The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has expressed concerns over the low commitment of ECOWAS members states in the implementation of child rights laws.
In a joint workshop on enhancing mobilisation against child trafficking and Labour, on the sidelines of the ongoing second ordinary session of the ECOWAS parliament, the organisation decried the low conviction of child traffickers in the region, stating that most West African countries have not implemented laws relevant to eradicating the trend.
The ILO Country representative and Liaison Officer to ECOWAS, David Dorkenoo, in his address to members of parliament, appealed to them to push for the implementation of necessary legislations on domestics child labour, and child trafficking in their countries.
He said “what we have observed within Africa and the ECOWAS region is the fact that many of our countries have good legislations.
“However, the average number of convictions still remains very low.
“Undertaking enhanced prevention efforts may help highlight how children may become vulnerable to being trafficked, and take practical action to address those identified vulnerabilities”.
In the same vein, ECOWAS said it has concluded plans to increase civil registrations, in a bid to reduce and track child trafficking in the region.
The regional body is also advocating for stiffer penalties for child traffickers among members states.
They revealed that tracking victims of trafficking have been difficult because of the absence of an up to date bio data of citizens of the region.
ECOWAS Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender Issue, Dr. Siga Jagne, disclosed that the Commission has created an action plan that would effectively tackle child trafficking.
Dr Jagne said “in the region most children are not registered which makes trafficking easier, because you can’t tell the age of a child, especially across borders.
“We think if we register births, if we have the ECOWAS Identity Card as some countries have started doing, the issue of trafficking would be reduced”.
She further appealed to member states to be co-operate to curb the menace of child Labour and trafficking.