The survey which was conducted last year in all the seven regions of the country revealed that the Greater Banjul Area has the highest number of child laborers scoring 23.1 percent, while North Bank Region recorded 22.2.
Other regions such as Lower River Region and Upper River Regions registered 15.7 percent and 11 percent of child labourers respectively. Central River Region has the lowest percentage of child laborers- 6.5 percent. The survey further highlighted petty trading is the most frequent work done by the children.
The report further stated that in terms of child percentage by sex, more boys are affected than girls, varying between 55.6 percent and 44.4 percent respectively.
According to the report, to some extent, the work carried out by children in The Gambia is by and large well known to many. However, based on socio-cultural norms, child labor is considered to be “non-existent”.
Speaking at the launching ceremony, Sait Matty Jaw, research consultant, stated that child labor is not only about children working in big factories, but also in the streets.
Sait further stated that the government, civil society and child rights partners are concerned with the issue of child labor, thus, making it more relevant for concerted effort to stop this ugly menace in our society.
“If you looked into the report, you will realise that most of the children are school drop outs which is not good for the welfare of the child and the future development of the country,” he told journalists.
He stated that the report also captured other socio-economic activities such as child sex especially within The Tourism Development Area. Other issues like begging among the children was also touched on, he said.
Kalilu Banja, programme officer for Children and Community Initiative for Development, also stated that one of the objectives of the survey was to create awareness especially among parents and policy makers to realise that child labour is happening in the country, thus the need to eradicate it.
“The study analyses that data gathered from children between the ages of 6-17 years of age found on the streets carried out numerous economic activities for their parents or guardians. Thus the potential need to protect these children, despite the stated legislation inspired our office to carry out this survey,” he said.
Key recommendations in the report
The report recommended effective implementation of the Children’s Act of 2005 and other laws on child rights to monitor the nature of work children do in communities, strengthen and establish more community child protection committees and undertake a comprehensive national multi-stakeholder survey on child labour in The Gambia.
The launching which took place at the American Corner on Comium building along Kairaba Avenue, was funded by the American Embassy in Banjul.]]>