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US chides Guyana over Child Labor

The United States Department of Labour in its latest report tracking child labour internationally, is reporting that Children in Guyana are engaged in the worst forms of child labor, including in dangerous activities in agriculture and prostitution.

The report states that Children working in agriculture in Guyana may be exposed to hazards, including lifting and carrying heavy loads and working with pesticides and many Guyanese children work in domestic service and on the streets, typically as vendors or beggars. The practice of sending children from poor, rural families, to live with wealthier relatives or friends in urban areas, sometimes results in domestic servitude.

According to the US government report, Children employed as domestics may work longer hours and are isolated in private homes, where they are susceptible to physical and sexual abuse. Children working on the streets are vulnerable to severe weather, tragic accidents and crime the report also found.

It says Commercial sexual exploitation of children is a problem in Guyana, including instances of forced  prostitution. There are reports of girls as young as age 12 working as prostitutes, the report stated.

Although evidence is limited, reports indicate that some children work in other dangerous occupations, including fishing, construction, forestry, welding and mining, including gold mining sector . Guyana’s Labour Ministry has dismissed the report saying there is no evidence of much of what is written in the US report.

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