Family and child labour: a study of child hawkers in Calabar

  • Joseph Okokon Department of Sociology, University of Calabar, Calabar, Nigeria
  • Arit O Charles Department of Medical Social Services, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH), Calabar
Keywords: child labour, child abuse, child hawking, African family, houseboy system, poverty

Abstract

The article discussed hawking as a variant of child labour and examined the relationship between hawking and economic background of families in Calabar metropolis. Using historical, descriptive and survey research the researchers interviewed 700 child hawkers from the ages 1–16+ years in six clusters in Calabar. The study found that, although child labour has a long history in Calabar in particular and Efikland in general, child hawking as a variant of child labour is a product of the circumstance that emanate from economic hardships since the last quarter of the twentieth century. Although hawking begins at school age, there is a higher concentration of child hawkers in late primary and early secondary school classes than in early primary and late secondary school classes. Hawking is an ordered and organized activity which thrives among low-income parents and guardians as a coping strategy. Child hawking is a socialization process which prepares the child for adult economic life. It provides child-to-child learning and training for skill development. Child hawking becomes exploitative when it attracts stringent negative sanctions; otherwise it is like any other “child service” to a family that is in need of such assistance.
Key words: child labour, child abuse, child hawking, African family, houseboy system, poverty
Journal of Social Development in Africa Vol.19(2) 2004: 113-133
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Articles

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eISSN: 1012-1080