The dynamics of child labour along fishing beaches of Lake Victoria: a case study of Sori beach in Migori county
Child labour is a global phenomenon and there is no region in the world which is completely free of the problem. Child labour is work that deprives children the opportunity for schooling and forces them to assume adult roles prematurely. The practice is common in many developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. This study set out to investigate factors that contribute to child labour along the fishing beaches of Lake Victoria. The study further sought to identify factors that motivate children to engage in child labour, examine the terms and conditions of service and finally to investigate roles of parents regarding incidence of child labour along Sori beach. The research design used in this study was descriptive study design. Both qualitative and quantitative data were used in this study. Data collection tools used included questionnaire, key informants guide, Focused group guide and photography. Collected data was analyzed by descriptive statistics using Statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) and presented in tables and charts. The researcher then discussed the findings based on research objectives. Research findings revealed that child labour is high at Sori beach with girls being most affected as compared to boys. The findings also revealed that major contributing factors of child labour along sori beach are; death or absence of parents/guardians, high level of poverty, cultural orientation, government failure to enforce regulation regarding children and low literacy level. The findings found that factors that motivate child labour were low illiteracy level of the parents/guardians, cultural issues where parents do not fully appreciate the value of taking their children to school, peer pressure, availability of easily accessible source of money (no strict guidelines in terms of age and qualifications before employment and negative impact of HIV/AIDS) that render many children orphans. The study findings further indicate that terms and conditions of child labour are exploitative, risky and abusive. Further findings indicate that a significant number of parents/guardians were encouraging their children to participate in child labour. Some of the difficulties encountered during the study were finances, time, and difficulty in data collection due to the high versatile nature of research population as well as the high number of respondents (children) who were naïve to speak to the researcher out of fear of possible victimization. From the study findings it can be concluded that low level of education, income of the parents/households heads, unemployment, poverty, peer influence and death or absenteeism of parents, lack of enforcement of government laws are major motivating factors to child labour. A very worrying trend was noted where a significant number of parents induce their children to participate in child labour making them become part of the problem as oppose to being the solution providers. The researcher recommends that the Government should ensure that laws governing issues on children welfare are enforced as required to fight the practice of child labour.