Child Labor Forum Told Of Begging, Scavenging, Stealing

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Pacific policy makers attend regional meeting in Fiji

By Sarai Ripine*

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, April 15, 2015) – Some of the worst forms of child labour are found in the Pacific. And these include begging, scavenging, selling drugs and children being involved in commercial sex work.

This was revealed by the Head of Section, Economics and Social Sectors, delegation of the European Union for the Pacific, Jerome Pons.

He was welcoming the participants to the Pacific Sub regional Child Labour and Trafficking Forum which was officially opened at the Tokatoka Resort Hotel in Nadi, Fiji, on Monday.

The Forum is an initiative by the International Labour Organization (I.L.O) whereby representatives from five Pacific countries; Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Samoa are taking part.

The aim of the forum is to share knowledge and experiences on best practise methods when dealing with the issues related to child labour and trafficking.

The forum is being attended by national policy makers from a range of relevant government departments (including labour, education, and social welfare) workers and employer’s organizations, civil society representatives and the media. According to Mr. Pons, the Forum is an effort to build on all the work that has been conducted on child labour so far in the region.

"It is an opportunity for us to share knowledge, experience and best practises that countries can adapt and use in their own context for the eradication of the child labour," he said.

He said that the I.L.O has further extended technical support to Samoa, Solomon Islands, Kiribati to formulate and implement strategies and programmes to combat child labour, to conduct child labour research, and to draft National Plans to eliminate child labour.

I.L.O Deputy Director, Satoshi Sasaki, said child labour and human trafficking are the result and the cause of poverty.

"Protection and promotion of the right of the child is one of the objectives and priorities of the European Union Worldwide," Mr. Sasaki said. According to him, the E.U’s approach to trafficking begins from a gender and human rights perspective and focus on prevention, prosecution of criminal and protection of victims.

A delegation of eight from Samoa is attending the meeting. Among them are Tomasi Peni, Gatoloai Tili Afamasaga, Salima Lasalo Salima, Uputaua Lauvi, Hobart Va’ai and Nora Rose Warren. The delegation from Samoa will present about Samoa’s experience at the meeting today.

*Sarai Ripine is representing the Samoa Observer at the Forum. She is part of the Samoan delegation to the meeting.

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