Police in Pader district are baffled with the community's failure to realize that child labour is both criminal and also dangerous to the life of the children who are forced to do commercial work that is heavier than their underdeveloped bodies can handle.
In a whole quarter this year, police received only one complaint of child labour in the entire district for the three months from July to September. This indicates a major lack of understanding since the practice is rampant in the area
Pader Officer in Charge of the Family and child protection unit in,
Titus Fred Okello says that the are ignorant about what amounts to child
labour and the danger it may have on the life of a child.
According to Okello, many parents subject their
children to child labour unconsciously, therefore committing crimes against the
Okello explains that child labour is any work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential
and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development.
argues that child labour denies a child fundamental human rights such as right
to education, right to rest and leisure.
seen a lot of parents especially during this period where many children are at
home subjecting their children to too much work, not giving them time to play or
rest, which is very dangerous,” says Okello. // Sound
byte (Okello on child labour) Eng //
Pader district probation officer, David Oketch agrees
that child labour is common in the district, explaining that much of this is
seen among children engaged in employment like street vending, working in
restaurants and lodges among others, and are paid little or no money.
Oketch adds that orphans are also commonly engaged to do work at
home that is not commensurate with their age and capability, a practice that is
also rampant in the district.
He advises parents to weigh what is appropriate for
a child to do depending on their age before engaging them in the work.
Between July to September this year, Pader family and
child protection unit registered only 1 case of child labour in August. But statistics from the Uganda Bureau of
Statistics (UBOS) show that 45% of children from households living below the
poverty line are forced out of school to work and supplement their
parents' incomes, with children aged between 5 and 17 years the worst at risk.
In 2016, the government approved the
children (amendment) Act, which criminalized the use of children for labour.