COVID–19 pandemic has increased the risk of thousands of children to be pushed into child labour and forced labour in Sierra Leone

FREETOWN: Defence For Children International Sierra Leone is urging the Government of Sierra Leone to as a matter of urgency address the huge impact of COVID – 19 on children’s lives and family livelihood in Sierra Leone. The pandemic has increased the risks of thousands of children to be forced into child labour in Sierra Leone.

DCI – Sierra Leone is troubled about the economic difficulties affecting the ability of families to provide their children’s needs. This is causing an increase in domestic violence and child labour across Sierra Leone. Children are the ones faced with the burden of providing survival needs for families

The International Labour Organisation, has observed that almost half (38%) of the victims of child labour are aged 5-11; 28% were aged 12-14 years old; and 24% were 15-17 years old. This is particularly evident in Sierra Leone, where child excessive labour including its worst form is concentrated primarily in vulnerable communities. Street trading, quarrying, fishing in deep seas and faming are amongst the worst forms of child labour, contributing to child mortality, trafficking, teenage pregnancy and dropout from school.

Hence DCI Sierra Leone admonishes the government of Sierra Leone to effectively implement the United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child (UNCRC), The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) and the Child Rights Act (CRA), especially PART VII, which prohibits child labour and regulates child work and apprenticeship in Sierra Leone.  DCI – Sierra Leone also urges the government of Sierra Leone to mainstream child protection interventions in the COVID–19 response in communities. This requires expansion and decentralization of functional child protection services that will lead to the development of a framework for sustainable child protection system to deal with the problems now and during any future emergencies in Sierra Leone.

Media contact:

To learn more about the press release, please contact DCI-Sierra Leone at: info@dcisierraleone.org or by phone at: +232 88 818089.

*  At DCI, we respect the privacy of the children we help – as many are working toward a fresh start in life. So, while their stories are true, names and images have been changed to protect them. Thank you for understanding.