Child Labour in Papua New Guinea

Project documentation | 14 April 2015
Papua New Guinea has ratified the Minimum Age Convention 1973 (No.138) and the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention 1999 (No.182) in 2000 and has made significant progress towards amending its national legislations accordingly. From 2008 till 2013, the ILO Office for Pacific Island Countries implemented the European Union funded Tackling Child Labour through Education (TACKLE) project in Fiji and Papua New Guinea. TACKLE worked with the ILO tri-partite partners and other national and local authorities and civil society groups to formulate, implement and enforce policies, strategies and programmes to fight child labour.

TACKLE actions in Papua New Guinea have included strengthening the commitment to work on child labour by ILO tri partite partners. Actions have included conducting National Child Labour Forums to identify issues requiring attention. Subsequent legislative reviews where thus undertaken as well as developing the capacity of labour officers through training workshops.

One of the key issues identified by the National Child Labour Forums was the need for relevant data and a Rapid Assessment research in Papua New Guinea was undertaken through TACKLE. The Child Labour in Papua New Guinea Report (2011) indicated that child labour exists in Papua New Guinea and that the worst forms of child labour, such as prostitution, can also be found in semi urban areas, mining and logging camps. The ILO has provided technical support to the government of Papua New Guinea as well as its tripartite partners to combat child labour, especially its worst forms.

Through TACKLE, the PNG Department of Labour and Industrial Relations (DLIR) has undertaken significant initiatives including a substantial legislative review, training programmes, research studies and extensive consultation. The government has addressed child labour and worst forms of child labour in a number of ways, including amending and introducing new legislation (e.g. Lukautim Pikinini Act 2009, People Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons Act 2013).

The Government of PNG and social partners - Employers Federation of Papua New Guinea and the Papua New Guinea Trades Union Congress endorsed the National Action Plan to eliminate Child Labour in Papua New Guinea in 2014. This has included the establishment of a dedicated Child Labour Unit (CLU) at the DLIR as well as the department conducting awareness raising activities through its roadshows in various provinces.

Working with the Employers Federation of PNG (EFPNG), the ILO has implemented a mini programme to raise awareness on the World Day Against Child Labour amongst its large membership base. The programme included child labour workshops as well as radio talk back shows to promote dialogue on child labour issues with the general public. The Papua New Guinea Trades Union Congress also implemented a mini programme on child labour awareness, promoting dialogue in communities on child labour issues and advocating for the development of provincial child labour policies.

The TACKLE Project has also worked with social partners and civil society organisations in Papua New Guinea to combat child labour including Mercy Works, Caritas Papua New Guinea and YWCA to create awareness on child labour issues in schools and communities, and to withdraw children from child labour provide them with education and counselling.