Violence against Girls at Work in Africa

Theme:
  • Violence Against Children
Pages: 24
Year of Publication: 2006
Country: Africa

According to the 2002 global estimate1 on child labour, the percentage of economically active children is higher in Africa than any other region: 48 million children aged five to fourteen, or 29 per cent of children in this age group, work. Nearly 21 million of these children are under 10 years old. These children are frequently victims of maltreatment, physical and psychological violence or abuse by supervisors, co-workers and outsiders in their places of work – fields, mines, workshops, private homes and other settings.

The terms ‘workplace’ and ‘work situations’ are used in this paper to refer to factories, farms and other traditional places of economic production, as well as settings such as private homes, streets, brothels and places of entertainment, where children are engaged in forms of child labour. The terms therefore cover a broad range of exploitation or exploitative activities involving children – including criminal acts such as drug trafficking. Referring to such situations as ‘workplaces’
or ‘work situations’ does not make them legitimate: they remain activities or situations that must be prevented and eliminated.

Despite the existence of various studies on workplace violence against children, data on the incidence of such violence – especially violence directed against girls in particular – is very difficult to collect and therefore remains scarce. For example, in the context of its ongoing Study on Violence against Children, the UN carried out a pilot study to examine the possibility of gathering quantitative information on violence against children, particularly at work,2 but the resulting data was too heterogeneous to be used to calculate global estimates. Reporting is rarely uniform either: children are more likely to report more severe forms of violence than less severe ones. In other words, the available information is only a very small tip of an enormous iceberg – making it very difficult to estimate the true size of the problem.

Language: English
Published by: African Child Policy Forum (ACPF)
Author: African Child Policy Forum (ACPF)
Located in: Publications
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