As the World marked the Day against Child Labour on June 12, many stakeholders used the occasion to reiterate their stance against the phenomenon.
In Cameroon, it was noted that child labour has been on the decline globally even though under-aged children are still been made to work as house helps with little or no pay and sometimes under very poor conditions. Some of these chidren are forced into child labour by their parents and relatives while others, victims of theft, rape and other mishaps, flee perpetrators to be submitted to harsh conditions.
Going by the UN definition, any work done by children within the age of 5- 17 years that’s detrimental to their social, mental, physical and educational development is classified as child labour. Globally, many children are involved in paid and unpaid work activities that rob them a chance to enjoy their childhood.
Forms of child labour which include hazardous activities such as slavery, prostitution, drug trafficking and involvement in armed conflict deny children a chance to play and go to school.
In Cameroon, there exist laws to protect children; the Ministry of Social Affairs and a number of NGO’s have been very active in helping children in distress.
Through specialised centres, these children are given temporal protection.