Letter : Scandal of child labour in Britain

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The Independent Online
Sir: The prosecution of a company in Corby for illegally employing young children (report, 17 September) highlights the situation of hundreds of thousands of exploited child workers throughout the United Kingdom.

Evidence from all over Britain confirms the same story - that children, some as young as 10, are working at the expense of their health and schooling. Enforcement of the UK's patchwork of laws on child employment is virtually non-existent, and prosecutions of employers are the exception rather than the rule.

In December 1995 Anti-Slavery International helped to convene a conference at the House of Commons to discuss the issue of child labour in the UK.

But the Government seems determined to press ahead with its own response to the problem, proposing to weaken existing child labour laws by allowing children to be employed on a Sunday. This is not the answer.

We need strong laws, and a strong commitment to enforce those laws.

JONATHAN BLAYBROUGH

Anti-Slavery International

London SW9

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