Despite the government laws criminalising engaging young children in the child labour force, cases of child labour in Uganda are on rampage.
As the world celebrates the World Day Against Child Labour today June12th, Reports by the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) states that 2,507,000 children in Uganda between the age of 5-17years are involved in Child Labour force.
According to the Ministry, boy children constitute the biggest percentage of children in the Child Labour force and then followed by girl children.
Frank Mugabi, a communications officer in the ministry said that most of the girls in Uganda work as House maids and when they are mistreated by their employers, they go into early marriages and sex for money / prostitution.
He blamed the increased cases of child labour on Domestic violence, poverty in families, school drop out and orphanage.
Most of the children in Uganda between the age of 5-17 are involved in child labour working for longer hours which is unacceptable because it violates their rights such as the right to education, health among others.
The government of Uganda in 2016 approved the Children (Amendment) Act 2016, which criminalised the use of children for labour exploitation. It also launched a National Social Protection Policy that targets child labourers.
However, most of the stakeholders including parents and guardians,local and central leaders, religious leaders and employers have continued to violate the set laws by employing children.
Worst of it all, these are involved in hazardous labour activities such as mines, quarries, doing heavy house chores, construction sites, and carrying heavy loads yet they should be involved in doing light works.
World Day for Child Labour is an International Labour Organization sanctioned holiday first launched in 2002 aiming to raise awareness and activism to prevent Child Labour.
The 2020 year WDACL is themed on: “Protecting Children from Child Labour, now more than ever!”
Globally, over 152 million children are involved in Child labour, 72 millions of whom are in hazardous labour. Countries such as India, Uganda, Nigeria, DRC have many cases of child labour.
With the effects of COVID-19 pandemic that is set to lead the world into a recession, childreninvolved in the child labour force are at a greater risk of facing circumstances even more difficult than longer working hours.
Governments, activists, employers, the media and other stakeholders are urged to ensure that children are not involved in hazardous labour activities.Follow Us on Social Media