Ghana records 2.7 million child labourers
Ghana is likely to face development assistance cuts from the United States if it does nothing to curb the high incidence of child labour and child trafficking in the country.
The Chief of Party of the Sustainable Fisheries Management Programme (SFMP) of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Mr Maurice Knight, explained that Ghana had been classified as a Tier 2 watch list country for the second year in a row.
Mr Knight was speaking at a durbar at Apam in the Central Region to mark the World Day Against Child Labour last Tuesday.
It was organised by the SFMP of the USAID with its partners, including the Central and Western regional Fishmongers Improvement Association (CELESTA) SNV, Friends of the Nation and the Development Action Association (DAA).
Mr Knight noted that being ranked a tier 2 country for successive years came with sanctions, including cuts in development assistance.
He said to avoid these cuts required both national and local level efforts aimed at reducing child labour and trafficking in the long term.
It is estimated that there are over 2.7 million child labourers in Ghana; the largest employers of child labourers being in the fishing, cocoa and artisanal mining sectors.
"Girls are still exploited in domestic servitude and often abused. Children are still forced to work long hours, often in dangerous conditions. Children are still being robbed of the chance to attend school, learn to read and just be a child," he observed.
Mr Knight said child labour in Ghana was still depriving large numbers of children of their potential and dignity and harmed them physically and mentally.
He said to help Ghana to respond to its pro tier 2 ranking and potential cuts in US government assistance, USAID's SFMP was supporting partners to implement a range of strategies aimed at reducing child labour and trafficking in the fisheries sector.
He stated that the SFMP and its partners were working to actively include vulnerable households along the coast in programmes that directly raised their income.
The District Chief Executive for Gomoa West, Mr Bismark Baisie Nkum, noted that in spite of the laws on child trafficking, child marriage, child prostitution, pornography and other vices against children, they were still ongoing in the communities.
He said there was an urgent need to take bold steps to curtail the menace and called on parents, chiefs, fishermen and traditional authorities to help reduce the menace by reporting such incidents to the police.