Preparations are underway for the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labor, to be opened by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Center in Durban.
It is the first time that the conference will be hosted in Africa. This will be done in collaboration between the International Labor Organization (ILO), the United Nations International Children’s Fund and the Department for Employment and Labour.
The ILO says that more than 160 million children worldwide are workers, while over half of them are between the ages of five and eleven.
The department’s Siyabonga Hadebe says while there are laws against child and forced labor, citizens need to step up their efforts to report such incidents.
“It’s not easy to deal with this problem because we depend on members of the public to come forward and report these problems, but when our labor inspectors go out and visit companies and other areas, they find children, but that’s it just a small number. Right now, it doesn’t even seem like many people are aware of the law itself, which says children under the age of 15 shouldn’t work, while children should be in school.”
Child labor worldwide:
child labor worldwide from SABC Digital News
The Employment and Labor Department says security will be tightened during the conference.
At least 2,000 delegates from over 180 countries are expected. Hadebe says delegates will include heads of state, labor experts and union representatives.
“We are working with the security cluster led by the South African National Police Service and all the measures are in place and we have hundreds of police officers stationed in the city.
Whatever happens would be quite unfortunate, but we always advise people to trade with caution. As far as we’ve been told to members of the security cluster, everything is fine. The event has been classified as medium risk as we have international guests and high profile individuals. But we don’t see any major problems.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa will open the conference: