Hundreds of thousands of children in Laos work in agriculture, fishing, forestry and handicrafts.

Laos partners with ILO to combat child labor

by Khonesavanh Latsaphao, Vientiane Times & the Asia News Network

Laos is one of many countries in the world where large numbers of children are engaged in some form of work, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) reported at a meeting in Vientiane yesterday.The June 13-14 meeting is taking place for the soft launch of the National Child Labour Survey and consultation on the draft National Plan of Action on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Laos.“Many children in Laos are employed, because more than 50 per cent of the population is under the age of 20,” National Coordinator in Laos Khemphone Phaokhamkeo told the meeting.She explained that Laos has widespread poverty, and many children do not go to school.According to the ILO’s most recent estimate, 215 million children around the world are trapped in some form of work. These children do not go to school, they have little or no time to play, and many of them do not receive proper nutrition or health care.More than half of them work in hazardous conditions and in the worst areas of work, such as forced labour, commercial sexual exploitation, and illicit activities like drug use. These hazardous and worst forms of labour can cause children long-term physical, psychological or moral damage.Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Laoly Faiphengyoa said the Lao government has begun promoting and protecting the rights and benefits of children, along with youth development, as development ta rgets in the 7th National Socio-economic Development Plan for 2011-2015.Laos ratified ILO Conventions 138 on the minimum working age and 182 on the worst forms of child labour in 2005, he added.

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