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NCPA to prevent poverty-led child labour

2 years ago

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  • To join forces with NGOs/State for poverty alleviation 
  • Impoverished families to be identified and assisted 
BY Pamodi Waravita The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) plans to identify impoverished families who are in a vulnerable position due to poverty so that preemptive steps could be taken to ensure poverty does not lead to children in those families seeking or being forced into employment at a young age.  Officials at the NCPA told The Morning yesterday (28) that such steps would either be taken with non-Governmental organisations (NGOs) or through State institutions themselves.  Meanwhile, officials said that the Authority receives approximately 100 complaints concerning child employment a year, mostly of reports of children engaging in small scale businesses outside supermarkets or by roadsides.  Earlier this week, the Women and Child Development, Preschools and Primary Education, School Infrastructure and Education Services State Ministry said that it would be analysing the daily child abuse cases that are reported in the country in order to identity high risk areas, following the death of a 16-year-old girl from the Nuwara Eliya District, while being employed as a domestic worker at Parliamentarian Rishad Bathiudeen’s residence in Colombo.  The Labour Department also announced this week that it will be amending the Employment of Women, Young Persons, and Children Act, No. 47 of 1956 as amended, in order to make the employment of any person below the age of 18 years in domestic service a punishable offense. Currently, children between the ages of 16 and 18 years of age can be employed as domestic workers.  Earlier this month, the Police said that investigations have revealed that a girl was brought to the house of MP Bathiudeen in October 2020 as a domestic worker, when she was 15 years and 11 months old. The girl, who had been admitted to the National Hospital in Colombo on 3 July with burn injuries, had died on 15 July while receiving treatment, the Borella Police said. Criminal investigations are underway regarding the matter and it has been revealed that 11 children were employed at the said household over the years, brought there by a broker who is suspected to be 64-year-old Ponnaiyah Pandaram alias Shankar. 

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