THE Government has said it is concerned with the alarming cases of child labour in the country which, according to the 2014 labour statistics, indicate that more than 500,000 children are child workers.
Acting Labour and Social Security Minister Michael Katambo said the current statistics were worrying, and that there was need for concerted efforts to fight the scourge.
“There are over 595,000 child workers in various economic sectors. Of these, 58 per cent are 14 years or younger,” he said.
Mr Katambo said this in Lusaka yesterday at the commemoration of the World Day Against Child Labour which was held under the theme ‘In conflict and disasters: Protect children from child labour’.
In addition, the 2012 labour force survey estimated the total number of children in Zambia were involved in child labour aged four to 14 years were about 1.2 million.
The minister said with such statistics, it was prudent for everyone to realise that the fight against child labour was a huge one, which needed concerted efforts, commitment and action by all stakeholders.
Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Stella Nyondo said child labour continued to hamper the development of children and of the country, hence the need for all stakeholders to join the fight to end the vice.
Ms Nyondo said the effort was imperative as children were an asset to communities, but also vulnerable to abuse by society.
International Labour Organisation (ILO) country director Alexio Musindo said about 1.63 million children worldwide were found in one form of labour, a situation that had a negative impact on future generations.
He said the fight against child labour was at his institution’s core objective as it weakened future prospects of a sustainable labour market.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Commission (HRC) vice-chairperson Kondwa Chibiya said it was important that the Government expedited the process of enacting the Children’s Code Bill into law.
Ms Chibiya said once enacted, the law would provide the basis for conducting an assessment for children during conflicts or natural disasters.