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Parents use children to beg: ILO

Frederica Elbourne
Monday, December 20, 2010

SOME children are used by parents to beg, an International Labour Organisation survey on child labour in Fiji has revealed.

"We see child sex workers in the evening," a respondent of non-government organisation said in the findings.

Another community respondent in the report said most young children in a particular settlement in Suva were involved in the business of scrap metal - particularly copper and aluminum - where they earned quick money within the day.

"That helps them and their families," the respondent said.

The survey also found boys aged between 13-17 were harvesting sugar cane.

The study showed they were discouraged from returning to school because they had missed out on a host of the academic curriculum.

"What started as a week's activity during the school holiday had become a routine during harvesting season," the survey said.

"They were lured by the good money and cash that was paid to them."

In the urban areas, some children missed out on school to collect and sell scrap metal or work as wheelbarrow boys, supermarket packers in small-scale businesses.

They also worked in the informal sector collecting and buying bottles, doing mechanical work and construction.

"Many children work as street vendors, in particular during major events such as sports tournaments and festivals," the ILO survey said.

"The collection of scrap metal is becoming a larger scale activity involving an increasing number of street children and children from squatter and informal settlements."


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