WorldStage Newsonline– The International Labour Organisation (ILO) says that about 150 billion dollars is being generated illegally every year through forced labour.
Mr Dennis Zulu, ILO Country Director to Nigeria said this during the National Consultation and Launch Workshop for Alliance 8.7 on Thursday in Abuja.
Alliance 8.7 is a global partnership committed to taking immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour in accordance with target 8.7 of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
According to Zulu, there is a need to take immediate and effective measures to stop the negative trend, setting the deadline of 2025 to end child labour.
“In addition, by 2025 we must end child labour in all its forms. Achieving such an ambitious goal requires an unprecedented level of mobilization of partnership, which harnesses energy, resources and strategic and political acumen to a maximum degree.
“Ending child labour human trafficking, and forced labour will require integrated thinking, coordinated actions, effective policy making and efficient use of resources in a manner we have never seen before.
“Alliance 8.7 is intended to realize extraordinary and ground-breaking ways of bringing multiple actors together for concerted and focused actions to help countries to achieve the goal and targets set forth in SDG 8.
“I am persuaded that this launch and national consultation of Alliance 8.7 in Nigeria will lay the foundation for a viable national alliance against child labour and trafficking in persons, a phenomenon that has unfortunately engulfed most states, in Nigeria,’’he said.
He noted that children in Nigeria are engaged in the worst forms of child labour, including work in quarry granite and gravel, commercial sexual exploitation and armed conflict.
He said that Nigeria had signed, ratified and domesticated a number of United Nations and ILO conventions that are instrumental in the fight against forced labour, child labour and trafficking in persons.
He said the conventions included the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, Rights of the Child, Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour and the Minimum Age Convention, among others..
The ILO Director added that this has made significant achievements in strengthening the legal and policy framework and the enabling environment for the achievement of target 8.7.
He also noted that the ILO supported the Ministry of Labour and Employment to review the existing legal framework in the protection of working children in Nigeria.
Zulu said the report of the research identified loopholes in the protection of the rights of children in the workplace, adding that Nigeria was yet to ratify the Convention 189 on domestic work.
“At the heart of lLO’s various interventions is the Decent Work Agenda. The ILO believes that productive employment and decent work are key elements to achieving a fair globalization and poverty reduction.
“I am pleased to inform you that elimination of child labour, forced labour and modem-day slavery are covered in the country’s decent work programme.
“Also the focus of today’s activity is to officially declare that Nigeria is a path finding country for Alliance 8.7, launch the coalition and identify priorities for immediate actions at this juncture,’’ he said.
Sen. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment said launch of Alliance 8.7 and the National Consultation was critical to the ministry as it was committed to ensuring decent work for all Nigerians in employment.
Ngige, represent by Mr Williams Alo, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry said the launch would ensure the removal of children from all forms of child labour, including hazardous work in the country.
“This will also ensure that they have access to quality education and attend school regularly until they complete compulsory basic education and or reach the minimum legal age for work. Children should be in school, not at work
“Let me reiterate that elimination of child labour, forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking is a collective responsibility.
“`Let us call on all especially the Media and the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to join hands in creating the needed awareness around SDGs target 8.7.
“All hands must be on deck to ensure that we achieve Target 8.7 in Nigeria in the nearest future. We must not fail the country in this onerous task ahead of us,’’ he added.
Also, the United Nation Representative, SDG Coordinator, Mr Oliver Stope, said human trafficking had deprived millions worldwide of their dignity and freedom.
Stope said it undermined national security and enriched transnational criminals and terrorists.
He added that the universal support for the SDG was likely to generate a new momentum to end slavery, trafficking, forced labour and child labour.
Mr Honore Tcho, International Relations Officer, Africa Division, Office of Child Labour, Force Labour and Human Trafficking in the U.S. Department of Labour, said that U.S would continue to support Nigeria in the fight against child labour.
Also Mrs Nike Ajala, Abuja Liasion Officer, Nigeria Consultative Association (NECA) warned employers of labour to avoid engaging and exploiting children for their business.