Mr. Andrews Tagoe, Focal Person on Child Labour, Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC), says child labour is one of the pervasive forms of modern-day slavery in Ghana which must be curbed.
Mr. Tagoe said modern day slavery among the youth included child labour, forced labour, bonded labour, domestic servitude, forced marriage, and sex trafficking.
He said this at a sensitization programme organized by the TUC for fisher folks within the Greater Accra Region at Jamestown in Accra.
The sensitization programme was to educate the fisher folks on dangers of child labour, and the need for them to play a significant role in curbing the menace as some of their children were victims.
He expressed worry that slavery in Ghana had now taken a modern dimension, where people were subjecting themselves to demeaning things due to poverty, desperation, and lack of sensitization, among other factors.
He noted that such situations were detrimental to the health and well-being of the citizenry, particularly children, adding that children must be protected to safeguard their future.
Mr. Tagoe, who is also the Deputy General Secretary, General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU), therefore called for a multi-sectoral approach to address the child menace as it needed the contribution of all stakeholders.
“When young people who should grow our country tomorrow do not see hope in the country but they decide that hope is somewhere else, we train doctors and they move away, we train teachers, they move away, the youth who are the future of this country also have no hope in the country also begin to move away, this calls for concern and that is the concern of the TUC,” he said.
The TUC Focal Person on child labour urged the fisher folks to see the need for a change starting from them as some of them sometimes used child labour.
He said, “What we want is that all our children in Ghana can access good education and all of them come out of child labour or any form of modern slavery.”
According to him, the TUC has been dealing with all professional bodies and all sectors of the economy, educating them to help address child labour, and other forms of modern-day slavery situations, adding that the fisher folks within the communities, were also duty bearers of the areas, therefore a change must begin with them.
He said until such slavery activities were curbed, even though Ghana has gained independence and freed from bondage, the country’s independence was not complete.
The fishermen on their part, said challenges affecting their work was a contributor to the child labour menace within the fishing communities.
Nii Lartey Boye, a fisherman, speaking to the Ghana News Agency on the sidelines of the sensitization programme, admitted to the fact that some children had subjected themselves to all forms of labour in the communities and markets to make a living for themselves.
Nii Boye however noted that though the situation was disturbing, parents were unable to care for their families due to the low catch of fish.
The TUC is a member of the steering committee on child labour, and this is the first major sensitization programme it has organized in partnership with LO Norway to eradicate child labour and other forms of modern slavery in the country.
The TUC will replicate the sensitization programme in other coastal areas in the country, including Bortianor, Elmina and Kpando Tokor with a call on Ghanaians to support the agenda.
By Muniratu Akweley Issah