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Child Labour As A Form Of Child Abuse by xcyril: 6:59am On Oct 30, 2021
In commemoration of the World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse – November 19
Brought to you by the Centre for Total Child Development (CTCD)


The term “child labour” is often defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development. It refers to work that:
• is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children; and/or
• interferes with their schooling by: depriving them of the opportunity to attend school; obliging them to leave school prematurely; or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.
Child labour in Nigeria is the employment of children under the age of 18 in a manner that restricts or prevents them from basic education and development.

Not all work done by children should be classified as child labour that is to be targeted for elimination. The participation of children or adolescents above the minimum age for admission to employment in work that does not affect their health and personal development or interfere with their schooling, is generally regarded as being something positive. This includes activities such as assisting in a family business or earning pocket money outside school hours and during school holidays. These kinds of activities contribute to children’s development and to the welfare of their families; they provide them with skills and experience, and help to prepare them to be productive members of society during their adult life.

The Worst Forms of Child Labour

The worst forms of child labour involves children being enslaved, separated from their families, exposed to serious hazards and illnesses and/or left to fend for themselves on the streets of large cities – often at a very early age.

Whilst child labour takes many different forms, a priority is to eliminate without delay the worst forms of child labour as defined by Article 3 of ILO Convention No. 182:
• all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labour, including forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict;
• the use, procuring or offering of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances;
• the use, procuring or offering of a child for illicit activities, in particular for the production and trafficking of drugs as defined in the relevant international treaties;
• work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children

Hazardous child labour is the work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children:
• work which exposes children to physical, psychological or sexual abuse;
• work underground, under water, at dangerous heights or in confined spaces;
• work with dangerous machinery, equipment and tools, or which involves the manual handling or transport of heavy loads;
• work in an unhealthy environment which may, for example, expose children to hazardous substances, agents or processes, or to temperatures, noise levels, or vibrations damaging to their health;
• work under particularly difficult conditions such as work for long hours or during the night or work where the child is unreasonably confined to the premises of the employer.

10 Facts about Child Labor in Nigeria

Child labor is one of the most monumental issues in Nigeria, a country with a developing economy, affecting a large portion of the country’s children up to age 17. Forgoing a normal care-free childhood, many children living on the front lines of poverty must maintain a job and sustain a regular income. The unethical use of child labor is an issue that has been prevalent throughout human history impacting health, wellbeing and quality of life. Below are 10 facts about child labor in Nigeria.

1. Several different industries employ children. The jobs available to children are limited to unskilled and physical, labor-intensive tasks. The most common industries that employ children in Nigeria are cocoa farming, gold mining, sediment sifting, street peddling and domestic servitude.

2. Conditions are hazardous. Although there are labor laws in place, Nigeria does not actively enforce safety regulations or preventative measures in the workplace. This type of neglect leads to an extremely dangerous environment that often results in bodily harm, severe trauma and even death. Children who work on the streets often make easy targets for violence and kidnapping. If a child suffers harm on the job, help or compensation does not extend to the family, leaving them to face the repercussions alone.

3. Children often support their families. Much of child labor is a direct result of Nigeria’s extreme poverty, which accounts for around 70% of the nation’s population living below the poverty line, according to the CIA World Factbook. Families struggling to make ends meet often enlist the help of their children to bring in additional income. Without an effective welfare system, many families have no other option for survival. In an even more dire situation, some laborers who are orphans shoulder the entire burden of providing for younger siblings. Recent findings by Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development found that about 17.5 million children become orphans or enter similarly vulnerable situations throughout the country.

4. Child labor is on the rise. Estimates determine that the current number of child workers in Nigeria is 15 million according to the International Labor Organization (ILO). At a staggering 43% of the total population of minors, it is the highest recorded rate of child labor in Western Africa. The poverty rates have risen almost 20% — up from 53% in 2003 — in the span of 7 years, according to the World Bank and CIA World Factbook. This environment of financial strife causes more and more families to expect their children to go out to work and contribute an income.

