In order to abort the use of children in work places in Liberia, two international NGOs, Winrock International, and Verite on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 began a two-day workshop on ‘Child Labor’ in Liberia.
The workshop which ended on Thursday, January 24, 2019 was funded by the United States Department of Labor; the project is being implemented in six countries and brings together human resource managers and stakeholders in the Liberian labor sector.
The objective of the workshop is to enhance the capacity of governments and the private sector to reduce/eliminate child labor through the improvements in national legislation, improved monitoring and enforcement of laws and policies related to child labor.
At the same time, it aims at promoting businesses, respect for human rights, increased corporate accountability, development and implementation of national action plans on child labor.
Accordingly, Ms. Lisa Cox, Program Director at Verite and lead facilitator speaking more about the workshop, said it will help participants better understand the definitions and legal frameworks on child labor and safe youth employment, provides tools to help businesses identify where they might have risks of child labor in their own operations or in their supply chain.
Director Cox also noted that the workshop will enable participants to learn about internal audits and monitoring, discuss age verification in recruitment and employment; discuss the importance of grievance mechanisms and methods for investigating complaints, and introduce model codes of conduct and supplier/contractor agreements on child labor.
Ms. Cox further told the participants the importance of the two days ‘Child Labor’ workshop.
She told the participants that there are still over 151.5 million child laborers globally, with 87.5 million boys and 64.1 million girls, and further noted that almost in 10 of all children in the world with 19 million child laborers are of 5-11 years of age, while 16.3 million are of the age 12 to 14, and indicated that nearly half of 72.5 million are performing hazardous work.
She said in 2017, Country Level Engagement & Assistance to Reduce Child Labor (CLEAR II) conducted a review of the Labor Inspectorate with the purpose to gain an understanding of the inspectorate’s mandate and authority, as well as its resources, management structure and overall ability to enforce national laws and meet international obligations they pertain to child labor.
She also said the review was based on an examination of laws, policies and reports from international and national NGOs on current issues related to child labor in Liberia.
Additionally, she noted, field visits and in person interviews with staff from government, trade unions, industry groups, international NGOs and civil society stakeholders were held in Montserrado and Margibi counties.
She said these figures are lower than the last global estimate in 2013, which estimated that 168 million children worked in child labor. While this is encouraging, far too many children in the world still remain trapped in child labor, compromising their individual and our collective futures.
Ms. Cox said the Liberian Chamber of Commerce (LCC) was identified as one of those with an interest in ensuring that child labor is eliminated in Liberia.
Participants at the workshop came from several institutions including Firestone Liberia, the Ministry of Labor, the Liberia Agriculture Company, ArcelorMittal, Rubber Planters Association of Liberia, Sime Darby Plantation and Vision International just to name a few.