An International Labour Organisation (ILO) report indicates that over 200 million children are involved in child labour globally.
Over 100 million out of them are involved in its worst form such as child prostitution, stone quarrying and mining.
The report indicated that although there had been a decline in the total number of children involved in child labour in other parts of the world, the situation was different in Africa.
“Although, there is a decline in the absolute numbers of children in child labour, the situation is rather increasing on the African Continent,” Mr Emmanuel Kwame Mensah, Project Officer, ILO said at the opening session of a workshop for members of the National Steering Committee on Child Labour (NSCCL) at Dodowa in the Greater Accra Region on Thursday.
He noted that with the current state of affairs on the continent, Africa might not be able to achieve the global target of eliminating the Worst Forms of Child Labour (WFCL) by 2016.
Mr Mensah said that although children needed to acquire skills that could help bring economic benefit to their families, it should not in any way be to their detriment.
Mr Enoch Teye Mensah, Minister of Employment and Social Welfare, noted that although the committee was formed in 2006 and had undergone a lot of restructuring, it had not been able to play its role effectively.
He said as a result, the Ministry in collaboration with major stakeholders had developed a National Action Plan (NAP) aimed at eliminating the Worst Forms of Child Labour by 2015, a year ahead of the stipulated deadline by UNICEF.
Me Mensah said the three-day workshop was organised to introduce members to the concept of Child labour and other relevant issues to equip them to take up their assigned responsibilities.
“The Ministry believes that a successful implementation of NAP would depend largely on the efficiency of the knowledge base of members of the National Steering Committee,” he said.
Hajia Hawawu Boya Gariba, Deputy Minister of Women and Children’s Affairs (MOWAC), noted that engaging children before their adulthood deprived them of their developmental achievements and consequently weakened the nation’s potential labour force.
She pledged the commitment of MOWAC towards the effective implementation of NAP by ensuring the establishment of well coordinated linkages in the Ministry’s child labour and trafficking programmes.
Hajia Gariba called for proper rehabilitation of children who had been rescued from child labour and assistance for their families so that they could begin to cater for them.
“Law enforcement needs to be complemented with development programmes which recognise the practical difficulties in reintegration of children into formal education,” she explained.