Conference on Child Labour brings ILO-IPEC partners and beneficiaries together to assess progress made in addressing child labour in Thailand

On 3 – 4 April 2014, over 200 representatives from Royal Thai Government, private sector, workers organizations and NGOs and their child beneficiaries gathered at a National Policy Forum on protection of Thai and migrant children from child labour in the shrimp and seafood Industry.

News | 04 March 2014
The seminar was conducted as part of the ILO-IPEC Project “Combatting the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Shrimp and Seafood Processing Areas in Thailand” and organized in partnership with National Council for Child and Youth Development (NCYD) and Department of Labour protection and Welfare (DLPW) of the Ministry of Labour (MOL).

The objective was to generate discussion on coverage and application of policies related child labor in Thailand in areas of addressing child labour at the local level through coordinated area based action, access to education, school to work transitions and access to social protection services in general. ILO-IPEC project partners and beneficiaries joining the conference highlighted lessons learned and good practices derived from their work, while representatives of Ministry of Education, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Social Development and Human Security discussed the current status of child protection policies in relation to child labour and highlighted the interconnectivity of the mandates of the Government agencies and coordination needs at the local level to effectively address child labour .

The seminar comes at the time when the RTG and organizations concerned on child labour are working together to revise and work towards adoption of new National Policy and Plan to Eliminate the Worst Form of Child Labour in Thailand for 2015-2012. It is expected that this new policy framework is ready for adoption in early 2015.

The conference was opened by Mr. Jeerasak Sukonthachart, Permanent Secretary of MOL, Mr. Maurizio Bussi, Director ILO CO Thailand, Cambodia and Lao PDR and Ms. Srisak Thai-arry, Executive Director of NCYD.

Mr. Bussi in his opening speech highlighted key policy areas that the ILO sees as critical in advancing Thailand’s fight to end child labour, which include: the need for robust national data and analysis on the nature and extent of child labour in Thailand: enhancement of enforcement mechanisms that effectively respond to violations of laws to protect children from child labour; establishment of monitoring systems that routinely monitor child labour incidences with a view to responding to the needs of the children; continuous multi-stakeholder engagement and partnerships building; and transparent and routine measurement of progress against NPP performance indicators.

During the seminar, IPEC programme partners had an opportunity to showcase their activities in reaching out and providing services to children and families in communities where they work such as Samut Sakhon, Samut Prakan, Songkhla, Surat Than and Nakhon si Thammarat. In these Provinces jointly with Provincial Government, Provincial Departments of Labour protection and Welfare and other ILO-IPEC partners series of projects and activities have been ongoing since the inception of the ILO-IPEC project in Thailand from early 2012 onwards.

Recommendations from the conference were presented at the end of the second day by ILO-IPEC partner representatives to Ministry of Labour for consideration for the draft National Policy and Plan on the Elimination of Worst Forms of Child Labour (2015 – 2020).

The Deputy Permanent Secretary, ML Pundharik Smiti, in receiving the recommendations said that Ministry of Labour and relevant agencies are aware that children both Thai and non-Thai need to be protected without discrimination and that more work especially in the area of education, access to legal status, health and wellbeing, career development and social protection is needed.

She further stated that the recommendation received would be taken on and considered in the development process of the draft National Policy and Plan on the Elimination of Worst Forms of Child Labour (2015 – 2020). She also thanked ILO-IPEC and NCYD for their contribution to making the event a successful one and wished for this cooperation to continue as fruitfully in the future.