231 cases of child labor discovered in first third of 2023

3. Child Labor
(File photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — In the first third of 2023, the Ministry of Labor discovered 231 cases of child labor, and issued 96 violations and 104 warnings in response. The increasing concern over this issue has led to calls for the establishment of a comprehensive database to track and combat child labor. اضافة اعلان

As the Kingdom and the world commemorate the World Day against Child Labor, which lands on June 12 of each year, efforts are being intensified to put an end to this problem by revitalizing international endeavors towards achieving social justice, Al-Mamlaka TV reported.

Electronic system to monitor cases
According to Mohammed Al-Zyoud, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Labor, the ministry has implemented a mechanism for reporting instances of child labor through an electronic link available on their website's inspection portal. The platform, Childlabor.mol.gov.jo, operates in close coordination between the ministries of labor, social development, and education.

He explained that the Ministry of Labor conducts inspection campaigns to regulate child workers, documenting their cases through the aforementioned link.

The Ministry of Social Development then manages these cases to assess specific programs and provide support to the families through the National Aid Fund. Simultaneously, the Ministry of Education ensures the detection of any school dropouts among these children and takes corrective measures.

Highlighting the ministry's commitment to raising awareness about the perils of child labor, Zyoud revealed that they have already undertaken 52 awareness activities targeting parents in the first five months of this year. This represents an increase compared to the 51 activities conducted during the previous year.

Inspection visits since the beginning of 2023
In an effort to curtail child labor, the ministry has carried out 7,587 inspection visits since the beginning of the year until May 1, which is a decrease compared to the 15,706 visits conducted last year. These visits have led to the discovery of 231 cases of child labor during the same period, a decline from the 520 cases identified in the previous year.

The ministry received 44 complaints through the "Protection" program, down from the 87 received in the previous year. Additionally, they received 4 reports through the electronic link, compared to 16 reports in the previous year.

The Kingdom’s Labor Law
Regarding legal procedures, Zyoud cited Article 73 of the Labor Law, which unequivocally states that no individual under the age of sixteen shall be employed under any circumstances.

Furthermore, Article 74 prohibits the employment of anyone under the age of eighteen in hazardous, exhausting, or health-damaging work. These types of work are clearly defined by decisions issued by the minister after consulting relevant official authorities.

As the fight against child labor continues, the Ministry of Labor remains committed to enforcing existing laws and implementing stricter penalties to deter employers from engaging in exploitative practices. Efforts are underway to raise awareness among the public and ensure the protection and welfare of children, with the aim of eradicating child labor and achieving social justice.

Meanwhile, article 75 of the Labor Law explicitly prohibits employing children for more than six hours in a single day, with mandatory rest periods of at least one hour after four consecutive hours of work. Moreover, operating events between 8 PM and 6 AM, as well as on religious holidays, official holidays, and weekends, is strictly prohibited.

Article 76 outlines the necessary documents employers must obtain before hiring a child for work. These include a certified copy of the child's birth certificate, a medical fitness certificate for the specific job issued by a specialized doctor and certified by the Ministry of Health, and written consent from the child's guardian.

These documents should be stored in a separate file for each child, along with relevant information such as their place of residence, date of employment, job description, wages, and leave details.

Violations of child labor laws are met with penalties as per Article 77. Employers or establishment managers who breach any provision of the Labor Law, regulations, or related decisions will face fines ranging from JD300 to JD500.

Courts cannot reduce the penalty below the minimum or consider mitigating factors. In cases where workers are coerced, threatened, deceived, or forced into labor, including through confiscation of their travel documents, the employer will face fines between JD500 dinars and JD1,000. Partners, instigators, or anyone involved in such acts will also receive the same punishment, and fines will be doubled for repeat offenders.

Various organizations call for urgent action
Against this backdrop, various organizations across the Kingdom have called for urgent action and the establishment of a comprehensive database on child labor.

"Bayt Al-Omal," the Jordanian Center for Workers' Rights, stressed the importance of addressing child labor through social policies. In their report released on the World Day Against Child Labor, the center emphasized the need to measure the impact of rising unemployment rates and regularly update the comprehensive child labor database.

They praised the government's initiatives such as the "National Framework for Combating Child Labor and Begging Cases" and the "Guide to Dealing with Child Labor and Begging Cases," endorsed by the Council of Ministers in 2021, as significant steps towards addressing child labor.

A need to update national strategy
The report recommended updating the national strategy to combat child labor, ensuring its enforcement by all relevant parties.

It called for preventing children from engaging in the worst forms of child labor, providing direct assistance for rescuing and rehabilitating child laborers, and guaranteeing their access to free basic education.

The Empowerment Center for Legal Aid and Human Rights echoed these sentiments, urging the implementation of comprehensive social protection programs to prevent low-income families from resorting to child labor.

Their working paper highlighted the importance of reviewing and amending policies and laws related to child labor, conducting extensive awareness campaigns to educate communities about the risks and detrimental effects on children.

Recommendation to create a dedicated database on child labor
The center emphasized the need for a dedicated database on child labor, containing accurate information on the scale of the issue, the number of child workers in each region and sector, and eliminating barriers to education that push children into the labor market. They stressed the necessity of allocating adequate resources to ensure children's access to education.

The Jordanian Labor Observatory also joined the call for a fair social protection system that provides a decent life for everyone, particularly the impoverished.

They emphasized the importance of addressing the root causes of child labor and adopting measures that ensure the welfare and development of children across the country.

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