What is Child Labour? The International Labour Organisation (ILO) defines it as work which deprives children of their childhood, potential and dignity, and which is harmful to their development.
It includes work that:
- Is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children; and
- Interferes with their schooling by:
- depriving them of the opportunity to attend school;
- obliging them to leave school prematurely; or
- requiring them to try to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.
While we might think of child labour as child enslavement, it extends to children required and or left to sell on the streets to sustain themselves.
Protections against Child Labour in Grenada’s legislative framework
1. Our Constitution: No person shall be required to perform forced labour;
2. The Education Act, Cap. 86:
- Each person is entitled to receive an education appropriate to his needs;
- Provides compulsory school ages of 5-16, inclusive;
- Obliges the Chief Education Officer to ensure that every person of compulsory school age receives an education; and
- Guarantees free public school education.
3. The Employment Act, Cap 89:
- Repeats the forced labour prohibition;
- Although compulsory school age includes 16-year-old children, the Employment Act prohibits work for children under age 16. Children are generally only permitted to work if on holiday job employment but in any event, except if enrolled in technical schools and part of on-the job training or such approved and supervised programme, or school-ships or training ships, no children are to be employed on vessels;
- Requires the employer of persons under 18 years old to keep a register of such persons, and their dates of birth;
- Requires any employer who takes on persons under age 18 for work aboard a vessel to obtain a medical certificate of fitness for such work, and a medical examination and certificate at the employer’s expense annually;
- Persons under 18 years old are not to be employed or allowed to work between the hours of 9 pm and 6 am.
- Penalties for breaching the prohibitions under the Employment Act range from $5,000 to $10,000 with imprisonment ranging from 6 months to 3 years.
4. The Electronic Crimes Act, No. 23 of 2013: Prohibits child pornography by anyone under age 18 and imposes a penalty: $200,000 or 5 years or both. While the prohibition is across the board, it applies where the pornography is part of “work”.
5. The Factories Act, Cap. 100: Defines a young person as being between ages 14 and 18, and it deems an apprenticeship as an employment. Some job areas falling within that Act: manufacturers, repairers, cleaners, alterers, adapting for sale any article, persons engaged in ornamenting, finishing, breaking up or demolition of an article. Unless expressly permitted by the Minister for Labour, no young person is to be employed in one of those areas.
6. The Child Protection Act, Cap. 44A: Provides a framework which allows reporting and institution of proceedings where the prohibitions mentioned above are found to be taking place, or the child’s rights mentioned above are being violated.
7. Prevention of Trafficking in Persons, Act 34 of 2014: Prohibits trafficking in human beings generally but also addresses trafficking in children. The results of your homework on the relevance of this issue in Grenada might surprise.
Grenada Bar Association