South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

About 17 percent of the child domestic workers are abused sexually while 83 percent physically by the family members of their employers, says a study.

The study was conducted surveying 849 domestic child workers of three wards of Dhanmondi, Mirpur and Mohammadpur in the city during August, September and October last year. Some employers of the child workers also were interviewed.

The findings of the study titled “Study on The Situation of Domestic Child Workers in Dhaka City” were revealed at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity yesterday.

Vice Chancellor of Dhaka University AAMS Arefin Siddique and Vice Chairman of Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum (BSAF), among others, were present at the event.

The study reveals that 52 percent of the 849 child labours at home are abused regularly while 95 percent verbally.

About 328 children have to do hazardous works everyday, including ironing clothes, washing heavy clothes, boiling water, operating motor for pumping water, lifting heavy goods and going to shops crossing roads.

Seventy nine percent of the work are done on monthly contact basis which is ranging from Tk 300-Tk 1,200.

The domestic helps, aged between six years to 18 years, do such domestic work due to financial crisis, large number of family members and parents’ sickness and death.

Associate Professor of Institute of Social Welfare and Research of Dhaka University Dr M Rezaul Islam who conducted the research said the study was conducted to visualize the real situation of child domestic workers in Dhaka.

“We have interviewed 849 household owners to cross-check the data,” he said.

He said there were significant level of variations in the research findings in terms of locations and respondents.

About 567 child workers alleged of being abused in several ways while only about 93 employers admitted it. Though 144 child workers alleged of being abused sexually, only nine employers admitted about the abuse, says the study.

Rezaul Islam suggested taking initiatives for rural development and target based project to eliminate child labour gradually.

He also stressed the need for government declaration to stop hazardous work and up-dating UN conventions, child laws and child labour laws in Bangladesh.

Source: The Daily Star – 24.05.2011