To address the problem of child labor exploitation, the government and pertinent bodies are expected to exert more concerted efforts through country-based programs

By Daniel Beyene (The Ethiopian Herald)

Recent report released by the International Labor Organization (ILO) indicates that globally there are 215 million child laborers (age 5-17 years), 85 million children languish under hazardous works and the incidence is highest in Sub – Saharan Africa.It is true that under the Ethiopia law children are prohibited from engaging in occupations designated as the worst forms of child labor. The law also prohibits compulsory or forced labor of children. However, a large number of children have engaged in various domestic and hard labor particularly in urban areas of the nation.

According to many researches on child labor, children exposed to labor exploitation suffer from several social, health and physiological problems.

Undoubtedly, a child who is forced to work develops low self-esteem, feeling of frustration and hopelessness, among others. Those who make fortune out of the suffering of children should know that unknowingly or knowingly they are destroying the future of a country by exploiting young workers.

ALSO READ In Ethiopia, Fight against Child Labor ContinuesIndeed, the government of Ethiopia has achieved a lot in enrolling all school age children over the last two decades. But, enormous number of children could not go to school as they are working for long hours in domestic services or on farms.

With less knowledge of child labor, parents and relatives get involved in child trafficking to the urban centers as a result many children are left in hazardous work. We find children working in construction sites and manufacturing centers. They manufacture clothes and other woven items.

In rural areas, children especially boys engage in activities such as cattle herding, petty trading, plowing, harvesting and weeding, while mostly girls collect firewood and water .whereas, children in urban areas work shining shoes, tailoring, carrying goods as porters and the like.

Since many girls trafficked to Addis Ababa work in domestic service, they could be highly vulnerable to sexual abuse on top of various domestic violence. They are also unable to attend schools. What makes worst is that some girls are recruited to work in brothels. Due to false promises of illegal brokers, girls are being exploited in prostitution at hotels, bars, rural truck stop, and resort towns than ever before.

Apparently, the government has integrated the prevention and control of child labor in its various development polices and plans. It as well has established departments under the Ministry of Labor and Social affairs that are responsible to enforce child labor laws. Likewise there are a number of police departments in various urban areas of the country that have Special Child Protection Units These units work to address the worst forms of child labor, including child trafficking.

To address the problem of child labor exploitation, the government and pertinent bodies are expected to exert more concerted efforts through country-based programs which may include building institutional capacity, putting in place concrete prevention and controlling measures, awareness raising and mobilization works aimed at changing social attitudes and promoting effective implementation of ILO child labor conventions.

It is also important to mention here that those children who are already victimized of child labor need training on psycho-social rehabilitation in sustainable and integrated manner.

In general, the fight against child labor at local and international levels requires multi- stakeholders’ initiatives and interventions aimed at preventing and controlling child labor exploitation.

Since, children are the future of a given country, everybody should play his/her roles in exposing criminals who has forced children to work long hours and abused them physically and emotionally under any circumstances. Ceaseless awareness deepening campaigns regarding child labor laws should be given to parents and relatives who get involved in child trafficking in a bid to refrain them for the illegal activities.

Children need protection, care and love in order to grow up as good citizens. Therefore, a country which is blessed to have well nurtured and educated young generation would overcome any challenges in the efforts to cast off poverty and backwardness.

Source: The Ethiopian Herald
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