Child Labour Crisis: GSS statistics show over 400,000 children between 5 to17 engage in commercial activities

GSS statistics shows over 400,000 children between 5 to17 engage in commercial activities

The recently released 2021 Population and Housing Census (PHC) report has uncovered a disheartening reality in Ghana.

According to the (GSS), a staggering 419,254 children between the ages of 5 and 17 are involved in various economic activities across the country.

Breaking down the figures, it was revealed that out of the total number of child labourers, 76,439 falls within the age group of 5 to 9, 153,189 are aged between 10 and 14, while an alarming 189,626 children are between 15 and 17 years old.

The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) made this disclosure in a statement issued to mark the World Day Against Child Labour, shedding light on the economic activities of children in the country.

The statement further highlighted that children aged 5 to 17 dedicated an average of 29.2 hours to economic activities in the seven days preceding the Census Night.

More specifically, children aged 15 to 17 worked an average of 35.2 hours, while those aged 10 to 14 spent approximately 26.5 hours, equivalent to around 5 hours per weekday.

The youngest group, children aged 5 to 9, worked an average of 19.8 hours, which translates to approximately 4 hours per weekday.

Of great concern was the revelation that children engaged as paid apprentices worked the highest number of hours on average, clocking in at 48.4 hours, almost twice as much as those engaged as contributing family workers, who worked the lowest average hours at 25.0.

The statement also drew attention to the sectors in which child labour was prevalent. On average, children in the service sector worked 36.8 hours, while those in the agricultural sector worked an average of 25.6 hours.

Disturbingly, the report unveiled that a staggering number of 153,773 children aged 5 to 17 engaged in economic activities without ever having attended school. Among them, 37,963 were between the ages of 5 and 9.

However, it was also revealed that during the census, 94,748 children aged 5 to 17 who participated in economic activities were also attending school.

According to the statement, a striking 81.3% of children aged 5 to 9 engaged in economic activities resided in six regions, namely Northern, , , , , and .

Digging deeper into specific districts, it was disclosed that Nkwanta North, Krachi Nchumuru, and Nanumba North Municipal had the highest number of children between the ages of 5 and 14 involved in economic activities.

These three districts accounted for 21,726 children, representing 10.8% of all children within that age group who were engaged in economic activities.

Astonishingly, the population of child labourers in these districts exceeded the combined figures of the Bono, , , Western, and Central regions.

The statement further emphasized that out of the 261 districts, 30 had more than 10% of children aged 5 to 14 engaged in economic activities, signifying a widespread issue across the nation.

The district with the highest percentage was Krachi Nchumuru, where a shocking one in every three children (34.8%) was involved in economic activity.

This figure was approximately 10 times higher than the national average of 3.2%. Nkwanta North, with 27.8%, and Yunyoo Nasuan, with 25.3%, were the two other districts where over a quarter of the children were engaged in economic activities.

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