Socio - demographic characteristics of child street vendors in Nnewi, Nigeria
Background: Involvement of children in street trading is inimical, contrary to the Rights of the Child, and threatens holistic child development. Objective: To describe the sociodemographic characteristics of child street vendors in Nnewi. Method: A cross-sectional questionnaire survey of children selling wares on the streets of Nnewi, southeast Nigeria. Results: 147 children (90 boys and 57 girls) aged 8 – 19 years were interviewed: 57 (38.8%) lived with their parents, 63 (42.9%) with relations and friends, while 27 (18.3%) lived alone. Also, 27 (18.4%) were Anambra state indigenes, others hailing from surrounding states. The parents of all the subjects were of low socioeconomic status. Trading was taking place during school hours for financial gains of the family. As many as 42.9% of the subjects had completed primary education: 89 (60.5%) had completely dropped out of school for varying periods. Nine girls (6.1%) had been sexually abused and 46 children (32.7%) had at sometime lost their earnings to robbers. Majority (79.6%) aspired to higher education if given the opportunity. Conclusion: Many parents in the low socioeconomic groups still keep their children out of school to work and help boost the family income. It is recommended that legislation be made against children trading during school hours.
Key Words: child labour, street children, child vendors, Nigeria.