By HELEN TARAWA
Child labour is a growing concern in PNG and relevant government agencies must address it, PNG Employees Federation executive director Florence Willie says.
During the National Labour Day and World Day Against Child Labour, Willie said the Department of Education and Youth, Religion and Community Development had to look at child labour concerns.
“There is sexual exploitation of young people, there are orphans because parents have died from HIV/AIDS, homeless children because of broken families and children struggling to get into schools with no jobs at the end of their education,” Willie said.
“We have the highest school leaver rates and we need to change that. We need new visionary leaders to plot a better course for us to take as a country.
“It’s good that we recognise child labour day. Let’s take stock of what we are doing.
“Child labour is about a child who is involved in work that may be harmful and not in their best interest. A child is supposed to grow up and enjoy the things that children should be enjoying rather than going to work to earn an income and bring it home to feed the family.
“Although we are seeing phases of child abuse, it’s not a big matter for PNG because we have very good family network.
“However, as PNG changes, those networks are breaking down. Children become victims in our changing and growing society.”
As a member of International Labour Organisation, PNG is required to take note of the existence of child labour.
She said employers wanted to make profit but should also be accountable and responsible corporate citizens.
By HELEN TARAWA