THE IMPACT OF STREET HAWKING ONTHE SOCIAL AND PHYSICAL WELL-BEING OF CHILDREN IN PORT HARCOURT LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF RIVERS STATE
- Street hawking,
- social wellbeing,
- physical wellbeing,
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Street hawking is the most dominant form of child labour in most cities of Nigeria. This paper examines the impact of street hawking on the social and physical well-being of children in Port Harcourt local government area of Rivers State. The welfare of children is an index of the social and economic development of any society. Child street hawking is a form of labour that has existed for quite some time and has continued to hamper the educational development of the children whose hope for our future generation lies on. Factors such as poverty, meeting family needs, and raising money for children's education were reasons identified as the causes of children street hawking were identified as some of the effects on the girl child. It was further visible that to most parents and guidance, street hawking is about making friends, caring for elder and younger family members and preparing them to take on the responsibilities of adulthood thereby ignoring such consequences like prostitution, rape, poor education, stealing, teenage pregnancy, high rate of STDs including HIV infection, high illiteracy, youth alcohol and drug addiction, all forms of delinquent and criminal behaviours, exposure to road accidents and moral decline on the children. The paper is anchored on Marxian political economy which is a strand of conflict perspective. In this perspective, street hawking may be attributed to factors like unemployment, low wages, poverty, inflation, massive retrenchment, poor quality of life, broken homes and adverse economic environment. On this realization, therefore, this study recommends amongst others that government should ensure that existing laws on violence against children and child labour be strengthened and made more effective to curb street hawking in Nigeria.