By: Joyce Paulus

According to the UN, children are classified as child labourers when they are either too young to work or are involved in hazardous activities that may compromise their physical, mental, social, or educational development. In collaboration with the UN, the Aljazeera news agency reported that Over 160 million children are forced into child labour worldwide.

A number of research have resulted and revealed that child labour not only deprives children of the right to education, but also limits opportunities for growth, restricts their rights, and limits their future opportunities, which can lead to a vicious cycle of poverty. This cycle poses a threat to the government in terms of poverty eradication, social welfare and economic growth as far as the youth is concerned.

“Our children are the future of the country, instead of using them for labour we should educate them to become responsible leaders”, said Aune Mudjanima, the Director of labour services at the Ministry Of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation Namibia. It is a national concern, we have few cases recorded or handled, but even one case in Namibia is too many, therefore we urge that citizens work hand in hand to help eliminate child labour, she added.

According to the National Labour Act of Namibia, children under the age of 14 may not under any circumstance be employed, children from the age of 14 to under 16 are only allowed to work under the permission provided by the Minister of Labour, with unbiased reasoning, children from the age of 16 to under 18 may not be employed for night working hours, in hazardous conditions and as a domestic worker. In any case that this Act is not followed, inspections and investigations are done in order to save the unfortunate children.

Child labour can be recognised as a global pandemic, since the years of colonisation it has been an unresolved case. Most children are trapped in unpaid or cheap labour and the employment relationship is unjust even though most of the labour is on family farms or enterprises. According to the International Labour Organization and UNICEF report, it is estimated that without mitigation strategies, the number of children in child labour could rise by 8.9 million by the end of 2022, due to higher poverty and increased vulnerability.

History keeps repeating itself in regards to child labour, the children especially those that have no guardian or no guidance are forced to take part in the war and other harsh activities at a very unstable and young age. Cluelessly being exposed to cruel livelihoods of slavery, rape, murder and drugs. Instead of being educated about humanity and growth, they are put in positions that are out of their control, which then influences how they think and feel about life.

“This is an ongoing occurrence, which needs serious evaluation and solutions. I personally think a lack of literacy and control is accountable for this sad matter and the government needs to take a serious look into it.” said an anonymous source.