Child rights activists in Zimbabwe have accused Chinese companies operating in the country of exploiting minors who are employed to work in mines.
This is contained in a Southern Africa Resource Watch statement marking the World Day Against Child Labour which is commemorated on the 12th of June every year.
According to SARW, growing economic insecurity and lack of access to education have been linked to child labour in the mines in countries like Zambia and Zimbabwe.
“Growing economic insecurity and lack of access to education have been linked to child labour in the mines in countries like Zambia and Zimbabwe. In Zambia children working in artisanal mines are exposed to lead which impacts their health in the short and long term.
“In Zimbabwe, child rights activists have called out Chinese mining companies that are alleged for exploiting minors by employing them in the mines,” reads part of SARW statement.
SARW noted that sub-Sahara Africa has more children in child labour than anywhere else in the world.
“Although the agriculture and mining sector remain key for economic growth for Africa, the high rates of child labour in these sectors require urgent attention,” the organisation added.
It is estimated that over a million children work in mines and quarries, with child labour most practised in artisanal and small-scale mines.
Last month at the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour held in South Africa, delegates adopted the “Durban Call to Action” which emphasizes the need for urgent action to end child labour and accelerate progress on ending child labour, after years of reversal due to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and other global vulnerabilities.
This year’s World Day Against Child Labour was commemorated under the theme “Universal Social Protection to End Child Labour.”