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Domestic Workers: NAPTIP Warns Against Child Labour

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), has warned Nigerians against engaging a children below 12 years as a domestic workers.

Its Director-General, Dr Fatima Waziri-Azi, gave this warning on Thursday at the commemoration of the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition in Abuja.

Theme of the Day was: “Modern Slavery: A Critical Appraisal of Domestic Staff in Nigeria.’’

It was organised by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.

Waziri-Azi, represented by Mr Josiah Emerole, the Director of Intelligence and Public Enlightenment Department, said that the law setting up the agency prohibits the employment of under 12 years child as domestic worker.

According to her, anybody found guilty of employing such child is liable to seven years imprisonment.

“The Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act 2015, which set up NAPTIP, prohibits all forms of slavery and slavery-like activities,” she said.

The agency also implements the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015.

“Section 23 sub-section 1a of The Trafficking in Persons Prohibition Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015 (TIPPEA Act, 2015), prohibits the employment of a child below 12 years as a domestic worker.

“This offence attracts a jail sentence not exceeding seven years.

“This Section also prohibits the employment of a child to do any work that is exploitative, injurious or hazardous to the physical, social and psychological development of the child.

“This offence is without an option of fine. Sections 24 and 25 of the TIPPEA Act, 2015, also prohibits the trafficking of human beings as slaves and forbids slave dealings generally.

“This offence attracts a jail sentence of not less than seven years and a fine of not less than N2 million.’’

She said that there was need for the laws on employment of domestic workers, especially on the minimum age, to be harmonised to reduce the existing confusion in the country.

According to her, this will make labour inspectors to be alive to their responsibilities of ensuring that domestic labour is devoid of exploitation and abuse.

Waziri-Azi said that it would also help in ensuring that recruitment follows the set laws and regulations and offenders punished adequately.

“It is expedient that the whole of society and the whole of government come together to ensure that the issue of modern day slavery is kicked-out of our society.

“All hands must be on the deck as NAPTIP cannot fight this fight alone,’’ the director-general said.

According to her, NAPTIP will continue to partner with its sister agencies to ensure that the issue of modern day slavery becomes a thing of the past.

In her remarks, Dr Ifeoma Anyawutaku, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, said the theme of the Day was apt.

Anyawutaku, represented by the Director, Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Department, said that it would help in addressing the increased violence and dehumanisation experiences of domestic staff in the society.

Also, Dr Dimitri Sanga, the Director of UNESCO Regional Office for West-Sahel Africa, said that UNESCO played major role in breaking the silence surrounding the history of slavery.

Sanga was represented by Ms Nneka Okafor, the Head, Social and Human Sciences Sector, UNESCO Regional Office Abuja.

He said that UNESCO also supported and created safe platform for young people and educators to have conversations through research on new form of slavery.

Commenting, Mrs Memunat Idu-Lah, the Director, International Cultural Relations in the Ministry of Information and Culture, said that Aug. 23 of every year was designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Idu-Lah recalled that during the night of Aug. 22 to Aug. 23, in 1791, an uprising of enslaved Africans started on the Island of Saint Dominque (now known as Haiti).

“That revolt set forth events that were a major factor in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.

“The slave rebellion in that area weakened the colonial system, sparking off a revolution that led to abolishing slavery and giving the Island its independence,’’ she said. (NAN)

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