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11.06.2021 09:42 News >> Togolese Parents Send Children To Work To Avoid Starvation

Togolese Parents Send Children To Work To Avoid Starvation

Coinciding World Day Against Child Labour, activists in Togo say poverty forces children to work in homes, agriculture fields, and mining sector.

In extreme poverty-stricken regions of the West African country of Togo, parents are preferring to send their children to cities to work as domestic servants to avoid hunger.
"You have to visit the remote areas of the country to see the extreme poverty of the people. They barely have enough to eat, they consume water used for various purposes. In such conditions, many prefer to send their children to the city even if it is for domestic work," Paul Amah, a resident of capital Lome, told Anadolu Agency on eve of the World Day Against Child Labour, which is being observed on Saturday.
His sister Odile Amah, a young mother, had hired 15 years old girl for domestic work. Another sister Chantal sent her housekeeper back to the village after she worked with her for five years, without paying any emoluments. The family, however, helped the girl to adopt sewing skills.
"In most cases, because of poverty, a person from the village asks an acquaintance or relative from the city to take care of his or her child in exchange for domestic work and food," said Amah.
Describing the phenomenon as shocking, he said people take it as charity and a favor to the poor by employing their children in exchange for providing only food.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Paul Koffi Kpatcha, a specialized educator, said the poverty was pushing children to join the labor force quite early.
According to Hummanium -- an international non-governmental organization (NGO) committed to upholding the rights of all children – children are very vulnerable in Togo.
Besides employing children in labor other menace raging the country child trafficking.
According to Tchai Berei, education specialist for Plan International -- a child sponsorship and development aid NGO – mostly the women in the family get involved in the trafficking of girls.
"The traffickers of girls are most often women in the family, they are called ogas," he said.
-Children trafficked
In a 2016 report, he revealed that the children trafficked are employed in homes where they will work as domestic servants and then return to the ogas.
The UN Special Rapporteur Urmila Bhoola said many children in the country are victims of world form of child labor as they are forced to work in homes, agriculture fields, and even in the mining sector.
She said the labor inspectors cannot access private homes, where domestic servitude remains an invisible problem, and they do not have the power to impose administrative sanctions.
According to the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations of the ILO, 43.2% of children from the ages of 5-11 are engaged in child labor in Togo. Out of them 25.2% work in hazardous sectors.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Labor and Public Service Minister Gilbert Bawara, said the country was committed to the global cause of ending child labor.
"It is an important cause, a challenge that is close to our hearts and at the same time we want to act with a lot of pragmatism and realism to avoid anything dogmatic and ideological that would be a challenge," he said.
He recalled that Togo has subscribed to most of the international instruments on the protection of children's rights and is a major player in the International Labour Organization (ILO).
"We must be realistic and pragmatic. The reality of African societies is what it is. There are several sectors of activity, particularly in agriculture and perhaps in some domestic work, where it is difficult to prohibit absolutely the employment of children," he said.
The minister said that awareness and imparting an element of accountability were needed to solve the problem. He said children should be imparted skills and abilities compatible with their age. -



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