Child labour participation is inimical, contrary to the Rights of the Child, and threatens holistic child development, the families, State and the nation at large. This study assesses the demographic and socio-economic consequences of child labour in Anambra State, Nigeria. The objectives were to examine the type of work engaged in by the children, determine the factors responsible for child labour practices, identify the condition of work, assess the demographic and socio-economic consequences of child labour and lastly ascertain the specific possible impact of child labour on future workforce in the state. A purposive sampling technique was used to select the sampled areas in the study area as well as the respondents. A total of 400 children aged between 04-17 years, who are involved in laborious activities were administered a structured questionnaires to collect data. In addition, Focus Group Discussion (FGD) was also conducted to gather information from child labourers employers. The data wasanalysed using computer SPSS software 19 version. The results are presented using tables and chats.The results indicated that 53.0% of the child labourers are males, child labour participation is found to be higher among older children aged 11-17 years than those aged 4-10. More than half of child labourersare from large household size of 5-9 persons. Out of the entire child labourers, 42.5% are indigenes of Anambra State and 35.0% from Ebonyi State, while the remaining hails from the other surrounding States. Educational status of child labourers shows that 56.5% are in school, while 43.5% are out of school, public school children are the most affected as 77.0% are in public schools, with 66.0% in primary school levels. Out of the entire sampled respondent, 174 (43.5%) are out of school, out of which 95.4% dropped out from school, while 4.6% have never been to school before. Poverty of parents accounted for the major reasons for child‟s school drop outs. About 73.5% of the child labourers work between 4-6 days a week. Most of the children (71.8%) spend more than 7 hours at work. On the working condition of the respondents, the study found that 50.0% of the child labourers work on temporal basis and the remaining work on either contract or permanent basis, 72.5% starts work at age between 4-10 years, the highest earned monthly income by the children is between ₦ 2001-₦ 2500, 64.5% eats twice daily. The study found that 83.5% of the child labourers have encountered various types of dangers relating to the type of work they do. For instance as much as 42.5% have been physically assaulted, more worrisome is the fact that 44.0% and 20.0% have participated in social vices of such as alcohol drinking and drug abuse respectively, while 51.0% suffers from low self-esteem and 25.0% from alienation from friends/family/relation and as much as 87.0% have encountered health related challenges. The finding generally shows that household poverty which is caused by child‟s parent‟s low educational attainment and low occupational status accounted for the major reason why children joins labourious activities either to complement the family income or to pay school fees. The study therefore concludes that for child labour incidence to be curbed there is the need to empower parents with education and soft loans to enhance their business since majority of the parents are involved in various types of businesses, this expected to go a long way in reducing household poverty in the state. There is also the need to introduce a free and compulsory primary and secondary education for children of school going ages in the state as it will help to motivate the children to concentrate in school rather than combining school attendance with work due to the need to complement the school fees, which results to, reduced attendance, grade repetitions and the subsequent school withdrawal.
1.1 Background to the Study
According to the Child Right's Act 2003, passed into law in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, a child is a person who has not attained the age of eighteen years. On the other hand, labour according to Macmillan dictionary connotes the aggregate of all human physical and mental effort used in creation of goods and services. Put together, the concept of Child Labour has probably been in existence almost as long as the history of mankind and connotes all economic activities carried out by children regardless of their occupational status (Oloko, 1997). It includes both works that are permissible under the International Labour Organization's (ILO) conventions and that which is not (International Labour Organization-International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour) (ILO-IPEC, 2002). According to United Nation Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) (2007) Child labour is essentially understood as encompassing monetary or non-monetary activities which are mentally or physically, morally or socially hazardous for children below 15 years.
Across countries and societies, various forms of child labour exists these forms range from trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, child domestic labour and illicit activities. Other forms include street hawking, waste pickers, company labourers, apprentices, babysitting, barrow pushers and commercial drivers/ conductors/ touts, water vendors, farm workers, house maids, gardeners, cleaners, and other artisans. Some of which are done on contract basis, whereas, some are considered as free services to guardians or relatives who in return pays back in cash or kind to the child or the child‟s parent all of which are hazardous to child overall development (Oloko, 1997)..