Child labour refers to work that deprives minors aged between 5-17years of their livelihood and has the potential to affect their health both physical and mental development. It also refers to depriving children of the opportunity to attend school among others.
Typically child labour is predominant in the cocoa and Artisanal Gold Mining areas such as Oboase, Prestea, and Kumasi etc.
In Ghana, the following legislations apply to fight child labor
- The 1992 constitution of Ghana (Article 28(2) )
- The Children’s Act, 2003 ( Act 560 )
- The Human Trafficking Act, 2005 ( Act 694 )
- The Trafficking Regulation 2219/2015
- The Criminal Code ( Amendment ) Act, 1998 ( Act 554 )
- The National Plan of Action ( NPA2, 2016-2020 )
However concerns have been expressed about the evils of child labour per the outcome of the GLSS Round 6 Report released by the Ghana Statistical Service in 2014. Statistics reveal that an estimated 8.7million children aged between 5-17years, 21.8% were engaged in child labor.
Also, the Ghana Statistical Service Report for 2014 released and supported by International Labour Organization (ILO), indicates that 21.8 percent of children aged 5-17 (about 1.9millions) were still engaged in Child Labour in Ghana especially about fourteen percent (14.2%) of the children covered in the survey (about 1.2million) were engaged in hazardous forms of child labour. Also, 14.2% of the children captured by the survey, 1.2million were engaged in hazardous work.
It is worthy of note that the UN agenda for transformation has also included its target on the eliminations of all forms of child labour by 2025, an indicator for achieving economic growth and decent work.
The Project Director of ILO, Accra, Lalaina Razandrokoto, during the commemoration of the 2016 World Day against Child Labour said that, child labor thrives in the informal sector where decent work is on a small scale.
This is predominant mostly where measures related to labour market governance, labour inspection, occupational safety and health and social dialogue are often weak or absent. Further, wages, income security and social protection are also inadequate.
Following the implementation of the NPA1, an NPA2 has been developed awaiting the approval from cabinet after which it will be vigorously implemented by making use of robust collaboration and coordination among partners.
The NPA 2, when implemented is expected to reflect more vigor and with a robust frame of collaboration and coordination among partners, in the context of effective monitoring and accountability to curbing the menace, seeks to mobilize more resources, focus action in local communities and strengthen education outcome so that children enrolled and retained in school.
In a statement by the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, Honorable Baba Jamal at the media launch of the World Day Against Child Labour 2016 –themed; ’’End Child Labour in Supply Chains in Ghana: Together We Can!’’, said the elimination of child labour required a holistic approach which must not be compromised, providing free and compulsory quality education, ensuring that all boys and girls have a safe and quality learning environment, enforcement of laws on child labour and the promotion of social protection policies to encourage school attendance.
In order to curb the menace of child, stakeholders have resolved to mobilize resources, focus action in local communities, such as the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDA’s) and get many child labourers enrolled in schools to achieve better results when the NPA2 is implemented.
If the problems of child labour are ignored and the laws and regulations are not adequately enforced; children who should be in school will remain working instead.
At this juncture, it will not be out of place if all Ghanaians rise to the occasion to support the agenda to reduce child labor to the barest minimum if it can be completely eliminated.
As the world frowns on the evils of child labour, so also must we help to nip child labor in the bud in order to churn out one of the best human resource in the future.
LET US DO AWAY WITH CHILD LABOUR NOW!
Source: PAU, MELR