5. Children often drop out of school. Due to the rigid demands of a long workday, school often becomes less of a priority. Education is not legally mandatory in Nigeria so there is no required attendance. The lack of a proper education ensures they will remain unskilled laborers into adulthood, making it nearly impossible to escape the cycle of poverty. The Bureau of International Labor Affairs reports only 76% of children in total go to school, and about 27% of child laborers attend school in addition to work. Some reports have stated that certain schools exploit their students and make them work or beg during school hours to earn money for teachers.

6. Many children experience trafficking. Children who are especially vulnerable, such as orphans, are more at risk for human trafficking and forced labor than adults, with their rate being estimated at 58%. Enticed by fictitious stories of better jobs located in more economically rich areas, they agree to leave their homes in hopes of making money. However, the traffickers never deliver the promise and the victims find themselves in even worse situations and unable to go home. Upon arrival, traffickers often claim that the child has accrued debt from transport. To maintain control and prevent runaways, traffickers use coercion in the form of threats against the child or their families back home to motivate them to pay off their debt. Unfortunately, these children find themselves in a ruse, where ballooned charges that continuously compound prevent them from ever making their final payment.

7. Slavery is common. Around 30% of child workers do not receive compensation and must work against their will. Child slavery is very common in cases of trafficking or when there is no one to advocate for the child. In trafficking cases, traffickers tell the child that their salaries are going towards paying off their “debt.” In some live-in situations, their room and board charges absorb their pay. Those who do receive actual payment usually only take home pennies on the dollar.

8. Girls are at higher risk for sexual exploitation, resulting from trafficking within the sex industry. A former government official, Martin Uhomoibhi, revealed to the U.N. that there were 602,000 known victims who made the dangerous journey across the continent in 2016. However, the total number of victims is widely unknown, since traffickers covertly smuggle many of the girls and women smuggled across Nigeria’s border, but experts believe that these numbers are some of the highest in the world. Traffickers often bring girls to brothels and restrain and force them to service clients in deplorable conditions despite any physical health ailments, according to horrifying testimonies that the Human Rights Watch recorded. The outlook for these girls is grim, as many die in captivity or move back to the streets due to critical conditions that render them unable to work, and therefore no longer profitable to their captors.

9. There are unofficial wartime drafts. Regional conflicts and war cause armies to form as a way of resistance and protection against outside threats. Many know Africa for this sort of violence, with brutal wars routinely escalating. People often pull boys as young as 10 years old from their homes, give them a deadly weapon and order them to kill an unknown enemy. UNICEF estimates that around 3,500 Nigerian child soldiers have enlisted between 2013-2017. Many children die in active combat or from a lack of supplies.

10. The government response has been underwhelming. New hope for relief on the child labor front occurred when the government signed the Child Rights Act into effect in 2003. Unfortunately, the government has put little effort forth toward ending the practice since its ratification. Many experts believe there will be no true resolution until the government steps in with not only stricter regulations, but absolute enforcement.

Children are society’s most vulnerable people. With no voice to advocate for their rights, they are in a poor position to influence political policy. A child’s place is in school where they can receive a proper education and use it to build a promising future, not just for themselves but for the society in which they live as well. It is the task and moral responsibility of adults and officials in power to prioritize basic human rights over the gilded benefits of cheap labor and end this practice permanently.

Punishment for Child Labour

Part III of the Child’s Right Act of 2003, Section 28, 28 and 30 clearly states the punishment for child labour in Nigeria;

28. Prohibition of exploitative labour

(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 lift, 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, 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 two hundred and fifty thousand naira.

29. Application of Labour Act

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.

