THE International Labor Organisation ILO is hosting a three-day child labour and trafficking forum next week at the Heritage Park Hotel in Honiara.
The forum will be opened by the s Minister of Commerce, Industry, Labour and Immigration, Elijah Doromuala.
It will be attended by relevant government departments, workers and employers as well as media representatives.
In an email from the Suva based Child Labour Project Officer and Finance, Administration Assistant, Ahmad Ali Mere Corerega, says that the forum will be run from August 26 to 28.
“The forum is for relevant government departments, workers and employers as well as the media,” Corerega said.
“It was hoped that the workshop was to identify key issues in relation to child labour in Solomon Islands, in particular the worst forms of child labour, and formulate appropriate actions to address these problems”.
“The Pacific sub-regional child labour and trafficking project expands on the ILO-EU actions against child labour in Fiji and PNG.
“The programme extends technical support to Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Samoa to formulate and implement strategies and programmes to combat child labour, to conduct child labour research; and to draft National Action Plans to eliminate the worst forms of child labour, including determining hazardous child labour lists.”
Corerega said there is clear evidence that children in the Pacific Islands Countries (PICs) are susceptible to the worst forms of child labour and trafficking.
ILO child labour research studies conducted with the support of the EU funded TACKLE (Tackling Child Labour Through Education) project in some PICs found children exploited in hazardous work (agriculture, scrap metal scavenging and construction), commercial sexual exploitation and illicit activities such as drug trafficking, begging and pick pocketing.
The global number of children in child labour has declined by one third since 2000, from 246 million to 168 million children and more than half of them, 85 million, are in hazardous work.
Asia and the Pacific still have the largest numbers (almost 78 million or 9.3% of child population) involved in child labour (IPEC, 2013).
Solomon Islands was recently in 2013 downgraded in the US Department of State’s US Trafficking in Persons 2013 Report.
Now in the Tier 2 watch list category, Solomon Islands faces the prospect of future US sanctions if the government does not show targeted efforts to address trafficking over the next two years.
Trafficking in persons is the act of recruiting, harbouring, transporting, providing, or obtaining a person for involuntary labour or commercial sex acts through the use of force, fraud, or coercion.
Trafficking is often called “modern slavery” – at its core, it exploits and enslaves victims.
By CHARLEY PIRINGI