Friday, 30 July 2010 06:27

GHANA: Stop This Child Labour Now


The fight against child labour in Ghana has always been concentrated in the cocoa farming and fishing areas. The international press has also capitalised on this, and is churning out stories about the use of child labour on cocoa farms in Ghana.

The same is being said about children who have reportedly abandoned school and have resorted to fishing. As a result of constant reminders to the parents of these children, there has now been an improvement in their desire to send their children to school.

Unfortunately, the attention has been mainly focused on these two sectors, to the neglect of other equally important areas.

A story we have carried at our centre spread today, shows how children are being used as labourers in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis. These school going children are employed as drivers' mates by 'trotro' (mini bus) drivers, where they are paid between GH¢4 and GH¢5 per day.

The leader of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), who told our correspondent that they were aware of the problem, claimed there was nothing they could do, since the children were being encouraged by their parents to do the job, because of poverty.

The Chronicle cannot claim it is unaware of the economic situation in the country, but we beg to differ when poverty pushes parents to allow their children to be engaged as mates on 'trotro' vehicles, at the peril of their lives, and expense of their education.

GH¢5 a day by Ghanaian economic standards is enough to make some families push their children into such risky ventures, but have these parents sat down to think about the future of these children after they (parents) have died and gone?

In this modern world, it is only education that can ensure a better future for any child, therefore, to force children to start working at a tender age, and relegate their education to the background, is not acceptable, and must be condemned by those who believe in an educated youth as the catalyst of a rapid growth and development of this country.

Certainly, it is not only in Sekondi-Takoradi that minors are being used as drivers' mates, and The Chronicle is calling on all stakeholders, especially the ministries of Women and Children Affairs and Youth and Sports, to intervene immediately to halt the practice.

As noted by the Western Region Minister, Mr. Paul Evans Aidoo, children below 16 years are by law not supposed to engage in economic activities, then how come the law enforcers have sat idle for this phenomenon to fester?

Already, the alleged use of child labour on cocoa farms has created a bad image for this country, and we must not allow this latest development to grow to a state where the international media would capitalise on it.

Source: Ghanaian Chronicle

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