Jamaicans Give the Red Card to Child Labour

Date Published: 
Thursday, March 21, 2013

On the occasion of the FIFA World Cup Qualification match Jamaica vs Panama on March 22, Jamaica’s capital Kingston will boost the ILO-FIFA Campaign “Give the Red Card to Child Labour”.

During the opening ceremony, 250 volunteers will set the example for the audience by holding the symbolic Red Card to garner support to end child labour in its worst forms by 2016.

The event, sponsored by the International Labour Organization and the European Commission and African, Caribbean and Pacific Secretariat, has been endorsed by Jamaica Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller, FIFA International, Jamaica Football Federation, the players and all involved partners.

Supporters of this global campaign include soccer legend and former Brazilian Minister of Sports Pele, other international personalities including Zidane, Roger Milla, Ronaldo, Rai, Sepp Blatter and Gilberto Gil. International political figures supporting the Red Card Campaign include presidents, prime ministers and ministers of Brazil, Cameroon, Costa Rica, East Timor, Egypt, Mali and Peru.

The campaign mobilizes communities and sports associations in vulnerable neighbourhoods around the world to empower girls, boys and youth to participate in the fight against child labour. It encourages local sports initiatives to tell the world to give a RED CARD to exploiters of children's rights.

The ILO’s 2010 Global Report on Child Labour estimates that there are over 215 million child labourers around the world. The struggle to fight exploitation of child labour is now more important than ever if the goal of eliminating its worst forms is to be reached by 2016. In Jamaica, the 2002 STATIN Youth Activity Survey (1) estimated that over 16,000 children were involved in labour during the census week.

“Child Labour” is defined as work detrimental to children’s potential, dignity, physical and mental development. It includes work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children and that interferes with their schooling by:

• depriving them of the opportunity to attend school;
• obliging them to leave school prematurely; or
• requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.

In Jamaica, child labour exists in both urban and rural settings, where it is both hazardous and culturally ingrained. In rural parts of the country, child labourers are typically employed in the farming sectors, where children suffer from heavy lifting and handling of dangerous chemical substances.

It is imperative for Jamaica to reach the development objectives of “Vision 2030” (2), and the elimination of child labour represents an important vector to achieve that goal. 


- International Labour Organisation