Survival and rights: use of children in the fishing industry on the Volta Lake in Ghana

Samuel K Annim, University of Cape Coast
Eugene Darteh, University of Cape Coast

The paper investigates one of the worse forms of child labour which occurs on the Volta Lake at Yeji in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana. One activity is children diving to disentangle nets caught in stumps. Quantitative and qualitative techniques were used to collected data on the linkages between child labour, poverty and human rights. Eighty eight children were interviewed. Poverty among parents, lack of opportunities and aim of minimizing cost in fishing account for the use of child labour. Some of the children recognized the hazardous nature of the work since some colleagues had lost their lives. The practice was accepted by some parents as a form of training, discipline and income which outweighed the associated dangers. Children involved had no right to negotiate for higher rewards (food), lighter or less severe work loads. The results have profound implications for dealing with child labour in the fishing industry.

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Presented in Session 15: Child protection and development