Al­most 1.3 mil­lion child labour­ers in Myan­mar: sur­vey

The Myanmar Times - - News - PYAE THET PHYO pyae­thet­phyo@mm­times.com

AC­CORD­ING to a sur­vey con­ducted by the Min­istry of Labour, Im­mi­gra­tion and Pop­u­la­tion, there are nearly 1.3 mil­lion child labour­ers in Myan­mar.

The Myan­mar Labour Force, Child Labour and School to Work Tran­si­tion Sur­vey 2015 was re­leased yes­ter­day in Nay Pyi Taw.

More than 10 per­cent of the na­tion’s mi­nors, or 1,278,909 chil­dren, are em­ployed across the in­for­mal and in­for­mal sec­tors, in­clud­ing as un­paid labour for fam­ily busi­nesses such as farm­ing.

Num­ber­ing 676,208, boys ac­count for a larger share of this work­force than girls, who the sur­vey found to num­ber 602,701.

While the fig­ures are large, more than 75pc, or 966,758 chil­dren, are 15 to 17 years old, an age range where em­ploy­ment is le­gal across most of the de­vel­oped and de­vel­op­ing world.

Where Myan­mar’s child labour­ers dif­fer from mi­nors in de­vel­oped coun­tries, how­ever, is in the amount of time spent on the job: 52 hours a week for the av­er­age Myan­mar child labourer. An es­ti­mated 24.4pc to 33.6pc are con­sid­ered “hard work­ers” clock­ing 60 or more hours a week.

It is il­le­gal for chil­dren aged 14 to 16 years to work more than four hours a day, ac­cord­ing to the 2016 Shops and Work De­part­ments Law.

Nearly 80pc of work­ing chil­dren are from ru­ral ar­eas.

Of the child labour pool, a 60.5pc ma­jor­ity are work­ing in agri­cul­tural, forestry and fish­eries jobs; 12pc are in man­u­fac­tur­ing; 11.1pc are in trade; and 6.1pc are in the ser­vices sec­tor, the re­port said.

The av­er­age child labourer is paid K400 (US$0.33) an hour across all sec­tors. Paid work­ers ac­count for 57pc of the to­tal child work­force, while the re­main­der are largely work­ing without pay for their fam­i­lies.

“Af­ter we com­pared ini­tial data of the sur­vey with the 2014 cen­sus sur­vey [on child labour], we found some dif­fer­ences. That’s why we con­ducted data col­lec­tion again on some house­holds – out of 53 dat­a­col­lect­ing wards – to ver­ify whether the sur­vey’s re­sults are cor­rect or not,” said U Myo Aung, per­ma­nent sec­re­tary and di­rec­tor gen­eral of the Min­istry of Labour, Im­mi­gra­tion and Pop­u­la­tion.

– Trans­la­tion by Zar Zar Soe

Photo: EPA

Child labour­ers work at a con­struc­tion site in Yan­gon.

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