Achieving a Ghana without child labour by 2025 is possible if all stakeholders intensify efforts to end the menace, Mr Andrews Addoquaye Tagoe, the Deputy General Secretary, General Agriculture Workers Union (GAWU), has said.
“A Ghana without child labour is possible; no child should be left behind as the SDG-8 is telling us, so the country must recognise that we have a responsibility towards our own children,” he said.
Though Ghana had made giant strides in curbing the menace the situation seemed to be pervasive in key areas including the agricultural sector with the majority of trafficked children forced into labour or voluntarily opting for it, he said.
Mr Tagoe, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on Tuesday, said 70 per cent of children found labouring in the agricultural sector were found on Lake Volta and other fishing communities.
“The place where child- labour is more pronounced in Ghana is the fishing sector on Lake Volta, where you have dangerous and dirty things happening to them.”
The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Eight demands that countries meet the target of eliminating the worst forms of child labour and by 2025 end it in all forms.
“The Ghana Living Standard Survey (GLSS) in 2014 said 21.8 per cent of children were in a form of child labour and one out of every five children was in child labour,” Mr Tagoe said.
Also in 2021, the International Labour Organisation and United Nations Children’s Fund estimated that about 160 million children were in child labour with more than half the number in Africa.
Mr Tagoe said Government, institutions and agencies, assemblies, community leaders, parents and guardians ought to expedite actions on policies, commitments and engagements to achieve the SDG-8.
He said GAWU had rolled out modules to ensure that all agricultural enterprises across the country were child labour-free zones and had collaborated with farmers and community leaders to promote that.
The practice was prevalent in the informal sector and has worked in cocoa, rice, and fishing communities amongst others, there had been adequate social protection shelters and therefore, called on the Government to increase the shelter, Mr Tagoe said.
“Child labour successful programme is hinged on the districts. The district in their medium-term planning must have a portion for child labour and forced labour, this means they would put a budget on it. So the assemblies have a role to play.”
He said GAWU had been able to rescue more than 5,000 children from child labour and urged parents, especially those in the agricultural sector, to endeavour to put their children in school.