Sierra Leone has signed numerous International Labour Conventions that vehemently stand against child labour. Moreover, the free quality education has helped in reducing the rate of child labour in the country.
However, it is evident that child labour violations still go unabated in the country. Children are seen every day in the streets of Freetown and other major cities engaged in trading, begging and involved in anti-social activities such as armed robbery and prostitution with active connivance and support from adults involved in these nefarious nocturnal activities. Some children can still be seen working in mines while others are still engaged in stone and sand mining at detriment to their health as most of them are unable to withstand the harsh conditions prevalent in such occupations.
A number of children (name withheld) confessed to AYV that despite the FQE initiated by the SLPP government, most of them are still forced to fend for themselves and sometimes for their parents after school and sometimes before school when they are in the afternoon shift.
They went further to lament that they cannot fight back against their parents and guardians because it is they that they rely on for care and support. They however called on the authorities especially child care authorities and the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s to come to their aid if they (children) are to fully enjoy their childhood and grow up to become decent people who can contribute to national development when they become adults.