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Fiji Time: 6:16 PM on Monday 28 July

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Children used as drug mules

Shalveen Chand
Monday, June 14, 2010

Children continue to be used as mules to transport drugs, according to findings by the International Labour Organisation.

One of the case studies provided by the ILO showed that two children in primary school were paid $20 each to deliver a parcel allegedly containing drugs.

The study showed that the youths were offered a ride after school and told that they would make easy money and all they had to do was to drop a package.

According to ILO consultant, Dr Mili Kaitani this was one form of child labour that is being seen in the country.

She said in such cases the children were from financially-secure families and the money they earned was for personal entertainment.

A total of 214 children were interviewed and it was found that 63 per cent were involved in child labour.

Dr Kaitani also said that children were being used as sex workers with evidence that the activity was organised, with timed pick-ups and drop-offs.

The main reason children were getting employment was that they had dropped out of school.

There has been a suggestion that all education costs be borne by the Government.

ILO claims more than 200 million children are victims of child labour around the world.

Save the Children Fiji chief executive Chandra Shekhar believes the factors relating to child labour are children not attending school, school drop-outs, poor performance, absenteeism and low education achievements.

"Children should be in school instead of being involved in any indecent activities or work, so that it prepares them for a meaningful employment of their choice," said Mr Shekhar.

He said together with the State, parents and teachers should play a vital role. Mr Shekhar said SC Fiji saw education as an effective strategy to combat child labour.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) is a specialised agency of the United Nations that deals with labour issues. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. Its secretariat is known as the International Labour Office.

The ILO was established as an agency of the League of Nations following the Treaty of Versailles, which ended World War I.


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