June 9, 2009

ILO confab tackles girl-child abuse

By Funmi Komolafe in Geneva
GENEVA—Nigeria and 182 other member-countries of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), are to focus on the abuse of the girl-child to mark this year’s World Day Against Child Labour on June 12.

Yesterday in Geneva, ILO  stated that the theme for all nations would be “Give Girls a Chance: Tackling Child Labour a key to the future.”

Nigeria is one of the ILO member-countries that ratified Convention 182 on the Eliminination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour.

Indeed, a Nigerian girl was one the two children presented as evidence of  the reality of child labour  five years ago at the ILO conferncce.

The girl (names withheld) from Akwa Ibom State was a child prostitute who was rehabilitated under the programmes of ILO on the withdrawal of children from Child Labour.

This year’s World Day Against Child Labour, ILO explained, will focus on the girl-child to “highlight the exploitation of girls in child labour and a warning that the crisis could force girls out of education into exploitative child labour.”

ILO Director-General, Mr. Juan Somavia, will speak on the  latest report of ILO’s International Programme  for the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC).

Although Nigeria was one of the first African countries to ratify Convention 182 on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour, evidence abound that many Nigerian children are exposed to child labour due mainly to poverty.

Jobs that ILO regard as child labour include child prostitution and children working on cocoa farms who have no benefit of education.

The Nigerian delegation is already in Geneva for the conference.

Government, workers, employers and non-governmental organisations will also organise  a series of activities to mark the day.