Poor parents not aware of negative aspects of child domestic works: study

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DHAKA, Mar 30, 2019 (BSS) – Most of the parents, who send their children to domestic works, are not aware of the negative aspects of child domestic works while their children often get physically, mentally and sexually abused at their work places, says a recent study.

It reveals that the parents do not even know where their children are going to and under what types of environment they have to work.

Independent researcher Sharfuddin Khan conducted ‘The Perception Study on Child Labour in Domestic Work’ aiming to assess the perception of child domestic workers regarding their rights related to conditions of employment.

Although child domestic work is very hazardous one, the study shows, many poor parents use their children as a source of income and send their children to domestic work without knowing or understanding its short- and long-term consequences. Most significant factor that forces children to enter domestic works is economic poverty of poor households accompanied by large family size. Many parents find it as an easy solution to send children to other’s houses to work as domestic workers to get some money in advance.

The research reveals many parents, especially in urban areas, send their children as domestic work to protect them from sexual abuse and exploitation.

“Children engaged in domestic works do not have the opportunity to enjoy their rights as children because they have to work for more than 12 hours a day and most of the works they do are hazardous,” it reads.

According to the study, the child workers do not have access to education, recreation, health and other services that are important for their physical and mental development. They do not get adequate nutritious food, which is required for their physical development.

Sharfuddin Khan, a former programme officer of the International Labor Organization (ILO), said keeping children away from their families is one of the violations of child rights.

He said high demand for cheap child labour is another important factor behind the existence of large number of child domestic workers in the country. “Many urban middle class families prefer to employ a child for domestic works as it does not cost much compared to employing an adult domestic worker,” he added.

Noting that child labour related laws are not being enforced effectively in the country, Sharfuddin said that is why anyone can employ children anytime for any type of work without any social or legal challenges.

According to the baseline survey on the Situation of Child Domestic Workers jointly conducted by the ILO and UNICEF in 2007, more than four lakh children are engaged in domestic work in the country. Majority of them are between 12-14 years while around 90 percent are girls. They are extremely vulnerable to all forms of abuse and exploitation.

There is no legal provision to protect the rights of the country’s child domestic workers. Domestic child workers were excluded from the Labour Law 2006 (amended in 2013). Child domestic work was not considered as a hazardous one.

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