Parents who force their children into commercial activity that harms or deprives them of their education is wicked and cruel, Minister of Gender, Child and Social Protection, Ms Otiko Afisa Djaba has said.
Addressing the official launch of the second phase of the National Plan of Action against child labour at Suhum Okonam on the theme: ‘Developing the child for a brighter future, kick child labour away from Ghana’, Ms Djaba said data from a recent survey conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service show that more than two million children Ghanaian children have been forced into child labour.
These children, she said, are into fishing, stone quarrying, hawking on highways, mining, farming, cattle herding, and construction work among others.
She, thus, urged all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) and the Social Welfare Department to drag parents who force their children into child labour, to court.
“Every work that stresses children, work that prevents children from attending school and work which causes harm to our children constitutes child labour.
“Laws in Ghana like the Children’s Act and Constitution frown on child labour. Medical Doctors do not take their children to work, teachers do not take their children to classrooms also, so, why should a farmer take his children to the farm or traders also allow their kids to go and sell on the streets?
“Why would parents subject their children to this treatment by engaging kids to work on farms, sell on the streets and even work as maidservants for money? This is cheap labour and parents who are involved are wicked.
“The children did not ask to be born, they did nothing wrong to come into this world, so, why such treatment on them. District Chief Executives, social Welfare Department and other agencies should rise up to the task now.
“We should not just talk, but walk the talk, and bring culprits to book because the kids involved in child labour are prone to child trafficking and prostitution.”
Ms Otiko made a direct plea to parents to desist from such irresponsibility. “Parents, I’m pleading with you to allow your children to go to school, we have gone past those ancient times. In the 21st century now, let us not do the things we were doing previously because now thanks to government, education is free in the country from primary to Senior High School, so, no child should be left uneducated.
“The laws of the land are clear: You cannot say you are ignorant, so, I will advise parents to take advantage of the free compulsory education made available to all Ghanaians to educate their kids for they are the future leaders of the country”.