President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Monday said his government would work to ensure that all forms of child exploitation are eliminated in the country.
“Under my watch, government will work with all partners towards the goal of eliminating child labour. We will work to ensure that our children do not work under hazardous conditions to support themselves and their families.
“We will work to eliminate, in particular, the disgraceful practice of forcing children into fishing and illegal mining activities,” he said when he addressed organised labour at the 17th National May Day Parade at the Black Star Square in Accra.
The event was marked under the theme: “Ghana@60; Mobilising for Ghana’s Future through the Creation of Decent Jobs.”
President Akufo-Addo said children were the nation’s most important asset and deserved to be protected from being exploited in the labour field.
He pointed out that if an end was not put to the shameful practice, there were global agencies determined to institute “punitive measures against us in some critical industries which would lead to the loss of markets for our goods and the loss of jobs.”
The President reminded Ghanaians that child labour and child trafficking are not only crimes, but also now posed veritable threats to the nation’s national security.
He said: “We all have a responsibility to protect our children from the criminality of child labour,” acknowledging the determined efforts that his wife, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, was taking to curtail the evil of child labour and child trafficking, and for the memorandum she had signed with her counterparts in Cote d’Ivoire to this effect.
On the issue of the deplorable state of the country’s prisons, President Akufo-Addo said it was simply a reflection of the general state of affairs in the country.
“But we need not accept such a state of affairs as our lot in life. I ask for your support to work to grow our economy and change these things,” he said.