The fifth international Labour Organisation Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour will go ahead as planned in Durban as of tomorrow, Sunday, 15 May, and will run until 20 May.
As part of the focus on child labour practices in South Africa, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, accompanied by the MECs of Social Development is expected to visit a Durban based Child and Youth Care Centre.
The Centre has a unique model where service delivery is integrated, and hosts children who are placed there under the terms of the Children’s Act and the Child Justice Act, which are administered by the Departments of Social Development and Justice and Correctional services respectively.
The facility hosts children from all over the country after being lured to major metro for different reasons, even job offers as domestic workers.
Their admission to the Centre serves as a safety measure to protect them from child labour and other forms of exploitation.
“Some of the children found themselves in conflict with the law after being used by adults to commit crime which is regarded as the worst form of child labour,” said the department in a statement.
“Others were used as mules to deliver or distribute illicit drugs.”
The Human Rights Council sent a team to investigate the model of hosting children who were in conflict with the law and were recommended for placement because of its care and protection service programmes in line with legal protocols.
“The Minister will therefore visit the centre to showcase the progress the country is making to protect children from child labour and to provide an opportunity for other provinces to replicate this model across the country,” said the department.
Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to deliver the keynote address at the opening ceremony of the Conference on Sunday.
The Conference takes place at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban.
The government and the International Labour Organisations are hosting this conference in South Africa for the first time.
“Despite progress in many regions, 160 million children are still in child labour. According to the ILO, numbers are rising and the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to reverse years of progress,” said the Presidency.
The Global Conference will discuss good practices implemented by the different actors around the world and identify gaps and urgent measures needed to accelerate the elimination of both child labour and forced labour.
The conference will build on four previous Global Conferences, held in Buenos Aires (2017), Brasilia (2013), The Hague (2010), and Oslo (1997), which raised awareness of the issue, mobilised resources and established a strategic direction for the global movement against child labour.
This 5th conference takes place consistent with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal, Target 8.7, which calls for the abolition of all forms of child labour by 2025 and the abolition of forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking by 2030.
The week-long conference brings together more than 4,000 representatives of government, trade unions, the private sector, civil society, regional and international organisations, as well as youth and children from all over the world for plenaries, presentations and side events.
Compiled by Narissa Subramoney