The National Director of the SOS Children’s Villages in Liberia Mr. Augustine A. Allieu, says child labor is one of the socio-economic challenges that continue to impart the wellbeing of children in the country.
He says despite efforts to tackle the situation, a number of Liberian children are still victims.
Speaking at the opening session of an Advocacy Strategy Development workshop held at a local hotel in Monrovia Tuesday, Mr. Allieu said SOS Children’s Villages in Liberia recognizes that the worst forms of child labor and other hazardous work done by children deprive them of their dignity, rights to education, health, wellbeing and protection.
Quoting the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO’s) institute for statistics 2012 publication, he notes that working children between ages five (5) and 14 (fourteen ) years were 358,179 across Liberia.
He says child labor manifests itself in various forms and in different sectors, including domestic service, commercial agriculture, fishing, mining, rock cruising, street vending and prostitution.
“Hence, our organization has decided to develop and implement an advocacy strategy, this will be done in a three-day workshop which runs for today March 1, 2022,” He said.
The SOS National Director indicated that during the workshop participants are expected to establish a common understanding of the concept of advocacy among participants to discuss and develop the various component of an advocacy strategy for SOS village in Liberia.
Mr. Allieu continues that once the advocacy strategy is completed, they will formally launch it before fully rolling it out.
He says they at the SOS Children’s Villages in Liberia are aware that there are a number of government agencies and non-governmental organizations that are making efforts to address issues of child labor in the country.
Children in Liberia he notes, also accompany adults to beg in the streets and are also seen in the street selling for their adult parents and caregivers.
He applauds efforts made by the Bureau of International Labor Affairs of the United States Department of Labor.
He recalls that in 2020, Liberia made a moderate advancement in an effort to eliminate the worst forms of child Labor, stressing that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Labor Inspectorate conducted 1,200 inspections at worksites in 2020, including over 100 unannounced labor inspections, compared to an estimated 236 inspections in 2019.
He says besides, the government investigated two suspected cases of child trafficking, initiated or advanced the prosecution of three cases and convicted one individual who awaits sentencing.
Speaking further, the SOS boss adds that Children in Liberia are subjected to worst forms of child labor, including forced domestic work, sometimes as a result of human trafficking.
Earlier, Madam Benetta B.K.Weah, Assistant Director of Child Justice Department at the Ministry of Justice and Madam LYDIA-MAI Sherman, Deputy Minister of Children and Social Protection at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection both laud the SOS Children’s Villages in Liberia and stakeholders for their initiative and promised their respective ministries’ preparedness in working with SOS in eradicating child labor in Liberia.
SOS Children’s Villages in Liberia is a member of the SOS Children’s Villages International Federation that started full operations in Liberia on 1st January 1981, following an agreement between the Government of Liberia and SOS Children’s Villages International. Editing by Jonathan Browne