The Chief Executive for the Obuasi Municipal Assembly, Elijah Adansi-Bonah, has advised parents and guardians to ensure that their children enrol in school instead of engaging them in child labour.
He said child labour compromises children’s physical, mental, social or educational development.
Speaking at an event at Ntonsua in the Obuasi Municipality to mark World Day against Child Labour, the Obuasi MCE said the Assembly has put in place measures to curb the incidence of child labour in the Municipality.
He said the Municipal Child Protection Committee has been tasked to do monthly monitoring of parents who engage their children in child labour in the Municipality.
“Such parents when arrested will be dealt with according to the law.”
Child labour refers to the exploitation of children through any form of work that deprives them of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and is mentally, physically, socially and morally harmful. According to the international law, a child is defined as any person who is below 18 years of age.
World Day Against Child Labour, observed on the 12th of June each year, is set aside to commemorate and to raise awareness and highlight the plight of these children, most especially the Worst Forms of Child Labour (WFCL).
According to MCE Adansi-Bonah, studies over the years have revealed that children in the Obuasi Municipality engage in galamsey and other activities such as farming and street hawking in order to contribute to their family’s income to provide for themselves some basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter at the expense of their education.
He said such activities affect the children’s ability to go through school successfully.
“Children who engage in work beyond their capabilities, report late to school, experience fatigue and lose concentration in the classroom resulting in poor performance on their overall academic scorecard. A child is meant to learn, not to earn so the school should be their only workplace.”
The 2021 Population and Housing Census (PHC) report by the Ghana Statistical Service revealed that 419,254 children aged five to 17 are engaged in economic activity in the country.
Out of the figure, 76,439 are aged five to nine, 153,189 aged 10 to 14, and 189,626 aged 15 to 17.
The Obuasi MCE conceded that it was important for children to help out at home and learn valuable skills, parents should not put their children into situations that may endanger them and lead to further harm, especially when they work in hazardous environments.
“Children deserve to hold books and not bricks, to hold pens and not shovels.”
He further encouraged parents to show keen interest in the future of their wards by enrolling them in school, monitoring their performances and supporting them both financially and emotionally.
The Obuasi Station officer of the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU), Chief Inspector Josephine Adom Attakorah, cited poverty as the root cause of child labour.
“Poverty is certainly the greatest single force driving children into the workplace. When families cannot afford to meet their basic needs like food, water, education or health care, they have no choice but to send their children to work to supplement the household income.”
She disclosed that DOVVSU is working assiduously with relevant agencies to reduce incidence of child labour in Obuasi by enforcing the laws and intensifying education on the need to stop child labour.
The global theme for this year’s celebration was ‘Social Justice for All. End Child Labour!’ whiles the national theme was ‘Intensify Action against Child Labour; Do it fast, do it now’.