Legal Analysis of Child Labour and the Human Rights for Girl Child in Nigeria

Legal Analysis of Child Labour and the Human Rights for Girl Child in Nigeria




A child is just young human being that is yet to get to adolescence stage. On the other hand, child labour is the act of subjecting a child to work that is dangerous for kids and that are hazardous to their physical, mental or emotional health. It is also worked that prevents kids from attending school such as unlimited or unrestricted domestic work.

child labour is engaging under-aged children into work. He maintained that child labour was utilized to a large extent through most history, but entered public dispute with the beginning of universal schooling with the changes in working conditions during industrialization. In addition was the emergence of the concepts of workers and child rights laws. In 2004, the United States passed an amendment to the Fair Labour Standards Act of 1938. The amendment allows certain children aged 14–18 to work in or outside a business where machinery is used to process wood. The law aims to respect the religious and cultural needs of the Amish community of the United States. The Amish believe that one effective way to educate children is on the job. The new law allows Amish children the ability to work with their families, once they are past eighth grade in school.

Similarly, in 1996, member countries of the European Union, per Directive 94/33/EC, agreed to a number of exceptions for young people in its child labour laws. Under these rules, children of various ages may work in cultural, artistic, sporting or advertising activities if authorized by competent authority. Children above the age of 13 may perform light work for a limited number of hours per week in other economic activities as defined at the discretion of each country. Additionally, the European law exception allows children aged 14 years or over to work as part of a work/training scheme. The EU Directive clarified that these exceptions do not allow child labour where the children may experience harmful exposure to dangerous substances.

Nonetheless, many children under the age of 13 do work, even in the most developed countries of the EU. For instance, a recent study showed over a third of Dutch twelve-year-old kids had a job (RTL News 2012).

Child labour is predominant in most developing nations because children’s contributions to the well being of the family are encouraged and socially accepted (Mathias 2011). In Nigeria; children are seen in urban and rural communities carrying out domestic and economic duties which are functional to the families. In the rural areas children are found working in agriculture and on family farms. They are seldom employed by state-owned commercial agriculture plantations, which are responsible for much of the agriculture production for export. In cottage industries and mechanic work-shops, children work as apprentices in serious crafts or trade such as weaving, tailoring, catering and auto repair.

In urban areas and towns children work on the streets as vendors, car washers, scavengers, beggars, head load carriers, feet-washers and bus conductors. These economic activities affect the performance of the children since they engage in them at the expense of their studies, this often result in these children leaving school prematurely and entering into paid work. These works are usually under paid. However, child labour is a punishable offence as in the child labour Act of 1974 which prohibit the employment of under-aged children and restricts labour performed by children to home-based agricultural and domestic work. The child labour Act of 1974 also prohibits forced labour. Despite the above act, most parents still give out their children to work because of economic pressure. Some parents exploit their children at home. In most homes, the girl child is engaged in labour at the financial needs of the family.


The situation of the Nigeria economy has become a major clog on the wheel of socio-economic development and decent livelihood among families in Nigeria; the above factor made parents to send their children off to work believing that it could better the economic situation of the family. Most children especially the girl children are being sent as house help to relatives in big cities; some are sent to learn trading but at the end of the day most of them are now used for other purposes. Some are used as a tool for drugs, fraud and prostitution etc. Some parents do not give adequate care to their female children in terms of good education. Much is still required to ensure adequate, safe and healthy environment for such children in Nigeria. It also established that human trafficking is endemic in almost all the states of Nigeria and young people and women considered particularly vulnerable because of their weak profile. Secondly, there have been studies on trafficking in person but not even a single study has been carried out on newspaper coverage of trafficking in person. It is to this regard that the research desired to examine the legal analyst of child labour and the human rights for the girl child.


