Monrovia – Labor Minister, Cllr Charles H. Gibson, has revealed that at least 67 children have been found to be victims of child labour in four counties during an ongoing investigation on child labor practices in the country.
Speaking at the World Day Against Child Labour under the theme: “Act Now To End Child Labor”, Minister Gibson said, the Labor Ministry was able to rescue 23 children in Grand Cape County between ages 10-17; 21 in Maryland County between ages 8-16; Nimba County accounts for 14 children between ages 5-14; and nine in Gbarpolu County, totaling the 67 children.
Minister Gibson revealed further that parents who were involved harmful practice are currently been investigated.
“The report is just in the four counties, and it is still coming. Child Labour is perpetrated by the own relatives. This tells us that the situation is alarming and almost becoming part of our culture which we must dig out,” he said.
Minister Gibson further explained that the conventional of companies hiring children has been dealt with but challenge still loom in apprenticeship where children as young as eight years are working garages.
“I have received a letter from the Ministry of Justice to prosecute child labour and human trafficking cases,” Minister Gibson said.
Also addressing the event, the keynote speaker, Madam Loratta Pope-Kai said that child labour violates the fundamental right of children globally.
She explained that the most extreme forms of child labour involves children being enslaved, separated from their families, exposed to serious hazards and are left to fend for themselves on the streets at an early age.
She said some children living in rural and urban communities are vulnerable as condition within these settlement are poor in term of income service, with these situation often force family to use children to make end meet.
“Children are involved in physically activities which are socially or morally dangerous to their wellbeing, thus depriving them the opportunity to attend school,” Madam Pope- Kai said.
Child Labour is a global day which is observed on the 12th of June each year, is set aside to commemorate and awareness, highlighting the plight of children
The International Labour Organization (ILO) defines child labour as, “Work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and which is harmful to physical and mental development.”
According to ILO and UNICEF, the number of children in child labour has risen to 160 million worldwide – an increase of 8.4 million children in the last four years – with millions more at risk due to the impacts of COVID-19.