Ten percent of Vietnam’s children aged five to 17 work, one third of them more than 42 hours a week, because their families see no value in keeping them in school, an official from the International Labour Organisation said.
Minoru Ogasawara said on the occasion of World Day Against Child Labour on June 12 that many families consider working is better for their children than education.
Ogasawara said 85 percent of Vietnam’s working children came from rural areas.
“Even though Vietnam’s economy is growing at high speed, poverty remains the main cause for child labour,” he said.
He compared the difficulties in preventing child labour in rural Vietnam with Africa. When parents do not see a future for their children in studying, they think that working is the best way for them to learn about life and make a future.
The deputy minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Doan Mau Diep, said, “When the children have to work early, they’ll miss their rights to study, to be protected from abuses. Moreover, goods that are made from facilities that use child labours will be blacklisted.”
Ogasawara said children who move from rural areas to big cities are easy targets for exploitation and the government should invest more into rural area development to prevent such movement. Laws must be tightened and inspections be carried out of manufacturing facilities to stop child labour in the cities.
He noted that the Vietnam government had drafted a programme to prevent child labour, but more cooperation was needed from employers and greater public awareness.