As June 12 approaches: 21.8% of children in Ghana estimated to be child labourers

According to the report, If we do not muster the will and resources to act now on an unprecedented scale, the timeline for ending child labour thus 2025, will stretch many years into the future.

Is allowance instantly strangers applauded

As is done each year, June 12, 2022, will be observed worldwide as the World Day against Child labour. This year’s theme is “Universal Social Protection to end child Labour.”

This theme, according to the United Nations, is a call and reminder for increased investment in social protection systems and schemes to establish solid social protection floors and protect children from child labour.

Irrespective of the fact that great progress and impact have been made over the last two decades to ending child labour, a whopping 168 million children are still engaged in the menace today with Sub-Saharan Africa still having the highest prevalence rate of more than one in five children.

According to the CHILD LABOUR GLOBAL ESTIMATES BY THE INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANISATION(ILO) AND THE UNICEF, Global progress against child labour has stalled for the first time since it began producing global estimates two decades ago and Global progress against child labour has stagnated since 2016.

It adds that without urgent mitigation measures, the COVID-19 crisis which is still existent and prevalent is likely to push millions more children into child labour.

According to the report, If we do not muster the will and resources to act now on an unprecedented scale, the timeline for ending child labour thus 2025, will stretch many years into the future.

Some urgent steps need to be taken internationally and intra-nationally.


Ghana was the first country to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and has ratified all key Conventions of child labour notably the ILO Conventions on Minimum Age (C138, 1973) and Worst Forms of Child Labour (C182, 1999).

Added to the above, the country has various legislative regimes which proscribe or discourage the canker including the 1992 Constitution, Children’s Act, 1998 (Act 560), Child Rights Regulation, 2002 Human Trafficking Act, 2005 (Act 694) and the Criminal Code (Amendments) Act, 1998 (Act 554) and its Amendments.

Also, the country has adopted and implemented various policies including the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) policy, the early childhood development policy and the national social protection strategy to build a robust child protection system but these elements are not adequately coherent.

It is worth noting however that, children engage in different kinds of activities some of which are normal and part of the natural existence or for their proper socialization thus not every economic activity children engage in, is child labour.

Child labour in itself refers to employment or work carried out by children that do not conform to the provisions of national legislation, such as the Children’s Act, 1998 (Act 560), nor provisions of international instruments.

According to the NATIONAL PLAN OF ACTION (PHASE II) FOR THE ELIMINATION OF THE WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOUR IN GHANA (2017-2021): TOWARDS ACHIEVING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL(SDG) 8.7, more than one out of every five children in Ghana (21.8%) and more than six in ten of them are engaged in hazardous work. This is both a violation of their constitutional rights and a critical leakage to accelerated national development. Child labour is a decent work deficit. It is not acceptable.

The children’s Act sets the minimum age for admission to employment at 13 years for light work, 15 years for general employment, and 18 years for hazardous work.

Child labour continues to be prevalent in Ghana. There is child labour in every region of the country. Apart from the Greater Accra and Central Regions, each region has more than 20% of children as victims. Not every work children engage in is child labour. But most working children are child labourers.

Even though the child labour menace is endemic in many deprived local areas where opportunities are dwindling like fishing and farming communities, it is also very common to find children in the cities “selling wares and begging (for themselves or assisting adults with disabilities) or in the markets engaged in the manual handling or transportation of heavy loads (Kaya/kayayo).”

The level and rate at which child labour is springing and thriving can only be described as a disaster in waiting because currently in Accra especially, there are more and more children who are, and going onto the street as the day goes by. The government through the appropriate Ministry and agencies must act fast.

It is a fact though that there exist various social intervention programs like the LEAP, School feeding program and even the Free Textbooks, Uniforms and Free SHS policy, which to a large extent help to reduce or mitigate child labour in all of its forms, the numbers and trend mean that there is still more room for improvement.

Therefore as Ghana joins the world to celebrate the “World Day against Child Labour” on Sunday, June 12, 2022, there ought to be an introspection of our social interventionist programs and policies aimed at cushioning parents and assisting children to compulsorily attain and undergo the compulsory free education as stipulated by the Constitution.

Again, there ought to be a practical step through a policy to rid our cities, especially of child beggars and child labourers which must extend also to the rural and local fishing and farming communities to ensure that we reduce even if not eliminate, the canker to give the future of this nation and continent, a better today.