Domestic child labourers yet to be given their due rights
Islamabad: Thousands of domestic child labourers in the twin cities are yet to be protected and given their due rights through an effective legislation that can help shape up their lives in the society.
Unfortunately, the number of children working as maids or domestic help is hard to come by given the invisible nature of their work. There are many cases in which little girls are abused and raped, but because of absence of proper and strict laws, the perpetrators manages to escape punishment. The suo moto notice taken by the Supreme Court in Tayyaba torture case has highlighted the need to pay attention to this issue.
The child domestic workers are denied the rights that are enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan such as Articles 11, 25 (3), 25A and even the right to life, merely for the reason of protecting the household sanctity.
Rubina Arshad, a social activist, regretted the absence of legal framework under which domestic workers can ensure protection of their rights despite the fact that Pakistan has ratified the ILO Convention.
“There is a 1965 law which makes it incumbent upon employers to provide healthcare to their workers and there is the Minimum Wages Act of 1961. Given the changing times and the advances that have been made in the labour laws in other developing countries, it is imperative that Pakistan make stringent laws against violence on child domestic workers,” she said.
She said the domestic child labourers are often kept in terrible conditions consisting of long working hours and forced to carry out difficult tasks like cleaning big houses, cooking meals for a large number of people and washing dishes and clothes in unsuitable weather conditions.