A Governance and Human Rights Advocate has called for an end to the use of street kids as cheap labor in small-scale mining operations in Copperbelt province.
Wesly Miyanda made this statement following a discovery by Beautiful Gates Foundation of illegal mining operations that use street kids for labor.
Mr Miyanda urged business owners to treat street kids as human beings who have rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
He has called on the government to intervene and protect these vulnerable children.
“It is further established that the number of these street kids engaged in such illegal mining arrangements keeps escalating each and every day,” Mr Miyanda said.
Mr Miyanda also proposed a solution that would empower the street kids by giving them allowances and food equivalent to the work being done.
Meanwhile, a Kitwe resident, Peter Shamasapo, believes that the blame should not be solely placed on small-scale miners for using street kids as labor.
He has urged the government, particularly President Hakainde Hichilema, to provide measures that will help these vulnerable children with basic needs.
“As long as the miners are not torturing and putting their lives at risk, the street kids who society abandoned and forgotten should be allowed to earn something to survive until an alternative solution is found,” Mr Shamasapo said.
He added that NGOs like Beautiful Gates are either overwhelmed or cannot take in any more street kids, so the government needs to find ways of regulating and formalizing these activities.
The use of street kids as cheap labor is a violation of human rights and must be addressed by both the government and business owners.