The group encouraged adults and the government to act more to stop the trend.
The Ogun State Chapter of the Child Protection Network, CPN, said on Monday that over 5,000 child domestic workers are currently employed in Abeokuta.
This was made known by the state coordinator of the network, Peju Osoba, while delivering a lecture titled “Child Labour and Sexual Abuse” at the 2013 Day of the African Child jointly organised by Ogun State Government and UNICEF, and held at the Press Centre, Abeokuta
Mrs. Osoba said elites are majority of those who employ the services of the kids and said there is an emerging trend of increasing number of street children in different locations in the state.
Speaking further, the coordinator lamented the recent UNESCO release declaring Nigeria as having the highest number of out-of-school children in the world, saying the figure and declaration should be a challenge for the government.
She said there are child labourers in 50 per cent of shops in the major markets of Abeokuta, pointing out that 25 per cent of these shops are owned by elite civil servants.
While adding that the network is working round the clock to make life more meaningful for the street children by rehabilitating them, she called on the state government not to just make policies, but make ones that are realistic and holistic and follow through to implementation.
As part of measure to curb the worrisome development, the guest lecturer called on parents to always be open with their children and care about the child next door. She also encouraged children to speak out, protect themselves, their siblings, and friends.
She noted that if 25 per cent of residents stop employing and stop patronising shops where children are used, “we can make a difference. It is a statement of fact that every child worker is highly vulnerable to sexual abuse.”