Child labour is not always reported in Namibia and many other African countries.
This has evolved into child prostitution, as well as voluntary and forced agricultural work like cattle herding and others.
Member of Parliament, Inna Hengari said this at the 10th session of the African Students and Youth Summit which was held virtually under the theme: “Act, Inspire and Scale-Up - Giving A Fair Share To End Child Labour”.
“The commercial sex exploitation of children occurs in terms of them being prostituted, where adults take advantage of their neediness by providing them with necessities. It is widespread on the continent,” said Hengari.
The term child labour entails work that robs children of their childhood, their potential and dignity. It includes work that is harmful and dangerous to physical and mental development.
Under chapter two of the Namibian Labour Act No. 11 of 2007, a person must not employ a child under the age of 14 years, and anyone convicted of the offence is liable to a fine not exceeding N$20 000 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding four years, or both the fine and imprisonment.
Hengari added that many young Africans have experienced child labour. Some, if not all, have been exploited in different ways and many of them, unfortunately, rely on this labour to make ends meet, not just for themselves as individuals but also for their families.
Every year, the All-Africa Students’ Union convenes the largest student and youth gathering on the continent under the banner “African Students and Youth Summit”.
The summit is the annual flagship
event of this students’ union that brings together young people on the continent
and in the diaspora to deliberate on the crucial issues affecting the state of education and their common future as young
“We, as young people in the different spaces that we exist in, have to take this fight forward and make it personal, and it has to be personal because these are young affected people who are not only the future of Africa but the generation after us,” she exclaimed.
Hengari further said: “This is being patriotic, and being a pan Africanist to ensure we are leaving a bright path behind and make sure these people are taken care of. In our fight against child labour, we should make sure we create safe spaces for these children where they have access to education and where access to health is a priority.”
In an insert by this publication in 2013, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations stated that child labour in the livestock sector is widespread and largely ignored, and it seems the status quo remains.
According to the FAO report, hazardous or potentially harmful work for children in the livestock sector has received less attention than child labour in other areas of agriculture.
It relies on country-specific case
studies that have shown that child labour in herding starts at a young age, anywhere between the age of five and seven years.