The number of children engaged in child labour activities across Samoa in street vending continues to hike

The number of children engaged in child labour activities across Samoa in street vending continues to hike.
Savali reports, this was confirmed by a survey that was launched last week at Taumeasina Island Resort by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour, the International Labour Organisation and U.N.I.C.E.F.
Child labour in this form is the only existing exploitation of young children in Samoa according to ILO National Coordinator and Head of I.L.O. Office in Samoa Laufiso Tomasi Peni.
Although there were other surveys that touched on whether sexual exploitation and child trafficking amongst other activities that utilise children for labour by the Ministry of Women, Community and Social development (M.W.C.S.D.) was executed the data could not attest to the existence of such movements said Laufiso.
According to Laufiso data collected was in complete and could not provide proof that children in Samoa were being used for such activities.
Laufiso told the media last week that the numbers are currently standing at 135 as reflected in the rapid assessment survey on street vendors that was launched that day – Samoa Child Labour Follow up Rapid Assessment Survey 2022.
The survey was conducted by the National University of Samoa. This is a follow up survey from a Situational Analysis of Child Labour in Samoa in 2017 conducted by Samoa with technical assistance from I.L.O. said Laufiso.
That assessment revealed gaps in legislations, and that there was the need for a mechanism for legal proceedings of cases of child labour, and the development of a national workplan framework to strategize each sector, implementing agencies, and assistance required by Samoa with development partners.
Numbers for children engaged in child labour particularly in street vending was below 110 and years after, this survey has confirmed numbers continue to grow.
Laufiso, pointed out that some of the reasons behind continuous child labour through street vending is to address poverty in the homes, so young children are being encouraged by their parents to go out and sell wares, other children are being taken advantage of by their parents and used to sell wares as their ages can easily bend people to buy their goods.
And, another very common reason, he said is preference by the young children, other than attending formal education. The launch was executed at the second day of the workshop for the Samoa National Action Plan, with the goal to eliminate child labour by the year 2025 under the Alliance 8.7.
Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour Pulotu Lyndon Chu Ling said as highlighted in the national policy on childcare and protection the safety, welfare and best interests of the child is paramount this is central to our responsibility to ensure the protection of our children in all situations whether at home, in school, or in the workplace.
“Following on from the Child Labour forum in November 2021 confirming Samoa’s commitment to the Alliance 8.7 initiative – we are now at the critical stage of finalizing our National Action Plan.”
Pulotu explained that child labour is defined as work performed by a child that affects their mental, physical and moral development and prevents their full participation in schooling. And this is why it was crucial that children vending goods on the streets be addressed. The issue he added should be addressed at multiple levels; the family, the community, school attendance and formal and informal employment.
He said to achieve real progress, plans, policies and legislation must be realistic and implemented by those responsible.
“To strengthen evidence for accurate planning and targeted interventions the Ministry with the ongoing support of the I.L.O. and U.N.I.C.E.F. conducted a follow up Rapid Assessment Survey of Child Street Vendors.”
The updated findings and recommendations from this report will inform our National Action Plan under the Alliance 8.7 he said.
“Therefore, I encourage all our stakeholders who have been working in this space to share your expertise and experiences towards achieving a realistic and impactful National Action Plan.”
He conveyed his sincere appreciation to the I.L.O. and U.N.I.C.E.F. for their support provided to Samoa in its efforts to ensure labour standards continuously improve for the benefit of its people especially the safety, health and moral development of children in the world of work.
Reverend Ma’auga, Secretary General of the National Council of Churches cut the ribbon officially launching the survey. I.L.O. Director of the Pacific Island Countries, Mr. Matin Karimli attended virtually. Constituents of the Samoa National Tripartite Forum and the Child Labour Taskforce were present.