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28.10.2008 Social News

Socio-economic issues still impede fight against child labour- Minister

By gna

Mrs Akosua Frema Opare, Deputy Minister of Manpower, Youth and Employment, on Monday said despite the numerous measures put in place to address the problem of child labour, some socio-cultural issues still served as impediments.

She noted that access to potable water, inadequate access to good roads and children walking for long distances to access education were also issues that still needed to be addressed to avert the inhuman act of child labour and child trafficking.

Speaking at the opening of a day's stakeholders workshop on "Children's Economic activities and child labour in agriculture in Ghana", the Deputy Minister said government condoned child labour and trafficking and recognised it as illegal and there were legal frameworks that did not allow the 'diabolic' act.

She said it was disheartening to know that some parents involved in the act did not realise anything wrong with it and "to them it is the income that comes from the child's labour that matters.”

The workshop, which was to disseminate the findings of a study on child labour in South Tongu and Tolon Kumbongu, was jointly initiated by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Centre for Advanced Training in Rural Development of the Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany.

It was aimed at addressing the knowledge gaps with regard to children's work in fisheries and livestock keeping.

Mrs Opare explained that though previous studies indicated that most of the children engaged in child labour lived with their parents attending school some of the children were engaged in hazardous activities.

He said the Ministry in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) had developed a Hazardous Activity Framework currently in a draft form for all sectors in the economy.

She commended the team for the study and gave the assurance that the recommendations made by the team would be looked at and incorporated into what the Ministry and other stakeholders were implementing.

The FAO says about 132 million girls and boys aged between five and 14 work in crop, livestock production and fisheries worldwide.

It says these children work under conditions, which endanger their safety and health and deprive them of their education.

It has therefore called for the elimination of child labour and ensure the safety and development of these children.

The findings reported that children found working in the fishing field were below 18 years whilst children working at cattle herding were as young as seven years.

To them child labour was not in all classes poverty related and that some families did not see the need of education therefore did not send their children to school.

It also realised that cattle herding children worked for traditional reasons regardless of their financial backgrounds. In Ghana, cattle herding is a task, which is mostly fulfilled by children.

The study recommended that FAO should mainstream child labour concerns into its policies, support the Ministries of Fisheries to set up child labour desk, help build on existing structures at all levels and support education relevant to the context of rural areas and agriculture, among others.