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Urgent need to abolish child labour practices in our society

“No to child labour, yes to quality education” this is the theme that surrounds the 2015 edition of world day against child labour commemorated on June 12. The conventions of 1973 on the minimum age, states to 18 years the admission into work of an adolescent and that of 1999 forbids the existing worst forms of child labour. That is why continuous measures are undertaken worldwide by the International Labour Organisation in a bid to halt this practice affecting 120 Million children aged from 5 to 14 years.

 

The choice of this year’s theme enters within the framework of objectives of the Millennium Development goals that seek amongst others to ensure by 2015 primary education for the boy and girl child. Worldwide statistics have shown that 58 Million children of primary school’s ages and 63 Million teenagers of secondary school’s ages are still not enrolled in school. Others combine school and work but this at the detriment of their education. And the fact that these children in labour situation do not go to school to acquire quality education cripples the cycle of youth employment. The International Labour Organisation goes further to underscore the need to develop necessary competences in school for a child to emerge and succeed in the job market. The negative impacts of such practices are later felt at the adult age simply with regard to the fact that due to poor education and inadequate competencies, children constrained to child labour are likely to find precarious jobs with poor wages or find themselves jobless. They are mostly those who turn into hooligans and prostitutes. And at their turn, their children are likely to entangle with child labour. A quality education, free of charge and obligatory up to the age of admission into employment is a key point in pressing up for the abolition of child labour.

In Cameroon, the phenomenon turns on to accentuate with regard to the economic context marred by poverty. Over 30 percent of children aged from 5 to 17 years are engaged in some labour practices. Beyond dangerous labour practices such as farming, scrapping ion and so on, recruitment of children for forceful jobs and sex commerce are been practiced in some parts of the country though hidden by actors at the heart of these evil acts. According to figures released by the National institute of statistics, 98 percent of girls upon the 4000 interviewees encountered are engaged in sex commerce. However, concerning practices described as dangerous most of the children we found were from wretched households.Many encountered in the streets of the nation’s capital, Yaounde say they work during the day time and have opted for evening classes. Cabrelle Kouam, aged 14 for instance has stopped going to school at 12, just some few months after the death of her father. She sells boiled eggs from one point of the town to the other just like her mother who sells food by the roadside. With the sales ‘profit acquired daily, she is able to merge the money with her mother to make some savings in order to pay the school fees of the two other younger ones at home. This precarious context in which many households find themselves in our country keeps on deteriorating especially during this holiday period. Streets are crowded with children of 5 to 15 years who sell different articles with the goal to raise some money for the upcoming academic year. A situation that causes more harm than good when we record the disastrous consequences; Captivating images and testimonies are that of a child who gets deep at sleep in a drinking spot in the evening after a long walk all over the city to sell his products, children who are been assaulted, fooled and their money taken away by thieves, others are kidnapped, girls raped by unscrupulous individuals.

The alarming situation of child labour in Cameroon sound as an alert and in 2002 struck officials who have elaborated a series of projects throughout the technical support and skills of the central African Technical Bureau of the International Labour Organisation. A committee to fight against child labour was set up in April 2015 and in the same move a two year plan of action drafted for 2014 to 2016 is currently piloted by the government.

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