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Child labour remains nightmare in Busia

Busia County is struggling with the increasing number of child labour and trafficking cases that are a threat to the future generation on education. This has been as a result of artisanal miner, fishing and hawking activities that have taken centre stage in the county.

In efforts to address the scourge, Busia Children’s Department in partnership with Terre des hommes and both county and national government has launched sensitization programme to cross border traders from Kenya and Uganda and boda boda operators to help preach the gospel of save the child by stopping child trafficking and exploitation of children through cheap labour.

Speaking at Breeze Hotel in Busia the Project Manager of the Child labour programmer from Terre des Hommes Mr. Evans Munga urged the members of the public to work closely with private sector in domesticating and amplifying labour laws and strengthening systems and structures ranging from regional collaborations to country engagements with the aim of streamlining the fight against child labour and other contributing exploitations.

“Busia being a border town, and lack of awareness among the residents of Busia county remains the biggest challenge in the fight against child,” noted Munga.

Estimates show that 14 per cent of children in Busia County are victims of child labour as they are being exposed to serious hazards despite being at a young age which ranges from 5-11 years.

“Busia is one of the largest harbors of child labor because of it being a border town and children are seen crossing through the border in search of jobs for money so as to cater for their needs. However plans are underway to eradicate child labor in all its forms by 2025,” added Munga.

His sentiments were echoed by Busia County Coordinator for Children Services Ms. Esther Wasige who outlined the causes and effects caused by child labor.

“The main reasons that cause child labor include weak family systems, high poverty index in Busia,  uncoordinated preventive and response mechanisms thus leading  to children missing out on education, physical and mental effects and many of them suffer irredeemable psychological damages based on hazardous works,” said Wasige.

The organizations urged the government to provide support and help them set up rehabilitation and rescue centres that will aid in helping the children and give them social skills that would enable them to live better in the society.

International Child Support Programme Coordinator Ms. Laventa Otieno urged the members of the society in partnership with the organizations involved to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced child labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking so as to secure the prohibition and elimination of all forms of child labour which includes recruitment and use of children as soldiers.

“The debates we are having is aimed at sensitizing parents and students to appreciate that as they earn quick money in the mines and hawking, they can be more relevant to the development of gold mining in their area, once they have attained education,” said Otieno.

“We have many cases of child labour and several are not documented. We have reports of children who are trafficked to Kenya to work as house helps and others as attendants in restaurants, bars and lodges,” she added.

The organization now wants the county government of Busia to invest in child rescue centres to give new homes to the affected children.

By Absalom Namwalo and Keith Otieno

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