Friday June 6 2014

Child labour limits devt, say activists


The continued employment of underage children has deprived adults of employment opportunities.

And this, according to Platform for Labour Action (PLA), limits skills development which creates a cycle of poverty.

“Despite interventions employment of underage children limits the ability to develop the capacity for community because children have no ability to bargain for better pay,” said Ms Grace Mukwaya, the PLA assistant executive director, during the launch of a report on the Impact of Stop Child Exploitation (SCE) programme in Makindye, Kampala this week.

The report is an assessment of the initiative that has seen more than 2,300 children rescued from 2007 to 2013 in a move to prevent children from exploitation in Kampala City.

Presented at a stakeholders meeting, the report indicates that the SCE sought to address the root causes of child exploitation and child domestic work and provide options to the vulnerable children through a programmatic approach.

“Out of the 304 children rescued from child labour, rehabilitated and placed in schools, 201 were domestic workers while others were picked from other forms of child exploitation such as vending of food stuffs, brick laying, collection of scrap and commercial sex,” the report reads.

“In the period 2012 to December 2013 alone, 304 (157 boys and 147 girls) were rescued and placed in vocational training institutions and others were taken back to primary and secondary schools to realise their right to education, improved livelihoods and childhood.”

Mr Isaac Arinaitwe, the PLA programmes officer, said there is a need to link volunteers with the skilled persons at the city authority offices and vulnerable families in the implementation of the livelihood programme to eliminate the child exploitation.

The National Labour Force and Child Activities survey of 2011/12 showed that a total of 2,009,000 children were engaged in some form of child labour and they are subjected to hazardous physical labour, commercial sex exploitation, fighting as child soldiers, and child trafficking.

The situation has not changed much, according to labour activists.