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Organisations call on people to fight domestic child labour

Update: June, 12/2013 - 10:12

HA NOI (VNS)— People were called to join the fight against illegal labour practices that take advantage of vulnerable youths on the occasion of World Day Against Child Labour.

The call was made by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

According to the latest National Population and Housing Census, 7.1 per cent of domestic workers in Viet Nam are under 18 years of age.

A 2011 domestic worker study conducted by MOLISA and ILO in the country's two biggest cities of Ha Noi and HCM City indicates that 17.3 per cent of surveyed domestic workers started their job before they were 18 years old.

"It is a reality that the number of child domestic workers is on the rise. This is for a number of reasons – the lack of awareness of families and society as a whole, poverty, poor children dropping out of school and thus having very few choices for jobs, and the increasing demand for domestic workers in urban households to care for old people and do housework," said MOLISA Deputy Minister Doan Mau Diep.

The Labour Code allows children from the age of 15 to be employed as domestic workers if the job is suitable for their age, working hours are not too long and do not affect their education and the working environment does not harm their physical and mental development.

However, ILO Viet Nam Country Director Gyorgy Sziraczki said, "Since their work is often hidden from the public eye, child domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to discrimination, exploitation and abuse."

"It's time to identify hazardous elements of domestic work and to prohibit such work for children under 18 years of age," he added.

Diep said the fight against child labour, particularly in its worst forms, requires the participation of families, communities and society at large.

With co-operation from ILO, Viet Nam has been implementing a number of projects dealing with early child labour – researching the situation and the causes and working out a national programme to eliminate its worst forms through prevention, early intervention and re-integration into the community.

"One important way we can eliminate child labour is through awareness-raising activities to change the perception of society," said Spanish Ambassador Alfonso Tena, whose country has been a major international donor in the fight against child labour in Viet Nam.

The ILO estimates that 15.5 million children around the world are engaged in paid or unpaid domestic work in the home of a third party or employer. The vast majority of all child domestic workers are girls and more than half of them are found in hazardous child domestic work. — VNS

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