According to the recent International Labour Organzation (ILO), there are 218 million children between 5 and 17 years are in employment worldwide. Among them, 152 million are victims of child labour; almost half of them, 73 million, work in hazardous child labour.
It is true that children are prohibited from engaging in occupations designated as the worst forms of child labour under the Ethiopia law. The law also prohibits the compulsory or forced labour of children. However, a large number of children have been engaged in various domestic and hard labour particularly in urban areas of the nation.
According to many researches on child labour, children exposed to labour exploitation suffer from several social, health and physiological problems.
Undoubtedly, a child who is forced to work develop low self esteem, feeling of frustration and hopelessness, among others. Those who make fortune out of the suffering of the children should know that unknowingly or knowingly they are destroying the future of the nation.
In deed, the government of Ethiopia has achieved a lot in enrolling all school age children over the last two decades. But, enormous number of children could not go to school as they are working for long hour in domestic services or on farms.
With less knowledge of child labour, parents and relatives get involved in child trafficking to the urban centers as a result many children are left in hazardous work. we find children working in construction and manufacturing.
In rural areas, children especially boys are engaged in activities such as cattle herding, petty trading, plowing, harvesting and weeding while mostly girls collect firewood and water. Furthermore, children in urban areas are engaged in shinning shoes, tailoring, portering and the like.
Since many girls who trafficked to Addis Ababa work in domestic service, they are highly vulnerable to sexual abuse on top of various domestic violence. They are also unable to attend school.
Apparently, the government has integrated the prevention and control e of child labour in its various development polices and plans. It as well established departments under the Ministry of Labour and Social affairs that are responsible to enforce child labour laws. Likewise there are a number of police departments in various urban areas of the country that have Special Child Protection Units These units work to address the worst forms of child labour, including child trafficking.
To address the problem of child labour exploitation, the government and the pertinent bodies are expected to exert more concerted efforts through country- based programmes which may include building institutional capacity , putting in place concrete prevention and controlling measures, awareness raising and mobilization aimed at changing social attitudes and promoting effective implementation of ILO child labour Conventions.
It is also important to mention here that those children who are already victimized of child labour need training on psycho-social rehabilitation in sustainable and integrated manner.
In general ,the fight against child labour at local and international levels requires multi- stakeholders' initiatives and' interventions aimed at preventing and controlling child labour exploitation.
Since children are the future of a given country, everybody should play his/her roles in exposing criminals who enforce children to work long hour and abused them physically and emotionally under any circumstances. Ceaseless awareness deepening campaigns regarding child labour laws should be given to parents and relatives who get involved in child trafficking in a bid to refrain them for the illegal activities.
Children need protection , care and love in order to grow up as good citizens. Therefore, a country which is blessed to have well nurtured and educated young generation would overcome any challenges in the efforts to cast off poverty and backwardness.