Guyana reports 'troubling' prevalence of child labour

2015-10-22 13:36


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Georgetown - A government survey found a "troubling" amount of child labour in Guyana, with minors engaged in prostitution and children as young as five working on farms around dangerous chemicals, the Ministry of Social Protection said Wednesday.

The study, based on a survey of 532 children and young workers, found many children engaged in selling produce in the streets and working in agriculture. It determined that kids "of all ages" are involved in prostitution, according to a summary released by the ministry.

"While the findings of the survey are troubling, the Government of Guyana, through the Ministry of Social Protection, will take urgent steps to address this problem, since we are aware of the debilitating effects of child labor," it said in a statement.

The ministry said it would create a special unit aimed at eradicating child labour, improve enforcement of existing laws by providing more money for enforcement and remove working children from the streets and ensure they go to school.

The survey was conducted in the capital, Georgetown, and in the countryside in 2011 with the International Labour Organisation. An annual report on child labour released by the US Department of Labour found that Guyana has made "moderate advancement" toward eliminating child labour but noted the government had not released the results of the 2011 survey, a fact noted by the ministry as it released the information on Wednesday.

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