BY AIP EMMY NTAMANGA
Children need an encouraging family, social environment and stable country in order to grow into economically active and productive adults with the ability to participate effectively in the social, cultural, and political activities.
But when involved in child labor or hard labour, children can easily be affected by premature aging, malnutrition, depression, drug dependency, to mention but a few, which makes it a complex phenomenon that needs collective effort to address.
Article 6 of law No. 71/2018 of 31/08/2018 relating to the protection of the child defines a child as “any person under eighteen (18) years of age.”
In 2018, Police in the Eastern Province rescued children aged between 13-15 from a child labor human trafficking scheme where they were supposed to be taken to one of the neighboring countries to work as goat grazers.
Early this month, four children were rescued in Nyanza District where they were doing household chores and commercial agricultural activities.
Other minors have been rescued from homes where they work as babysitters and other domestic chores; from stone quarries and mining concessions as well as tea plantations; from markets where they carry goods, and from streets.
All these children are now back in school with hope for a better future.
Nonetheless, children are still found in rice farms, mining sites, conducting commercial activities, rearing cattle and other hazardous work.
According to Global estimates of child labour of 2012-2016, worldwide 218 million children between 5 and 17 years of age are in employment where 152 million are victims of child labor. Half of them (72.1 million) were found in Africa; 62.1 million in Asia; 10.7 million in the Americas; 1.2 million in the Arab States and 5.5 million in Europe and Central Asia.
Fighting child labour is one of the campaigns that Rwanda National Police (RNP) in partnership with other relevant institutions and local leaders are actively engaged in by educating the public besides enforcing the law on child protection.
Child labor is the denial of children’s rights and a barrier to holistic child development.
Rwanda has made a significant efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor where the government adopted several new laws to strengthen the protection of children.
Article 6 of the law regulating labor in Rwanda, prohibits subjecting a child below the age of 18 to any form of works, which are physically harmful to the child; work underground, underwater, at dangerous heights or in confined space; work with dangerous machinery, equipment and tools or which involves manual handling or transport of heavy loads; work in an environment, which exposes the child to temperatures, noise levels or vibrations damaging his/her health; work for longer hours or during the night or performed in confined spaces.
Although ministerial guidelines are well set and Rwanda having put in place several measures to end child labor, the implementation of these legal instruments, protecting children and ensuring they go back to school to grow up as productive people, is an individual and collective responsibility.
Call 112 and 116 or any Police contacts to report child labour in your neighbourhood.
Collective effort is needed to end child labor
BY AIP EMMY NTAMANGA
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