BY Pa’i Mulitalo Ale
APIA, SAMOA – FRIDAY, MARCH 10 FEBRUARY 2017: The Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labour collaborated with the International Labour Organization to launch the “Rapid Assessment of children working on streets in Apia” yesterday.
The joint effort aims at ensuring that young children have access to quality education as an important prerequisite for secured well paid employment in the future.
The report from the pilot study identified children working as street vendors, explore the working conditions of these children and understand the characteristics of the working children, reasons of their engagement in child labour, pathways that led children to engage in child labour and the socio-economic situation of the families of children in child labour.
The report also examines the relations between school and work, the attitudes of the parents and children towards education and what pushes these children to engage in child labour and identify potential strategies to remove children working in child labour on the streets and provide them with access to services.
The Minister of Commerce, Industry and labour, Lautafi Fio Selafi Purcell applauds the findings of the report that identifies the current situation of street vendors in Samoa, mainly in the town area.
“To complement the Rapid Assessment findings and the recommendations from stakeholdres, a scoping exercise was also conducted in Savai’i with parents and members of the community.”
And those findings were shared widely with the stakeholders.
The final validation exercise for the Child Labour Rapid Assessment in Apia was completed and was approved by the Samoa National Tripartite Forum in 2016.
And amongst those findings 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.
One of the major concerns raised was on the vulnerability and risks of child vendor being exposed to abuse, crime and potential involvement in illegal activities.
This report was endorsed by Cabinet last week and Lautafi encouraged and urged all relevant agencies and organizations to implement the recommendations and the reports’ findings.
According to the President of the Samoa Workers Congress, Gatoloai Tili Afamasaga more than one hundred children were interviewed on the project.
She thanked them for their courage that made the work much easier in the assessments that found some children were not living with their parents.
Most of the young people interviewed were living with their aunties and uncles and this is the only way they could earn a living and to be able to provide for the families they were staying with.