Juba — The Undersecretary for Labour in the Ministry of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development, Madam Helen Achiro, has decried the rapid increase in the population of street children in the urban areas of South Sudan.
Madam Achiro said the rising numbers of street children in the country could be attributed to the effects of the war, adding that the country previously had no children on the streets.
The Undersecretary warned that children on the streets were likely to be victims of the worst forms of child labour and exploitation such as slavery and human trafficking, prostitution, pornographic performances, child soldiers and drug trafficking.
She cited other contributing factors to street children as inter-communal/inter-clan fighting, cattle rustling and poverty.
Madam Achiro was speaking at the Ministry boardroom when she officially opened a two-day workshop whose aim is to draw a list of the most hazardous work for children in South Sudan.
The workshop has been organised by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) under its International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour (ILO/IPEC).
The ongoing programme on elimination of child labour in South Sudan is titled "Tackling Child Labour through Education (TACKLE)." The programme is funded under a collaboration agreement between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group (ACP) group of countries through ILO/IPEC.
The Undersecretary said that at the moment some of the most hazardous forms of child labour were in the mining and chemical processing industries, adding that there was need to embark on a massive awareness campaign on the effects of child labour.
She said the Labour Bill which had been developed after extensive consultations with all stakeholders was currently at the Ministry of Justice where it is being fine-tuned before it is presented to the Council of Ministers.
Madam Achiro said the Labour Bill had incorporated a number of issues concerning child labour.
The Undersecretary observed that the Child Act in its current form is lacking in critical areas and therefore requires a review to address its shortcomings.
Present at the meeting were the ILO-IPEC TACKLE Africa Regional Coordinator, Mr Ogasawara Minoru, representatives from line ministries, trade unions, human rights organisations and employers' associations.