ILO accuses Tanzania of rampant child labour

Saturday January 18 2020

Children playing at a school. Child labour in Tanzania is driven by demography, poverty and violence. PHOTO | REUTERS


Almost three in 10 Tanzanian children aged between five and 17 are currently engaged in child labour occasioned by increasing levels of poverty.

International Labour Organization’s director for East Africa region representing Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, Wellington Chibebe, told The EastAfrican that child labour in Tanzania is driven by factors that include demography, poverty and violence.

ILO in its report says the agricultural and fishing sectors continue to be notorious employers of large numbers of children in this age group, constituting an estimated 92.1 per cent of all children engaged in hazardous economic activities especially in rural communities.


"The latest statistics show that the problem is exacerbated by sheer poverty stricken circumstances at most family levels in local communities,” the report reads, noting that most children are forced to take up farming, fishing and other petty business activities just to help sustain their families including parents and siblings.

According to the report, 4.2 million out of 15 million children aged between five and 17 are engaged in child labour, equivalent to 28.8 per cent of the entire children’s population in Tanzania.


This is well over the global ratio which stands at 11 per cent of world children aged between five and 17 being subjected to child labour, according to the ILO.

Definition of child labour

ILO defines child labour as work that deprives children of their childhood, potential and dignity, and interferes with their ability to attend regular school, all of which are dangerous and harmful to their physical, mental, social and moral development.

In Uganda, an estimated two million out of eight million (25 per cent) of children aged 5 -17 years are engaged in child labour, according to the Uganda National Housing Survey report for 2018.