The high number of Cambodian children involved in the fishing industry has become a concern for both government and non-governmental stakeholders alike. Addressing the issue - a one-day workshop to finalize a guideline on child labour in fisheries is held.
Initiated and supported by World Vision’s EXCEL project (Eliminating eXploitative Child Labour through Education and Livelihood), the national stakeholders consultation workshop on the finalization of the national guidelines for the elimination of worst forms of child Labor in the fisheries sector was organized by the Fisheries Administration (FiA) of the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fishers (MoAFF) and the Department of Child Labour (DoCL) of the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MoLVT).
90 key representatives from government, fishery communities, local authorities, trade unions, employers, and NGOs partners participated. The finalized guideline, to be later approved by Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fishers (MAFF) and Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, is expected to help reduce the issue of child labour in the fisheries sector across Cambodia.
Having attended as a government representative, His Excellency Prof. Nao Thouk, Delegate of the Royal Government of Cambodia and Director General of Fisheries Administration, says the Cambodian government has ordered 12 declarations and guidelines covering child labour in 12 different sectors, with 2 of them related to fishing activities but not as specific as needed for the fisheries sector.
“While child labour in the fishery industry is found to have a high effect on the physical and moral development of children, and deprives them of the opportunity to attend school, we noticed that no specific and practical guideline or declaration on this sector has been created yet. Therefore, it is important that we create and enforce it effectively,” says His Excellency.
This is so far the third workshop after the two previous provincial workshops held in Pursat and Siem Reap last year where government and non-government stakeholders working to reduce child labour gathered, discussed and came up with recommendation to draft a guideline on child labour in fisheries, says Imelda Ochavillo, EXCEL project director.
“Representing an NGO working to eliminate child labour in Cambodia, we hope that the guideline on child labour in the fisheries sector would further help to address child labour in addition to the existing labour law and declarations in the country,” says Mrs. Ochavillo.
A national survey on child labour in Cambodia conducted in 2012 by the National Institute of Statistic (NIS) of the Ministry of Planning and the International labour Organization (ILO) estimated that 19.1 per cent of all children aged 5–17, or 755,200 children were economically active. About 56.9% of which or 429,380 children were child labourers, and 31.3% (236,498) were children in hazardous labour.