Child labour: Ministry says children may be forced to work due to Covid-19



Malawi has today joined the rest of the world in commemorating the World Day Against Child Labour amid concerns that Covid-19 may push children into child labour as families look to increase income.

The day, commemorated on June 12, was set aside by the International Labour Organization (ILO) to serve as a platform to raise awareness among the communities on the evils of child labour.

This year, the day is commemorated under theme “Covid-19: Protect children from child labour, now more than ever”.

Secretary for the Ministry of Labour, Skills and Innovation Esmie Kainja said that this year’s commemoration focues on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on child labour.

Kainja added that the pandemic has affected the whole world economically and socially thereby threatening to force more children into child labour.

“When crises such as the Covid-19 strikes, children are the first to suffer, because it has potential to push millions of vulnerable children, presently at home following closure of schools, into child labour in order to supplement declining family incomes.

“The present child labourers are at a greater risk of facing circumstances that are even more difficult, including working longer hours,” she explained.

She then urged all the players in the fight against child labour to take measures to protect children from falling into child labour due to the impact of coronavirus.

In his speech, ILO country Director for Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique George Okuthu said the organization is implementing the Accelerating Action for the Elimination of Child Labour in Supply Chains in Africa (Accell Africa) project in Malawi.

He said the project aims to accelerate the elimination of child labor in Malawi by supporting the country to improve and enforce policy legal and institutional frameworks that address the root of child labour.

The National Child labour Survey of 2015 revealed that 38 per cent of the children in Malawi were engaged in child labor while globally, about 152 Million children aged 5-17 years are engaged in child labor.