30. Prohibition of buying, selling, hiring or otherwise dealing in children for the purpose of hawking or begging for alms or prostitution, etc.
(1) No person shall buy, sell, hire, let on hire, dispose of or obtain possession of or otherwise deal in a child.
(2) A child shall not be used‐
(a) for the purpose of begging for alms, guiding beggars, prostitution, domestic or sexual labour or for any unlawful or immoral purpose ; or
(b) as a slave or for practices similar to slavery such as sale or trafficking of the child, debt bondage or serfdom and forced or compulsory labour; .
(c) for hawking of goods or services on main city streets, brothels or highways;
(d) for any purpose that deprives the child of the opportunity to attend and remain in school as provided for under the Compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education Act ;
(e) procured or offered for prostitution or for the production of pornography or for any pornographic performance; and
(f) procured or offered for any activity in the production or trafficking of illegal drugs and any other activity relating to illicit drugs as specified in the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act.

(3) A person who contravenes the provisions of subsection (1) of this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of ten years.

The Child’s Right Act 2003 came into force on the 31st July, 2003 immediately when it was signed by the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is a law that provides for and protects the rights of a child in Nigeria and other related matters. The Child’s Right Act 2003 defines a child as person under 18 years of age.

The purpose of this Act is to extend, promote and protect the rights of children in Nigeria, in accordance with provisions of Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, or any successive constitutional provisions relating to fundamental human rights and as defined in the 1989 UNCRC in which Nigeria is a signatory.


If you know any child that is going through any form of child abuse please help the child to get help by reporting the abuse to the appropriate authority. CHILD ABUSE is all forms of physical and/or emotional maltreatment, sexual abuse, neglect, commercial or other exploitation of a child resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity.

In all actions concerning the child, his or her best interest and well-being must be given paramount consideration.

The use of a child for the purpose of begging for alms, prostitution, domestic or sexual labour, as a slave or practices similar to slavery, forced or compulsory labour or for any purpose that deprives the child of the opportunity to attend and remain in school is a crime and it attracts imprisonment for a term of 10 years.

Employing any person under 18 years as domestic help outside his home or family environment is a crime that attracts 5 years imprisonment.

Anybody who has sexual intercourse with a child less than 18 years will be convicted to imprisonment for life.

Exposing or involving a child in the use of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances is an offence liable to life imprisonment.

Every form of child abuse is a serious offence that is punishable by the law. Every child has the right to be free from every form of abuse.

Report any cases of child abuse to the Nigerian Police, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), your state Ministry of Women and Children Affairs or any NGO (Non-governmental Organisation) that advocates for the rights of children. If you notice any form of child abuse and you do not report, you are as guilty as the person committing the crime. Let’s join our hands to make the world a better place for children to live and grow.


The Centre for Total Child Development, Ibadan cordially invites you to her 2021 ANNUAL CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION CONFERENCE and the Child Development in Nigeria Merit Award

THEME: Protecting Children, Promoting Healthy Families and Preserving Communities

FEATURES: Plenary Sessions | Workshops | Skill Seminars | Walk Against Child Abuse | Inter-School Child Abuse Awareness Competition | Award Presentations & Prize Giving

DATE: 19th November, 2021

VENUE: Oyesina Hall, Oke Bola, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria

TIME: 9.00am prompt

PARTICIPANT: Students in secondary schools, voluntary organisations, religious institutions and orphanage homes, teachers, parents, children workers, and other stakeholders

ATTENDANCE: Attendance is FREE but registration is a MUST. To register please call/sms/whatsapp: 08180495451 or send email to emailtotalchild@gmail.com


If you are interested in what we do, you can get involved in 3 ways:
1. Volunteer Partner: Join our vibrant team of volunteers to administer support to the children and young people coming for the Conference.
2. Resource Partner: Donate academic materials, products and other gift items to be given freely to the children and young people coming for the conference. You can also donate materials, equipment and facilities to support our cause.
3. Financial Partner: Donate fund to help us execute this Conference

Special thanks to those supporting us:
* In Service of Humanity Charity Foundation, Lagos - @isohfoundation
* Onus Communications, Ibadan - @onuscommunications

For more information please contact:

18, Anfani Road, Off Ring Road, Challenge, Ibadan
Tel: 08180495451; 08101809463

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