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Cases of child labor on the rise in four counties

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Bungoma, Kwale, Mombasa and Kajiado have been identified as the top four counties where cases of child labor and exploitation are on the rise.

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), cases of child employment and sexual exploitation were the most prevalent in agriculture-rich and Coastal counties respectively.

This came as it emerged that the national government and stakeholders were working on a child survey exercise to determine the number of affected minors.

According to ILO Programme manager Grace Banya, the international organization was currently engaged in a support programme targeting Kenya and Uganda.

She noted that despite the government putting in place several laws and policies, cases of child labor and exploitation continued to be on the rise.

She attributed this to poverty, drought as was the case in Kajiado where tens of children dropped from school to rear the parents livestock and traditional cultural norms.

“Cases of sexual exploitation mainly in the Coastal continue to be the norm as minors drop from school to work in farms and mines in Western Kenya,” she said.

Addressing the press in Lake Naivasha Resort during a stakeholder’s workshop, Banya lauded Mombasa County for coming with a bill prohibiting child labor.

“Under the ongoing ILO programme, we have made major strides with some counties like Mombasa moving in reign on child exploitation in the beaches and some hotels” she said.

Banya was however quick to note that despite the emerging challenges, the region could meet part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which included eradication of child labor.

“Cases of child exploitation continue in the Coast, child labor in Bungoma is the norm while cases of students dropping from schools in Kajiado are recorded every day,” she said.

This was echoed by Andrew Odete also from ILO who said that 72 percent of child labor came from the agricultural sector in the country.

Odete however lauded the government for its commitment in eradicating child labor through the enactment of Social protection law and introduction of free primary education.

He identified tourism in the Coast as one of the drivers of exploitation targeting the minors, many of whom hailed from poor families and had dropped from schools.

“The last survey on child labor was conducted in 2008 and lack of data has affected mitigations measures but we the government will be conducting a survey in the coming months,” he said.

Antony Gitonga
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