Child labour continues despite new anti-exploitation laws. A new law introduced in 2016 which criminalises child labour has failed to stop exploitation due to inadequate implementation. More than 2 million children in Uganda are estimated to be affected.
Child Labour denies fundamental human rights such as the right to education, right to rest and leisure and free from the country’s unfair working conditions, such rights are imperative to the living standard of children are upheld by international conventions.
The International Convention on Economic Social Cultural Rights (ICESCR) was ratified in 1987 and The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) was validated in 1990 with both conventions ensuring that Uganda must adhere to these conventions andpromote, preserve and protect human rights. Humanium strives to make children’s rights happen.
Important Characteristics of Child Employment
Children are three times more likely to be employed than city children with child employment rate in rural areas at 34% compared to 11% in urban areas.
For instance, in Kampala only 3% of children are employed compared to eastern region 30%, western region 31% and central 45%.
Child Labour is categorized into four sectors:
- Children working in industry sector: making bricks, quarrying stone and mining.
- Children working service sector: vending, street work, working as porters, collecting and selling scrap metal.
- Children working in the agriculture sector: tobacco, coffee, harvesting sugar cane, herding cattle. Nearly 96% of employed children between the age of 6-13 work in the agriculture sector, the remaining fraction 4% are distributed across the other sectors.
- Worst forms: commercial sexual exploitation, human trafficking, forced labour in agriculture, using children for illicit activities such as smuggling and stealing due to human trafficking.
The final category is mainly attributed to the Lord’s Resistance Army(LRA) which has been active since 1987. It is known that the LRA kidnap children and force girls to become sex slaves and boys to become soldiers. 80% of members LRA are children; from 1987 to 2009 it has been reported that 38,000 children have been kidnapped. 25% of girls are forced to cook and be sex slaves for Kony soldiers while boys are faced with the choice to kill or be killed.