CHILD labour and trafficking is common in the Pacific Island countries but proper information on the issue was never passed on to people who need to know of such issue.
The trend, according International Labour Organisation (ILO) world report, has in the past years declined by millions, and in the last four years further reduced by 28 million.
This information was relayed to the ILO forum on child labour and trafficking held in Honiara this week.
The forum was told parents in Solomon Islands need to be educated on the issue.
It also heard that the concepts and knowledge of child rights and the issue of child labour and trafficking do not reached down to the rural homes where these practices were mostly found.
The forumcame up with an idea that lots of awareness and information must be given to the rural homes.
Participants said the forum was timely as it coincides with the passage of the Family Protection Bill yesterday in Parliament.
Lily Chekana of Development Services Exchange (DSE) said child labour and trafficking is not a stand-alone issue for only a particular sector to work on.
“It’s everyone’s business,” she said.
The ILO representative who facilitated the forum, Marie Fatiaki, said occurrences of child labour are alarmingly common in the Pacific.
“The issue is common in the Pacific Islands and it needs a multi-sectoral approach to tackle I,” Mrs Fatiaki said.
Participants have in the last two days learned about ILO and child labour trends and the international legal framework on child labour and trafficking.
Child labour is said to be mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children.
It interferes with children’s schooling by: depriving them of the opportunity to attend school; obliging them to leave school prematurely; or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.
Trafficking or Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) is for the purpose of exploitation of any child- male or female- under 18 years old in sexual activities remunerated in cash or in kind.
According to the ILO, there are more than 200 million child labourers between the ages of 5-15. 100 million children trapped in the worst forms of labour such as working in mining, serving as child soldiers, working in farms, and handling noxious fumes and dangerous chemicals.
It also pointed out that millions never and will never attend schools.
ILO said children need our help to protect them from such harsh forms of labour.
By CHARLEY PIRINGI