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Tunisia seeks to curb child labour by fighting truancy

Some 100,000 children leave school early to work in Tunisia [Getty]

Date of publication: 18 April, 2017

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Tunisia needs to 'establish adequate policies' to guarantee that children go to school until they are at least 16 years old, an official said on Monday.

New policies are needed to keep children in school until the age of 16, Tunisia’s social affairs minister said on Monday, as the country seeks to curb child labour.

The North African nation needs to "establish adequate policies... to guarantee that children go to school until they are at least 16 years old, under Tunisian law," Mohamed Trabelsi said.

"We have 100,000 children who leave school early for one reason or another, especially in the rural regions. It mainly affects girls," he said.

The minister spoke at the launch of a project to fight child labour in Tunisia over the next three years, which was developed with the International Labour Organisation and has received $3 million in funding from the United States.

Naima Zaghdoudi, national coordinator for the project, said child labour in Tunisia seemed to be most common in "agriculture, mainly in family-run farms", in domestic work for young girls, small carpentry workshops, garages and hairdressers.

But "we can't talk about a child labour phenomenon today in Tunisia because there isn't really any data", she said.

In an attempt to remedy this, she said the National Statistics Institute would survey 15,000 homes to obtain statistics on child labour that should be known in September.

 

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