Leaders in Migori County have expressed concern over the high number of children involved in scrap metal business in Migori town.
The children, some as young as 7 years-old have been roaming the town’s streets, backyard suburbs scouring for the metals for later sale to dealers.
Many claim they have been forced to venture into the job in order to fend for their parents and siblings during this period of hard economic situation dogging many families.
However, speaking to KNA in Migori town, the chairman of the region’s chambers of commerce and industry, Mr Arwa Rumo, dismisses the toddlers’ sentiments as coming from a group that has rebelled against the society and that is turning to engaging in criminal acts injurious to their moral progress.
“These naughty children have been involving in petty crimes as they move in the estates in search of the scrap metal which sees them steal utensils from homes and vandalise public structures,” rued Mr Rumo and asked government agencies concerned to ensure that they will be all in class when schools re-open next month.
The leader accused parents of failing to guide their children well, allowing many to abandon school to try to make little cash for their survival as the adults seriously fleece them of their meagre earnings.
Mr Rumo noted that by vandalizing property, the children were truly exposing the community to high cost of doing business in the town and called on the local security team led by County Commissioner (CC) Boaz Cherutich to consider banning the scrap metal business in the area.
The business community boss’s concerns comes amid a decry by the local labour office that the children have improvised old radio speakers which they drag on the ground to try and detect metals hidden underground and in dust bins and dump sites.
A Labour Officer James Okello said most of the children are abused by the area scrap metal dealers who pay them little money for their hard fetched metal wares.
At the same time, Okello said that child labour is not only employed in the scrap metal business but also in sand harvesting activities along the streams and the banks of river Migori.
He urged all partners in the war against child labour to intervene fast and bring the vice to a conclusive end for the sake of development of the young people.
By George Agimba