As we were busy condemning the horrific treatment meted out to 11 years old young child maid Kinza in Rawalpindi, another case of brutal torture and abuse of a young girl working as domestic help occurred in Lahore. Thousands of children facing the slaves like situation and treatment from the employers.
According to the details emerged so far, 11 years old Sumera had been working at the house in China Scheme, Gujjarpura Lahore for the past four years. On the day of the incident, the wife of house owner Hina tortured the girl.
Both Kinza and Sumera went through the same brutal and inhumane treatment in two different houses of different cities. It is a clear indication that the menace of abuse and torture of child domestic workers is wide spread and common.
The hapless and poor Sumera told her ordeal in these words. “She beat me with sticks and also burnt my body with a hot iron. I managed to escape from the house and started crying for help. The neighbours spotted me and informed the police,” she said, adding that she feared ‘Hina Baji’ would kill her.
Later, a police team reached the spot and took the victim into their custody. They also recorded the statements of eye-witnesses. The Child Protection and Welfare Bureau (CPWB) took custody of the tortured young girl and also registered a case against Ejaz and his wife, Hina.Police have arrested the suspects.
Her mother left her at this house to work as maid and never come back to meet her. She belongs to very poor family from Sharaqpur, a small town near Lahore. She said that she had been working at Ejaz’s house and his wife used to beat her up with iron rods and also subjected her to severe torture over minor issues.
When asked if she wanted to go and live with her mother, the victim refused saying that she would prefer staying at the bureau.
Despite legislation, domestic child workersare still treated like slaves and not only deprived of their right to education, but also health services, survival, food, proper care, to have friends, enjoy free time as well as protection from abuse, violence and exploitation.
It is high time that the Punjab government should implement child protection policy to end the ever increasing cases of abuse, torture and violence.
It seems that the CM Punjab has no time to discuss and find solutions to address the issues of children. The Punjab government should immediately establishthe child protection system with appropriate social, legal and psychological support services rather than responses to individual cases.
The employment of children in household workis against the spirit of Article 25-A of the Constitution of Pakistan and the Punjab Free and Compulsory Education Act 2014. It is the responsibility of the state to protect the vulnerable, poor and exploited citizens from abuse and exploitation.
“Domestic child labour is promoting the class differences among children and this can also leave negative impacts on their psychological and emotional state. The government can’t make excuses for delaying the enactment of necessary legislation to prohibit domestic child labour.
The government should launch an awareness campaign against domestic child labour. But it seems that child protection is not high on the agenda and priority of the PTI government like the previous government of PML-N. It is our responsibility to protect our children from abuse, violence, torture and exploitation.
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