GHANA HAS FAILED TO SUCCESSFULLY TACKLE CHILD LABOUR
Challenging Heights Rescues 23 Children to Commemorate The 2023 World Day Against Child Labour
Challenging Heights, over the weekend, rescued 23 boys and girls from situations of the worst forms of child labour on Lake Volta, to commemorate the 2023 World Day Against Child Labour. The children rescued were made up of 17 boys and 6 girls, aged between four and 17 years. The children were rescued from 16 different communities along Lake Volta, with several of them exhibiting slavery-like conditions.
The World Day Against Child Labour is commemorated around the world on June 12 each year. The global theme for this year’s commemoration is “Social Justice for All. End Child Labour!”. Ghana has adopted the theme “Protect Children Against Child Labour Now More Than Ever”, as a way of emphasizing the urgency of the need for stakeholders to intensify their efforts at addressing the situation.
Child Labour occurs everywhere in the world. The International Labour Organization (ILO) and UNICEF estimates that there are presently over 160million children found in child labour globally, an increase of over 8million children attributable to the COVID pandemic. Africa has the highest child labor rates, with about 24% of children between the ages 5 and 17 being involved in child labor.
It is estimated that over 21% of all children in Ghana between the age of five and 17 are involved in child labour, with a wide georgraphical disparity between the northern and southern parts of Ghana. According to a Ballard Brief report, roughly 33% of children in northern Ghana are in child labour, compared to 7.8% in southern Ghana. The situation is worst in the Upper West Region, with over 44% of children being found in child labour compared to 3% of child labour found in the Ashanti Region. According to the report, agricultural sector has the highest number of working children with over 79% found in child labour.
Challenging Heights, a child rights organization with offices both in the Northern and Southern parts of Ghana, continues its effort at addressing child labour in Ghana, adopting a comprehensive strategy of rescue, rehabilitation, and reintegration of affected children, as well as engaging in advocacy at all levels to create awareness, and influencing policies and their implementation. In addition, the organization provides support for vulnerable children and their families in order to build resilience against exploitation. Last year Challenging Heights published a report that showed that 60% of all children living along Lake Volta are affected by child labour.
On the occasion of the World Day Against Child Labour, Challenging Heights is calling for the Ghanaian government to increase its investment, especially for state agencies mandated to fight against child labour, to ensure that those state agencies are effective in carrying out their mandate.
We also believe that the lack of proper coordination between the Child Labour Unit of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, and the Department of Children of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, weakens the effort at fighting child labour in Ghana. We are therefore reiterating our call for government to take immediate steps to relocate the Child Labour Unit, from the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations to the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection.
James Kofi Annan