The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have charged member-states to implement laws on child labour and trafficking.
Representatives of both organisations gave the charge at ongoing Second Ordinary Session of ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja on Friday.
Mr David Dorkenoo, Representative of the Director, ILO Liaison Office for ECOWAS, said global records showed that 152 million children were victims of child trafficking.
Dorkenoo said that ILO had adopted several international instruments aimed at fighting child labour, adding that majority of ECOWAS member-states had ratified two of the most important conventions and protocols.
He, however, complained of the low-level implementation of laws relating to child labour and trafficking in most West African countries.
“We have noticed that many of our countries have developed very good legislations to address issues of child labour and trafficking within West Africa.
“Some have gone further to develop domestic legislations to give meaning to the conventions they have ratified but unfortunately, the implementations of these laws have been a challenge.
“We want to emphasise the need for members of parliament in West Africa to support institutions working on issues of child labour in their countries with resources and legislation.
“They should empower them so that they will be able to prosecute offenders.”
He further called for enhanced prosecution of culprits found guilty to serve as deterrent to others engaged in the act.
ECOWAS Commissioner, Social Affairs and Gender, Dr Siga Jagne, said that the commission had put in place an action plan to tackle the menace of child-trafficking and labour in the region.
Jagne said ECOWAS was working with member-states to ensure implementation of legislation on child labour and trafficking.
“We have gone far because we have the laws which are very critical and we have our partners in all the countries we work with to implement; you know implementation is a major challenge.
“There are some countries that still need to do more work and for religious reasons, some areas are more difficult than others.
“The role of the parliament, even at the national level, is critical because they are the ones who ensure that their countries ratify and implement the laws,” she said.
Jagne also urged countries to work in harmony to protect the rights of children. (NAN)
– Nov. 23, 2018 @ 18:55 GMT |