Norbert (R), a 9-year-old wlder apprentice, sells merchandise for his boss at Dantokpa Market in Cotonou, Benin, June 9, 2015. (Xinhua/Polycarpe Toviho)
COTONOU, June 12 (Xinhua) -- More and more children are falling victim to child labor in Benin where the child labor rate has increased from 34 percent to 52.2 percent over the last two decades, according to a 2014 multi-indicators survey report.
The latest report of the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Analysis (INSAE) revealed that children in the rural area are most affected with a child labor rate of 42.3 percent, against 18.4 percent in the urban area.
Pelagie Dossou, a 12-year-old girl from Moumoudji, a village located 200 km north of Cotonou, is one of the child laborers.
"Every day, I wake up at the first dawn crow of the cockerel for household duties of dish washing, laundering, clothes ironing, cooking and even taking my aunt's children to and from school," she said.
A child labor sells tomatoes at Dantokpa Market in Cotonou, Benin, June 9, 2015. (Xinhua/Polycarpe Toviho)
"These activities take me a whole day and I am also the last to go to bed in the evening," she added.
Pelagie was taken to the capital by her aunt, who promised her parents to send her to school and take care of her as her own daughter.
"During my three-year stay in Cotonou, my aunt has not sent me to school, nor to apprenticeship," she said.
Like Pelagie, many children in Benin have busy days, most of them being young girls who do housework in middle-class families.
"Children are the basement on which we should build to assure and guarantee the best future of our country," Beninese Minister of Labor, Administrative and Institutional Reforms Yaya Abubakar said.
A child labor sells chillies at Dantokpa Market in Cotonou, Benin, June 9, 2015. (Xinhua/Polycarpe Toviho)
The Beninese government has taken a series of measures to promote children's welfare, especially free primary education and kindergarten for all children and free secondary education for girls.
Marking the World Day Against Child Labor, the United Nations on Friday called on the international community to ensure quality education for children in a bid to fight against child employment.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) launched the World Day Against Child Labor in 2002 to focus attention on the global extent of child labor and the action and efforts needed to eliminate it.
According to the latest UN statistics, an estimated 215 million children around the world work for survival, many full-time and more than half in conditions deemed hazardous to their health, keeping them out of school.