Child labour rife in agro, construction sectors-Mbulu

Children- Kafue, Zambia . Credit Brian Moonga-IPS

LABOUR and Social Security deputy Minister Rayford Mbulu has said that child labour is more prevalent in the agriculture, construction and quarrying sectors in Zambia.

Speaking when he officiated at the Child Labour Policy launch at Southern Sun Hotel in Lusaka, Mr Mbulu said Government was working flat out to eliminate child labour using a multi sectoral approach.

He commended the Zambia Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) for its help towards eliminating child labour practices.

He said the Government was willing to partner with various stakeholders that implement such initiatives aimed at uplifting the living standards of the people.

He singled out the Zambia National Action Plan (ZNAP) on the elimination of the worst forms of child labour as one that spelt out practical steps that would help the country combat child labour effectively.

Present at the meeting was International Labour Organisation (ILO) representative Evans Lwanga, ZCTU trustee Sifuniso Nyumbu and the ZCTU secretary general Roy Mwaba.

He said the major causes of child labour in Zambia were related to socio–economic and political factors, which vary from sector to sector.

Mr Mwaba said the vices include poverty, poor education system and inadquate educatioinal facilities which is worsened by practices that give boys education over girls, who were also forced into early marriages

He said the HIV/AIDS pandemic, limited employment, unemployment, domestic violence, rapid population growth, and gender discrimination had been identified as some of major causes of child labour.

Mr Mwaba said the girl child was the most exposed to activities that included, among others, child trafficking, selling on the street, baby-sitting, child prostitution and domestic services.

He called on stakeholders to work together in ensuring that the policy was implemented and utilised, adding that the ZCTU would continue to advocate, lobby and monitor with other relevant stakeholders the domestication of conventions related to child labour.

Mr Lwanga said the three pieces of legislation which were the National Child Labour Policy, Empowerment for Young people Act and the statutory instrument that combat child labour must be strengthened.

He pledged continued support to the ZCTU both finacially and technically in efforts to eliminate child labour.