Dept told to get kids off streets

The National,Tuesday July 5th, 2016

THE Department of Youth, Religion and Community Development is responsible for removing children from hazardous activities on the streets, Employees Federation of PNG executive director Florence Willie says.
Willie told The National that the department had policies to deal with women, youth and children and was the right office to address the issue.
“We see these young people who seem to be everywhere in the city directing traffic or selling things at the traffic lights and dangerous places. Some of them beg for food and money,” Willie said.
“It’s something that this department should be seriously looking at and come up with strategies or plans to assist in taking them away from those hazardous activities they are involved in.
“The key factor why these young children are doing these kinds of activities is to earn a living and put food on the table for themselves.
“It is understood that some of them sleep in places where someone else is charging them a fee or they sleep in the drains or under the trees.
“They are almost like homeless people and because of their young age they are vulnerable to all sorts of dangerous activities.”
She said the department should take a much stronger stand on the plight of these younger people.
The Labour Department is tasked to set labour standards for the workplace for the formal sector, Willie says.
“In terms of the informal sector, we should look at the access points to formalise the workers who run their own businesses by providing training to upskill them and giving them some recognition so they are qualified to participate in the formal work as well,” she said.
“So we are caught up in a situation where labour department is tasked to look at only the formal economy type work and nothing beyond the informal so that’s where the imbalance seems to stand out.”