Strengthen cooperation in the fight against child domestic work

A presentation session at the meeting at UNICEF’s local

The main partners involved in the fight against child domestic work, redoubled efforts, alongside the Haitian government, to reduce the incidence of this phenomenon on children for their full development. To make the fight more effective, many initiatives are being taken, including the project to combat child domestic labor. The Joint Steering Committee for this project is part of these coordination mechanisms. Canadian Cooperation and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MAST) co-chair this structure, whose members come from international organizations such as UNICEF, the International Labor Organization (ILO), IOM and government agencies.

Port-au-Prince, March 29, 2018 – The members of the Joint Steering Committee met in the conference room of UNICEF to take stock of the progress of the project ” Fight against child domestic work in Haiti ”, discuss challenges and next steps in the implementation of the project.

Stéphanie Auguste, Minister of Social Affairs and Labor, emphasized the importance the Haitian Government attaches to the fight against child labor in view of its dramatic consequences. “The disastrous consequences of the worst forms of child labor are well established. They have irreversible effects on their health, education, and psycho-emotional development that are their most basic rights, “she said.

Later, the Minister stressed the need to develop synergistic actions against child domestic work “We must therefore without delay clear the ways and means to undertake actions that must be historic and do not wait,” she added. She also praised the cooperation in this area between the Haitian government, Canada, and the United Nations, particularly UNICEF.

Successful cooperation

Minister Stéphanie Auguste in a presentation, UNICEF Representative on the Right and Canada’s Head of Cooperation on the Left

Carlos Rojas-Arbulu, Head of Cooperation at the Canadian Embassy, addressed the efforts of the Haitian government, which has ratified several international conventions on human rights, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child. He also thanked UNICEF and its partners for their efforts to achieve progress in the implementation of the project against child domestic labor, through the results presented in the first annual report.

Finally, he encouraged UNICEF and partners to strengthen the gender equality strategy and coordination mechanism by welcoming the leadership of the Minister of Social Affairs and Labor.

Mr. Marc Vincent, UNICEF Representative in Haiti, recalled “the continued commitment of the Government of Haiti to the promotion and protection of the rights of the child”, emphasizing the leadership of the MAST in the sector.

He further recalled some important results since the beginning of the implementation of the project in April 2017 among which: the triggering of the dynamics to support the revision of the Labor Code and the way towards the adoption of the other legal texts such as the Child Protection Code and the list of hazardous work; the identification and care of 336 child domestic workers, 60% of whom are girls; identifying and supporting 2,357 families at risk of family separation to prevent child labor; identifying and supporting 1,215 children at risk or victims of violence, including GBV, 765 of whom are currently in school.

Figures that challenge

This project is taking place in three departments, including the South, Grand’Anse and the West, following the study on placement and child domestic work carried out in 2014. Per this study conducted by the Haitian Government with the UNICEF support and 28 national and international NGOs, the following situation was revealed:

  • 25% of Haitian children aged 5 to 17 live apart from their biological parents;
  • More than 400,000 children, of which 52% of girls are involved in domestic work;
  • 207,000 children aged 5 to 14 are in unacceptable forms of domestic work;
  • About 60% of children in unacceptable working conditions are girls who are mainly employed in urban areas;
  • High socio-economic precariousness of households explains this practice in most cases.

The joint steering committee reminds us of the need to reinforce synergies between actors to provide a multisectoral response to the problem of insecurity that leads to the exploitation of children through the worst forms of work. The Minister insists for:

  • a great mobilization of the actors at the level of the other Ministries and NGOs concerned in all the stages of the project.
  • The development of advocacy action in parliament for the adoption of ILO Convention 189 on Domestic Workers and the Child Protection Code Act, and the revision of the Labor Code;
  • The establishment of a Child Protection Cluster that will bring together the actors at the strategic level regarding child protection.

With such a commitment to the summit and such a mobilization of development actors, hope is allowed when reducing exposure to domestic work for girls and boys in Haiti.

This post is also available in: French