work collectively with the ministries and supporting agencies to put a stop to child abuse and child labour. She noted that reporting these issues must not be left to only the officers at state agencies, but across the board.

“Go out there, see it, know it, recognise it and report it. Reporting must not be left only to officers of state agencies. Reporting must be something that is done around the country by every single citizen be it a child or an adult,” she said.

She noted that the government has several programmes available to keep children occupied and ensure that they are not vulnerable to exploitation.

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