Taking part in the labour force at a young age stunts children’s mental and physical development.
|Students paint pictures under the theme “Children shouldn’t work in fields, but on dreams” at the forum.|
So said Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyễn Thị Hà at a forum on Friday hosted by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA), the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the HCM Communist Youth Union ahead of the World Day Against Child Labour on June 12.
The event, themed “Children shouldn’t work in fields, but on dreams”, offered a platform for policymakers, social activists and some 200 children to share their opinions and potential solutions, and to show their commitment to ending all forms of child labour by 2025.
“Việt Nam is the pioneer in Asia in establishing the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Alliance 8.7, focusing on addressing child labour in agriculture and enhancing education for children,” said Hà.
ILO Việt Nam Director Chang-Hee Lee told the forum that using child labour threatened the country’s future labour force and economy. He said children need to enjoy a good education and learn essential skills to achieve their own dreams and benefit the country in the future.
On behalf of some 200 students participating in the event, Nguyễn Hải Anh of Hà Nội’s Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiêm Secondary School expressed her expectation that the Government and non-governmental organisations will collaborate to secure children’s access to education.
“Child labour is not beneficial for the economy,” she said. “I hope the Government and agencies will create the conditions for children to develop by cutting tuition fees for needy students, offering vocational training courses and imposing heavy punishments on businesses that use child labour.”
According to the national survey on child labour from 2012 (the latest survey is underway), Việt Nam has 1.7 million child workers, 70 per cent of which work in the agricultural sector.
Up to 42 per cent of child labourers do not go to school and 34 per cent of them work more than 42 hours per week.
Many child labourers in Việt Nam work in the informal economy, often doing toxic and dangerous jobs which expose them to high threats of occupational accidents and prevent them from growing up healthy.
2019 marks two decades since the adoption of the ILO’s Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, of which Việt Nam is a member.
According to the organisation, there are 152 million child labourers worldwide. — VNS