Child Labour in Artisanal and Small Scale Mining: The Case of North Mara Mine
The study aimed at identifying the reasons for child involvement into North Mara Gold Mines conflicts. The concern of this study was that, children are used in mining activities while giving away their basic rights. Their propensity to intrude the large scale mines and steal rocks rich in gold was examined to establish the forces behind such motives. From the time African Barrick Gold took over the mining activities at North Mara, incidences of child intrusion were on increase. These acts perpetrated by children have negative impacts on their welfare, behavior, growth and development. The study sampled children between the age group of 13-17 and employed an exploratory design to establish the reasons behind their pathetic behavior, attitudes and their actions. Focus group discussions are employed using small groups of 6 to 8 participants; whereby a total of 40 respondents were involved. The respondents were purposively selected based on their experience and knowledge on mining activities and children’s involvement in such activities. The study has revealed that, children are used by the family members to trespass into the mines with the wrong perception that if children are apprehended by owners of the mines, they will be released without being charged because the law doesn’t permit children to be incarcerated or punished. However, there were many cases where children were influenced by peers and environment, especially when they saw small children going around with plenty of money.