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On World Day Against Child Labour, experts call for strengthened social safety nets

By Rayya Al Muheisen - Jun 12,2023 - Last updated at Jun 12,2023

Representative image. World Day Against Child Labour is marked on June 12 each year in an effort to revitalise international efforts to end the practice (Photo courtesy of pixabay/Suvajit Roy)


AMMAN — As Jordan marks the World Day against Child Labour on Monday, experts across a variety of disciplines are calling for urgent collective action to eradicate the pervasive issue.

World Day Against Child Labour is marked on June 12 each year in an effort to revitalise international efforts to end the practice.

According to the latest records from the Department of Statistics, there were over 76,000 recorded cases of child labour in Jordan in 2016. 

However, officials say that with the increase in poverty rates, inflation and poor economic conditions, unofficial estimates project that the real numbers exceed 100,000 cases. 

Mohammed Zyoud, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Labour, told The Jordan Times that the ministry has handled a total of 231 cases of child labour during the first five months of 2023. 

The ministry has conducted 7,587 inspection visits to combat child labour from January 1 to May 1, compared with 15,706 visits throughout 2022, Zyoud said.

During the same period, the ministry identified 231 cases of child labour, compared with 520 cases in the previous year, he added.

Additionally, the ministry issued 96 citations and 104 warnings related to child labour as of May 1, compared with 160 citations and 142 warnings in the previous year, Zyoud said.

The ministry received 44 child labour complaints through its “Protection” programme, compared with 87 complaints in the previous year. 

“The ministry has established a mechanism for reporting cases of child labour through an online portal on its website, in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Development and the Ministry of Education,” Zyoud added. 

The website, “”, operates in coordination cooperation with all relevant ministries to monitor and inspect the working conditions of underage workers through inspection campaigns. 

All inspected cases are recorded on the portal to allow the Ministry of Social Development to manage and study each specific case. After thorough review, the ministry’s team assesses whether support can be provided to the child’s family through the National Aid Fund.

In the same process, the Ministry of Education identifies and resolves any cases of school dropout among these children, said Zyoud. 

The ministry has thus far received four reports through the online portal this year, compared with 16 reports in 2022, he added.


Laws and penalties


Regarding legal procedures, Article 73 of the Labour Law stipulates that “under no circumstances should an individual who has not reached the age of 16 be employed in any form of work”. Similarly, Article 74 states that “an individual who has not reached the age of 18 should not be employed in work that is hazardous, exhausting, or harmful to their health”.

According to Article 75, it is prohibited to employ a minor for more than six hours in a single day, with a mandatory break of at least one hour after four consecutive hours of work. It is also forbidden to employ them between 8pm and 6am, as well as on religious holidays, official holidays and weekends.

Furthermore, Article 76 requires employers to request several documents from the minor or their guardian before employing them. These include a certified copy of their birth certificate and a health fitness certificate issued by a specialised physician and authenticated by the Ministry of Health for specific types of work.

In addition, written consent from the guardian of the minor is required for their employment in any establishment, and employers must keep these documents, along with information about the individual’s residence, employment history, wages and vacations, in a special file.

Zyoud explained that Article 77 sets penalties for child labour violations, which range from JD300 to JD500 without the possibility of modification from a court.

Sociologist Hussein Khuzai told The Jordan Times that World Day Against Child Labour has special significance as a global platform for addressing this pressing concern. 

“Child labour is a complex social issue that perpetuates cycles of poverty and hampers children’s development,” Khuzai said. 

Efforts to combat child labour should prioritise comprehensive social and economic interventions, such as improving access to quality education, providing social support for families and promoting sustainable livelihoods for adults, the sociologist recommended. 

Collaboration between governments, civil society organisations, businesses and international bodies is crucial to combat this issue effectively, Khuzai added. 

“By addressing the root causes of child labour, we can create a society that ensures the rights and well-being of every child,” he said. 

“Child labour not only robs children of their fundamental rights, but also hampers the nation’s economic progress,” economist Husam Ayesh told The Jordan Times. 

Child labour perpetuates a cycle of poverty by hindering children’s education and skill development, which ultimately limits their future economic potential, Ayesh explained.

It is crucial for governments and businesses to invest in education, vocational training and job creation to break this cycle and foster sustainable economic growth that benefits all members of society, Ayesh said. 

Labour Rights Activist Ahmad Awad told The Jordan Times that child labour is “a grave violation of human rights, depriving children of their childhood and exposing them to exploitative working conditions”. 

“It is essential to prioritise the eradication of child labour by implementing and enforcing robust legal frameworks, conducting regular inspections and holding accountable those who perpetuate this injustice,” Awad said. 

It is equally crucial to engage communities, raise awareness and provide support systems to ensure that former child labourers are reintegrated into society, he added. 

“Every child deserves a safe and nurturing environment to thrive and fulfil their potential, free from the chains of exploitative labour,” Awad said.

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