Monday, June 05, 2006
Summary by: Nasir Al-Amin
In sub-Saharan Africa, nearly 50 million children aged five to 14 are engaged in some form of child labour, contends the United Nations Labour Organization (ILO) in their report ‘The End of Child Labour: Within Reach.’ According to Yaw Ofosu, an ILO child-labour specialist, sub-Saharan Africa presents an amalgamation of both success and set-backs in the fight to end child labour: the proportion of child labourers declined from 28.8 percent to 26.4 percent, however, the absolute number of child labourers increased to 49.3 million from 48 million. Influential factors that obstructed progress are extreme poverty, high population growth, and the HIV/AIDS pandemic, maintains Ofosu.
The continent of Africa is home to 50,000 children “engaged in commercial sex and pornography, and some 120,000 children under age 18…coerced into taking up arms as child soldiers, military porters, messengers, cooks or sex slaves.”(IRIN, 2006) Thus, globally Africa has the highest rate of children engaged in laborious activities. “What is crucial is policies that help poor families send their kids to school,” said Ofosu.