• Thursday, February 22, 2024
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Why government should prohibit child labour

child labour

Although the universal proposition that the basic needs by humans are food, clothing and shelter still remains, reproduction is somewhat beginning to be considered same, especially in Africa. One arguable basic need in every marriage is the fruit that proceeds thereof—children. While that may be technically correct, there is need to give every child the life and opportunity to reach their full potential.

Before now, the likelihood of the death of a child before age 5 was high. Available records show that 70 percent of children or more are likely to be involved in child labour and 20 per cent more likely to be murdered. However, these figures have been drastically reduced through programs and initiatives on child protection, child education, child health, child nutrition, child hunger and child livelihood, among others. Consequently, children born today have better chances than at any time in history to grow up healthy, educated and protected.

Globally, an estimated 7.7 billion people are living in the world today. This year has recorded an estimated 70 million births daily and another estimated 215,ooo births on July 01 2019.

Despite the global efforts being made to address child labour, children born today are still likely to face these challenges. Child labour, which is regarded as a work carried out to the detriment and endangerment of a child, in violation of international laws and national legislations, is a major challenge faced by most children today. It either deprives children of schooling or requires them to assume the dual burden of schooling and work.

Worldwide, 218 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 years are in employment.Among them, 152 million are victims of child labour; almost half of them, 73 million, work in hazardous child labour.In absolute terms, almost half of child labour (72.1 million) occurrences are found in Africa; 62.1 million in Asia and the Pacific; 10.7 million in America; 1.2 million in the Arab States and 5.5 million in Europe and Central Asia.

In terms of prevalence, 1 in 5 children in Africa, or 19.6 per cent, is in child labour, whilst the prevalence in other regions is between 3 per cent and 7 per cent: 2.9 per cent in the Arab States (1 in 35 children); 4.1 per cent in Europe and Central Asia (1 in 25); 5.3 per cent in the Americas (1 in 19) and 7.4 per cent in Asia and the Pacific region (1 in 14).

Almost half of all the 152 million children who are victims of child labour are aged between 5 and 11 years. Also, 42 million (28 per cent) are between 12 and 14 years old; and 37 million (24 per cent) are between 15-17 years old.

Hazardous child labour is most prevalent among the 15-17 years old. Nevertheless, up to a fourth of all hazardous child labour (19 million) is done by children less than 12 years old. The chart below shows the breakdown of child labour by employment status.


Among the 152 million children in child labour, 88 million are boys and 64 million are girls. In addition, 58 per cent of all the children in child labour and 62 per cent of all the children in hazardous works are boys. Boys appear to face a greater risk of child labour than girls, but this may also be a reflection of an under-reporting of girls’ works, particularly in domestic child labour. This may be true in societies where access to girls or women is restricted as it is in the Middle East and North Africa.

Child labour is concentrated primarily in agriculture (71 per cent), which includes fishing, forestry, livestock, herding and aquaculture; for both subsistence and commercial farming; 17 per cent in services; and 12 per cent in the Industrial sector, including mining.The chart below shows the weekly average of hours worked by children (ages 7-14) who are economically active in some African countries.

Source: World bank, BRIU

Another problem faced by today’s children is child maltreatment which has lingered for years but professional inquiry into the topic is generally considered to have begun about a century ago. While legal definitions of child maltreatment vary by state, four types are generally recognized: physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect (including educational neglect, medical neglect, and other forms), and emotional maltreatment.

From 1990 to 1994 in the United States, the number of cases of child abuse or neglect that were either substantiated (founded according to state law or policy) or indicated (suspected but not substantiated) rose from 861,000 to 1,032,000, reaching a rate of 15 per 1,000 children under the age of 18 in 1994. From 1994 to 1999, the trend reversed, with the number of cases dropping to 829,000, translating to a rate of 12 per thousand in 1999.

The number of cases increased slightly from 1999 to 2001; then it levelled off until 2006, with the rate staying fairly constant throughout that period. After a sharp drop in both the rate and number of maltreated children (excluding duplicate cases) from 2006 to 2007, the number and rate of maltreated children continued to decline until 2012, when both began to rise again.

In 2017, there were approximately 674,000 maltreated children substantiated in the United States, a rate of 9 per thousand.

Source: childtrend, BRIU

Young children experience higher rates of maltreatment than older children, the analysis of available records has shown. In 2017, children 3 years and younger had a maltreatment rate of 15 per 1000, compared with 10 per 1000 for children ages 4 to 7, as well as 8 per 1000 for ages children aged 8 to 11; while it was 7 per 1000 for children aged 12 to 15, and 5 per 1000 for children aged 16 to 17 years.

Key facts

  • 1 in 5 women and 1 in 13 men reported having been sexually abused as a child.
  • A quarter of all adults report having been physically abused as children
  • The rate of substantiated child maltreatment is remarkably lower in 2017 than in 1990, having fallen from 13 per 1,000 children to 9 per 1,000.
  • Rates of physical, sexual, and psychological or emotional abuse have declined substantially since 2000, while rates of neglect have declined the least.
  • Younger children between the ages of 0 to 3 years are maltreated at higher rates (thrice) than older children in 2017.