Child rights NGO Child Research for Action and Development Agency (CRADA) is warning that the number of children caught up in child labor in Ghana is rising as children continue to stay out of school because of COVID 19 restrictions.
The concern of CRADA comes as Ghana joins the rest of the world to mark the international day against child labour with the theme ‘Covid-19: Protect Children from Child Labor, now more than ever.’
Speaking to Ultimate News, Executive Director of CRADA Nana Antwi Boasiako Berempong indicated that Ghana’s situation is made worse by the COVID 19 pandemic which has left several children idle and eroded the livelihoods of several families.
He told reporter Ivan Heathcote – Fumador “With COVID 19 schools are closed down. People’s livelihoods are gone. Farmers have to go to the farms with their children because they cannot leave them at home. So those children who have been trapped before and rescued and reintegrated into education have now gone back again,” Mr. Antwi Boasiako Berempong lamented.
The Child Research for Action and Development Agency has zoned high prevalence enclaves in Kumasi under the codename KERA summing up Kejetia, Racecourse, and Asafo where child labor is at its all-time high.
Mr. Antwi Boasiako Berempong explained: “Inside Kejetia you will find children carrying loads, working as bus conductors because they don’t go to school and cannot stay home and become hungry. Some are selling ice water and doing other petty businesses.”
“There are kids around the racecourse area some adults send them to do pickpocketing and some go for scraps for these people. And when you go to Asafo bus station these kids are there carrying loads with some going into prostitution.”
Globally 152 million children are engaged in child labour. According to a 2017 UNICEF report on Ghana, some 22 percent of children in Ghana are engaged in child labour.
CRADA together with its partners Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Deloitte Japan, Action against Child Exploitation (ACE) Japan, and other multi-lateral and Bi-lateral Agencies were instrumental in developing Ghana’s Protocol and Guidelines for Establishing Child Labour Free Zones (CLFZs) Manual.
The institution is working with the government to create more Child Labour Free Zones as documented in the National Plan of Action Phase II which aims at eliminating worst forms of Child Labour in Ghana by 2021 and towards achieving target 8.7 of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG,⁹ Target 8.7) by 2025.