Society for Protection of Rights of the Child (SPARC) organized an online “Debate on Elimination of all the forms of Child Labour” at 1100 hours on Saturday, June 20, 2020.
Child rights activists urged the federal and provincial governments for the enactment of new laws against child domestic labour and lamented the sorry state of children stuck in a life of drudgery in countless homes across the country.
Riaz Fatyana, Member, National Assembly stated that we as a society downplay the seriousness of child domestic work. People see no harm in a 7-year-old maid babysitting a 3-year-old child of her employer or looking after the pets. However, we must realize that these are not the jobs for children. Even if the child workers survive the physical and sexual violence, the emotional stress faced by them is enough to scare them for life. At this age, the only thing a child should have is books and toys.
He further added that people hear such about heinous crimes against child labourers regularly but still keep employing children as maids, servants and helpers at home and work because they are cheap labour compared to hiring adults.
Sajjad Ahmed Cheema, Executive Director, SPARC expressed great concern at the alarming rate of cases of abuse surfacing against child domestic workers and called for a complete ban on hiring children as domestic help.
He further added that Pakistan acknowledges forced labour, slavery and external trafficking in documents but it has not been able to take any administrative measures to ban Child Domestic Labour. We keep hearing about new cases of brutal torture and murders of helpless innocent Child Domestic Workers, mainly young girls.
Iqbal Detho, Senior Child Activist said an immediate action by the government to eliminate all forms of child labour is required. Child Domestic Labour should be added in the list of hazardous occupations under ECA1991. The government needs to take responsibility and enact exclusive laws at federal and provincial level for the prohibition of Child Domestic Labour. The adult labourers should also be brought in government’s supporting schemes to ensure that they aren’t forced to send their children to work.
Murtaza Solangi, senior journalists and Mr. Faizullah Korejo, Child Activist also spoke on the occasion. They appreciated the efforts of SPARC in highlighting the plight of child domestic workers and hoped the ongoing efforts will bear fruit in curbing this phenomenon to emancipate children from one of this worst form of child labour.