The disturbing trend of street hawking among teenagers, most especially the girl child within towns and villages across Nigerian state is something that all right thinking persons need to discourage.
The bad trend which has over the years subjected Children to hawking products such as boiled or fried groundnut, fruits, sachet water, chips, among other stuffs being carried on trays or similar containers on their heads.
There is no doubt that street hawking is one of the means or form of child labour. Others include children working at building site or on farms and other related labor.
UNICEF (2017) identified poverty, large family size, rapid urbanization among others as major contributing factors why many Nigerian female are vulnerable to trafficking.
It identified that parents with large family size are often prone to traffickers deceit in giving out their female children those resident in the city or even strangers who often promises better life for them. But unfortunately, many of such children have fallen victims rape and other domestic violence.
Various studies have clearly shown that Street hawking has huge implications for children’s physical and emotional well-being. It exposes them to sexual abuse, physical exhaustion, vehicle accidents, death and malnourishment and drug,and substance abuse and prostitution.
Many children who are street hawkers today becomes so through their parents who send them to streets to hawk to supplement their family income. Sometimes they are orphans who have lost their parents either to sickness, auto crash or terrorist activity. They live on the street and hawk for survival.
Street Hawking creates room for lack of seriousness and interest in school work, poor memory, learning difficulty and under achievement.
Though, the efforts of the government towards curtailing incidents of violence against children, has assisted in many ways, however, much needs to be done in terms of intense awareness campaigns in the Mass media to discourage parents or guardians from doing anything that will subject their children to street Hawking.
The parent of children who street hawk should be empowered economically to be able to take care of them. But the government should also create awareness about child trafficking and provide affected children with support.
It is said that constant denial of children their right to be protected and cared for has an impact on their effective development and well-being and is an injustice.
More importantly, the government must understand the psychological impact of this trade. It must tailor interventions to meet the needs of these children in order to if not totally eradicate, reduce the practice.
Laws should be made by the government that forbids with punishment, any parent who send his or her child for Hawking. This law should be made after a workable program has been put on ground that will empower such households with no or low means of livelihood.
Sheba Ishaya Magaji is a final year student of Higher National Diploma in Mass Communication from the Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic Bauchi and can be reached via Shebamagaji9@gmail.com