Where do we do from here? We must do our best to stop this evil of systematic dehumanization of our children because of their poor background. The following are the issues; I think we should carefully consider:
- Use of Children as Domestic Servant is Illegal: That using children as domestic help is illegal by the combined provisions of the Child’s Rights Act, 2003, Trafficking In Persons(Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act 2003 As Amended and the Labour Act. Permit me to reproduce below the provisions of the Child’s Rights Act and the Trafficking In Persons Law:
CHILD LABOUR 28.—(1) Subject to this Act, no child shall be— (a) subjected to any forced or exploitative labour ; or (b) employed to work in any capacity except where he is employed by a member of his family on light work of an agricultural, horticultural or domestic character ; or (c) required, in any case, to life, carry or move anything so heavy as to be likely to adversely affect his physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development ; or (d) employed as a domestic help outside his own home or family environment. (2) No child shall be employed or work in an industrial undertaking and nothing in this subsection shall apply to work done by children in technical schools or similar approved institutions if the work is supervised by the appropriate authority. (3) Any person who contravenes any provision of Subsection (1) or (2) of this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding fifty thousand Naira or imprisonment for a term of five years or to both such fine and imprisonment. (4) Where an offence under this section is committed by a body corporate, any person who at the time of the commission of the offence was a proprietor, a director, general manager or other similar officer, servant or agent of the body corporate shall be deemed to have jointly and severally committed the offence and may be produced against and liable on conviction to a fine of two hundred and fifty thousand Naira. 29. The provisions relating to young persons in Sections 58, 59, 60, 61, 62 and 63 of the Labour Act shall apply to children under this Act. Section 28-29 Child’s Rights Act, 2003
UNLAWFUL FORCED LABOUR: Section 22 (1) Any person who-(a) Requires any other person, or permits any place within or outside Nigeria to be used for forced labour; (b) Employs a child to work in any capacity except where he is employed by a member of his family or for light work of an agricultural, horticultural or domestic character; (c) Employs a child in any case to lift, carry or move anything so heavy as to be likely to adversely affect his physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development;(d) Employs a child as a domestic help outside his own home or family environment; or (e) Employs a child in an industrial undertaking commits an offence and is liable on conviction to fine not exceeding N100,000.00 or imprisonment for a term of five year or both such fine and imprisonment (2) When an offence under this section is committed by a body corporate any person who at the time of commission of the offence was a proprietor director general manager or other similar officer servant or agent of the body corporate shall be deemed to have jointly and severally committed the offence and may be liable on conviction to a fine of N250,000.00 (3) Nothing in sub-section (1) and (2) shall apply to work done by children in technical schools or similar approved institution if the work is supervised by the appropriate authority. Section 22 Trafficking In Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act 2003 As Amended
- Desist from using children as domestic servant: in view of the foregoing clear provisions of the law, desist from using children as domestic servant.
- Counsel your neigbours: it is not enough for you to desist from using children as domestic help; you also have a responsibility to become a Child Protection Social Police. Your first responsibility is to counsel your neigbours and those within your areas of influence, who still engage children as domestic servants to desist from same.
- Report offenders: if your neigbour does not accept your counsel, you must brace up to do your second responsibility as a Child Protection Social Police. You have a duty to the child, his destiny and his future to report your neighbour to National Agency for Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP). You will find their hotlines on our Children Social Services Providers at the end of this book. To keep quiet is to do violence against the destiny of these children.
- Become foster parents: for those who claim that they are helping the children they use as domestic servants, who often argue that the children are better off with them than with their indigent parents, I salute your argument. But for it to make perfect sense before God and man, I charge you to add two things: first, bring in these children and be their foster parents. The implication of that is that you will treat them like your own children. They will have access to everything your children have access to including quality education, travelling for holidays, shopping for them in the same place and the rest. Second, (if you have the means) empower the biological parents of the child. You may set them up in a trade or find a credible and practical means to improve their economic status. This will help them to keep their other children with them and you would have dealt final and meaningful blow on child labour in Nigeria.
I think I should sign out here. Thank you for visiting today. Sure you learnt one or two things on how to Think the CHILD…Think TODAY and Think the FUTURE.
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