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20.12.2005 General News

2000 children withdrawn from Child labour

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Accra, Dec. 20, GNA - The International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) on Tuesday said through its implementing partners it had withdrawn 2,000 children from various forms of child labour.

The children were withdrawn from fishing, mining and quarrying communities, as well as head-portage nicknamed " kayayei" and commercial sex activities and were being trained in formal school or being assisted to acquire skills.

Mr Emmanuel Otoo, Country Manager of IPEC, told journalists after he had presented a paper at an evaluation workshop for implementing partners of action programmes that are being supported by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), towards the elimination of child labour.

The two-day workshop organised by the Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment, with facilitation from the ILO, was for the implementing partners to report back on the status of their action programmes as well as their proposed termination dates. The meeting was also to provide partners the opportunity to share good practices that they had identified and documented from the implementing agencies, including Ministries, Department and Agencies, District Assemblies, nongovernmental organisations as well as faith and community based organisations.

Mr Otoo identified poverty and lack of parental control as causes of child labour and said the Programme had been very successful in the northern sector of the country with the introduction of the Capitation Grant and the Free Primary School Feeding Programme. He said the "School of Social Work" had incorporated Child Labour as a subject in its curriculum to enhance the capacity of social workers, in gathering information in dealing with child labour issues. Mr Otoo said the priorities of the ILO were to strengthen national capacities towards sustainable elimination of the worst forms of child labour, institutional capacities towards effective programme design and implementation, and supporting a global movement to fight child labour. He said child labour was a right and development issue, and the project focused on direct action, child participation, curriculum reform and national advocacy strategy involving the Tripartite Committee made up of the Ghana Employers Association, Ghana Trades Union Congress and the Government of Ghana.

Mr Otoo said the low level of enforcement of legislation was making it difficult to deal with child labour and urged the District Assemblies to capture child labour issues in their Medium Term Development Planning. The Programme Coordinator said the IPEC was ensuring coordination of it activities at the policy level and announced that it had engaged Ghana Telecommunications Company Limited to advertise on its phone cards the ills of child labour as part of activities to engage corporate institutions in the fight against the canker.

He welcomed the National Policy Advocacy Strategy that had been designed for the protection of child labourers.

Mr Otoo said cartels that engaged teenagers as commercial sex workers, and then threaten to wipe away their entire families if they disclosed their identities were now operating in the country. It thus becomes very difficult, despite well meaning efforts to withdraw underage commercial sex workers from the illicit trade considered as a form of child labour, he said.

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