Child domestic labour: fostering in transition?

Evelyn Omoike

in Child slavery now

Published by Policy Press

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9781847426109
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447301714 | DOI:
Child domestic labour: fostering in transition?

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This chapter examines one aspect of child trafficking: fostering. It considers the practice of fostering in the West African context, and the extent to which fostering overlaps with the phenomenon of child domestic work, which is very extensive in many cities of West Africa. The chapter argues that current child-labour policies and interventions, which focus primarily on the nature of the work those children undertake, fail to properly take into account the nature of domestic work. This work, often undertaken under the guise of ‘fosterage’, frequently but not necessarily through kinship networks, is a common cultural phenomenon. Failure to understand how this operates and overlaps with child domestic work more generally reinforces the exclusion and exploitation faced by African child domestic workers. Traffickers can take advantage of this system to place children in exploitative situations, for example. Because children then lack supportive networks, they can be open to horrific abuse. Unlike most other forms of child slavery, there is yet no convention explicitly targeted towards child domestic labour.

Keywords: West Africa; fostering; child domestic labour; child trafficking; fosterage; child domestic workers; child slavery; exclusion; exploitation

Chapter.  5275 words. 

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