ECOWAS parliament tackles trafficking of children

Dakar- Senegal (PANA) -- The parliament of the Economic Community of West African States has recommended to member countries to make primary education compulsory and free of charge in order to stop the trafficking of children.
In a report on its second ordinary session, held from 24 September to 12 October, the ECOWAS parliament says it has recommended that children should not be employed until they reach age 18.
By setting the age limit for starting employment, the ECOWAS legislators want to slow down the children's involvement in activities likely to endanger their lives.
The report says countries of the west African sub-region have not remained indifferent to the trafficking of children.
"Certain states have passed laws which prohibit child trafficking and recruitment of child soldiers.
They have also enacted laws against raping, illegal detention, and trading of children destined to hard labour and pornography", the report points out.
In Ghana, for instance, it is now illegal to marry a girl below 18 years of age and conviction of rape carries a 25-year jail sentence.
In several west African countries, the civil society has put pressure on governments to be more determined to combat the scourge of child trafficking and adopt policies which would ensure a harmonious growth of children in their families.
According to UNICEF, about 200,000 children fall victims of trafficking every year in west and central Africa.

22 october 2001 19:58:00

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