from MAVHUTO BANDA in Lilongwe, Malawi
LILONGWE, (CAJ News) – WITH more than 39 percent of children aged between five and 17 years, which equates to close to over 1,9 million children, engaged in child labour, Malawi is among the countries with the worst prevalence of this illegality.
Children in the impoverished Southern African nation engage in the worst forms of child labour, including in commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking, and the harvesting of tobacco.
It is with relief that the government has pledged to move faster than the rest of the global community to shield minors from these violations.
This is alongside commitment, lauded globally, to eradicate forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking.
These form part of efforts to attain target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Malawi is among a handful of African countries to have been admitted as a Pathfinder Country under the Alliance 8.7 initiative.
Vera Kamtukule, the Malawi Deputy Minister of Labour, believes the country’s efforts will be worthy emulating.
“This means that Malawi has pledged to move faster than the rest in achieving Target 8.7 of the SDGs, so that others may learn from us,” Kamtukule said.
To express its commitment, Malawi has ratified all eight fundamental international labour conventions and has further ratified the Forced Labour Protocol.
To fulfil a leading role, Malawi is undertaking a number of initiatives and actions.
These include the launch in June 2020 of the new National Action Plan on Child Labour and the National Child Labour Mainstreaming Guide.
“These frameworks are particularly useful in involving more stakeholders in our national efforts to eradicate child labour,” Kamtukule explained.
The government of President Lazarus Chakwera is also finalising the Labour Market Information System to track incidences of child labour, forced labour and human trafficking.
It is also anticipated the emphasis of access to education for every child up to secondary school level espoused in the Vision 2063 would also reduce child labour.
Malawi’s commitment coincides with this year being the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour, led by the International Labour Organization (ILO).
The problem could be higher than thought in Malawi, with the most recent National Child Labour Survey conducted in 2015.
“In 2021, while fighting child labour, forced labour, human trafficking and modern slavery, Malawi and the global community will need to address the challenges posed by COVID-19”, said George Okutho, the ILO regional director.
The African Union (AU) has adopted the Ten Year Action Plan to Eradicate Child Labour, Forced Labour, Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery in Africa (2020 – 2030).
– CAJ News