Salone To Tackle Child Labour
WRITTEN BY AYODELE DEEN-COLE
SATURDAY, 12 JUNE 2010
Over 215 millions children are currently engaged in child labour globally. This is seven thousand less than the last statistics in 2004. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO) reports, 115 millions of these children are working under hazardous conditions. This new report points a downward trend in the number of engaged children which show the positive work done towards ending this dreadful activities.
On June 18th 2010 the Sierra Leone government in collaboration with ILO will join their counterparts globally to commemorate this year’s World Day Against Child Labour. The theme of this year commemoration is “go for the goal… end child labour”.
At a press briefing held at Ministry of Information and Communication, past Tuesday, the Project Coordinator of Tackling Child Labour through Education (TACKLE) Mrs. Sia Lakuja-Williams stated that child labour was a very serious abuse currently affecting the development of children in Sierra Leone. This, she said, is because Sierra Leone has not yet ratified the ILO conventions 182 and 138 which deal with child labour issues.
Child labour, she went on, refers to work that is an acceptable for children either because the child is too young or that the work affects him or her from attending school.
“This issue has a very negative impact on the economic, social and political development of Sierra Leone because it allows children to suffer under worst conditions, prostitution, gang robbery and other crimes in society,” she said. According to the Minister of Employment, Labour and Social Security, Hon. Minkailu Mansaray, poverty has been identified as one of the root causes of child labour. Also, some traditional concepts have also been identified as a problem leading to child labour. Minister Minkailu Mansaray further explained about some of the challenges faced in eliminating this abuse from our society. He cited the non ratification of ILO convention 182 and 138 by parliament which he said would facilitate the compliance of our national laws. According to him, there is also not enough sensitization and advocacy for this issue. The major challenge though, according to Mrs. Sia L Williams is the lack of statistical data in Sierra Leone to know how many children are engaged in these activities.
“Some children are bread winners of their homes,” states Mr. L.E Johnson Executive Secretary of the Sierra Leone Employers Federation.
To find a way out of this problem, government in collaboration with Statistics Sierra Leone is currently trying to undertake a statistical survey in Sierra Leone. The Ministry of Education Youth and Sports is also trying to minimize this ugly situation among children.
After the ratification process, Mrs. Sia Williams disclosed that a national action plan to tackle child labour and other strategies will be put in place.