A regional workshop to promote collaboration, coordination and networking for national level law enforcement agencies on child labour opened yesterday in Accra.
The purpose is to build capacity of law enforcement agencies and equip them on existing laws that protect the rights of children especially from child labour.
In a statement by Mr. Stephen McClelland, Chief Technical Advisor of the ILO-Ghana, he stated that data available indicated that one of every five children in the nation was a child labourer. He mentioned that Child Labour was reducing in some parts of the world but increasing in West Africa. He was hopeful that the training will go a long way to equip the agents and their agencies to contribute more towards reducing incidents of child labour in Ghana.
Mr. Eric Okrah (child protection Specialist), took participants through many of the legal frameworks; Local and International- binding Ghana, the ILO conventions 138 and 182, Criminal Offences Act, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, The African Charter on the rights and Welfare of the Child and others. He advocated the strengthening of enforcement agencies on Children’s rights. He noted that Ghana had many good policies and we needed to bridge the gap between ratifying and implementing, since it was a great challenge to the nation. He also mentioned the need to resource enforcement agencies and make provision for them in budgetary allocations.
Mr. Atukwei Sam Quaye, Cordinator of the Ghana Child Labour Monitoring System also introduced participants to the system of Monitoring, Identifying, preventing, rescuing and rehabilitating children in some Child Labour prone areas, He took participants briefly through the process of collecting data, processing and analyzing and producing information on their monitoring, he also shared best practices and successes chalked over the years. He noted that the system had challenges and that they were being worked on especially at the data collection level.
Mrs. Elizabeth Akanbombire of the Child Labour Unit of Labour Department, under the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare presented concepts, incidence and child labour interventions in Ghana. She stated that Generic, Economic and Environmental Factors strongly determined and influenced the development of Children. She stated that Children acquire skills and a sense of responsibility that enhances their future as they do light work and entreated all to note the difference, and that Child labour “…is work performed by a person below age 18, which deprives the person his/her basic human rights and is abusive, hazardous, exploitative and harmful to the health, safety and development of the Child”. She shared estimates of Children in Labour, 2,474,545 children engaged in economic activities, 1,273,294 are engaged in child labour and 242,074 are engaged in hazardous work (according Ghana’s last Child Labour Survey in 2003).