Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has hailed a report which was compiled by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour (M.C.I.L.) with the International Labour Organisation (I.L.O.) on child labour in Samoa.
Titled the Report of the Rapid Assessment of Children Working on the Streets in Apia, Samoa: A Pilot Study, the report was launched in the beginning of this month.
Said Tuilaepa, they (Cabinet) haven’t “touched” or gone through the details of the report.
“The research has been done and the report has been launched.
“But there will come a time where the Cabinet will go through the details of the report and the Cabinet will come up with a decision.
“But a lot has been said about children who are on the streets selling goods for a living.”
Moreover, Tuilaepa said the government is looking at expanding the work of Police in relation to this matter.
“Not only police, but also the law.
“But this doesn’t mean that parents and family members will not have to play their part as well.
“They are the first ones who can help solve this issue.”
He went on to say that he believes, “greediness” is one reason why most children are on the streets.
“I think the main problem is that some of them are being greedy.
“Some just don’t have enough money to provide for all members of their family. That’s why most children are on the streets.”
Moreover, Tuilaepa thinks that cases where students go to school then sell goods on the streets after school is “fine.”
“It doesn’t matter if some of these children are doing both. They go to school and then come home and do this job. They can do both.
“But we need to make sure that these kids are safe.
“Now that, I believe, takes a communal effort. We, particularly Police officers all need to work together to keep these kids safe, and especially Police officers.”
The report was launched by the Minister of M.C.I.L, Lautafi Selafi Purcell.
During the launch, he said, “Among the findings of the Rapid Assessment, which is a major concern, is the number of children who have preferred dropping out of school to work at a very young age.
“Secondly are the vulnerabilities and risks of child vendors being exposed to abuse, crime and potential involvement in illegal activities is also a major concern.
“I can also confirm that two weeks ago, Cabinet endorsed the report and strongly encourages and urge all relevant agencies and organizations under their respective mandates to implement the recommendations from the report.”
The report concluded that financial problems are responsible for a growing number of children ending up on the streets of Apia instead of going to school.
The recommendations include:
- Improving monitoring and enforcement of the laws and providing efficient and clear systems and defined processed between stakeholders.
- Raising the age group for compulsory education and improving on the monitoring of compulsory education
- Improving collaboration and coordination to address the issues of children out of school and children working on the streets as vendors.
- Supporting free education for all children to access full primary and three years of secondary education in policy and practice.
- Conducting public awareness campaigns on child labour issues and legislation
- Conducting parenting education programmes, skills training and literacy and numeracy classes for parents and promoting the value of education for all.
- Improving labour regulations for street children in labour.
- Conducting a more comprehensive national survey on child labour in
- Clarifying the definition of child labour in the Samoan context
- Providing alternative livelihood options for parents and address the broader issue of poverty and youth unemployment which contribute to children beginning work at an early age.