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African MPs join forces to tackle child labour

MPs from 16 countries agreed to step up work against the scourge of child trafficking and labour. ©AFP/Junior Kannah

MPs from across West and Central Africa have agreed to cooperate more closely to combat large-scale child trafficking and labour. A seminar in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, focused on ways of stepping up action, including strategies to work more effectively across national boundaries. Root causes such as poverty were examined alongside practical solutions and rehabilitation programmes for victims.

The event, hosted at the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), was jointly organized by IPU and the International Labour Organization (ILO), with the support of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The MPs agreed a series of priority areas, such as ensuring better co-ordination between parliaments, regional organizations and civil groups; working towards harmonized laws across States; encouraging States to enforce international conventions; and developing guidelines for MPs.

Follow-up steps may also include information and training sessions for parliamentarians on the relevant ILO conventions, and field visits to a number of countries to raise awareness of the use of child labour in gold mining, stone quarrying, cocoa farming and other industries. Around 100 people took part, including nearly 80 MPs from 16 countries.