About 15 million under-aged Nigerian children are engaged in child labour, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), has said.
Its Technical Adviser, Mr Krishna Kukkikate, said the figure is out of the 48 million, which engaged in child labour, in sub-Sahara Africa.
Kukkikate, told The Nation in Lagos, that while child labour continues to decline globally, it keeps increasing in Nigeria and other African countries.
He said about 215 million children are engaged in child labour globally, while 115million out of the 215 million are involved in hazardous work. However, Asia and Pacific figures have been reduced by 96 million, while Latin America’s is down by 10 million, stressing that in the case of Nigeria and other sub-Saharan African countries, the figures keep increasing.
He cited persistence poverty increase in the population, cultural and religion practices and illiteracy as some of the challenges causing child labour.
He said about eight million of the child labourers are males, while about seven million are females, adding that they fall within the five- and 14-year-old bracket.
Kukkikate said the vulnerable children work in the homes of a third party or employer, carrying out tasks, such as hawking, farming, cleaning, ironing, cooking, gardening, looking after other children and caring for the elderly.
He said they are vulnerable to physical, psychological and sexual violence and abusive working conditions, while they are often isolated from their families, hidden from the public eye and become highly dependent on their employers. Besides, they are also mostly sexually exploited and abused, he said.
His words: “The situation of many child domestic workers, not only constitutes a serious violation of child rights, but remains an obstacle to the achievement of many national and international development objectives. There are worsening situation of child labour in Nigeria just as in other African countries.
“Child labour is a general problem in Nigeria and Africa. There are some countries in Africa where one out of four children, are in child labour and many of those are in child domestic work. We find this in mining, agriculture. When you try to remove child labour from one area, they tend to go to another area, and domestic workers fall into one of those.
The ILO chief explained that most of its actions are area specific, and when you are addressing child labour, you are addressing it in all its different forms. It is in very extreme situation in some countries, and there has been some very good progress in others, he said.
He called for concerted and joint action at the national and international levels to eliminate child labour in domestic work.
“We need a robust legal framework to clearly identify, prevent and eliminate child labour in domestic work, and to provide decent working conditions to adolescents where they can legally work,” he said.