Ghana has launched the 2017 International Day against Child Labour with a focus on significantly reducing the number of children involved in paid work.
According to the government and stakeholders, eradication of the menace remains key in ensuring quality growth and welfare of children across the country.
The recent Ghana Living Standards Survey (GLSS-6) showed that 21.8 percent, representing 1.9 million children aged between five (5) and seventeen (17) years, out of over 8 million children in Ghana, are engaged in various forms of child labour.
The statistics released in August 2014, represented an increase over that of the 2003 Ghana Child Labour Survey (GCLS 2003) of 1.27 million child labourers, out of a population of 6 million children.
It is expected that the intensified action by stakeholders would reflect in reduced child labour figures in the next round of the GLSS-7 which is underway.
Globally, an estimated 168 million children are said to be engaged in work under dangerous and hazardous conditions with little or no protection which exposes them to injuries, toxic substances and all forms of physical, psychological and emotional abuses.
Mr Bright Wireku-Brobbey, Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, at a media launch of the 2017 International Day against Child Labour in Accra, called for strengthened stakeholder collaboration in the fight against child labour.
Describing the menace as a “pervasive social canker, “he said that although child labour remains unacceptable, it continued to be prevalent. In many deprived communities especially, where opportunities are dwindling, with every fifth child directly affected and more than one-in-ten children (14.2 percent) engaged in the worst forms, particularly hazardous works.
Mr Wireku-Brobey said the annual event which will be observed on June 12, was instituted by the United Nations, and focuses on the global theme, “In Conflicts and Disasters, Protect Children from Child Labour.” This event is to address the devastating impact of these situations on people, particularly children in areas disposed to armed conflicts and natural disasters.
However, Ghana has domesticated the theme by focusing on “Mobilising Resources for Effective Implementation of National Plan of Action II,” which is currently before Parliament awaiting its approval and expected to span from 2016 to 2020 when passed.
The NPA II, among other objectives, calls for coordinated actions aimed at stronger integration and first, addressing child labour in humanitarian responses. This is to target root causes of the problem through education, social protection, livelihood interventions and access to decent work for adults, and upholding the human rights of refugee and displaced children from child labour and trafficking, he said.
Mr Emmanuel Kwame Mensah, a Representative from the International Labour Organisation, said the annual celebration provided a key platform for global and national advocacy against child labour through marketing of the day, and a further assessment of progress and strategies.
By: ADR Newsdesk