Not less than 180 million children are engaged in the worst forms of child labour globally, Nkiruka Michael, Enugu Zonal Coordinator of National Agency for Prohibition of Traffic In Persons and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP), told the 2013 Women General Assembly for the Southern Senatorial zone on Saturday.
child_labour_1“Those subjected to child labour are under the control and at the mercy of their employers, as they rarely have access to education and are subjected to physical, sexual and psychological abuse,” Michael said.
“These children are too young to do the jobs assigned to them, are engaged in long hours while doing the jobs, are paid too little for the jobs, are subjected under dangerous working environment, among other things.”
The Zonal Commander noted that the recent amendment of NAPTIP Acts clearly prohibits children working outside the family setting.
“This is construed to be an introduction of ‘foreign cultures’ by many Nigerians, as exploitation at the expenses of children’s developmental needs increases illiteracy and poverty,” she explained.
“The exploitation comes in deceptive forms which include promise to sell in big supermarkets, hair dressing saloons in the city, promise of marriage abroad, promise to be models abroad, promise to play for foreign football club, among others.”
According to her, these forms of degradation have devastating impacts on victims, which necessitated the call to nip the trend in the bud.
“The children suffer from trauma and depression, loss of childhood and education, unwanted pregnancies, early motherhood, stigmatisation, high risks of contracting Sexually Transmitted Diseases, among others,” she said.
Michael commended the Ebonyi government for being at the forefront in the fight against child labour and trafficking, saying that the menace had drastically reduced in the state.
“There is still need to promote awareness, knowledge and understanding of Trafficking in Persons through the use of information, education and communication materials, workshops, seminars, among others,” she stated.
“NAPTIP has been prosecuting child trafficking offenders as we are in collaboration with agencies and countries in information sharing, investigation, rehabilitation of victims among others.”
Chinedu Ekoh, wife of Afikpo North Council Chairman, said that women in the area would be enlightened on the dangers of child labour and trafficking for them to adequately protect their children.
ILO puts global figure at 215 million
The International labour Organisation (ILO), however, painted a grimmer picture of the child labour scourge.
In a post on its website, the body noted that about 215 million children work.
“Today, throughout the world, around 215 million children work, many full-time,” the ILO said on its website.
“They do not go to school and have little or no time to play. Many do not receive proper nutrition or care. They are denied the chance to be children. More than half of them are exposed to the worst forms of child labour such as work in hazardous environments, slavery, or other forms of forced labour, illicit activities including drug trafficking and prostitution, as well as involvement in armed conflict.”
In June, the ILO estimated that around 10.5 million children worldwide — most of them underage — are working as domestic workers in people’s homes, in hazardous and sometimes slavery-like conditions. Of this, six and a half million are aged between five and 14 years old while more than 71 per cent are girls.