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General News of Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Source: GNA

More than 430,000 children in hazardous activities - Statistics

Akyem Swedru (C/R), July 5, GNA - More than 430,000 out of 1,846,125 children are engaged in at least one hazardous activity in all sectors of the economy, Mr Andrew Tagoe of the Ghana Agricultural Workers Union of the Trades Union Congress has said.

He said statistics had shown that 430,595 out of 1, 846,125 children representing 23.3 per cent were engaged in the hazardous activities in various sectors.

In the cocoa sector, Mr Tagoe noted that 186,307 out of 1,646,125 representing 10.1 per cent of children engaged in at least one hazardous activity.

He was speaking on the topic: 93Hazardous Activity Framework for Cocoa" at a two-day consultative workshop organized by the International Labour Organisationon (ILO) on the elimination of worst Forms of Child Labour (WFCL) at Akyem Swedru in the Birim South District of the Eastern Region on Monday.

The workshop was to complement government's efforts to implement the National Child Labour Policy dubbed: 93National Plan of Action" (NPA) to reduce WFCL to the barest minimum by 2015.

The NPA is aimed at promoting more coordinating efforts towards eliminating the WFCL and to provide an integrated framework for harmonizing all relevant actions by different partners in order to tackle the problem in a well coordinated and sustainable manner.

In addition, it was to sensitize the cocoa growing communities on the dangers of child labour and its effect on community development.

Mr Tagoe mentioned economic, socio-cultural, inadequacies in the educational system and inadequate capacities for the enforcement of child labour regulations as the factors contributing to child labour.

"Children are exposed to hazardous activities through working with agrochemicals, working without adequate basic protective clothing, children working in isolation," he explained.

Mr Tagoe said permissible work for children in the Cocoa sector should include gathering cocoa, watering of seedlings at the nursing level, picking harvested cocoa pods under trees in the company of adults among others.

Mrs Stella Ofori, Principal Labour Officer, Child Labour Unit of Labour Department of the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare, said the WFCL prioritized for elimination by 2015 were child trafficking, mining and quarrying, fisheries, ritual servitude, commercial sexual exploitation of children, carrying of heavy loads, child domestic servitude, agriculture and street hawking and begging.

She said strategic areas of intervention included enforcement of the law, livelihood empowerment of families and communities, institutional and technical capacity building, enhancement of knowledge and data-base on child labour.

She said the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare had adopted a monitoring and evaluation mechanism with support from the National Development Planning Commission to ensure efficiency, effectiveness and timely interventions taking into account indicators and targets sets.

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