"Children are forced into informal trade," says Mozambican NGO

“Crianças são forçadas ao comércio informal”, diz ONG moçambicana

"Networks are operating in Mozambique to recruit children for the informal trade, especially in the country's main urban centers," says Rede Criança.

The executive director of Rede Criança, Amélia Fernanda, says that, for example, in the city of Maputo, several hundred children are involved in informal trading, a practice which, she stresses, is a clear violation of children's rights.

"In Maputo city, there are adults who have organized themselves into networks that shelter and exploit children for informal trade," the director of Rede Criança told VOA last week.

Fernanda said that in addition to violating children's rights, the informal trade involving minors also perpetuates the cycle of poverty, explaining that in the case of Maputo city, children are recruited in various Mozambican provinces by these networks.

However, the government authorities assume that the issue of child labor "is very worrying", indicating that around one million children work in Mozambique.

Marta Maté, from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, said that the areas with the most child labor are mining and informal commerce, "but we also have situations where children are involved in prostitution".

Maté said he hoped that with the Action Plan to Prevent and Combat the Worst Forms of Child Labor being implemented in the country, the issue of child labor would be minimized.

Among other measures, the plan calls for those who exploit child labor, especially in its worst forms, to be held accountable.

For Marta Maté, the main causes of this phenomenon are economic and socio-cultural, noting that it is in the informal sector that children are most likely to be integrated into work.

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