Girl child labour in Nigeria

  (Redirected from Girl Child Labour in Nigeria)

Girl Child Labour in Nigeria is the high incidence of girls ages 5–14 who are involved in economic activities outside of education and leisure.[1] The prevalence of the girl child labour in Nigeria is largely due to household wealth[2] but other factors such as the educational accomplishment of parents, peer pressure and demand factors such as high demand for domestic maid and sex all contribute to the high incidence of girl child labour in the country.[3] In addition, in many rural and Muslim communities in Northern Nigeria, children are sometimes asked to aid religiously secluded women or mothers in running errands.[4]

Many girls work as maids, shop helps and street hawkers. The use of young girls in economic activities exposes them to the dangers and other problems such as sexual assault, missing classes, lack of parental care and exploitation.[5] In addition, the work of girls is not recognized by law and any form of employee benefit is negligible.


Starting in the mid-1980s, the adverse economic conditions in Nigeria, a country where men constituted the majority of the employees in the formal sector forced many women to increase their engagement in the informal sector but labour-intensive sector so as to supplement household income and this is accomplished while working on domestic duties. In Nigeria, strategies undertaken by women in the informal sector include working long hours in the markets and using their children to hawk goods on the streets to reduce the burden.[6][7] Apart from missing classes, many girls face health and safety risk including exhaustion, attempted sexual assault and kidnapping.[8][9] Since the beginning of the Structural adjustment Programme in Nigeria, Nigeria went through a period of economic hardship where families had to improvise new strategies to survive, among which were child trafficking and sending children to the cities as house girls.[10] In 2003, the country had enacted the Child Rights Act to protect children from being exploited and denied their rights as minors.[11]



In many rural communities, girl child labour has been part of the process and is believed to aid girls in developing home skills, helping others and family solidarity.[12] Activities include gathering fire wood.[13] As such socialization is a major reason girls are preferred to boys in the recruitment of maids. However, those types of work do sometimes impede the educational prospect of the girls.[citation needed] In some Northern Nigerian Fulani communities, the girl-child helps her mother by hawking milk or other produce from their family farm or made by the mother.

Forms of workEdit

Domestic helpsEdit

Due to division of labor according to gender in households and also because of socialization, many Nigerian households prefer to use girls as maids.[10] The girl child domestic help in Nigeria are girls aged under 15 who work as maids in the households of families who are in a higher income bracket that those of their parents. In return, the wealthier family pays her or her parents or provide her training in some skill.[10] However, the domestic maid face different challenges in this new environment including child abuse and sexual assault.[14] In some instances, some of the girls are under the age of 8,[14] In Nigeria, most of the girls are from the Southern and Middle Belt regions. The demand for domestic helps in Nigeria and nearby African countries has increased the incidence of child trafficking.[15] This process is enhanced by the invisibility of girls in domestic work because it is considered normal in many urban households.

To source for domestic helps organized networks go to towns and villages in Southern states like Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Imo, Cross River, Ekiti and Oyo to procure the services of children who are then transported to other states for domestic work. In 1999, a boat carrying children from Akwa Ibom to Gabon was intercepted by the police.

Street hawkingEdit

Many girls below the age of 15 engage in the vending of goods on roads, carriage of goods to customers and begging of alms. On average, more primary and secondary school age girls engage in street trading than boys. The young girls choose specific routes and road junction to vend goods before returning home in the evening. Apart from hawking, some girls also engage in street begging sometimes known as al majeri in the North.[16]


About 8% of girl hawkers have been subjected to sexual abuse including cases of rape and sexual violence.[17] Young girls are also exposed to adult challenges and deviant behavior at an early age while having time for to attend classes and complete school work.

Apart from exposures to health risk, child abuse and sexual assault, girl child labor in Nigeria has led to an increase in adolescent age commercial sex work[18] exposing the girls to vagaries of street life at an early age. Some young girls are trafficked by organized networks who lie to the girls and their parents that they will be house maids in the city.[18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Carter & Togunde 2008, p. 1.
  2. ^ Kazeem, Aramide (2012). "Children's Work in Nigeria: Exploring the Implications of Gender, Urban–Rural Residence, and Household Socioeconomic Status". The Review of Black Political Economy. 39 (2): 187–201. doi:10.1007/s12114-011-9126-y. S2CID 153464998.
  3. ^ Bhalotra, Sonia. "Child labour in Africa". OECD. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  4. ^ Rain, David (1997). "The women of Kano: internalized stress and the conditions of reproduction, Northern Nigeria". GeoJournal. 43 (2): 175–187. doi:10.1023/A:1006815632077. ISSN 0343-2521. JSTOR 41147132. S2CID 152898830.
  5. ^ Audu, Bala; Geidam, Ado; Jarma, Hajara (2009). "Child labor and sexual assault among girls in Maiduguri, Nigeria". International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics. 104 (1): 64–67. doi:10.1016/j.ijgo.2008.09.007. PMID 18954870.
  6. ^ Bankole, Evelyn (2018-01-31). "Child labor in Nigeria: sad facts everyone should know". - Nigeria news. Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  7. ^ "Child labor continues to be a pressing problem in Nigeria. Girls are especially at risk". The World from PRX. Retrieved 2020-05-29.
  8. ^ Audu, Bala; Geidam, Ado; Jarma, Hajara (2009). "Child labor and sexual assault among girls in Maiduguri, Nigeria". International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics. 104 (1): 64–67. doi:10.1016/j.ijgo.2008.09.007. PMID 18954870.
  9. ^ "Preventing Boko Haram abductions of schoolchildren in Nigeria". Africa Portal. Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  10. ^ a b c Omokhodion 2009, p. 1.
  11. ^ "Child Labor Still Prevalent in Nigeria, Despite Legislative Efforts | Voice of America - English". Retrieved 2021-02-03.
  12. ^ "Despite Bans, Child Labor Prevalent in Nigeria | Voice of America - English". Retrieved 2020-05-29.
  13. ^ Kazeem, Aramide (2013). "Unpaid work among children currently attending school in Nigeria". International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy. 33 (5/6): 328–346. doi:10.1108/IJSSP-07-2012-0066.
  14. ^ a b Omokhodion 2009, p. 2.
  15. ^ Agbu, Osita (2009). Children and Youth in the Labour Process in Africa.
  16. ^ Hoechner, Hannah (2013). Search for Knowledge and Recognition. IFRA.
  17. ^ Tinuola Femi. "The challenges of girl-child education and alternative jobs in Nigeria". Corvinus Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 1:101-121. P. 114
  18. ^ a b Bamgbose, Oluyemisi (2002). "Teenage Prostitution and the Future of the Female Adolescent in Nigeria". International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology. 46 (5): 569–570. doi:10.1177/030662402236741. PMID 12365144.


  • Carter, Arielle; Togunde, Dimeji (2008). "In Their Own Words: Consequences of Child Labor in Urban Nigeria" (PDF). Journal of Social Science. 16 (2). Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  • Omokhodion, J (September 2009). "Linking the Dominance of House Girls in Nigerian Households to the Girl child Socialization Pattern in Nigeria". Journal of Social Sciences. 1 (2).