The main aim of the research work is to examine the legal analyst of child labour and the human rights for the girl child. Other specific objectives of the study are:

1. To determine the roles of the judiciary in the protection of the girl child rights in Nigeria

2. To effect of excessive child labour on the personality development of the girl child in Nigeria

3. To determine the roles of the Nigeria legal system in the control of trafficking in person in Nigeria

4. To determine the relationship between the girl child and parental responsibility in Nigeria


The study came up with research work so as to ascertain the above stated objectives of the study. The research questions for the study are:

1. What are the roles of the judiciary in the protection of the girl child rights in Nigeria?

2. What is the effect of excessive child labour on the personality development of the girl child in Nigeria?

3. What are the roles of the Nigeria legal system in the control of trafficking in person in Nigeria?

4. What is the relationship between the girl child and parental responsibility in Nigeria?


The research methodology relied upon is predominantly doctrinal (textual analysis) also known as library-based research. The body of literature available on trafficking in persons general and child trafficking, in particular, is consistent and wide. In relying upon the existing legal instruments as well as scholarly contributions about the issue, it is evident that the analysis of these available materials provided an answer to several questions raised in the conduct of this research so as the option of empirical research is not contemplated at any stage of the research. An interdisciplinary approach is adopted through the research to address the main topic and related concepts and theories thoroughly. Indeed inquiries are made in the field of law, the field of policy, the field of sociology, the field of politic and the field of economic. Although the primary determinant of child trafficking appears to be the economic gain, it is also driven by traditional perceptions, lack of good governance. It is necessary to evaluate all determinants in order to address the phenomenon in Nigeria efficiently. For instance, an analysis of the traditional element is critical to this research because the enduring of child trafficking in general and child abuse, in particular, is sustained by cultural or traditional perceptions. While this is a significant determinant in Nigeria, in Europe it would not have been the same determinant. Child trafficking being a universal phenomenon, the comparative analysis is also applied to this research so as to gauge the strength of the Nigerian laws and policy frameworks by comparing it with the international, regional and sub-regional legal frameworks. Secondary such as books, journal articles, and previous researches were extracted and reviewed using Brunel Library, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) Library, and the British Library. Whereas secondary sources were predominantly used in the conduct of this project, the relevant primary sources are clearly identified and exploited. Indeed relevant treaties to child trafficking, statutes and cases have been examined. In the light of the approach taken, the research methodology exclusively applied is doctrinal (textual analysis). It should be admitted that the quality of available treaties, statutes, cases, data, reports, and published researches related to the issues are sufficient to rely exclusively on textual analysis in the context of the present research. Moreover, the topic of this research being country specific, in that it relates to law and policy responses to child trafficking in Nigeria, there is an urgent need to scour the existing legal regime in order to determine its efficacy.


The study on the legal analyst of child labour and the human rights for the girl child will be of immense benefit to the entire judiciaries in Nigeria, the federal government and the societies in Nigeria. The findings of the study will educate people on the negative effect of trafficking in person and the need for girl child rights protection in Nigeria. The study will also serve as a repository of information to other researchers that desire to carry out similar research on the above topic.


The study on the legal analyst of child labour and the human rights for the girl child will cover on trafficking in person, human trafficking and the child labour in Nigeria.


Human trafficking: Human trafficking in accordance to the research work is the trade of women and children for the purpose of forced labour, sexual slavery, or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others

Human Migration: Human migration is the movement by women and children from one place to another with the intentions of settling, permanently or temporarily in a new location.

Child labour: The employment of children in an industry or business, especially when illegal or considered exploitative

Trafficking in person (TIP): Trafficking in persons” shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments


[1] Sandy Hobbs, Jim Mckechnie and Michael Lavalette ‘Child Labour: A world History Companion’ (ABCCLIO Ltd, 1999). See also Assefa Bequele and Jo Boyden, ‘Combating Child Labour’ (International Labour Office, 1988).

International Labour Organization- ILO (2007)

According to Anderson (2006)

(Advanced learners dictionary, 2010).

[2] Olubukola S Adesina, ‘Modern day slavery: poverty and child trafficking in Nigeria’ (2014) 12 African Identities 165,180. See also Asian Development Bank and Jan P M Van Heeswijk, ‘Combating Trafficking of Women and Children in South Asia: Regional Synthesis Paper for Bangladesh, India, and Nepal’ (Asian Development Bank, 2004)

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