KINGSTON, Jamaica -- On the occasion of the FIFA World Cup qualification match Jamaica vs Panama on March 22, Kingston will hold a revival of the ILO campaign "Give the Red Card to Child Labour".
During the opening ceremony, before the national anthems signal the start of the match, the official speaker will ask 250 volunteers to set the example for the audience and 'Take a Stand Against Child Labour", holding the symbolic Red Card. Through this campaign, the ILO asks the media and the community to raise awareness on the important struggle against child labour. The event, sponsored by the International Labour Organization and the European Commission, has been endorsed by Jamaica Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller, FIFA International, Jamaica Football Federation, the players and all involved partners.
The "Red Card" is a global awareness raising campaign against child labour, which borrows a symbol from sports recognized all over the world as indicating a serious offence. Supporters of this global campaign include soccer legend and former Brazilian Minister of Sports, Pele, other international personalities including Zidane, Roger Milia, Ronalda, Rai, Sepp Blatter and Gilberta 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 ILO-FIFA Red Card 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 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 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 premature; or
• requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.
In Jamaica, child labour is equally pervasive in 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.
According to the ILO, it is imperative for Jamaica to reach the development objectives of 'Vision 2030", and child labour represents an important vector to achieve that goal