HC Deb 29 May 1941 vol 371 c2017W
Mr. Creech Jones

asked the Undersecretary of State for the Colonies whether steps are being taken by legislative action in the Straits Settlements to prohibit the traffic in boys, who are sold for employment in factories and industries outside the territories, for domestic service and for training in circuses and theatres?

Mr. George Hall

Inquiries made by the Straits Settlements Government in collaboration with the authorities in Hong Kong have shown that since the extension of hostilities in the Sino-Japanese conflict to South China there has been a traffic of some extent in boys from China ports to Malaya. The Straits Settlements Government have decided that steps must be taken to prevent this and my Noble Friend is at present awaiting the Governor's recommendations on the details of the necessary legislation and on the enactment of similar measures in the Malay States. In the Colony of the Straits Settlements itself children under 14 may not be engaged in any form of labour or employment under any conditions or circumstances prohibited by the Government and no children under 16 may take part in any public entertainment without a licence from the Government.