Child Slavery in Africa

by the Rev. Ngoy Daniel Mulunda-Nyanga, executive secretary for International Affairs, All Africa Conference of Churches

One of the challenges we Africans face is the restoration of family values. A mother cannot have peace and respect if she is not able to maintain her own family. And a father, who is traditionally seen as the provider for the household, will not feel worthy to live in his community if he reaches the point where he cannot provide food for his children. Taking away the work of the father or mother destroys the family and thus destroys the sacredness of life in Africa. Without a family, Africans are lost. They lose their roots and their dignity.

Because of unemployment, we are facing a new and shameful type of slavery, which is developing across the continent of Africa. Children are sent out by their parents to look for income to feed their families. Children are being sold. Children are being given as down payments for family debt payment. Child trafficking has developed in Western Africa and parts of Central Africa. They are transported out of their countries and sold as slaves in other countries, where they labor as domestic workers, farmers, peddlers, or prostitutes.

Child slavery is on the increase on the continent of Africa. This is happening because families have lost their power on the streets and in the marketplace. The first sin that we need to denounce and fight against is the prostitution of labor. As long as honorable work is not restored, the disintegration of the society will continue to affect the growth and authority of the churches in Africa.

We are working very hard to make people understand that each policy that promotes unemployment must be declared "sinful." To join the struggle for a just workplace is to fight against sin, fulfilling the sacred mission of the church.

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