About 1.9million children in the country are victims of child labour, the Upper West Regional Labour Officer, Mr Justice Opare has revealed.
Out of this, he said about 1.2million of them were engaged in hazardous work which had the potential to interfere with their physical and mental development.
He said although it was relevant for children to gain requisite craftsmanship and skills to prepare them for the job market, the children should only be engaged when they were physically and mentally matured for the task.
Mr Opare who disclosed this to the Ghanaian Times here yesterday as the country joined the rest of the world to celebrate the “World Day Against Child Labour” said the issues of child labour continued to persist in the country, despite the numerous interventions by government to stem the tide.
The day was instituted in 2002 by the International Labour Organisation and is commemorated on June 12 each year to advocate the elimination of all forms of child labour across the globe.
It is used to spread awareness and renew actions aimed at tackling child labour from the root, by projecting social protection and child development principles.
This year’s event was on the theme: “COVID-19: Protect children from child labour, now more than ever”.
Touching on the theme, he explained that some of these children were enrolled under apprenticeship programmes in clear violation of the laws.
“There are laws governing the enrollment of children under apprenticeship but people are not adhering to those laws probably because they are not even aware of the existence of such laws”, he explained.
He added that the non adherence to the child protection laws called for sensitsation of Ghanaians on child labour issues in relation to apprenticeship
“A child is said to be subjected to hazardous labour when they are into an activity that interferes with their personal and moral development, education, health and safety. If a child is engaged in an activity either for their parents or for economic gains and it does not affect any aspect of their lives negatively, then it cannot be classified as child labour”, he said.
Mr Opare said although the 1992 constitution of the country clearly prohibited the abuse of children and emphasised the protection of their fundamental human rights, child labour had become the bane of governments over the years.
He pointed out that efforts aimed at ending the menace had seen the design of measures such as the Ghana Child Labour Monitoring Systems and the National Plan of Action to check the practice of child labour.
FROM LYDIA DARLINGTON FORDJOUR, WA