Child abuse refers to the physical, sexual or emotional maltreatment or neglect of a child or children. It is any act or acts from anybody that results in harm, has potential to harm or threat of harm to the child. It comprises all activities that hinder children from enjoying their entitlements, rights and freedoms and is capable of causing psychological and physical effects to the child. Child abuse occurs at different levels of the society, that is, from the family level to the broader community as a whole. Child abuse is categorized into four namely; neglect, physical or emotional abuse and sexual abuse (.). The rising cases of child abuse are universal and as such have attracted global concern. Malawi is one of the countries in which cases of child abuse never seem to cease. Malawian children are being subjected to child labor, neglect, physical abuse and sexual harassment.
In Malawi, child labor is the most common case of child abuse and hard to deal with. Child labor is commonly mistaken with child work a thing that makes it harder to identify child labor cases. Mathias (2005) describes child labor as the employment of children under a specific legal age on a sustained and regular basis. Malawi is considered as one of the countries with high incidence of child labor occurring specifically in Tobacco and Tea estates (Eldridge et el 2000). The constitution of Malawi defines a child as anybody below the age of eighteen. This therefore means that anybody below eighteen employed is being abused as they are deprived their rights mostly the right to education. Cases of child labor in Malawi have been on the increase from 30% in------ to 33.6% in 2006. Children as young as six years old work in tea, tobacco, sugar plantations and also in the fishing sector and are mostly exposed to hazardous conditions.
The2009 plan Malawi report indicates that children have to work as long as 12 hours or more just for a peanut pay of US$0.